Nyeri’s iconic White Rhino Hotel is up for auction, joining a long list of hospitality facilities that have folded up as the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage businesses.
The hotel which is more than 100 years old and located at the heart of Nyeri town is set to be sold by Garam Investments Auctioneers on June 2.
The auctioneers said the facility which sits on a three-acre land had outstanding land rates arrears amounting to Sh1.2 million as of July 2021.
According to Garam Investment Autioneers, the leasehold property, for a term of 50 years effective September 1, 2008, has annual revisable ground rent of Sh146,400.
“Bidders will produce a bidding deposit of Sh10 million by way of cash or bankers cheque before being allowed to bid,” the auctioneers said.
White Rhino Hotel is managed by Legend Hotels Limited. It was established in 1910 and named ