News Release 2011 refashioning Meikles Hotel
The long-planned $6 million refurbishment of Harare’s five-star Meikles Hotel will start in January, when the hotel’s north wing will be closed for a period of about
nine months to allow a complete overhaul and refashioning all the suites, bedroom and public areas.
Karl Snater, managing director of the hotel, said this was the biggest upgrading programme in the hotel in almost 20 years and would see the north wing transformed into one of the most modern and artistically designed hospitality venues in Africa.
“The project is not simply an upgrade of facilities and amenities, but is rather a refashioning of the hotel in a way not seen before in Harare,” he said.
During the past year the hotel has undertaken a number of upgrades and improvements, including installation of flat-screen televisions in all rooms and suites, acquisition of new banqueting furniture and equipment, painting of the exterior of the hotel and remodelling of the principal banqueting venue, the Stewart Rooms. In addition, new management has been appointed in key positions, especially in the food and beverage operations, tasked with introducing new menus and wine lists and making improvements to systems and procedures.
The major refurbishment that starts in January will be the first phase of an exercise that will in due course also involve the hotel’s south wing.
In drawing up a new look for the hotel’s accommodation, the creative team has come up with designs that blend the boldness of Africa with the glamour of the 21st century.
“In the bedrooms and suites, there is an emphasis on pride in Zimbabwe and Africa, with an array of bespoke hand-painted fabrics, honouring the traditional designs of this area, and bringing them to life in a refreshing and compelling manner,” said Mr Snater.
“The renovated bathrooms also carry innovative design: slabs of African Nero Granite with sandblasted patterns. Interwoven with this textural sophistication are African artefacts, showcasing the talent evident in Zimbabwe today. The new-look Meikles will be both spectacular in scale and in detail – a must-see destination with a real sense of identity.”
Mr Snater said the refurbishment programme is based on a belief that travel and tourism will expand and grow in the medium term.
“Along with our many colleagues throughout the sector, we look forward to increased interest in Zimbabwe as a destination for travellers of all kinds, especially in the upper end of the market, which is where Meikles is positioned as the natural and first choice.
“What must be acknowledged is that, although we have survived the past 10 or 12 very challenging years and are ready to meet the future with strength and energy, Meikles Hotel, in common with all operators within the sector, must now address issues of a physical nature and must undertake investment and expenditure to bring its infrastructure up to the highest possible standard and create for itself a fresh new look for the 21st century that matches the keen and warm welcome extended to customers.
“The major refashioning of the entire hotel will prepare it for what we hope is a brighter and busier future and allow this hotel to retain its reputation for building on a solid foundation of experience and tradition while utilising innovation, imagination and creativity to give our guests an experience that is unmatched in this market.
“This project will cost $6 million and will bring with it an exciting new look to the hotel, one which reinforces its sense of tradition and century-old experience, but which brings with it a feel of 21st century expressionism and a state of the art offering to the world’s discerning travellers. Over the past 96 years Meikles Hotel has been a trend setter and a market leader and we aim to retain this position in the overall context of our plans for refashioning and meeting the changing expectations of travellers today and tomorrow.”
Response to the new designs, as shown in mock-up rooms created to allow for on-site inspections in the hotel, has been favourable, with special praise for the quality of finish and the creative African designs.