International hotel brand Hyatt makes debut in Cape Town

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The pool area of the Hyatt Regency, Cape Town.
The pool area of the Hyatt Regency, Cape Town.
  • Cape Town's first Hyatt hotel is situated in the historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood.
  • Private family company Millat Properties, which owns the hotel, has renovated the 137 rooms as well as the public areas.
  • For the design team it was a great opportunity to think of design in a different way in a "post-Covid-19 world".

Cape Town has its first Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Located in the historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood at the edge of the Mother City's central business district, the building was formerly managed by Hilton. The only other Hyatt hotel in South Africa is in Joburg.

Private family company Millat Properties, which owns the hotel, has renovated the 137 rooms as well as the public areas, working closely with the Hyatt team and international interior designers LW Design Group.

Hamza Farooqui, CEO of Millat Properties, says to open on time, as promised, despite the extraordinary circumstances of 2020 is testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

"With Hyatt Regency Cape Town now up and running in its iconic location, we look forward to progressing other opportunities for the benefit of South Africa, and internationally. We are very excited about bringing such a big international brand, which knows the hotel business so well, to Cape Town," he said.

"SA is a long-haul destination and by bringing this international brand to the city, we have done our best to contribute to the tourism industry. Now we need to have government to provide policy support – for example in making it easier to obtain visas for SA – to help create demand. Tourism is a key driver of the SA economy and SA has to compete with other countries to attract tourists. Even if the coronavirus situation normalises, we all need to work extra hard in the tourism industry."

He says the focus will also be on providing good value for money for domestic tourists – leisure and business.

"SA is a beautiful country and I am cautiously optimistic. A global brand like Hyatt coming to Cape Town speaks volumes about the image the city has in the tourism industry," he says.

Peter Fulton, Hyatt's group president responsible for, among others, the African region, says for business travellers the hotel provides easy access to the financial district and Cape Town International Convention Centre, while its location in the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood makes it a great base for leisure travellers, too.

"This is one of the quickest openings we've had. We have been delighted to work with an owner who knows the hotel business and how to operate in-country," Fulton says.

Fulton explains that hospitality is a very long-term business.

"Yes, it is a difficult time now, but people will start to travel again and business will return. We are positive about the long-term success of the hotel. Hyatt is very much known for its individual approach to food and beverages and the culture of the management team," he said.

"We operate as a partner, not just as a manager and we get into deals for the long-term, not the short-term. A deal like this is relatively strategic for us in SA. Getting into Cape Town adds more diversity to our distribution. The source markets we expect to leverage with our distribution network include Europe and the Middle East and, to a smaller degree, from the Americas." 

Yunus Hoosen, head of investment promotion at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, regards the opening of the hotel as providing momentum for the hospitality and tourism sectors. He says they are important drivers for SA's economic recovery and job creation.

Pooja Shah-Mulani, design director at LW, who coordinated the redesign of the hotel, says this was its first project in Africa.

"We were tasked to create a fresh new look that was simple, refined yet comfortable. Given the incredibly fast turnaround and a 'post Covid opening', it was a great opportunity to think of design in a different way," explains Shah-Mulani.

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