from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – THE US$24,6 million four-star The Palm River Lodge is the latest addition to Victoria Falls’ collection of upmarket hotels.
A partnership between leading integrated financial services giant, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, and the hotelier, Spencer’s Creek, has given birth to the luxurious 73-room hotel built on the edge of the Zambezi River.
An official opening was held at the facility last Wednesday ahead of the facility opening doors for its first clients on December 1.
Somveli Dlamini, the Victoria Falls mayor, presided over the official opening.
Thirty-one (31) rooms are ready to be let out on the seven-block facility, with the others set to be booked next year.
Rooms comprise a presidential suite, executive suites, honeymoon suites, 60 deluxe rooms and villas all facing the Zambezi River.
The Palm River Hotel is inspired by the architectural style of the Queenslander offering unparalled luxury in one of the World’s Seven Wonders, Victoria Falls.
The facility is hidden under the picturesque canopy of trees as the contractors did not cut any to preserve the environment in its natural state.
It has a rare river deck which offers an idyllic vantage point of the Zambezi River, from where three boats will be taking off for in-house sunset cruises.
Jim Brown, Spencer’s Creek Managing Director, said the investment is a show of confidence in Zimbabwe’s tourism.
“The coming of this hotel shows restoration of confidence in the tourism and we expect earnings in excess of US$6 million per annum,” he said.
Kumbirai Katsande, Old Mutual chairman, said the organisation partnered with a number of pension fund clients to co-invest with it in the project.
He said the hotel is a magnificent asset done to international standards.
“We are gathered to witness the official opening of this four-Star 73-room hotel and really deserving of this official opening occasion. The project is a US$24,6 million investment done through a partnership between Old Mutual and Spencer Creek,” Katsande said at the launch.
He said the river frontage that gives guests sight of wildlife drinking from the Zambezi is was one of the key attractions for the project.
“The way in which the asset was done also shows the amount of respect given to the environment and the design was done in a way that preserved the existing trees and nature around,” Katsande said.
The hotel’s construction started in 2019 and the majority of the work was done during COVID-19 lockdowns.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was initially set to open the hotel in July last year but that was postponed after the country entered into another lockdown, months after the initial one in March.
Old Mutual has been in Zimbabwe for more than 100 years.
The Zimbabwean entity is the biggest operation on the continent, outside South Africa.
Samuel Matsekete, Old Mutual Zimbabwe CEO, welcomed the establishment of the new hotel with Spencer’s Creek.
“Both parties co-invested in the project. I believe there is value in the partnership,” Matsekete said.
– CAJ News