Hilton focuses on Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya for African development

The Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill is due to open in 2020, and will be Africa's tallest hotel. (Hilton Nairobi)

Hilton Worldwide is focusing on three countries as it seeks to double its footprint in Africa from its existing 39 hotels to more than 80 hotels in the next three to five years. 

Among the new hotels agreed is Africa’s first modular-build hotel, the 280-guestroom Hilton Garden Inn in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, a concept that Hilton first premiered in 2014 through a partnership with CIMC Modular Building Systems. Other deals include the development of Africa’s tallest hotel in Nairobi and an extension to the recently signed Legend Curio at Lagos Airport. Hilton will manage all three properties as it continues to expand its managed hotel portfolio. 

“We’re breaking new ground in the region with the announcement of our first modular build hotel, a fast-paced construction solution that we feel has huge potential in Africa, with quicker returns for investors and a world-class hospitality experience for guests,” Patrick Fitzgibbon, SVP of development for the EMEA region at Hilton Worldwide said in a statement.

Fitzgibbon explained that modular construction can be used to drive hotel development, offering "numerous benefits" for hoteliers including faster development, streamlined design and cost efficiencies. The process involves assembling portions of the hotel—including guestrooms and hallways—in China, before transporting them to the final site for completion, thereby significantly reducing the time taken for construction. The model, according to Hilton, helps ensure consistent quality and accelerates the build schedule on site, a particular benefit for developers and investors in emerging markets.

Hilton Garden Inn Accra Liberation Road is being developed under a management agreement with Independence Properties, whose majority shareholder is Trasacco Estates Development Company. With a planned opening in 2018, this will be the first Hilton Garden Inn in Ghana.

In a statement, Ian Morris, director of Independence Properties, and CEO Trasacco Estates Development Company said that after building a number of three-star-plus properties in West Africa, the option to go modular and improve on room quality and project delivery while minimizing construction risk was "warmly embraced" by the company's development, design and construction teams. "We feel is the future of the industry." 

“Africa is a key strategic focus for CIMC, where our solutions can minimize risk on-site while protecting and improving owner returns,” Paul Blackmore, managing director for CIMC MBS, said.

Beyond Accra

A management agreement with Jabavu Village and White Lotus Projects will help Hilton expand on its existing presence in Kenya to create Africa’s tallest building. The $110-million Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill is due to open in 2020 as a 255-guestroom hotel in Kenya’s capital, and will be Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ 50th property in Africa. The hotel joins one other Hilton Worldwide hotel under development in Kenya. The Hilton Garden Inn Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, announced last year, will be just over a mile from the capital’s airport and is set to open in 2017.

Finally, having previously announced the signing of Curio, The Legend, Lagos Airport in Nigeria (pictured above), Hilton has also confirmed that an additional 76 guestrooms will be added to the hotel, bringing the room count up to 130. The hotel, due to open next year, will be the first within the airport environment.

Want the inside scoop on how Africa's hotel industry is growing? The Africa Hotel Investment Forum runs from October 4-6 at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda. Click here for more information.