The project is scheduled for completion in May 2017.
Midway through phase two, global professional services consultants Turner & Townsend were appointed as project managers for the entire refurbishment programme. With extensive global experience in the hospitality industry, Turner & Townsend has managed previous projects for the Hilton Hotel group in Abu Dhabi, Europe and America.
Well positioned adjacent to the Durban International Convention Centre (DICC), the Hilton Hotel attracts international travellers and delegates attending events at the DICC, with a strong national business following during the week and mainly leisure market on weekends.
First opened in 1997, since then the hotel has hosted numerous national and international corporate executives, heads of state and celebrities, scooping a number of prestigious awards including South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel for four consecutive years (2013-2016) at the World Travel Awards. In 2015 Luxury Travel Guide Awards declared Durban’s Hilton Hotel Luxury Contemporary Hotel of the Year as well as the Provincial Winner for Five-star Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events at the Lilizela Toursim Awards 2016.
Says Markus Fritz, general manager for the Hilton Durban: “The Durban Hilton Hotel refurbishment was initiated in order to align it with the Hilton brand values and architecture, which have changed over the years.”
In turn, in managing the project, Turner & Townsend introduced a benchmarking schedule and policy to align the contractor with the client and quality expectations and standards.
This includes a rigorous snagging and de-snagging programme and policy to alleviate delays of phased room handovers to the Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) team to meet the hotel’s deadlines, occupancy requirements and stringent quality standards.
Marc Binns, project manager for Turner & Townsend says the Durban Hilton Hotel project is not without its challenges. “Firstly, this is a working hotel with a high occupancy, which means that noise levels must be controlled and limited to certain hours, while contractors can only be on site from Mondays to Saturdays.
The refurbishment project has already included the lobby and Big Easy Restaurant in phase one, conversion of what was formerly a hotel bar to a business lounge, ripping out fixtures and fittings and restyling suites – including the Presidential Suite - with a fresh, new aesthetic feel, and refurbishment of the executive lounge. Still to be completed are floors one to three which includes refurbishment of the ballroom and meeting and business room levels in 2018.