The Rosebank Hotel is set to regain former grandeur

Posted On Tuesday, 19 September 2006 02:00 Published by
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TWO Gauteng landmarks, the Rosebank Hotel in Joburg, and the Mount Grace Country House and Spa, in Magaliesberg, have been snapped up in a R1-billion buying spree by a listed property fund.

The hotels are among 16 establishments bought by the Hospitality Property Fund (HPF) early this year. In total, eight Gauteng hotels were bought by the group, which listed on the Joburg Securities Exchange in February.

HPF paid a “reasonable” R70-million for the Rosebank Hotel alone in a buying spree that saw it dish out about R972-million for a total of 2107 rooms.

The Rosebank Hotel is set to regain some of its former grandeur as the company plans to refurbish rooms and public spaces.

Ridwaan Asmal, the group’s chief financial officer, said plans were underway to give the landmark Rosebank Hotel, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in September next year, a major face-lift.

“We have already improved our sales and marketing drive. We plan on improving our rooms, foyer and restaurants. We want to establish it as one of the best four- star hotels in the Joburg area.”

He said guests had responded positively to the improvements that had been made since the new owners took over.

Other hotels bought by the group include the Birchwood
Executive Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg for R219.5-
million, the stately Mount Grace Country House and Spa in
Magaliesberg for R122.5-million, as well as shares in the Courtyard hotels in both Sandton and Rosebank.

Asmal said the company had also paid R130-million for the Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, a R96-

million stake in The Radison Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town, and R71.5-million for the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre in East London.

He described HPF as “South Africa’s first specialist listed property fund invested exclusively in hotels and resorts”.

And, he said, the company was keen on increasing its impressive portfolio by snapping up more three, four and five-star establishments.

Built in 1932, the Rosebank Hotel underwent its first major expansion in the ’80s with the addition
of 210 new rooms. In 1993 a further 106 rooms in the north tower
were added.

The fund’s chief executive officer, Bruce Hutchison, has spent the past 38 years working in hotels around the globe, including Hilton hotels in Berlin, Chicago and London. He also worked with hotel and casino magnate Sol Kerzner.

The Mount Grace won an award this week for its spa and has long been favoured as a weekend retreat for the more affluent residents of Gauteng. It counts among its past guests President Thabo Mbeki.

Publisher: Sunday Times
Source: Thabo Mkhize

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