Friday, November 10th, 2006 at 1:48 pm / The Monitor (Kampala)
News Article
By Muhereza Kyamutetera & Fredrick Masiga, Kampala

Uganda: Kampala Serena Hotel Opens

PRESIDENT Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and His Highness The Aga Khan will today at a colourful ceremony officially open the newly refurbished and expanded Kampala Serena Hotel.

The opening takes place nearly two years after the former Nile Hotel was leased from the government for 30 years by Tourism Promotion Services (TPS), an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (Akfed) that operates the famous brand of Serena Hotels in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and now Uganda.

The hotel has been remodeled and uniquely designed and expanded from a 65-room facility to 152 Five-star rooms at a cost of over $30.5 million.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, Mahmud Jan Mohammed, TPS Managing Director, thanked all stakeholders involved in the hotel’s record 17 months refurbishment and promised first class services that have over the years come to be associated with the Serena brand.

“We were required to expand Nile Hotel to 145 rooms and invest at least $15 million. We have however overshot these expectations and have invested $30.5 million and expanded to 152 rooms and done all this in a record 17 months. I can now stand and look you in the eye and say we have delivered what we promised. We are proud of this achievement,” he said.

GRAND: TPS Eastern Africa Ltd Managing Director Mr Mahmud Jan Mohamed (L), addresses journalists on Wednesday ahead of the official opening of Kampala Serena Hotel. Looking on is the Hotel ’s General Manager, Mr Killian Lugwe. Photo by Wandera w’Ouma

“We made a promise and we have lived up to this promise. We are now recognized as East Africa’s finest hotel and again we have to live up to the promise of East Africa’s finest hotel service,” he said.

The Hotel

The hotel has 108 hotel rooms, 32 executive rooms, 8 corner suites, 3 Business suites and one presidential suite.

All rooms are fully air conditioned, have large bathrooms with separate bath, toilet & shower facilities, hair driers, in-room Satellite television, internet access via data port and wireless internet connectivity, direct dialing telephone with multiple lines and voice mail, modem hook-ups for computers, a mini bar and private safes and tea/coffee making facilities.

Also available at the hotel is a gift shop, a beauty salon, boutiques, express check-in/check-out facilities and a complimentary newspaper.

Standard/Deluxe Rooms go for $200, executive rooms go for $275, while Business Rooms go for $550 and the Presidential suite goes for $2,500 a night. All rates exclude an 18 per cent Value Added Tax.

“All these rooms are the same in service and quality and are uniquely and tastefully designed in the typical Serena elegance and class; the only difference lies in size,” said Ms Joyce Wangui, the hotel’s Sales Manager.

She said the hotel also offers hotel shuttle services, airport taxi service and a Limousine service at $20, $40 and $55 respectively.

The hotel also has two bars, three restaurants, a fully equipped business centre and a variety of conference rooms. The hotel’s refurbished main conference centre can seat up to 1,500 people while other smaller rooms can handle between 40 to 150 people.

All conference rooms are complete with wireless and cable broadband Internet, direct-dial digital phones, public address systems, multi-media display facilities, translation facilities and fully connected.

The conference centre also offers on request professional event management services, a cyber café, comprehensive reprographics and printing services, audiovisual and presentation equipment, professional secretarial, word-processing and translation services and local, regional, national and international courier services.

Other services include forex and retail services, travel desk and limousine service, private VIP entrance, a VIP Apartment and a helipad.

The magnificent Maisha Health Club gives members exclusive access to a large swimming pool, fully equipped gym, steam rooms, sauna, aerobics room and massage.

“An inspirational blend of Five-star polish and pan-African finesse, the 152-room world-class hotel showcases the cream of Ugandan culture while delivering the ultimate in personalised service, international cuisine, social style and business reliability,” said Ms Wangui.

She said the hotel has been developed in a mixture of architectural inspiration that borrows from Uganda’s vast natural endowments, incorporating the lakes and rivers theme and a mixture of wrought ironwork, mosaic pillars, hand-carved panels, cascading waterfalls and shimmering water gardens alike.

“This was completed with a touch from local artists whose stunning carved panels, mosaic pillars, beaten copper fretwork, sensational traditional jewelery, beaded wall hangings and hand-carved ‘bambara birds’ and sculpted rock grace the sufficiently lit interior,” she added.

Among the breath catchers is the 7-metre waterfall originating from the Ssese pool oasis and 17 acres of manicured and terraced but immaculate gardens occasioned by a wide selection of indigenous trees and flowers. While the hotel does not accept personal cheques, it accepts Visa, Access/Master Card, American Express, JCB, Senator, Diners International cards as well as proprietary travelers cheques.

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