Durban property mogul gets The Royal Hotel for R78m

Posted On Thursday, 05 March 2015 15:43 Published by
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Durban property mogul Saantha Naidu will add another hotel to his portfolio after he bid R78m for Durban’s grand old dame, The Royal Hotel, at an auction.



The hotel, which first opened its doors in 1845, went under the hammer after its owner, Swazi businessman Moses Motsa, decided to get out of the hotel business. The auction, conducted by Reliance, set the starting bid for the Royal Hotel at R120-million. But when there were no takers for that amount, Naidu’s offer was accepted as the winning bid. Motsa, who bought the hotel for an undisclosed amount in 2012, said he had decided to sell because he had a vast property portfolio and was not a hotelier.

Naidu, an ANC funder who has close ties with President Jacob Zuma, is the head of the Saantha Naidu Group that owns the Coastlands group of hotels in Durban. Naidu’s son, Rushen, said: “Once the deal is successful we shall take the necessary steps to take it back to how it was.” The former five-star establishment, which turns 170 this year, has boasted many rich and famous guests over the years.

Among them are the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Alfred, Nelson Mandela, Mark Twain, Cecil Rhodes, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Marlene Dietrich, Margaret Thatcher, Phil Collins and Stevie Wonder. After a three-night stay at the hotel, Rhodes wrote to his mother: “I stayed at the Royal Hotel in Durban and was as comfortable as if I had been at one of the best hotels in England, everything being done in fine style.”

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