The dwindling donor support has put the Kenya Red Cross Society on the top gear to develop spacious Five? Star Hotels to source for alternative humanitarian funding, writes Humphrey Odhiambo.
Five days after formal soft-opening of The Five-Star Boma Hotel, Jenny my colleague and I were privileged to re-tour spaces that make this fascinating building one rare piece of architecture with refined interiors.
Boma, a Swahili word meaning shelter, was built in a record time of two years, by Kenyan architects, engineers and interior designers.
It’s mounting was timely, says Mr.Mugo Maringa, the hotel’s managing director who lauds the historic building of the Kenya Red Cross Society as a distinguished hotel with humanitarian grounding.
Mounted with stars of humanity, this hospitable location speaks of a deliberate action taken by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in sourcing for alternative funding to respond to emergency needs of populations affected by disasters in the country. For one, the KRCS was formed by an act of parliament and therefore funds generated from The Boma Hotels will largely be routed to disaster interventions across the country.
The Nairobi Boma has 148 amazing spacious rooms with a sterling one being a Presidential Suite and an already talk of the town Executive Suite. It also boasts of six business suites, 24 Deluxe Suites and 116 Superior Suites. The hotel has a wonderful heated pool with a large glass at the side that gives a view of swimmers and perhaps also detailed spot the much appreciated hygiene.
Built with a business-class traveler in mind, The Boma has many extraordinary characteristics that make it unique; one of which is the large sized rooms. The Presidential Suite is more of another magnificent hotel within the hotel. The Room is beautifully made and the overall ambience of the Hotel is very good. The comfortable bed and room with good quality amenities as well as personalized attention makes The Boma a preferred among frequent travelers.
The journey to constructing the Nairobi based Boma was fundamentally precipitated by the need of addressing the competition on donor funding says Mr. Maringa noting that services rendered by KRCS are 100 percent donor funded. KRCS has been supplementing the government in drought mitigation through appealing to local and international organizations for the required interventions.
Perhaps, the height of fast-tracking the construction of the prestigious Boma in Nairobi; followed the recent government declaration of drought as a disaster in Kenya. KRCS chose to think out of the box while making an international appeal for a total sum of Ksh 859 million to enable it to respond to emergency needs of populations affected by drought.
The government facilitated the move to put up KRCS hotel iniatives in Nairobi, Nyeri, Eldoret and has also since acquired a 3,000 acre land in Mlango, Tana River for the same purpose. According to Maringa, additional lands for putting up major hotels are on the pipeline with target places being Isiolo, Malindi and Mombasa. The society has conferencing facilities in Kisumu, Malindi and Nyeri, while Eldoret is slated to unveil the next Boma by February 2013.
“Our idea is also to ensure that we keep up with the pace of development of counties as they are lined for major growth take-offs in the next few years,” said Maringa stressing that the KRCS investment ventures into the hotelier landscape is within the laws of the country.
The KRCS does not get any funding from the Government. It relies on donor support and other well-wishers within the country and all over the world. As we all appreciate, this donor support is dwindling.
The efforts of the KRCS to supplement Government efforts in providing relief support to affected societies, has been noted all over the country. Owing to this dwindling support, KRCS has had to find ways and means of generating income. The hotels are very well-placed to generate income to mitigate disasters that have occurred severally in the country.
The birth of The Boma has come with refreshing tidings as it has so far created employment to 370 people says Maringa pointing out that the Bomas are even bound to create more jobs since KRCS vision is to have a major hotel in every county.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE BOMA HOTELS
Having graduated from Utalii College, Kenya in 1988 and proceeding to Belgium for further studies in Hotel Management ,Mugo has proven to be a think-tank with a wealth of experience demanded in the hospitality industry. For over 23 years, he’s been at the top management level in leading five star hotels in East Africa where he initiated and eventually opened flagship hotelier branches before his recent journey of actualizing The BOMA. His call to his hospitality team: “Offer the best service with a smile,”. He hastens to add: “Anyone can check-in a guest but not everyone can do it with a smile