The Umhlanga Sands Resort was closed to the public on 15 January 2012 to undergo its first major renovation in 37 years. This has come at a cost of R68m, equating to a spend of R860 000.00 per day. It will re-open its doors on 07 April (Easter week-end) and welcome a full house of 1000 guests.
Says General Manager Derek McKillop; “It was a bold move to close the resort completely straight after the busy December holiday season, but as all of our 237 rooms needed to be totally refurbished, there was no way we could have guests staying in-house while builders were on site. We went from 100% occupancy in January to zero, and now we will do the opposite in April. We paid all our timeshare owners their exchange fees for the 12 weeks that we would be closed and have given them up to three years to swop their time”.
“The renovations have gone without a hitch. Wherever possible we have chosen environmentally-friendly options such as LED lights and auto-switch-off air conditioners which sense when a balcony sliding door is opened. We also opted for tinted, shatterproof windows which cuts the heat factor in the rooms substantially”, he added.
Other renovations include new pool and balcony loungers, artwork, mirrors, beds, lamps and shades, doors, bed linen, upholstery and carpets. R2.1m alone has been spent on new stainless steel balustrades which the sea air corroded over the years. Invisible but vital aspects of the building have also been attended to such as the air conditioning system electrics, DB boards, sewage, grease traps, fire hose and detection systems, CAT2 cabling for the latest TV and broadband as well as an upgrade to the extractor system. Water pipes were replaced and larger capacity water storage tanks installed.
New 1000 KWA back up generators will also ensure that hotel guests are unaffected by possible load shedding in future as the generators can carry the full load of the property when running to capacity.
The two existing restaurants, Spur and Maestros have also undergone a face-lift as has the kids entertainment areas known as Joyland which has also upgraded its games and token machines.
Says Jeff Stevens, Betts Townsend refurbishment Project Managers, “This has been It has been an amazing feat considering it has taken 210 000 man hours to complete. We have used
· 10km of hot and cold water copper piping
· 5300 LED light bulbs
· 55km electrical wiring
· 10km fire cabling
· 55bb bags or 200 tons of Crete Stone used for skimming walls
· 8400 litres of interior wall paint” he said.
The Umhlanga Sands was built in 1976 and converted to Timeshare in 1980 and was last upgraded in 2004. The hotel runs at 88% occupancy all year round thanks to the mild Durban climate and some owners have handed their investment down through the family for three generations. “I have met at least 200 guests who proudly tell me that they were the very first to stay in the hotel and now they have great-grandchildren on holiday with them. I am looking forward to welcoming them all home next week ”, said McKillop.