6 March 2007
A US-German joint venture could see as many as eight new luxury hotels being built in South Africa over the next few years, with at least two expected to be up and running in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Business Day reports that Germany’s Arabella Hotel Holdings International and US-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have already identified sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
According to Arabella South Africa’s chief operating officer, Heinz Grub, they are also looking at Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Kimberley for future development. There is also the possibility of one hotel in Namibia.
This is the first time the two companies will work together in South Africa, following joint operations in Germany, Switzerland and the Balearic Islands, and they are in for the long term.
“This means the Sheraton Pretoria is now part of Arabella-Starwood’s portfolio and all future projects in SA and Namibia will form part of the joint venture,” Grub told Business Day.
According to the Starwood website, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts is the group’s largest and second-oldest brand.
Grub told Business Report that the venture would invest between R1-million and R2-million per room on average, while the opening of six hotels could create up to 12 000 new jobs in the country.
Arabella-Starwood is already active in South Africa, owning and operating the Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the Western Cape Hotel and Spa, a luxury resort hotel on the Arabella Golf Estate near Hermanus.
It also owns the Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estate in Stellenbosch and the Paulaner Brauhaus in the V&A Waterfront.
Grub also told Business Day that the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town would be upgraded to a Westin, considered one of Arabella-Starwood’s “super-luxury” hotel brands.
Being next to the convention centre, the hotels caters more for foreigners than for South Africans, and the group hopes the upgrade will attract the growing numbers of American business and leisure tourists.
Grub said the group had full confidence in the South African economy, and though crime was a challenge that needed to be addressed, they were forging ahead.
“Crime is still a bit of a stumbling block, but we try to put the issue of crime in perspective with other world cities such as New York,” he told Business Day.