Addis Ababa is to get another world class hospitality image before the end of the year when the AU Grand Hotel managed by Westin Hotels and Resorts inaugurates its seven star hotel in the African Union (AU) compound.
The multibillion birr investment owned by the billionaire Sheik Mohamed Hussein al Amoudi will be inaugurated before the coming European Christmas, according to an insider source.
MIDROC Ethiopia Project Office Contracting and Management Services Plc. (MEPO), which is a collaborative partner of the MIDROC Group that develops, constructs and manages property, undertakes the construction of the hotel which is in its final stages. A two year prior cost estimation of the seven star hotel was USD 350 million. “The project cost can jump by more than 20 percent by completion of the work than the previous estimate,” the source added.
The hotel that will be the fourth international brand on the country after Hilton, Sheraton and Radisson Blu will also have several extraordinary facilities that shall serve heads of states and top officials.
“The project will be one of the top investments for the billionaire in Ethiopia,” sources at MIDROC told Capital.
On his initial investment in Ethiopia, Sheik Mohamed had established the five star luxury collection hotel Sheraton Addis at a cost of over USD 200 million. It is now approaching a two decades service mark. Until now, no other similar facility is erected in the capital or elsewhere in the country.
MIDROC has been negotiating with one of the prominent hotel chains owner in the world, Westin Hotels and Resorts, to lease out the management of the new hotel. Westin is part of the Starwood’s Hotels and Resorts chain. It was acquired by Starwood in 1994.
Especially in the last decade, Westin has focused on expanding globally and since 2005 its number of hotels has grown from 120 in 24 countries to over 192 in 37 countries by 2013.
Sources told Capital that Sheik Mohamed had got the contractor replace the cladding recently to stay in tip-top shape with the Westin brand. Installation of the polarized glass has also commenced.
Sources also said that the billionaire has ordered MEPO, which congregates professionals from different countries, to finalize the project before the end of 2015.
For the interior work, the contractor has ordered several European companies including from Spain and Italy to supply superior quality equipments. “The improvements made on the design and replacing the cladding has forced the contractor for more work,” the source said.
“Despite the adjustment that needs to be embodied, the project will be accomplished in the original timeframe,” sources at MEPO told Capital.
When it opens, the hotel will be the first seven star luxury facility in the country.
The African Union Grand Hotel (AUGH) is a complex, multipurpose hotel that is designed to cater presidents, diplomats and business travelers. It has suites, standard rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants and bars, swimming pool and spa, grand club, a multipurpose ballroom, business center and parking lot.
The hotel has 610 rooms including 27 presidential and 31 ministerial suites. AUGH will also have 3,500 seating capacity conference hall, which will be the biggest conference facility under a hotel business, and another one with a capacity of 2,200 seats for banquets. The hotel will also have eight medium-sized meeting rooms.
The hotel is mainly intended to accommodate high government officials who come to the capital city for meeting as well as various other reasons.
Initially, the Addis Ababa City Administration had allocated 90,000 square meters of land to MIDROC, but based on the company’s request an additional 12,000 square meter was given by the city administration for a security area and parking lots.
Sheraton Addis, the other luxury hotel owned by Sheik Mohamed, is also managed by Sheraton Hotel and Resort, which was formed in 1937 and is one of the luxury brands under Starwood.
Sheraton Addis has 294 rooms and 33 suites. This hotel has 11 conference rooms, and the biggest Lalibela Hall can accommodate 1,500 people at once.
Sheraton Addis shared the business with Hilton hosting major events and it became a preferred retreat for top government officials who visit the country.
MEPO has six ongoing projects including AUGH. MEPO will soon start 11 new projects which also includes an expansion project of Sheraton Addis.
Sheik Mohamed has over 70 companies in Ethiopia in different sectors.
Currently, interest of international hotel brands who aspire to join the hospitality industry is increasing.