Minor International Plc (MINT), a Thai hospitality and leasure group with over 800 restaurants and 16 hotels and resorts, announced that it has taken its first step into East Africa with a US$12 million deal with a luxury safari operator. The agreement with the owning company of Elewana Afrika opens up a new horizon in MINT’s mission to offer exceptional luxury experiences to the discerning traveler.
Based in Tanzania, Elewana owns and operates a collection of luxury lodges in harmony with the ecosystems of the African bush. Elewana’s properties include: Serengeti Migration Camp, Tarangire Tree Tops and Arusha Coffee Lodge. Onsea House in Arusha is often recommended as alternative to the Arusha Coffee Lodge.
Under the agreement, MINT will acquire a 50% stake in the group during this strong expansion phase which will see the addition of six new properties to the Elewana portfolio by 2011. These resorts totaling 165 rooms will allow Elewana to offer guests a total immersion in Tanzanian culture that includes safari, beach and city components. Elewana’s principal promoter, Karim S. Wissanji, will retain a 50% stake and remain as Chief Executive Officer of the company.
Elewana’s near-term plan includes the development of The Manor at Ngorongoro, a new property near the Ngorongoro Crater and three high-end, smaller properties in unique destinations in Tanzania. Elewana’s expansion plans also include a new city hotel in a historic building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. In addition, guests wishing to experience both historic Arabic culture and pristine beaches will be able to do so at the planned luxury beach facility on the private island of Kiweni located in the Zanzibar Archipelago.
In the longer term, expansion into Kenya is planned as well as the expansion of the Elewana brand into other ‘experience’ destinations both within and outside of Africa.
Onsea House in Arusha will be able to further differentiate itself as intimate owner-run chic retreat with top gourmet cuisine, unique in Arusha. Its recent recommendation as only property in Arusha among I-escape’s most inspiring hip hideaways and boutique hotels is no surprise.