Senior Business Reporter
Meikles Hotel says it will undergo a three-phased major rehabilitation exercise to maintain its dominance on Zimbabwe's hospitality landscape, but only after getting approvals from the City of Harare.
The multi-million-dollar refurbishment of Harare's five-star hotel is expected to take two years, divided into three phases, general manager Mr Tinashe Munjoma told The Herald Finance & Business in an interview.
He said the hotel was looking to improve its accessibility and visibility with easy access to consumers.
The renovations were expected to begin next month subject to approvals by the Harare municipality.
Mr Munjoma said the renovation programme would involve carrying out a major redevelopment of selected key areas.
The renovations will see the construction of a suspended pool on the mezzanine floor adjacent to the La Fontaine and the phase is likely to take up to nine months.
Phase 2, which will take about five months, will see the renovation of the lobby and be transformed into a 24-hour restaurant.
"This will definitely boost the revenues of the hotel and will increase its visibility and accessibility," said Mr Munjoma.
Phase 3 will see the rooms in the south wing being revamped.
"The renovations will be done separately because we cannot close the hotel completely, so this is a two-year phased renovation programme," added Mr Munjoma.
Meikles was bought by Dubai-based ASB Hospitality two years ago.
The hotel was previously part of the hospitality operation of Meikles Limited, but its sale to the new Dubai-based owners in 2020 heralded a major improvement programme expected to enhance existing food and beverages offerings, as well as the ageing physical and service operations of the hotel.
"The refurbishment will be one of the boldest exercises undertaken in Zimbabwean travel and tourism in the past 25 years and will transform Meikles into one of the most modern and appealing hospitality venues in Africa," Mr Munjoma said.
"We are working with the City of Harare to expedite approvals as soon as possible so that the project can go ahead, preparing the way for a Meikles Hotel that will be among the continent's finest hospitality establishments."
Meikles Hotel first opened in 1915 as a double-storey complex along Sam Nujoma Street and Jason Moyo Avenue, with the creation of a tower block in 1958 followed by a second tower block in 1976.
Major programmes of modernisation, expansion and refurbishment took place in 1993 and 2013, helping the hotel keep abreast of international travelling standards and styles.
"As Zimbabwe's premier hotel it is important to ensure the highest possible standards of physical infrastructure and services. The planned project will facilitate this and will make ready the hotel for what is hoped will be a renewed period of travel and tourism growth in the post-Covid-19 era," continued Mr Munjoma.