Indian investor sets up Sh1.3b hotel in Westlands

Founder and Chairman of the Royal Orchid Hotels of India Chander Baljee (left) joins Parbat Pindoria in celebrating the grand opening of the Royal Orchid Azure in Westlands, Nairobi. The hotel was constructed by Mr Pindoria, through Canon Aluminium Fabricators. [PHOTO: BEVERLYNE MUSILI]

Nairobi; Kenya: The hospitality industry received a major boost following the opening of a Sh1.3 billion hotel in Westlands Nairobi, further cementing Kenya’s growing stature as a key investment destination. 

Hotel Royal Orchid Azure, Nairobi, which opened its doors last week is owned by Royal Orchid Hotel Ltd, the leading hospitality chain in India. This is Royal Orchid’s second hotel in Africa and adds to Royal Orchid Malaika Beach Resort in Mwanza, Tanzania, which opened in 2013.

The new hotel with 165 well-appointed spacious rooms, is part of the ongoing strategy to expand the Royal Orchid Hotels’ footprints beyond Indian sub-continent. Royal Orchid Hotels Founder and Chairman Chander Baljee said the group planned to invest Sh1.3 billion over the next three years, to strengthen its presence in East Africa.

“We are looking at opportunities to extend our brand to Uganda and Rwanda. We are also in the process of constructing a hotel in Dar es Salaam on a 30-acre land that we acquired a few years ago,” he said.

“Given Kenya’s status as a strong economic hub within East Africa region, and against the back drop of rising middle class, we have every confidence that Royal Hotel Azure, Nairobi will be a worthwhile adventure,” he said. Baljee noted that they are identifying strategic and high value markets that present unique outfit for their time-tested services and ambitious growth plans. “We are in consolidated mode and we are looking at expanding through the management contract route,” said Chander. He explained that  terror will not affect investing in East Africa since it is not a new thing to them. “Terrorism will not deter us and the way the Government is taking security measures seriously gives investors including us confidence that things will be fine,” said Chander.

Low supply

He observed that Royal Group of companies is taking advantage of the low supply of hotels in Westlands coupled with serenity environment far from the city, expatriate population and easy accessibility to invest there as well as promote business between Kenya and India. They have already employed 200 Kenyans who will also be trained on short-course hospitality skills.

The group’s entry into the Kenyan market follows the signing of a management contract with Canon Aluminium Fabricators, the property owner and developer. “With their vast experience in hospitality industry,we are sure that our hotel will benefit hugely in terms of revenue,” said Managing Director and Chairman of the Canon Aluminium Fabricators Parbat Laljee.

The newest investment joins other high ranking international brands setting shop in Nairobi such as Villa Rosa Kempinski, Sankara, and Nanchang Hotel - a four-star facility was opened August this year by Chinese investors in an attempt to capture the growing number of Sino expatriates, tourists and travellers.