Harare,(New Ziana) – Cresta Hotels said on Thursday it has invested US$2.5 million in the on-going upgrade of the iconic Cresta Jameson (Jameson) hotel in central Harare.
In addition to improving the hotel’s appeal to visitors by matching international standards, the move is also expected to boost occupancy, which will up its contribution to the group’s financial performance.
A tour of the 123-roomed Jameson, which was built in 1958 and was the first hotel in the country to achieve four star status, showed that major works were halfway complete with conference rooms and about 50 percent of the residence rooms already face lifted.
To ensure the improvements were to international standards, the group has also installed new and smart technologies in some of the executive rooms, video conferencing facilities, digital do not disturb signs and telephone directories.
Cresta Hotels country director, Chipo Mandela said the Jameson hotel refurbishment initiative was part of the group’s overall re-investment drive which cost over US$12 million in the past seven years.
“Our decision to undertake a US$2.5 million refurbishment programme was made in order to bring about a restoration of everything that is best about this hotel,” she said.
“The final product will be attractive, modern, pleasant, efficient and welcoming.”
Jameson was one of the go-to hotels in Zimbabwe’s early years and management take pride in that it hosted late reggae music icon, Bob Marley when he visited the country for a special independence performance in 1980.
But since then, there had been market murmurs that standards had gone down, eventually leading to a three-star downgrade, a situation that management is striving to reverse with the current facelift.
“Cresta Jameson is a jewel in our crown and we are polishing that jewel right now so that it shines brightly now and in coming weeks, months and years,” Mandela said.
Jameson is part of the regional hospitality group, Cresta Hotels, which owns five hotels in Zimbabwe, 11 in Botswana and one in Zambia.
Cresta Lodge and Cresta Oasis which are both in Harare, Cresta Churchill in Bulawayo and Cresta Sprayview in Victoria Falls make up the group’s operations in Zimbabwe.
Mandela said the investment showed the group’s confidence in prospects for Zimbabwe’s tourism industry.
“We in Cresta are excited by the prospects for growth and development in travel and tourism and we are more than ready and able to play our part in supporting the national drive to make travel and tourism one of the leading economic powerhouses of the country,” she said.
Officials from the public and private tourism sector bodies, including Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Munesu Munodawafa were also part of the tour to witness the facelift.