At the junction of Argwings Kodhek Road and Rose Avenue, workers are busy removing the scaffolding around the building and putting final touches inside one of the newest hotels in Nairobi.
Best Western Premier is expected to open its doors to the public this month.
The internationally-branded hotel is the latest to join a number of hotels that aim to cash in on the growing demand for quality beds in Nairobi driven mainly by local corporates and business travellers.
â€œThere is an ever increasing demand for rooms with a huge gap for middle end hotels. This one is for business travellers and we are offering affordable, international standards,â€ said one of the directors, Karim Premji.
Best Western is an American-based hospitality group and will manage the 96-roomed property on behalf of Kamcan Properties Limited, a Kenyan company, that bought the land and put up the hotel.
Kamcan is a Kenyan company owned by two families. They bought the one acre of land on which the new hotel stands about two years ago and knocked down the previous 13-roomed Kwality Hotel, which had become run down over the years due to neglect.
The shareholders put in their own savings and sought financing from their bankers to put up the hotel that has cost approximately Sh870 million ($100 million), according to Premji.
Best Western is setting itself as an ideal home for business travellers, small corporate meetings and an entertainment place for the local market.
Premji is positive that the location of the property as well as the demand for decent beds and meeting rooms in the area, and Nairobi in general, will keep it busy.
Guests should, however, not expect a magical view of the city from their hotel rooms as most of the rooms look into the neighbouring flats and an undeveloped piece of land that sits on the right of the hotel.
The hotel sits on half an acre with the rest of the land being reserved for the 100-car park, garden and drive way. There is also basement parking for 17 vehicles.
To add beauty to the concrete jungle, the front area has palm trees brought in all the way from Malindi to blend in with the little greenery in this corner of Kilimani.
When you enter the hotel lobby, there is a lovely mosaic made from marble. The spaces here flow into each other from the front desk to the small business centre. The main dining area and bar are also on this floor and look into an open kitchen. There is a coffee deck overlooking the front of the hotel.
The hotel is counting on these restaurants as well as the roof top bar and lounge, which is expected to be branded by a leading premium spirits brand, to attract the local crowd – be it for business or entertainment.
The swimming pool is also on the roof from where one gets a spectacular view of the city where on a clear day one can see the Ngong Hills, the city sky-scrappers and as far away as Kilimambogo Hills in Thika.
The larger Kilimani area has become a major business area with more commercial buildings coming up and attracting companies â€“ both local and international. The hotel also brings in a blend of different solutions for people looking for entertainment not too far away from home.
Kilimani is already home to some popular restaurants and pubs, which Best Westernâ€™s food and beverage department will have to compete with. When it comes to quality beds, the hotel will mainly compete with the nearby serviced apartments, guest houses, Silver Springs Hotel and the recently opened Eastend Hotel, which is owned by a Chinese group.
The hotel has three meeting rooms that can accommodate between 20 and 60 people in one sitting and boasts of standard rooms and suites. It has unveiled an introductory price of $150 (Sh13,050) per night that includes breakfast and taxes.
The architecture was by Kenyan-based E.D.G &Atelier and Dubai-based Archcop while the interiors was done by Spiegel Interiors of Nairobi. The hotelâ€™s interiors are a mix of western and African-inspired styles with earth tones especially around the wide corridors.
The rooms mix the dark tones with a dash of colour here and there as well as African-inspired paintings and sculptures in each room.
Though Premji was at hand to take us round and show us every corner of the hotel, itâ€™s his son Adeeb Premji who has nursed the project the past two years including bringing Best Western Premier on board.
This is its 11th property in the region to be managed by the brand with properties in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
As the final touches are put together for the big launch on March 21, Kempinski Rosa in Nairobi is also looking to open this half of the year.
The scaffolding is already out, and most of the interior complete and waiting for the furniture to come in.
International hotel groups are currently working at increasing their footprint in Africa, with Nairobi attracting a good number as it has grown to be a major regional hub attracting major businesses and tourists. Also set to open this year is Hemingways in Karen, and DusitD2 Nairobi.-Business Daily