‘Acacia’ is the name which the owners of the Simba Corporation in Nairobi have chosen as their brand under which the company will over the space of the next two years build and open at least three mid-priced hotels in Nairobi, Naivasha and Kisumu. The group, presently best known for its ownership of Simba Colt Motors, one of Kenya’s leading automotive companies, has in recent years already ventured into the hospitality business and owns the Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi and the Olare Mara Kempinski in the Masai Mara.
The three new hotels will however be managed directly by Simba Hospitality, the group’s hospitality arm, opting for direct control rather than bringing another hotel management company on board. It has been established that the Acacia brand will offer initially Acacia Premier and Acacia Express properties, the former ranging in the three and four star segment while the latter is due to cover the two to three star market.
Most advanced of the projects appears to be the Acacia Premier Kisumu, which according to reports is due to open late this year with between 90 and 100 rooms, and is a conversion of an existing building into a modern hotel with a range of facilities including conference rooms. Located near the Central Bank of Kenya Kisumu Branch and the Westend Mall, the hotel offers views of Lake Victoria.
The Acacia Express Naivasha project is yet to start, though the company has said that designs and permits are in place and constructions would begin soon.
Construction of the proposed Nairobi property is likely to start only some time later next year. When complete, the hotel will offer between 150 and 180 rooms according to the information received on the sidelines of the just ended Magical Kenya Travel Expo. There have been suggestions that the company is eyeing a second Acacia Express Hotel in Nairobi but no specific details on location and size were available at the time of uploading.
There is broad consensus in Kenya now that well appointed two and three star hotels located in key locations across the country will attract the local business community, a concept already rolling out through the Boma Inn brand while there is equal consensus that the air on top, in the five star luxury market segment, is beginning to get thinner as a result of the arrival of new players such as Dusit K2 which is in the soft opening phase and the Radisson Blu which is due to open in Q2 of 2015.
There is no doubt that the arrival of a new player in the hospitality industry will shuffle the deck in the market, especially as the new group will be backed by a successful family business which has grown over the past decades and become a market leader in all their activities.