Tens of millions of rands are being invested in Umhlanga below the ridge with a new tower development at Protea Hotel Umhlanga that will see the hotel double its capacity from 120 rooms to 240.
Construction crews have already broken ground on the new 15-storey tower that should welcome its first guests in the first quarter of 2016.
According to Danny Bryer, director of sales, marketing and revenue for Protea Hotels, this is only the second major build in South Africa under the Protea Hotels banner post-2010 and represents a large vote of confidence in the KwaZulu-Natal and Umhlanga business and leisure tourism market.
“This build is an extension to Protea Hotel Umhlanga rather than a stand-alone hotel like Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Menlyn, but at 120 rooms with restaurant and conference facilities, it is certainly the size of an entirely new hotel.
“There is only one reason for capital investment of this magnitude and it’s because Umhlanga is a substantial growth node tourism-wise. The Average Daily Rate in Umhlanga has grown 7,3 per cent year-on-year for the first six months of 2014. Revenue is growing because there is more development in the area and in the past three to four years particularly, we’re seeing much more commercial investment moving back below the ridge,” Mr Bryer said.
“This is good news for Umhlanga as a whole, which is a vibrant micro-economy and, on the face of it, one of the province’s strongest growth nodes.”
The new Protea Hotel Umhlanga tower will contain 120 rooms that are particularly suited to corporate travellers and families. Most rooms will come standard with two queen-size beds and the bathrooms will feature baths and roomy showers.
The tower will also feature a new restaurant offering, reception and foyer, with a conference centre at the very top of the building that will boast some of the best coastal views money can buy.
The versatile conference venue will accommodate 120 delegates, but can be divided into two smaller rooms. There will also be an executive boardroom ideal for board meetings and strategy sessions.
Mr Bryer said once the new tower is complete, plans are to gut and modernise the existing 120 hotel rooms, which will remain semi self-catering.
“Semi self-catering is a room style that suits both executive travellers and families, and the aim with the two different hotel sections and room styles is ultimately to cater to all tastes; those travellers wanting the option of being able to do a little of their own cooking, and those who want less fuss with just the sheer luxury of a hotel room.”