Across the Western Cape, accommodation establishments have been under pressure to provide more beds as tourism continues to boom. Liesl Venter rounds up some of the new developments and upgrades.
Going by the number of new hotel developments in Cape Town alone, it is safe to say tourism is alive and well in the Western Cape. With several new hotels having already opened their doors in recent months, there are even more in the pipeline.
“The province has seen significant investment into tourism products from both the government and the private sector,” says Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.
Ranging from new hotels, upgrades and expansion to existing facilities, these investments, says Harris, show not only the hospitality industry’s commitment to the Western Cape but also gives some insight into the belief that the tourism sector is going to continue its upward trajectory.
In 2016 the Western Cape tourism market grew by 17.5% to 3.7m domestic and international visitors compared with 2015, while the tourism market value increased by 22.5% year on year to R20.6m (€1.34m).
With Cape Town accommodation almost full year round, more tourists simply mean more beds.
“Over 1500 rooms will be added to Cape Town’s accommodation offering, thanks to the construction of several new hotels,” says Harris, who has been tasked with growing the inbound tourism sector even more.
“Tourism has the ability to re-ignite our economy and provide jobs. With the country’s unemployment rate at its highest ever, this is one sector that can make a difference quickly. To remain competitive as a destination, investment in the industry in these various ways is therefore important.”
Tsogo Sun’s StayEasy and Sunsquare Cape Town City Bowl
The newest kid on the block, Tsogo Sun, opened its new dual-brand 19-storey hotel development in September. With an official launch yet to come, the two hotels, at the corners of Bree, Buitengracht and Strands streets, were constructed at a cost of R700 million (€45.46m). Adding 504 rooms to the Cape Town tourism market, the development represents Tsogo Sun’s continued commitment to the city of Cape Town and brings its total number of bedrooms operated in the city centre to over 2 000, says Jacques Booysen, Tsogo Sun CEO.
“We have been delighted to have the opportunity to increase our presence in one of the most vibrant cities on the continent. We believe the continued development and rejuvenation of Cape Town’s city centre will cater for growing demand for hotel accommodation.”
Tsogo Sun’s new dual-brand 19-storey hotel development at the corners of Bree, Buitengracht and Strand streets in Cape Town.
Also opening its doors in September, the Radisson Red has been a much-anticipated new development for the city and is part of the new Silo District at the V&A Waterfront. The district, developed around the historic grain silo now turned into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, is all about art, culture and design. These elements were all incorporated into the hotel, which offers some spectacular views of the Mother City. Adding another 252 rooms, this hotel aims to deliver the city experience to tourists and is within walking distance of several of the city’s top tourist attractions.
The Silo Hotel
Another major development and also in the Silo District, this opulent and luxurious boutique hotel has been constructed in the grain elevator of the historic grain silo. Recently opened, the hotel is all about art, style, architecture and design across its six floors, with its 28 rooms including a spectacular one-bedroom penthouse
Cape Town continues to attract more international travellers year-on-year, says Marc Descrozaille, Area Vice President for Africa and the Indian Ocean of the Rezidor Hotel Group. Carlson Rezidor has strategically been expanding its offerings in Cape Town and in April opened the Radisson Blu, introducing 214 new rooms to Cape Town.
Three new hotels are on the cards for Cape Town, says Danny Bryer, Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management at Protea Hotels by Marriott and African Pride Hotels.
The Cape Town Marriott Hotel Foreshore and Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Town Foreshore will be in one building, which will have a restaurant and bar, a Marriott Great Room, an outdoor pool and a fitness facility that includes a sauna/whirlpool.
Located at Harbour Arch (currently the Culemborg node of the city) the Cape Town Marriott Hotel Foreshore will add 200 rooms to the city, while the Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Town Foreshore will have 150 rooms, says Bryer. Both hotels are scheduled to open in 2021.
