The much-vaunted Oceans Umhlanga development added a new jewel to its crown today with the launch of its latest unique feature, the R700-million Radisson Blu Hotel. This first footprint of Radisson in KZN Province has been hailed as a defining coup for the City of Durban and Entrepreneur extraordinaire Vivian Reddy. The Hotel brand rates as one of the most exclusive and sought-after hotel destinations in the discerning and luxurious hospitality sectors. Managed by Carlson Rezidor, Radisson has an expanding portfolio of 1400 hotels with a global footprint covering 115 countries.
Amidst great fanfare and in keeping with the trend-setting style of flambuoyant visionary Vivian Reddy, the announcement of the trail-blazing entry of Radisson was made at a glittering and stylish event yesterday at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. The announcement of Radisson’s first foray into Kwa-Zulu-Natal follows an enviable list of achievments and milestones of the celebrated Oceans Umhlanga Project – leading with a record breaking sales of R1,5 billion within four hours for the residential Apartments. The hotel catapults the total investment in the Oceans Umhlanga Project to R3,8 billion – rendering it currently the largest mixed-use development in the country.
Among the guests were newly appointed Premier, Willies Mchunu, Finance MEC Belinda Scott, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu, ANC provincial chair, Sihle Zikalala and ANC regional leader, Zandile Gumede. Other celebrities included Miss SA, Ntando Kunene, Aldytha Da Silva, SA’s representative in the Mrs Universe and other notable sports and business leaders.
The proposed Radisson Blu Hotel Durban Umhlanga will have a total 206 rooms and a
range of world-class offerings including:
• State-of-the-art business facilities
• Exclusive fine-dining offerings
• Large banquetting facility and other meeting rooms for 1200 people
• Rooftop bar and terrace
• Spectacular rim flow pool deck
• Boutique Gym
• Spa treatment rooms
• Artisanal roaster style coffee bar
There will also be a luxurious Presidential suite on the 16th floor opulently designed to serve the finite tastes and needs of exclusive guests.
Addressing the launch, newly elected Premier Willis Mchunu said the development sent a seriously positive message about the viability of our Province as an investment destination, underpinned by a vibrant and aggressive economic development strategy for the region. “When you read the newspapers these days, all you hear is bad news stories – the rand is weakening and our economy is being downgraded. But the truth is tourism is booming. According
to SA Tourism overseas visits are up close to 30%. We have never seen such growth before,” stated the Premier.
He went on to say “these stats obviously sent a clear message to our determined developers as a mitigation of their investment risks against the perceived downturn in the economy.” The Premier also praised the Development for the creation of a potential 15,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction, culminating in over 2,500 permanent jobs after completion.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mike Mabuyakhulu said he was very encouraged by this development. “This is a clear show of confidence from developers Vivian Reddy and Rob Alexander. This project is going to provide much-needed beds at the top end of the market. From designs I’ve seen, it is also going to raise the bar in terms of luxury standards. With the tourism industry growing very briskly, and the Province bolstering its attraction as an international tourist destination of choice, the entry of Radisson could not be timed better. We greatly applaud the vision and brilliance of the developers for their foresight and confidence in this region.”
Oceans Umhlanga Development Company Chairman, Vivian Reddy said that the hotel would be the ultimate and defining dimension in what he referred to as a “Triangle of Opulence” created with neighboring five-star properties, Beverly Hills and The Oysters. He said the hotel would be linked to the exclusive Oceans Mall Umhlanga from its fourth level. The Mall itself is exclusive and unique, featuring several super-brands including Burberry, Versace, Armani, Boss Orange and Paul Smith.
Reddy said that in designing the hotel, they had the opportunity to re-imagine and re-design the Umhlanga skyline. “If one surfs the internet for the greatest curvilinear buildings in the world, one will be pleasantly surprised to see the Oceans Umhlanga Development hailed as one of the best in the world,” he said. “The sleek, glazed facade will offer some of the finest views in Durban, and we have taken pains to ensure that every hotel room has access to that view. The public areas of the hotel have been designed to create a new social hub for the town. High ceilings and glazed facades throughout will enhance the luxury of the hotel, as will the signature pool terrace, hotel spa, and one of the
largest banquetting halls in the city,” he said.
He added that the selection of Radisson Blu followed months of searching for a suitable hotel management partner.
“There was significant interest from hotel groups from the US, Europe, UK, India, Dubai and Thailand. One of the main reasons for choosing Radisson was their significant footprint on the African continent. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Groups portfolio in Africa includes 67 hotels (almost 15,000 rooms) across 27 countries with its Africa Area Support Office based in Cape Town. Carlson Rezidor is also doing amazing work around the world with their set of global brands including Quorvus Collection, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites by Carlson SM”.
“They are unquestionably among the best of the best so our choice was quite easy in the end. We are proud to be partners.”
Carlson Rezidor Senior Vice President Development for Africa, Andrew Mclachlan said the Oceans partnership fitted well into their overall positioning. “Radisson Blu is Europe’s largest upper upscale brand and Africa’s fastest growing hotel brand, leading the way, ahead of 86 other hotel brands. It is an iconic, stylish and sophisticated hotel brand with leading-edge style”.
“Oceans Umhlanga it is a world class high-end luxury mixed used development, positioned around style and elegance, we couldn’t have chosen a better development to partner with – this is a great brand fit. We are extremely excited to be attached to one of the most spectacular developments on the African continent.” Mclachlan said the new Radisson Blu in Durban was also the “missing puzzle piece” in Carlson Rezidor’s South African hotel offering. He confirmed rooms at the new property would be of highest luxury and would come in standard, business class and family configurations.
Reddy added that the project also had a unique developmental investment component. “It is public knowledge that the South African hospitality industry is the least transformed. As a result, we want to adopt a different approach in this project”.
“We want to create a significant reserved percentage of shareholdings for an empowerment scheme where even the average worker can invest. We will create a scheme where someone with even R1000 can purchase shares. The greatest thrill for me will be the day when an average worker can point to our building and tell his children proudly that he is a shareholder in one of South Africa’s most iconic and prestigious developments”.
Reddy confirmed a prospectus for potential investors is expected to be released soon.