New lease on life for Central landmark

BIG REVAMP: Perfect William, from Dafco, is one of the painters working at the Edward Hotel Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
BIG REVAMP: Perfect William, from Dafco, is one of the painters working at the Edward Hotel

King Edward under new management with R10m revamp already begun

The pride of Port Elizabeth’s Central area is set to be restored to its former glory when the iconic King Edward Hotel reopens under the management of Eastern Cape hospitality group Lion Roars Hotels and Lodges in November.

The hotel, which enjoys commanding views of the Port Elizabeth Harbour and the Donkin Reserve, has been closed since 2008 after it was bought by Dubai-based Akula Trading, which still owns the property.

The relaunch of the sprawling 103-year-old hotel is expected to play a crucial role in the revival of the immediate area surrounding the facility and comes after extensive upgrades and additions were made to the Donkin Reserve.

A short distance from the King Edward Hotel, the Port Elizabeth Opera House in Whites Road also recently underwent a significant upgrade and has been complemented by a number of other Mandela Bay Development Agency-driven upgrades to infrastructure, buildings and parks in recent years.

All this is expected to assist in both the economic, tourism and social upliftment of the greater Central precinct.

Lion Roars, which has secured a 10-year contract to manage the facility, has an extensive portfolio of offerings ranging from boutique and luxurious hotels, wine estates and lodges to game reserves and tours.

They are based across the Eastern and Western Cape, with a major focus on the Garden Route.

Lion Roars head Kevin Bailey said the building had been used as a private residence for a number of years.

“When it was decided to recommence operations, mutual business colleagues introduced the parties as they felt that Lion Roars had a unique offering and experience in South Africa, especially in the Eastern Cape.”

He said the hotel had already had significant internal refurbishment and was expected to be fully operational in November.

“We will offer a pre-opening special on a limited number of rooms as the balance of the work is completed from April 15 onwards.

“The Lion Roars Group has deep roots in Port Elizabeth and is delighted to be involved in bringing a Port Elizabeth icon back to life.

“We feel that the regeneration of the King Edward will be a significant enhancement to urban resurrection in this important and historic Port Elizabeth area.”

Bailey said while the contents of the 10-year management contract were confidential, they involved a revenue and profit share.

The property was an ideal fit to the Lion Roars portfolio of luxury boutique accommodation and the hotel would be included as an offering within packages created around the group’s other properties across Cape Town, the Winelands, the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape.

“Lion Roars is managing the complete restoration of the hotel, with R10-million being spent on phase one and a pre-agreed significant further investment schedule ongoing over the next three years,” he said.

“We anticipate that the hotel will hold a four-star grading.”

Bailey said great steps had been taken by the business community to revive what was considered to be an important area in Port Elizabeth and the group believed that the reopening of the hotel would be a significant step in this process.

“We have actively engaged with the municipality and will encourage and support all steps to restore this area to its former glory,” he said.

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