Marriott, Best Western announce plans for African expansion

(Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch)

At this week's Africa Hotel Investment Conference, which ended today in Kigali, Rwanda, global hotel companies announced plans for African expansion. Here's the latest buzz from the event:

Marriott in Africa (and South Africa)

Earlier this week, Marriott announced that it had signed deals for new properties in Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo and Mauritius. 

Those three Cape Town hotels will be the latest step in the year-long relationship with South Africa's Amdec Group. The first hotel will be under the company’s Marriott Hotels brand, and will be the first Marriott Hotel in Cape Town; the second will be under the Residence Inn by Marriott extended-stay brand, the first for South Africa; and the third will be under the upper-moderate-tier lifestyle brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, and will be the first hotel under this brand for the Middle East & Africa region.

These three planned developments will have more than 500 rooms among them. With 189 rooms, the AC Hotel Cape Town waterfront will be located at The Yacht Club in the Roggebaai precinct at the gateway to Cape Town’s waterfront, while Harbour Arch (the current Culemborg node) will be the site of the 200-room Cape Town Marriott Hotel Foreshore and the 150-room Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Town Foreshore.

Marriott’s partnership with the Amdec Group kicked off last year with the announcement of the development of the first two Marriott-branded hotels in South Africa. The Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch (pictured above) and the Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch, situated in the Melrose Arch Precinct in Johannesburg, are scheduled to open in 2018.

Amdec’s total investment in these Cape Town and Johannesburg developments amounts to over R3 billion between the two cities.

By 2025, Marriott International aims to expand its current presence in Africa to 27 countries, with over 200 hotels and around 37,000 rooms. “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 into the continent,” Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement. “With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are enormous opportunities." 

“The significance of this announcement for both the city of Cape Town and for South Africa cannot be underestimated,” Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of Middle East and Africa for Marriott International, said. “The developments in both Cape Town and Johannesburg confirm the country’s importance to the international travel market—for both the business and leisure traveler. From the perspective of tourism, the addition of three hotels in Cape Town, catering for different market segments among both international and domestic visitors, will strengthen the position of the city as one of the world’s top destinations, and we are confident that Cape Town will gain huge benefits from the likely increase in visitor numbers expected in the future.”

Best Western

Best Western Hotels & Resorts is adding another hotel to its East African portfolio. 

The newest addition is BW Premier Collection The Alba, located in Nairobi, Kenya. The new-construction property, set to open in the third quarter of 2017, will have 83 guestrooms.   

“Having met with the Best Western Hotels & Resorts representatives during the Africa Hotel Investment forum in 2014 and 2015, we felt that BW Premier Collection was the right opportunity for us,” Juliet Njogu, managing director of Alba Hotels, said in a statement. “We are proud to be the first BW Premier Collection hotel in Africa.”
Best Western recently introduced the BW Premier Collection a global collection of upscale and luxury hotels that are required to “retain their individual identities.” As noted last year, the BW Premier Collection uses a pay-for-performance fee structure, and is being promoted to independent hoteliers.

"BW Premier Collection is a new introduction to our brand, which offers an exceptional and unique travel experience to guests,” Suzi Yoder, SVP of international operations for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said. “With the addition of this property to our existing hotels, and additional properties due to open this year, we are delighted with our portfolio of hotels in Kenya.” 

Over the spring, Best Western announced that it would grow its African portfolio from one to 14 total properties by March 2017. The company already has hotels in Nairobi; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; and Lagos, Nigeria.