While lockdown forced many hotels to rethink their strategies, Premier Hotels & Resorts spent last year acquiring land in Umhlanga and constructing two new hotels.
The hotels are a 4-star Premier Hotel Umhlanga with 127 ocean-facing bedrooms with balcony access and a 3-star Premier Splendid Inn Umhlanga with 63 bedrooms, a 50-seater restaurant, and a conference centre.
“This marks another milestone as we expand and project the brand’s robust growth in the region, further showcasing the group’s strong commitment to South Africa,” says Samuel Nassimov, MD of Premier Hotels & Resorts. “Low occupancy rates generated its own set of challenges but we remain optimistic and relentless in finding efficiencies to maximise future opportunities.”
While an appetite for travel still exists, research indicates that the recovery process may take years still. It is estimated that while the average number of business trips per traveller was 6 to 8 per year in pre-Covid times, this number is forecasted to fall to 3 to 4 trips per annum until the year 2023.
“Our decision to invest in Umhlanga, even during this difficult time, is testament to the confidence we have in South Africa’s ability to recover economically,” says Nassimov. “The Umhlanga project will position the Premier Group as a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers as well as corporate, government, and international clientele – as we strive to secure a hotel presence in every major city.”
In addition to its new builds, Premier also acquired two properties in Sandton – Premier Hotel Quartermain and Premier Hotel Fallstaff – which they will renovate during the downturn of business travel. “We also made significant investments into renovations of two of our resort offerings as well, namely Premier Hotel Roodevalley and Premier Resort Cutty Sark to support the appetite for local travel,” says Nassimov.
The investment in Cutty Sark, a famous landmark resort in Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast helped to restore it to its former glory so it could reopen in time for the holiday season late last year. It encompassed a complete refurbishment of all 59 sea-facing rooms, adding a further 39 rooms and upgrading furnishings, decor, and equipment.
“South Africans are now eager to travel locally and explore, looking for ways to reconnect with family and friends in a safe environment,” shares Nassimov. “We are grateful to be welcoming new and returning guests to Premier’s 4 resort properties across the country, and we have taken every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff.”