Budget hotel launched on tide of optimism

2010-04-30 00:00

THE new Southern Sun StayEasy Hotel next to the Liberty Midlands Mall was officially launched yesterday. Although the budget hotel has been open since April 15, Southern Sun introduced it formally to guests for the first time at a special lunch.

Speeches were made by Southern Sun managing director Graham Woods, Liberty Property CEO Samuel Ogbu and special guest Mayor Mike Tarr. They all agreed the location was a logical one.

Woods said a partnership between the StayEasy Hotel and the Liberty Midlands Mall is sure to follow because of their proximity.

Ogbu said, “You might ask why we built a hotel on a shopping mall, but it is perfect as there are food offerings at the mall. The hotel offers breakfast, but then guests must fend for themselves for lunch and dinner.”

The speakers also agreed the new hotel will attract more tourists to Pietermaritzburg.

“We have done research that showed there are not enough hotels in Pietermaritzburg; therefore this investment will see more tourists in the area,” said Ogbu.

Tarr said that the hotel was built at a good time. “Most of the hotels in town have disappeared; we desperately needed new facilities.”

New hotels such as the StayEasy will “create a climate that is user- friendly for investments and business, and what is good for business is good for everybody”, he added.

Since its opening, the hotel has had many guests, said Ogbu, and “this justifies the investment. This will be a leading node for tourism in KwaZulu-Natal and the country.”

Ogbu thanked all the “loyal shoppers who have put up with us during the construction and the noise”.

The hotel, which opened on time and under budget, has had very few teething problems.

The general manager of the hotel, Annetta Maharaj, said, “We have been doing very well and have had high occupancy. The only problem we have had is with training staff as all the public holidays have been disruptive.

“Business is already booming, with government being one of the big spenders at the hotel.”


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