TANZANIA (eTN) – East Africa’s leading tourist hotel chain, Serena Hotels, has officially taken over Tanzania’s biggest hotel, the Movenpick Royal Palm Hotel, in the Indian Ocean city of Dar es Salaam.
Previously managed by Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, the Movenpick Royal Palm Hotel has been rebranded to the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel effective December 1, 2011 with a new management team.
The 230-room, five-star hotel located at the central business district in Tanzania’s commercial city is now under the ownership and management of the Serena Hotels chain which has a leading stake in the East African hospitality sector, operating hotels, lodges, and luxury tourist camps in key wildlife parks in East Africa.
The Serena chain is a subsidiary company under the management of Tourism Promotion Services (TPS), the tourism arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) – an international agency for economic development, mostly in developing countries of Africa and Asia.
With the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel, comes the product acquired by the Serena Hotels chain, which has grown from four accommodation facilities in the early 1970s to a collection of 25 luxury hotels, resorts, camps, and safari lodges, currently offering quality accommodation in six African countries of Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Ten other properties have been established in the three Asian countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
The Serena Hotels chain entered Tanzania mainland and the tourist island of Zanzibar in 1996 and expanded from 5 units to 10 units, with properties located in the northern tourist city of Arusha (Northern Safari Circuit), Zanzibar, Selous Game Reserve (Southern Safari Circuit), and now, the city of Dar es Salaam.
Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel is strategically located within the commercial, business, and diplomatic district, positioned as the premier up-market, 5-star hotel for the discerning corporate and leisure clientèle to offer the finest food and beverage outlets, as well as conference and banquet facilities with a spectacular view of the Gymkhana Garden, the golf course, the Indian Ocean, and the sprawling architecture of the city of Dar es Salaam.
Serena Hotels Managing Director Mr. Mahmud Jan Mohamed said he was pleased that the hotel group has finally established a presence in Dar es Salaam, which is in line with its medium- to long-term strategy of completing Serena Hotels’ “City Hotel Circuit” in the East Africa region.
“With our existing Serena portfolio, the hotel will benefit from the group’s regional presence, and we can offer a circuit covering Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda. We aim to expand this circuit, both in this country and elsewhere,” he added.
Serena Hotels is currently operating with 3,400 staff from the East African region, all trained to focus on quality service standards and guest satisfaction.
“We believe that the expansion of the Serena brand in Dar es Salaam will strengthen Tanzania’s position as a key player in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and events segment whilst also attracting the leisure clientele,” said Mr. Jan Mohamed.
The new Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel was opened by the former Tanzanian President, Mr. Ally Hassan Mwinyi, late in 1995 as Sheraton Dar es Salaam Hotel, before changing its business brand to Royal Palm Hotel under Legacy Hotels of South Africa, and later changed to the Swiss hospitality franchise under management of Movenpick.
The hotel offers nightlife recreations, dining, business, shopping and cultural diversions, while located a ten-minute’s drive from Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) and within walking distance of the city center.
Serena chain entered Tanzania in mid-1996 when former Tanzania President, Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, and His Highness The Aga Khan, cut a ribbon to open two lodges and a hotel in northern Tanzania wildlife parks, the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, Serengeti Serena Lodge, and Lake Manyara Serena Hotel.
The total number of lodges other than Ngorongoro, Serengeti, and Lake Manyara, currently under ownership and management of the Serena portfolio in Tanzania are the Arusha Mountain Village (46 room), located at the foot of the wooded slopes of Mount Meru outside the tourist city of Arusha in Northern Tanzania; and Zanzibar Serena Inn (51 rooms) on the island of Zanzibar.
Other luxury tourist facilities under the Serena chain are Mivumo River Lodge in Selous Game Reserve, Kirawira Tented Camp and Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camps in Western Serengeti, and Selous Luxury Camp in Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania.