Radisson Group spreads its wings across Africa despite COVID-19 gloom

The Radisson Hotel Group is an American multi-national hospitality company and one of the world’s largest hotel groups with eight distinctive hotel brands. The Hotel Group portfolio includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Radisson Individual and Prizeotel.

It currently has more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development around the world. The African Sub-division of the group has more than 90 hotels that combined play host to more than 18,000 rooms restaurants and shops.

Part of its strategy is to rapidly expand its footprint in Africa and the company has a new objective of operating over 130 hotels and 23,000 rooms in 23 of the continent’s 60 larger cities by 2022.  As of 2019, the Group’s African portfolio was comprised of almost 100 hotels and over 17,000 rooms which were either in operation or under construction. To start of its ambitious expansion strategy in the continent, the American multi-national hospitality company, signed of 11 new hotels in Africa within the first nine months of 2019.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and its threat on the hospitality did little to slow down the progress of the company’s expansion in the continent. In that year alone The Radisson Group announced the addition of six new hotels. The group was also able to increase its African portfolio with nine hotel signings, resulting in an addition of more than 1,600 rooms, a move that further reinforced its presence in key markets such as Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria, as well as Ghana and Reunion Island. In this review, we highlight some of the hotel’s major signings in various cities in Africa.

Radisson Blu, Yaoundé – Cameroon

We start our review with the luxurious futuristic hotel complex of 25 storeys, and 7-storey Yacht-shaped annexe that will be the Radisson Blu, Yaoundé. Announced in2019, the new hotel in the country’s capital and second largest city, Yaoundé will be the second hotel after the one that was already under construction, the Radisson Blue Hotel Doula that was expected to commence before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

In the partnership agreement, the government of Cameroon agreed to lease the hotel a 2-hectar piece of land for a period of 30 years. The annexe will host a 5-star hotel with at least 300 rooms, swimming pools, and various sports and entertainment equipment. The US$132.34 million investment is also expected to host International-standard restaurants and shops.

Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Johannesburg – South Africa

After almost a year, in September 2020, Radisson Hotel Group opened Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo, its twelfth hotel in South Africa.  Located in an exclusive private location in Bredell tucked away from city life, Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo is a short 10-minute drive away from O.R. Tambo International Airport and is conveniently situated close to a range of activities and attractions including the nearby shopping malls, local coffee shops and restaurants and Kempton Park Golf Course, designed by Grimsdell & Kerr.

Radisson Hotel Group has made Africa the centre of its growth strategy and it announced in February 2021 that it aims to reach around 150 hotels in operation and under development by 2025.

This upscale, full-service hotel features 248 contemporary, spacious, and stylish hotel rooms with all the home comforts. The Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo is the ideal venue for business conferences, private functions, and weddings. During the hotel’s commissioning, the group announced its future plans to introduce the Radisson RED brand in Johannesburg based on the success of the Radisson RED hotel in Cape Town.  Raddison first entered the South African market in 2000 and has since grown its portfolio to 16 hotels, ranging from midscale to upscale properties across four brands. The brands comprise Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson, Radisson Blu and the lifestyle concept brand Radisson RED

Park Inn by Radisson, Durban Intl. Airport, Dube – South Africa

The new-build hotel introduces the upper midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand to Durban and strengthens Radisson Hotel Group’s current portfolio of 16 hotels (3,007 rooms) in operation and under development in the country. It will also complement the national business circuit with a Park Inn by Radisson in each of the three major cities of South Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg).

It is the first hotel within Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone, which forms the heart of the first purpose-planned aerotropolis in Africa, around King Shaka International Airport. The 168-room hotel scheduled to open in 2022, will have a lobby bar, rooftop all-day dining restaurant and rooftop pool terrace with eight different meeting & event venues.

Radisson Collection Hotel Bamako – Mali

Towards the close of 2020, the Radisson debuted a new brand in Africa with the launch of Radisson Collection Hotel Bamako, Mali.  Located in the capital and largest city of Mali, the Radisson Collection Hotel, Bamako is 20 minutes from Bamako’s Modibo Keita International Airport and in close proximity to the city’s embassies, corporate headquarters, and government precinct. The hotel consists of 200 elegant and spacious rooms, including 32 suites and three accessible rooms, offering panoramic views over the Niger River and the lush green hillside dotted with mango tree plantations, as well as the pool and city skyline.

Complementing the hotel’s five-star luxury experience is a selection of four diverse restaurants and bars. The renowned City Grill offers a multi-cuisine menu allowing guests to indulge in both European and West African flavors through interactive stations.

Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre – Nigeria

The Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre, scheduled to open in 2024, is the Group’s first hotel in the city, complementing the existing nine hotels in operation and under development in Nigeria.Located in the heart of the central business district of Nigeria’s Federal Capital, the 258-room hotel will boast five different food and beverage outlets from a specialty restaurant and all-day-dining restaurant to a Lobby Bar & Café, a pool terrace and a business class lounge. The leisure facilities will include a 555sqm wellness spa, a gym and a swimming pool to support guest’s wellness.

Earl Height Suite Hotel, Accra – Ghana

In March 2021, Radisson Hotel Group signed a partnership agreement with Earlbeam Group of Companies to construct the Earl Height Suite Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals, in Accra. Construction of the 58-serviced apartments located at Dzorwulu is ongoing and would be completed by the end of the year. It will be the first Radisson Individuals property in Africa. Due to open by the end of 2021, this new addition places the Group firmly on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in operation and under development by 2025.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Earlbeam Group of Companies, Godwin Danso Darkwah explained that the reason for this partnership was for the company to stay resilient in the hospitality industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Located in Dzorwulu, the property is currently undergoing a full renovation and is on schedule to open within this year. Just 5km from Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the main access point by air for domestic and international visitors, the serviced apartment property is conveniently located near shopping malls, restaurants, as well as the University of Ghana, situated north of the district.

Upon completion, the property will comprise modern studios as well as spacious and elegant one- and two-bedroom suites. Creating a true destination for its guests, the property will offer culinary options in the restaurant as well as in the hotel bar. The property will also feature a spa, gym, pool, convenience store, and business centre, providing the perfect base for both business and leisure.

Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia

A month after the partnership in Accra, the Group announced its first resort and third hotel in Zambia, with the signing of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia. Set to open in 2022, the new unit is nestled on the banks of one of Africa’s longest rivers, the Zambezi, in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Its strategic location gives visitors easy access the historic city of Livingstone and the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. Convenience is amplified with Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport located just 15 minutes away. For an immersive experience of the destination, situated right next door, is Safari Par Excellence, offering unique on and off the river adventure activities, from Victoria Falls bridge activities, water-rafting, canoeing and game drives to helicopter rides, river cruises and elephant encounters.

The hotel will be constructed and operated with the greatest respect to its environment and aims to obtain the EDGE green building certification as well sign the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge. The construction of the new hotel, which is currently underway, and the design fully integrate local materials, focuses on employing and upskilling local craftspeople. It will consist of a contemporary 174-room main hotel and 26 luxurious villas. Guests can indulge in their favourite cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant and sit back with their favourite drink at the coffee bar.

Radisson Hotel Djibouti

In June this year, the Radisson Hotel Group announced the signing of Radisson Hotel Djibouti, marking the Group’s entry into the country and bringing its East African portfolio to 18 hotels and over 2,700 rooms in operation and under development.

The new-build 144-room hotel, scheduled to open in 2024, will comprise not only of modern standard rooms and suites, but will also have accessible rooms, designed for wheelchair access. Dining options will include light snacks at the lobby café, international and local cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant, and refreshing drinks at the poolside juice bar.

Just 15 minutes away from Djibouti International Airport, Radisson Hotel Djibouti will be located in the heart of the city, surrounded by key infrastructures such as the Djibouti Port, Djibouti Free Zone, international headquarters, shopping malls and the seaside, providing the ideal base for business and leisure. Djibouti’s strength lies in its strategic location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, forming a bridge between Africa and the Middle East and is a key market in East Africa due to its port which is considered one of the most important in the world given its location at the intersection of major international shipping lanes connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Radisson Hotel Addis Ababa

Radisson Hotel Group’s fifth hotel in Ethiopia, scheduled to open in 2021, has 114 guestrooms. The facility is located within Ethiopia’s capital city—adjacent to the United Nations Compound and 6 kilometers from Bole International Airport. The hotel is also a short distance from the city’s main points of interest, such as the Imperial Palace, Meskel Square and Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The hotel offers a total of 212 elegantly designed rooms and suites with premium amenities such as individual climate control and free high-speed wireless Internet. Patrons will have a chance to explore the Savor French bistro fare from its on-site restaurant, Verres en Vers, or try a refreshing cocktail at the hotel’s Signature Bar. The Signature Bar & Terrace is the perfect place to relax, socialize or work quietly at any time of the day while enjoying sophisticated drinks or revitalizing snacks. Their 12 conference rooms have a capacity of 12 to 400 guests making them ideal for group gatherings.

Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle, Morocco

In what would be seen as a marathon, in June this year, Radisson announced the debut of its second brand and third hotel in Morocco with the signing of Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle in partnership with Al Hoceinia Hospitality. The new facilities will join Radisson Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carre Eden and Radisson Blu Hotel, Casablanca City Center which are already operational.

With construction already underway, the hotel is scheduled to open in 2023 and will consist of 133 guestrooms and suites. Located in the heart of Casablanca’s vibrant and exclusive Gauthier district, Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle will give visitors easy access to the glistening La Corniche, the charming Old Medina, and Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. The hotel will offer a unique view over the Arab League Park and will also form part of La Citadelle, a new, premium mixed-use development which will comprise of residences, offices and retail outlets.

Partnership with Madaëf

In July, the Radisson Hotel Group in partnership with Madaëf announced the signing of seven Moroccan hotels some which are located in country’s renowned tourist sites namely; Al Hoceima, Saïdia and Taghazout. In Al Hoceima, Radisson Blu is building 432-room beach resort surrounded by the local reserve’s natural beauty.

The new facility will offer guests the ideal coastal-leisure experience with direct beach access and an abundance of water sport activities and is set to open its doors soon. Still in Al Hoceima Radisson will open the Radisson Blu Residences, a newly built 142-unit property also comprising of contemporary one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Residents will also have access to the properties’ three swimming pools and will be able to enjoy the extensive facilities at the adjacent Radisson Blu Resort, Al Hoceima.

 In Saidia, the Hotel Group will soon open the Radisson Blu Resort, a 397-room resort that is centrally located adjacent to the marina, offering guests memorable stays with direct beach access and an expansive range of facilities. Still in Saidia, The Radisson Blu Resort, Saïdia Garden is also scheduled for opening in Q2 2022. the 150-room converted resort will welcome guests with its modern standard rooms and luxurious suites. Guests will not only have access to the fitness center, all-day-dining restaurant, and bar but will also be able to enjoy the facilities at the adjacent Radisson Blu Resort, Saidia Beach. Another establishment, The Radisson Blu Residences, Saïdia with 192-units comprising standard and standard suite apartments is also to open in Q2 2022. The facility will feature an all-day-dining restaurant, two specialty restaurants as well as lounge, snack and wet bars. Guests can enjoy the property’s on-site wellness facilities, as well as those of the adjacent Radisson Blu Resort, Saidia Beach.

Radisson Blu Resort at the Taghazout Bay Surf Village is the fourth hotel in the portfolio opening soon. The facility will consist of various accommodation types perfect for family getaways. It will also have a wide array of facilities and dining options, for an ideal and memorable resort stay. The Radisson Residences Taghazout Bay are also on track to open in Q1 2023. The new build 208-unit property will comprise of two- and three-bedroom apartments and also provide guests with access to its outdoor swimming pool.

 The new portfolio consisting of resorts and residences will add over 1600 rooms bringing the Group’s Moroccan portfolio to 10 hotels, fast-tracking its strategy to reach 15 hotels in operation and under development in the country by 2025. In line with Madaëf’s commitment to sustainable tourism, the hotels will be operated in respect of their close proximity to the natural wonders and aim to implement Radisson Hotel Group’s leading Responsible Business program.

A plan to win in Africa

Radisson Hotel Group has made Africa the centre of its growth strategy and it announced in February 2021 that it aims to reach around 150 hotels in operation and under development by 2025. For the hotel group, 2021 represented a year of continued acceleration, with a focus on their identified key markets, specifically Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.  “We have reinforced our team and resources in order to not only increase the momentum of our growth ambitions, but also to better respond to the needs of the investment community in each market with the right skillset and relevant solutions,” said Ramsay Rankoussi, VP, development, Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group.

By close of the year, Rankoussi expects the Hotel to add a dozen new African hotel signings and around 2,000 rooms, 50% of which will be in these core focus countries with the remainder reinforcing the company’s presence in cluster markets or entering into new territories. Despite the economic downturn brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bold and strategic investments by the Radisson Hotel Group show a company that is confident about Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry. The mission according to Rankoussi for Radisson Hotel Group to command the “leading position as the hotel company with the largest active presence in the most countries across Africa”.

This feature appeared in the December 2021 edition of CEO Business Africa magazine. You can access the full digital magazine HERE

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