Top Cape hotel beats schedule

Posted On Thursday, 06 November 2008 02:00 Published by
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Hotel resort and casino magnate Sol Kerzner's R1bn super luxury One&Only development on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is set to be completed four months ahead of schedule.

Chris van Gass

Cape Correspondent

HOTEL resort and casino magnate Sol Kerzner’s R1bn super luxury One&Only development on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is set to be completed four months ahead of schedule with the opening planned for May next year, Kerzner said yesterday.

The 131-key resort, which will provide accommodation “at a premium” to what Cape Town’s most expensive hotels charge, is rapidly nearing completion and Kerzner hopes it would reflect the same success his $1,5bn Atlantis in Dubai has shown since opening on September 24 after it turned in “ahead of expectations”.

Atlantis, the largest water- theme attraction in the Middle East, has since last month recorded occupancy levels of more than 90% and shown phenomenal success, according to Kerzner, in spite of the worldwide financial meltdown.

Kerzner said his group, which basically had two markets, one in America and another in the Indian Ocean and Middle East, had been hit by the world downturn with occupancy rates in the US down “considerably”.

While he was “not very pleased” with it and occupancy levels in the US market were down 10%, the hotels in the Indian Ocean and Dubai were not affected by the financial crisis. He said the Kerzner group was “fortunate” in that it had a good balance in its portfolio and the effects of the downturn would be less severe for it.

The recent drop in the rand against the dollar had not affected the costs of the Cape Town One&Only as “95%” of what was procured overseas in the construction of the resort was purchased at a “firm” level of between R7,70 and R8 to the dollar, he said.

He also said the contractors had agreed to the advanced opening date and it was the first time in the 40 years that he has been building hotels that the completion date of a project had been brought forward “by months” and he heaped praise on contractors WBHO, which he said were “world class”.

He said while the deadline for completion would present a challenge for WBHO, which is also involved in the construction of the Green Point stadium for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, it would be an even bigger challenge for the operations team of One&Only headed by Gérard Sintès. Kerzner announced the appointment of Sintès, a long-time associate who run his first ultra luxury One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius, and “has been waiting for the opportunity to make the One&Only one of the world’s great hotels”.

One of three penthouses which form part of the One&Only, has already been sold for more than R100m. Kerzner said he hoped the other two, which also have views of Table Mountain and Robben Island on “one of the best sites Cape Town has to offer”, would also be sold soon.

He said a few remaining construction projects, including a hotel casino project near Casablanca were nearing completion. He also said he was “very bullish” about SA providing the venues for one of the best soccer World Cup tournaments yet seen.

Source: Business Day

Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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