Gaborone Sun popularly known as G-Sun has been re-born under a new brand name, logo and design and the famous moniker is expected to disappear from the building sign writings, business cards, hotel towels and probably social lexicon.
The hotel is being re-branded in a move that will see the famous 30 year old moniker disappear from its commercial activities as the new owner Minor Hotel Group (MHG) tries to embed a new identity in the minds of consumers. This is part of a campaign by MHG, a hotel owner, operator and investor, currently with a portfolio of 133 hotels and resorts in 22 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Africa and the Indian Ocean, to rebrand five hotels in southern Africa to its upscale AVANI brand starting July 1st this year.
The five properties form part of the portfolio in which MHG invested a total of R679.5 million in theirstrategic partnership with Sun International, announced in August last year. MHG’s investment resulted in the group owning a stake in two properties in both Zambia and Lesotho and one property in Botswana and Namibia. The 212-key Zambezi Sun in Zambia will be rebranded to AVANI Victoria Falls Resort; the 196-key Gaborone Sun in Botswana will become AVANI Gaborone Hotel & Casino; the 158-key Lesotho Sun and 105-key Maseru Sun, both in Lesotho, are to be rebranded to AVANI Lesotho Hotel & Casino and AVANI Maseru Hotel respectively, and the 173-key Kalahari Sands in Namibia will reflag to become AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino.
The sixth property in the portfolio, the well known Royal Livingstone Resort, will not be rebranded and is being marketed through the Sun International’s SunLux Collection, supported by Anantara distribution channels. Since the partnership was formed last year, both companies’ core strengths have been leveraged, with MHG assuming the hotel management, marketing and distribution of the properties, while Sun International has continued to manage the on-property casino operations.
AVANI Hotels & Resorts is the vibrant upscale brand which MHG launched in 2011. Offering relaxed comfort and contemporary style in city and resort destinations to guests who value the details that matter, AVANI was launched in response to an increasingly influential group of discerning travellers who appreciate good design and excellent service, but also demand great value. In addition to the five hotels to be rebranded in southern Africa, AVANI currently has a portfolio of eight hotels and resorts across six countries in Asia and Africa, including AVANI Pemba Beach Hotel in Mozambique and the most recent addition to the portfolio ÔÇô AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa.
AVANI will continue to be developed across the Asia Pacific region and in the Middle East and Africa, with the first new-build AVANI opening later this year in Bangkok. Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group, commented, “We are happy to reflag these five properties to our upscale AVANI brand and in doing so expand the brand significantly into the African market, adding to AVANI Pemba which joined the portfolio last year. Africa is a key market for Minor Hotel Group and our partnership with Sun International allows both companies to focus on their strengths, and these properties rebranding to AVANI will allow them to realise their full potential.”
Graeme Stephens, CEO of Sun International said: “This partnership with MINT in Africa provides an opportunity for us to create a strategic alliance with a leading international hospitality and leisure operator that brings not only hotel management and marketing expertise but also an ability and desire to invest. The partnership with MINT in Africa is in line with Sun International’s strategy to optimise its capital allocation and resources. It enables Sun International to remain invested in Africa, but with responsibility for the casino component only, as well as to partner with MINT in other African opportunities that have a casino element. The partnership with MINT will also allow Sun International to give greater focus to opportunities identified in Latin America and Asia, where MINT has a strong presence, as further key growth markets for its core casino business.” Sir Richard Hawkins, Regional Director Hotel Operations, Africa, commented, “These properties being rebranded to AVANI is an important step in the evolution of the portfolio.
We are excited to be part of the Minor Hotel Group team here in Africa and look forward to maximising the opportunities for these hotels as they become part of a growing international hotel brand.” MHG currently has a portfolio of 26 properties in seven countries in Africa operating under three of the group’s six brands. In addition to the six properties the group operates in southern Africa through its partnership with Sun International, MHG also has existing partnerships for the ownership of Elewana Collection, 14 luxury safari lodges and resorts in Kenya and Tanzania, five hotels in Mozambique which include both Anantara and AVANI flags, plus Essque Zalu Zanzibar which MHG took over the management of at the end of 2014 and is to be reflagged to a PER AQUUM resort in early 2016.