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Kliptown's 4-star hotel

By unknown | Oct 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The historic Kliptown township is finally seeing better days, with the Capello Restaurant chain soon opening a restaurant there, while the Kliptown Museum has also already opened its doors.

Yesterday the township saw the launch of the Holiday Inn Soweto, the first international four-star hotel in the history of Soweto.

The only hotels that ever existed in the township, Marabe Hotel in Phomolong and Diepkloof Hotel in Diepkloof, are now deemed passe.

During the struggle days the two hotels were a symbol of a couture statement among blacks. Although both hotels were initially owned by the government, they were later sold to private black owners.

Situated at the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, the historic heart of Soweto, 40km south of Johannesburg, the Holiday Inn Soweto hotel is set to change the anterior of the township and boost tourism.

Established in 1903, Kliptown, the oldest suburb in Soweto, became famous in 1955 when thousands of people from various anti-apartheid organisations converged on the square to agree on a draft Freedom Charter.

It is estimated that more than 200000 visitors tour the township every year. They come to see the famous Vilakazi Street - the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners, anti-apartheid icons Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, have lived. They also tour the Hector Pieterson memorial and Walter Sisulu Square.

Studies done in Soweto have shown that tourists often arrive in large numbers, but these do not translate into longer stays.

The establishment of the hotel has filled a needed gap and offers top-class accommodation for visitors wanting to stay over in Soweto.

Walter Sisulu Square is a mixed-use precinct initiated by the Johannesburg Property Company. The Kliptown project comprises the hotel, the recently opened Kliptown Museum, retail and office space as well as an informal trading area. The company has signed a 10-year lease with Zatic Hotels & Resorts to operate the hotel.

The hotel has 46 top-of-the-range rooms and two presidential suites, two executive boardrooms, and a funky jazz restaurant.

The weekend room rate is R1380 for a double room.

The rooms are a blend of modern and old. Formica combined with Egyptian cotton and Alf Khumalo's DRUM period photographs adorn the walls as do expressive embroidered art by local Soweto Co-op artists.

Owned by Freedom Square Hotel (Pty) Limited, a consortium of leading business and leisure shareholders, the hotel is expected to create at least 40 permanent jobs.

Renowned businessman Abbey Chikane is the chairperson in charge of development and operations, together with Peter Mbuli from the Ipelegeng Youth Development Programme.


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