Hilton Worldwide announced the signing of a licensing agreement with long-standing franchisee, the Opulent Group, for the conversion of a hotel in the capital city of Bujumbura in Burundi, East Africa. The 130-room DoubleTree by Hilton Bujumbura will open early in 2014.
Formerly the Novotel, the property will undergo an extensive 18-month improvement and rebranding programme before officially opening under the DoubleTree by Hilton banner. Property renovation plans are already underway and will cover all key areas of the hotel, including full refurbishment of the hotel lobby and renovation of all guest and meeting rooms. As part of the programme, a new business centre and fitness centre will also be introduced into the hotel for the first time.
Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of development, Hilton Worldwide Europe & Africa said: “Hilton Worldwide’s famous pioneering spirit is very much alive and well as we continue to explore exciting new markets in Africa and expand our presence into new countries. Burundi is a great example of how the East Africa region is attracting increasing numbers of local and international travellers which is fuelling demand for quality hotel accommodation, particularly in gateway cities like Bujumbura. Today’s signing of such a well located property will help us to meet that growing demand with dedicated first-class facilities and service.”
Bujumbura is located on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, and, as the country’s largest city and main port, is a busy commercial hub for Burundi’s import and export trade. DoubleTree by Hilton Bujumbura will enjoy a prime location in the capital city, at the centre of the commercial district and close to businesses, embassies and government offices. Once open, the hotel will boast four conference rooms, a business centre, fitness centre and outdoor pool. Dining options include two restaurants, including one speciality and one all-day dining, and a bar.
Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton said: “As the first upscale international hotel brand to establish roots in Burundi, the signing of DoubleTree by Hilton Bujumbura is a defining moment for our company and a terrific opportunity for us to set the global hospitality standard and become a market leader. Our ongoing growth in Africa is generating a great deal of interest from those discerning local owners looking for an experienced, trustworthy hospitality brand with a solid reputation for delivering success.”
Palleschi added: “Opulent Group and the DoubleTree brand have enjoyed a successful three years of business following the opening of our hotels in Tanzania and I am delighted that today’s announcement extends our relationship and I look forward to welcoming the latest Opulent property into our portfolio.”
Guests at DoubleTree by Hilton Bujumbura will benefit from the characteristic qualities found at a fast-growing collection of more than 300 DoubleTree by Hilton hotels and resorts in more than 24 countries and territories, including the warm welcome of the brand’s legendary chocolate chip cookie presented to every guest upon check-in; an array of upscale amenities and guest services; the rewards of the Hilton HHonors guest loyalty programme; and a unique and caring team member commitment to the local community.
Ayazali Jivraj from owners Opulent Group said: “Following the success of our two existing DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in Tanzania, we are thrilled to once again be working with the Hilton Worldwide team to develop this landmark hotel in Burundi. DoubleTree’s status for offering top quality accommodation and superior service standards is proving invaluable in attracting guests to our properties in Africa.”
Hilton Worldwide currently operates 56 hotels in Middle East and Africa, totalling more than 17,000 rooms across 19 countries. There are twelve hotels across the UAE, 18 hotels in Egypt, one hotel and one convention centre in Jordan, five in Saudi Arabia, two in Lebanon and one each in Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, plus another 12 hotels in Africa and 3 hotels in the Indian Ocean. Hilton Worldwide has a signed development pipeline of an additional 52 properties across Middle East & Africa in the U.A.E, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Cape Verde.