uMhlanga is gearing up for a bumper tourist season this December/January and, with the recent opening of the new 15-storey tower addition at the Protea Hotel by Marriott® Durban uMhlanga, the local tourism industry will be well placed to meet the demand for accommodation.
According to Mark Satterfield, Chief Operating Officer, Africa, for Marriott International: “Durban has experienced significant growth in its tourist numbers in recent years, and tourism statistics reflect that the December 2015 period saw an 8% increase in visitor numbers compared with the same period the previous year. This is in line with our own research, which predicts rising visitor numbers and increased travel related spending patterns in the years ahead.”
Durban recorded its highest tourist numbers in December 2015, with a total of 1.4 million visitors to the city. The increase in year-on-year figures bodes well for the future.
The large building project at the hotel, which involved two years of work, entails a substantial investment from the hotel owners into uMhlanga, which is well set to position itself as an upmarket location for both international and domestic travelers. The construction project is so large that “it is equivalent to constructing a whole new hotel,” according to Satterfield. “Through the addition of an entire new tower adjacent to the existing building, the hotel will be doubling its capacity for visitors.”
In addition to a new reception area and lobby, the project has added an extra 130 bedrooms and a restaurant, lounge and bar. This brings the accommodation to 250 bedrooms in total, with amenities to suit both corporate and leisure travelers. With the positive spin-off for the tourist market of the additional accommodation, the business travel market will benefit too.
Reflecting the mood of the destination, the design of the new internal spaces embraces a relaxed yet modern style, complementing the sun-filled image of uMhlanga. With its blue and white striped wallpaper, and walls lined with wooden sailing oars, the nautical theme of the décor creates a fresh and relaxing mood.
“Expanding and cementing our strong brand presence in the KwaZulu-Natal area has been on the cards for many years,” adds Satterfield. “With the opening of the expanded hotel, Protea Hotels by Marriott is certainly well set to service the traveller market in the most sought-after areas of the province.”