The AC Hotels by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront, the first hotel under the AC Hotels brand in the Middle East and Africa, will boast 189 rooms. Located at The Yacht Club in the Roggebaai precinct at the gateway to Cape Town’s Waterfront, this hotel is scheduled to open in 2019.
According to Bryer, refurbishments are under way or being planned for the Protea Hotel by Marriott Franschhoek, Arabella Hotel & Spa and Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire &Ice! Cape Town.
Says Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International: “Africa is particularly important to Marriott International's expansion strategy because of the continent's rapid economic growth, expanding middle class and youth population, as well as the increase of international flights to the continent. With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are enormous opportunities."
Asked about Cape Town and the Western Cape specifically, Sorenson said Marriott saw huge potential for the growth in tourist numbers.
“It is already recognised as a great destination for travellers from all over the world, the city is bound to continue attracting more international tourists and so there is an ongoing need for more accommodation supply. In fact, the construction of new hotels in the recent past was not adequate to meet the growing need, and so these Marriott hotels will help to address the backlog in the supply of hotel rooms.”
The Ritz Hotel, Sea Point
In March the Ritz Hotel in Sea Point reopened after a R120 million (€8,7m) refurbishment by hospitality services and investment company, Shimmy Luxury Collection (SLC). Considered a Cape Town icon with its sweeping views of Sea Point, the hotel has held pride of place for the past 45 years. The upgrade gives it a new lease of life and delivers another 212 rooms to the Cape Town tourism market.
The Last Word Boutique Hotels
Currently undergoing a soft refurbishment in its suites, the Last Word Constantia is introducing some beautiful international and local fabrics in line with the look and feel of The Last Word Intimate Hotels, says General Manager, Nicky Coenen.
“It is so important that we keep our look fresh and up to date for our guests. There is very much a continuation in popularity of hotels that look like idealised versions of one’s home. It is all about décor that whispers rather than screams. Guests are favouring simpler, calmer and less fussy interiors, something we pride ourselves on achieving at The Last Word,” she says.
Val de Charron, Wellington
A total of nine rooms are being added to the four-star guesthouse at Val du Charron Wine & Olive Estate, Guesthouse and Spa (VDC). According to Director, Catherine Entwistle, much effort is being made not to cause disturbance during the summer peak season but all is on track for the opening in July next year.
The guesthouse offers four- and five-star accommodation in the heart of the Winelands, and Entwistle says the addition of the nine rooms will allow the farm to host larger groups.
“It is essential to keep reinventing the business. Guests expect it. The grading council expects it. That aside, with competition both locally and abroad in the industry one needs to differentiate oneself. Continuous improvements to the property and service levels are the factors that draw guests in to choosing South Africa and Val du Charron as opposed to elsewhere in the winelands.”
Nine new rooms are being added at Val Du Charron increasing the guesthouse capacity to host larger groups of people.
Aha Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel and De Zalze Lodge
Aha has just completed an R8,6 million (€558 300) state-of-the-art refurbishment of this quaint little hotel, situated on the water’s edge of Simon’s Town yacht basin.
The project involved a complete overhaul of all 26 bedrooms, bathrooms and public facilities. An additional three completely new bedrooms were added, bringing the total number of rooms to 29, according to Neil Bald, aha Hotels & Lodges CEO.
“This hotel is steeped in history and renovating it not only ensures that we preserve its prestige but we also look forward to providing our guests with more enhanced services, quality rooms and facilities,” he says.
The group is also in the process of concluding the soft refurbishment of its four-star Lodge at De Zalze.
According to Bald all the bathrooms at aha De Zalze Lodge have undergone a complete overhaul, with floors re-tiled and new contemporary walk-in showers installed. New vinyl flooring now covers the floors in the bedrooms, along with modern fittings and colours that accentuate the new furniture.
“This soft remodelling was an integral part of our continued commitment to enhance our property and service. Most importantly, it will offer more enriched services and exceptional comfort to our guests, presenting the same delightful experiences that are synonymous with aha,” he says.
More than R8 million was spent refurbishing the aha Simon’s Town quayside hotel.