May­fair boost for Mthatha re­gion

New R130-mil­lion ho­tel awarded four-star rat­ing just months af­ter open­ing for busi­ness

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - TRAVEL - Week­end Post Re­porter

IN A boost for na­tional prop­erty com­pany Bil­lion Group’s foray into ho­tel de­vel­op­ment – as well as a raise for Mthatha busi­ness and leisure tourism – the new lux­ury May­fair Ho­tel in Mthatha has been awarded a four-star grad­ing by the Tourism Grad­ing Coun­cil.

This makes the R130-mil­lion ho­tel the lat­est in just a hand­ful of four-star graded es­tab­lish­ments in the city which, un­til re­cently, lacked the ac­com­mo­da­tion and en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties larger cen­tres boast.

Bil­lion Group, headed by chief ex­ec­u­tive Sisa Nge­bu­lana, who grew up in the re­gion, be­gan ag­gres­sively in­vest­ing in Mthatha two years ago with the de­vel­op­ment of the first ma­jor shop­ping cen­tre of the re­gion – the R1.4-bil­lion BT Ngebs City mall, named af­ter Nge­bu­lana’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial grand­fa­ther.

The May­fair Ho­tel – which Nge­bu­lana says brings af­ford­able lux­ury to the re­gion – ad­joins the mall, with ground set to break on an­other first for the re­gion later this year: a R150-mil­lion casino and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex, com­plete with state-of-the-art cin­e­mas.

“I have a pas­sion for the East­ern Cape and, of course, for Mthatha. I was born there,” Nge­bu­lana said, adding he was de­lighted with the four-star grad­ing as the at­ten­tion to the ho­tel’s de­sign and de­tail were care­fully con­sid­ered and ex­e­cuted.

“Mthatha has huge buy- ing power and a lot of eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

“The May­fair will at­tract pa­tron­age from busi­ness and gov­ern­men­tal trav­ellers who fre­quent the area.”

He said Mthatha had his­tor­i­cally ex­pe­ri­enced great pressure on its sup­ply of lo­cal ac­com­mo­da­tion, with many vis­i­tors hav­ing to travel to neigh­bour­ing towns and cities.

The May­fair, which of­fi­cially opened in May and re­ceived its four-star grad­ing ear­lier this month, was in­tended to ease this pressure, he said.

“Dur­ing its con­struc­tion, more than 700 jobs were cre­ated and there are now 200 per­ma­nent jobs at the ho­tel.

“Those were in ad­di­tion to the more than 3 000 jobs cre­ated by the con­struc­tion of the mall.”

Bil­lion Group com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Vuyokazi Njongwe, who was closely in­volved in the con­struc­tion of the ho­tel, said: “It is so ex­cit­ing to get this four-star grad­ing. Of course, we aimed to meet all the cri­te­ria for such a grad­ing and ticked all the boxes when we ap­plied for it.

“But you ul­ti­mately never know if your ap­pli­ca­tion will be suc­cess­ful. I’m de­lighted that we can bring some­thing like this to Mthatha. It’s my home­town and there­fore a place that is very close to my heart.”

The ho­tel boasts 96 rooms, in­clud­ing a lux­ury three-room R10 000-a-night pent­house suite, a tworoom R5 000 a night pres­i­den­tial suite, two ex­ec­u­tive R2 300-a-night suites, as well as 88 R1 495-per-night bed-and-break­fast suites.

There are also sev­eral con­fer­ence halls.

SA Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive Sisa Nt­shona de­scribed the ho­tel as a coup for tourism in the re­gion.

“We ap­plaud Sisa Nge­bu­lana’s in­vest­ment in the East­ern Cape. Hav­ing a four-star ho­tel in Mthatha is not only good for the re­gion and for busi­ness, but for tourism,” Nt­shona said.

May­fair Ho­tel gen­eral man­ager Joseph Mgob­hozi said: “We strive for ex­cel­lence and the award­ing of a four-star grad­ing for this ho­tel en­dorses our com­mit­ment to be­ing the best in the re­gion.

“It gives us much joy and pride to be part of such a pres­ti­gious prop­erty and be the pi­o­neers for any fu­ture ho­tel de­vel­op­ments within the group in the near fu­ture.

“We have the right peo­ple in the right po­si­tions, with the right bal­ance on eth­nic­ity and gen­der diver­sity that as­sists us to meet all our guests’ needs at all lev­els of our op­er­a­tions.”

The ho­tel, he said, “caters for all mar­ket seg­ments ac­cord­ing to their re­spec­tive needs – whether it’s cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment, tourists, leisure, sports and lo­cal so­ci­eties”.

The shop­ping mall and ho­tel precinct – op­po­site the Mthatha Sta­dium, which t is also un­der­go­ing a facelift by the gov­ern­ment – is lo­cated along the soon-to-be con­structed N2 by­pass.

It sits in the heart of the Mthatha CBD, Kwezi, Mbuqe and the in­dus­trial area, Vulindlela Heights and is part of Nge­bu­lana’s R16-bil­lion in­vest­ment ear­marked in the next 10 years for Mthatha, East London and Port El­iz­a­beth.

TOP OF THE RANGE: The front and re­cep­tion area of the May­fair Ho­tel in Mthatha is a sight to mar­vel at

GO­ING BIG: Bil­lion Group CEO Sisa Nge­bu­lana stands in front of the May­fair Ho­tel

EX­CLU­SIVE TOUCH: The Pent­house lounge

LOOKS TO DIE FOR: In­side a room at the May­fair

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