- The US hotel giant Marriott, which owns Protea Hotels, will stop operating three of the most iconic hotels in South Africa amid fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.
- The hotels include the Edward Hotel in Durban, which is more than a century old, and the Mount Grace in the Magaliesburg.
- But Tsogo Sun Hotels, which owns the properties, plans to reopen the hotels within 18 months.
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After the US hotel giant Marriott announced that it will stop operating three hotels - the Mount Grace in Magaliesburg, the Edward in Durban and the Protea Hotel Hazyview in Mpumalanga - Tsogo Sun said it will take over the hotels. It expects to reopen the hotels within 18 months.
Marriott has been operating the hotels on contract, but Tsogo owns the properties via its subsidiary Hospitality Property Fund.
“These are three great hotels,” says Tsogo Sun Hotels CEO Marcel Von Aulock.
Of the Mount Grace, Von Aulock says Magaliesburg has great tourism potential, as well as strong demand for conferencing, weddings and shorter family getaways with its close proximity to Johannesburg. The Edward has a 111-year history and beautiful facilities, he added.
“Lastly Hazyview is on the key tourist route through Mpumalanga on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park. We have the Sabi River Sun right up the road and are currently redoing the chalets and the golf course at that property. The addition of this hotel in the area will allow us to broaden the offering we have for the local and foreign markets which will return to Kruger when things normalise.”
He said Tsogo Sun is working with Marriott to ensure the hotels are secured and maintained while they remain closed.
Tsogo, which owns more than 100 hotels in Africa including Montecasino in Johannesburg, says it is currently opening hotels taking a “phased” approach as lockdown restrictions are lifted. It expects all of its hotels – now including the Mount Grace, the Edward hotel in Durban and the Hazyview hotel - to be open within the next 12 to 18 months.
Marriott blamed the impact of Covid-19 for its decision to stop operating the three hotels.
Marriott bought Protea Hotels in 2014 and owns dozens of some of the biggest hotels in South Africa, including Crystal Towers and Breakwater Lodge in Cape Town as well as the Parktonian, Balalaika and African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel in Johannesburg.
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