From February 14 to 18 1976, His Royal Highness the Aga Khan, Begum Salimah Aga Khan and Prince Amyn Mohammed visited Nairobi to attend the opening ceremony of the Nairobi Serena Hotel by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The Nairobi Serena is fourth in the "Serena" chain of hotels, projects of the Tourism Promotion Services Ltd., and with its opening, the K. L 3.2 million 'Serena' project was complete.
The four days of their Royal Highness in Nairobi were packed with activity. A large number of Ismailis received their Royal Highness at the Embakasi Airport. Their Highness and Prince Amyn Mohammed visited all the four Jamat Khanas in Nairobi, the Darkahan Jamatkhana, Parklands, Fort Hall and Eastleigh; Mowlana Hazar Imam performed religious ceremonies and blessed several marriages. Begum Salimah Aga Khan visited H.H the Aga Khan Platinum Jubilee Hospital where she met doctors and nurses and went round the wards, and also visited H.H the Aga Khan Girl's Hostel.
HOTEL OPENING CEREMONY
At the Opening Ceremony of the Nairobi Serena Hotel on February 16, His Royal Highness the Aga Khan urged the people of Kenya to preserve their cultural heritage.
"The sheer variety of Kenya's attractions have few equals anywhere," he told the distinguished guests.
He added, "I speak not only of your national parks and their mountains, forests, plains deserts, and coastal shores, not even of your wild life which of course, is unique - but also your cultures, your people and your traditions".
He said these "priceless assets must be preserved and cherished at all costs not simply for tourists, but for their own sakes."
His Highness praised the leadership of Kenya's President, His Excellency Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, which had earned Kenya "an international reputation as a friendly, orderly and hospitable country to the thousands of foreigners who visit it every year."
He said the chain of Serena Hotels would try to give the tourist "a real feeling for the history, culture and lifestyle of the country." This aim was reflected not only in the architecture of the hotel building, but also in its setting and landscaping, its decoration and furnishing, he said.
In his speech declaring the hotel open, President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta stressed the importance of tourism to Kenya's economy.
The Nairobi Serena has cost about K L 1.8 million to construct and equip. The hotel has three restaurants, and exclusive grills, a terrace barbeque and a formal restaurant for table d'hote meals. The pool area is certainly one of the finest in Nairobi. The gardens, as they develop, will reflect the glory of the flowers of Kenya, a theme which has been infused through the hotel in decor and decoration. The idea has been to developed an indoor/outdoor atmosphere utilizing Nairobi's pleasant weather as a factor in a peaceful holiday.
Serena Hotel and Lodges are a Toursim Promotion Services Ltd. (T.P.S.) project which was initiated by Mowlana Hazar Imam through Industrial Promotion Services (K) Ltd. (I.P.S.).
Prince Amyn Muhammed who is the Executive Chairman for T.P.S. (Management) Ltd. has been actively involved in the development of the Serena Chain.
The development of Serena expresses the confidence of the investors in the future of this country, which fact President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta acknowledges in his address at the time of the opening of the Serena Beach Hotel, Mombassa last year when he paid glowing tributes to the foresight of Mowlana Hazar Imam and praised the Ismaili community for its contribution to the development of this country.
The guests of the Nairobi Serena will have a fine view of Nairobi's skyline and those rooms facing east over Nairobi City will have an unbelievably pretty outlook over the city centre. Each of the 200 rooms is individually air conditioned and also has a heater for the cooler nights. Three boutiques will shortly be opened on the ground floor, one a pharmacy, the other a high-class gift shop and the third a hairdressing salon.
During his stay in Nairobi, Hazar Imam had talks with President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
The talks were held at State House, Nakuru. His Highness and the President discussed matters of mutual interest. The President later introduced His Highness to a delegation of exfreedom fighter and acted as interpreter while His Highness addressed them.
His Highness told the delegation he had great admiration for President Kenyatta "who is the chief architect of the peace and prosperity that prevails in the country". He wished the President a long life and good health so that he could continue leading the country with his wise leadership to even greater prosperity.
His Highness was accompanied by Count (Sir) Eboo Pirbhai, Chairman of the H.H. the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Supreme Council for Europe, Canada, U.S.A. and Africa.
Source: Ismaili Mirror, Imant Day
Please use the back arrow to go back to the previous page
Back to timeline 1970