Intercontinental Hotels Group has opened a Holiday Inn branded property in Soweto, making it the first international chain hotel to open in the South African township of Kliptown.
The Holiday Inn Soweto Freedom Square cost US$3.4 million to build, and features 48 rooms including two suites. There are also two boardrooms for meetings, as well as a jazz-inspired restaurant. The hotel’s interior mixes old and new with period photographs by South African photographer Alf Khumalo, and embroidered works by local artists.
Construction of the hotel followed the South African government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) procurement policy, with 80 per cent of the workforce coming from small, medium and micro enterprises based in Soweto.
Located within Johannesburg’s Soweto urban area, Kliptown has become a popular tourist destination in recent times, aided by the fact that both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have previously lived in the township.
Intercontinental is also due to open its first Express by Holiday Inn in Cape Town before the end of 2007. For more information visit ichotelsgroup.com.
Report by Mark Caswell