Prestbury landmark transformed into Botanic Hotel

2009-01-14 00:00

AN impressive revamp of a landmark building in Prestbury was one of the key elements in the establishment of a new boutique hotel in Pietermaritzburg.

The Botanic Hotel is a R10 million investment. The major partner in the hotel is businessman Ben Nkosi, who was born and raised in KZN and is a lawyer by profession.

He is also CEO of the Sunrise Investment Group and the executive chairman of The MediaShop, a leading media agency.

Nkosi’s childhood friend and partner in the new venture, Sibusiso Thusi, is an experienced professional in the hotel and hospitality sector.

The boutique hotel has 22 en-suite rooms and a 40-seater conference venue, as well as a 20-seater boardroom.

“I was already involved in the hotel industry in Nelspruit … and I heard about an opportunity in Pietermaritzburg … in March 2008. I was already talking to S’bu [Thusi] about starting this type of entity. The property was acquired from a property developer,” said Nkosi.

The revamp was completed in nine months.

Nkosi said Pietermaritzburg decorator Elle Hooper designed the interiors.

Nkosi and Thusi are familiar with Pietermaritzburg and are extremely upbeat about the economic prospects of the city.

They are particularly impressed by its growth performance in recent years following the confirmation of the city as the provincial capital.

The partners plan to attract a primarily upmarket clientele of local and travelling professionals, families, tourists, corporates and government employees.

“I felt that Pietermaritzburg needed a venue befitting the travelling businessperson. The area is beautiful and quiet,” added Nkosi.

The dining area seats about 60 people and is run by chef Amos Myaka, who has 37 years of experienced in the hospitality industry — at venues such as Gold Reef Casino Hotel, Sandton Sun & Towers Hotel and Crowne Plaza.

Nkosi said they are considering developing a spa in the near future.

In addition, the acquisition of 32 “family units” on the property may also be in the pipeline.

kavith@witness.co.za

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