Lonrho is back in the luxury hotel business
Our man in Gaborone, Andrew Maramwidze surveys the scene in the latest luxury hotel in the Botswana capital
Six months after Lonrho Hotels’ opened – Lansmore Masa Square Hotel in Botswana’s capital Gaborone, an addition to the group’s chain of hotels across the globe, the hotel is glowing and winning a sizeable stake in the market.
As aspirants of redefining the hospitality experience in the landlocked diamond rich Sub -Saharan nation, Lansmore Masa Square Hotel remains optimistic its endevours are on track and hitting financial targets.
Located in the heart of Gaborone’s new central business district (CBD), the business and leisure hospitality outfit has guaranteed to deliver better service in a nation whose international service delivery rankings has been plunging.
“Our objective is to try and build up this industry to attract more people and travelling businessman, better the rest of the industry and reflect well on the international market,” said Rupert Elliott, General Manager at Lansmore Masa Square.
Contrary to the views of certain analysts who have attributed slopping service delivery in the country to skills gap, Elliott said an attitude gap exists in the market.
He said the hotel has employed people with ‘desire to work and be part of something’ to bridge the attitude gap and bring out the excellence that Botswana can offer.
According to Elliot the decision resonates with the hotel’s dedication to better the community, in which it resides, investing in the growth and development and future of the nation.
The hotel is training people with ‘charm and sparkle’ to do the job right and has a staff compliment of 160 locals making the hotel a success story.
“We are attracting significant customers with higher expectations,” said Rupert Elliott, adding that the hotel welcomes all and sundry.
“We do not alienate anyone. We do things well and our variety pricing styles of food cater for a lot of people. We are not elitist, we welcome all,” said Elliot.
With a 15-year lease, as anchor tenant in what is currently the tallest building in a CBD that continues to be developed, Lonrho Hotels has splashed over five million pula, as the initial capital injection into the project.
Though still under close watch of Botswana Tourism Board (BTD), as a one of the new entrants into the market aspiring to be a five-star, Lansmore Masa Square Hotel’s glossy brand occupies one of the two iconic Masa Square towers, cascading into the piazza of Masa Centre.
“We are still being graded to earn our five-star status,” said Elliott citing that the Board can take up to twelve months before making a decision.
The hotel is uniquely positioned, both literally and figuratively, to raise the bar of the service, cuisine and sense of luxury and convenience.
Elliot said apart from its outstanding features its operations are in cohesion with other tenants at Masa Square to ensure guests become fully connected in Gaborone, whilst being able to enjoy a little indulgence during their stay in Gaborone.
“We try to improve everyone’s business as much as they try to improve our business.”
“The square is going to be a huge success story,” he added.
The hotel has 153 luxury rooms spread over seven floors, the gourmet La Touche de Provence restaurant, Espretto Coffee Shop, rooftop infinity swimming pool and events space, fully equipped gym, seven flexibly designed meeting rooms with multimedia equipment, and conference facilities accommodating up to 200 people.
Lansmore Masa Square Hotel joins Lonhro’s luxury hotel which include Metropole and Princess Brands, iconic luxury hotels within Africa such as the Norfolk and Nairobi Safari Club in Kenya and Labadi Beach in Ghana.
For some time, the Hotel Cardoso was the only remaining Lonrho Hotel before acquisition of Leopard Rock Hotel & Championship Golf Course in Zimbabwe and the opening of Grand Karavia reignited Lonrho Hotel’s appetite for growth.
Andrew Maramwidze 2013