Protea investing in Umhlanga beach tourism

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Tens of millions of rands are being invested in the seaside town of Umhlanga in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, with a new tower development at Protea Hotel Umhlanga, which will double the hotel’s capacity from 120 to 240 rooms.

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 markets.

“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 a restaurant and conference facilities it is certainly the size of an entirely new hotel,” he said.

“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% 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,” said Bryer.

The new Protea Hotel Umhlanga tower will contain 120 rooms that are suited to corporate travellers and families. Most rooms will come standard with two queen-size beds and the bathrooms will feature separate baths and showers. The tower will also feature a new restaurant offering, reception and foyer.

The conference venue at the very top of the building will accommodate 120 delegates, but will be able to divide into two smaller rooms. There will also be an executive boardroom ideal for board meetings and strategy sessions.

Bryer says once the new tower is complete, plans are to gut and modernise the existing 120 hotel rooms, which will remain semi self-catering.