Aleph Hospitality, a hotel management company from Dubai, has taken over three Kenya Red Cross (KRC) Society hotels. The takeover is a result of a management contract that Aleph Hospitality signed with the Kenya Red Cross.
Aleph Hospitality pledged as part of the agreement to offer financial support to the Kenya Red Cross Society by donating a percentage of earnings from the hotels to charitable initiatives. The arrangement is that Aleph will turn around the fortunes of the hotels run by the Kenya Red Cross and in the process support local humanitarian projects.
The founder and managing director Aleph Hospitality, Bani Haddad expressed “delight about taking over the management of three Boma hotels and committed to working with owners in turning around the fortunes.” Haddad also said the deal helps to further strengthen Aleph’s presence in Kenya. Aleph Hospitality runs the Best Western plus Westlands in the capital city. It also has a management contract to operate the Marriot hotel Kisumu.
Dr. Abbas Gullet the former Kenya Red Cross Secretary-General said the charitable organization is “happy to work with a professional management company that knows the local hospitality market and global hotel business.” Dr. Gullet is also the founder and chairman of the Red court Hotel a subsidiary of KRC. It was before the management contract operating three hotels that Aleph Hospitality will be managing on its behalf.
Boma Nairobi: An upmarket hotel with 148 rooms and suites off Mombasa Road. It also has a boardroom, conference hall, spa, and gym. Other features are a swimming pool, food and beverage outlets. Proximity to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was to target business travelers who want to avoid the Nairobi traffic.
Boma Inn Nairobi: A 3-star hotel at the Kenya Red Cross Complex that is located close to JKIA and Wilson airports. It has 58 standard rooms with clients getting a choice between twin and double rooms. The hotel also has a full-day restaurant and lounge.
Boma Inn Eldoret: Offers 8 luxury guest rooms in a hotel with a modern contemporary design with an African touch in different rooms to fit clientele needs. Other features include food and beverage outlets, gym, spa, swimming pool, and meeting facilities. Boma will be the first property by Aleph Hospitality in Eldoret and Rift Valley region.
Gullet stated the profits from the three Boma hotels fund KRC and expressed his confidence that together with Aleph Hospitality they can “re-establish successful hotel businesses to help in supporting this great cause.”
Haddad was also confident about the capacity to provide Kenyan hotel owners with “international expertise to help in managing costs, boost revenue and profits.” He added that they understand the Kenyan hospitality market extremely well and have seen an increase in demand for management services during the period of coronavirus pandemic. He noted they will as a third party; their role will be to boost revenues while enabling KRC to gain more visibility in operations and flexibility with contractual terms.
It will be a relief to Kenya Red Cross that has been struggling to keep the hotel business afloat albeit putting a brave face. Its biggest lender is National Bank that sold its ownership to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group in 2019. The latter has been prioritizing following up borrowers with big loans at NBK and probably Kenya Red Cross would have been one of them.NBK had already appointed PVR Rao as the administrator. Kenya Red Cross went into the hotel business to get alternative sources of income after dwindling funding by international donors and withdrawal of funding by the Kenya Government.