Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott: Battle of the big boys

When it was announced that luxury hotel management firm JW Marriott would run a hotel in Westlands, there was palpable excitement, for a good reason. Hotels are among the most creatively designed structures owing to the architectural masterpieces. The Nairobi skyline is almost unimaginable without the towering structure of the Hilton Hotel nestling next to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Similarly, the real estate and construction sector has for a long time been defined by new hotel developments. Top hotels are after all usually prime real estate. And side by side with the boom in real estate, hotels have been outdoing themselves with global brands setting up base in Nairobi.

Kempinski, with its Villa Rosa Kempinski property, was the latest buzz around town, and it is now set to be joined by several more top brands, shortly after another behemoth, Radisson Blu, opened its properyty in Upper Hill. The Villa Rosa Kempinski made waves with its design and marketing.

According to the 2016 hospitality outlook report released recently by the Price Waterhouse Coopers, at least 16 hotels are expected to make an entry into the Kenyan market over the next five years. Some have already begun their operation in the past one year in places like Westlands and Upperhill. Here are a few.

Four Points by Sheraton 

The hotel prides itself in being visible in almost all the major cities in the world. It is owned by Airmarc LTD, although its operation is under a franchise arrangement.

The hotel, which is set to open its doors in 2017, is part of the Starwood’s Hotels and Resorts, which manages various brands in the world such as St Regis, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection and the W Hotels with the entire chain being estimated to run nearly 9,500 hotel rooms in 13 countries.

A closer observation of the other developments it has opened in Africa, the hotel franchise offers a grandeur landscape of vibrant greens and colorful wildflowers meets the African sky with an exceptional Experience.

In East Africa, Four Points, which shares some management links and ownership with Sheraton Hotel, is in Uganda and Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa. It is among the top world brands that PWCs report pointed out to have expressed interest to set base in Kenya.

Sheraton is a brand owned by Marriott International and classified as premium hotel, and with plans for JW Marriott (another Marriott brand classified as classic luxury) in Westlands it is going to be a tight ship.


The Hilton Garden Inn is owned by a global hotel chain, the Hilton Worldwide. It is currently under construction and will most likely open doors next year.

A closer look at the hotel under construction reveals a proudly displayed set piece of a modern hotel just a few kilometres from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

It is estimated that the JKIA hotel will cost Sh2.3 billion. According to the management, the 175 rooms will target travellers keen on avoiding the Nairobi traffic while on their maiden stay in Kenya’s capital city, with a promise to offering lower rates that will give their competitors in Nairobi a run for their money.

“The structure of the building will be completed in December but the hotel will be opened in March next year,” said businessman Noorali Manji, the Hilton Garden Inn developer late last year.

Just last month, Hilton Worldwide announced plans to set up it third facility in Nairobi at what is going to be Nairobi’s tallest building in Upper Hill. That news generated interest from around the world.

The Hilton Garden Inn hotels have more than 625 hotels spread around the globe with the Kenyan brand adding up to its growing number.

Radisson Blu

The exquisite hotel is by itself a master piece in the hospitality industry owing to its structure and design.

The four-storey hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Nairobi’s fastest growing Upper Hill area.

The Sh7 billion hotel has 271 rooms that offer a mix of a western taste and the Spanish aura with the suites featuring a clear view of the Nairobi city skyline.

A member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, this is one of the biggest additions of the year.

Best Western

The 70-year-old world hotel chain has properties in more than 100 countries. In Nairobi, where it made entry over two years ago, it is located in Hurlingham, a 20-minute drive from Nairobi’s CBD.

The exterior design of the hotel is intricately conjured with bold accentuated walls, spaciously modelled with large and unique rooms that can further accommodate vintage artwork and modern-day amenities.

The spacious rooms offer an air of sophistication that includes a window seating area and custom made furniture.

Movenpick Hotel

The 15-storey hotel, which was set for opening mid this year, is located adjacent to Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands and features a revolving tower with a panoramic downtown views.

It is owned by Golf Course Hotel Kenya Ltd and offers a Swiss hospitality taste owing to its Swiss connection with its headquarters based in central Switzerland.

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts have 23 hotels, resorts and cruise ships in Africa in five countries: Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and Tunisia.