The Capital Hotels and Apartments has recently been confirmed as the business rescue practitioner’s preferred bidder for the popular Zimbali Resort in Kwazulu-Natal and it’s in for a R40 million revamp! I chatted to managing director, Marc Wachsberger about what travellers can expect going forward.
Set to reopen in December 2021, the Zimbali Resort is currently closed for renovations and refurbishments after having been taken over by The Capital Hotels and Apartments. Wachsberger says that they are very excited about acquiring the property, which he believes is a gem in the crown of Kwazulu-Natal. “We expect the deal to go through once the Competition Commission has approved it, which we hope to be no later than June 2021.”
As with all their hotels, The Capital Hotels and Apartments will be transforming Zimbali’s suites into more flexible, apartment-style setups. This type of accommodation has been a growing trend – now more than ever – in the hospitality industry with guests often preferring the space and amenities that apartment-style hotels can offer. Wachsberger says: “They have the choice to stay in and prepare and share meals in a private living space” and he highlights how important this is in the current environment. The suites are also ideal for business travellers who require private spaces to work from and with The Capital Zimbali Resort being a rather popular conferencing destination, the apartment-style suites allow for delegates to bring their families along. There certainly aren’t many apartment-style hotels with such a beautiful location and such an array of business and leisure offerings.
What can we expect?
In addition to the transformation of the resort’s suites into more of an apartment-style setup, the refurbishment project will also focus on updating the public areas like the restaurants and pool areas.
While The Capital Hotels and Apartments is planning a soft opening in November 2021, they hope to be ready and running at full capacity for peak season in December. As with many destinations in the industry, launches and events often have to take the back seat considering COVID-19 regulations, but an exciting reopening is definitely in the pipeline, even if they need to postpone the event into 2022.
According to Wachsberger, The Capital Zimbali will offer only the best of what guests have come to expect from the group, including exceptional service, elegant, sophisticated apartments, free, high-speed, uncapped WiFi, laundry services and parking. That is, of course, in addition to the magnificent setting and location of this lovely resort.
Bleisure is still a thing
Considering the fact that The Capital Hotels and Apartments‘ destinations are all located in business hubs, you’d think that the hotel group’s focus is on business travellers. Their locations – Rosebank, Sandton, Pretoria, Umhlanga and Cape Town – are the heartbeats of the cities, though and allows for many exciting leisure opportunities (especially when it comes to Umhlanga and Cape Town).
The Capital Zimbali will come with all the bells and whistles, that’s for sure. With The Capital Hotels and Apartments‘ apartment hotel format already having become quite popular among families, this resort will also offer all the extras, including breathtaking scenery and lovely leisure and entertainment options.
The COVID climate, which caused corporate travel to slow down quite drastically, has also inevitably pushed The Capital Hotels and Apartments to explore the leisure market more. According to Wachsberger, the company would have moved into the leisure market soon anyway and the timing to acquire this property – one of South Africa’s ultimate bleisure resorts – seemed right. He says that their investment in this property is also in line with their strategy of purchasing properties that offer great value for money. “We have always invested counter-cyclically, buying or building properties when others are too wary to.”
COVID and hotel development
In a time when others are vigilant to invest, The Capital Hotels and Apartments is confident that this acquisition is a great add-on to their portfolio. Although international travel and conferences will be off the table for a while, the Capital Zimbali promises to still be a sought-after destination for local travellers seeking exceptional experiences, but also for local organisations that wish to return to real-life interactions with colleagues and clients in the form of meetings and conferences.
The Capital Hotels and Apartments did not allow COVID to get them down. They’ve opened one new and one refurbished hotel in 2020 and they’ve recently entered into a lease agreement with Spear. They will also be refurbishing and taking over 15 on Orange in Cape Town later this year and construction on their very first Mpumalanga property is already well underway.
The Capital Hotels and Apartments have been able to keep the existing staff at the Zimbali Resort, who now also have access to the company’s training and development opportunities.
Isn’t it exciting to see how the industry is taking its challenges by the horns? You can certainly expect an impressive change from the popular Zimbali Resort, that’s for sure!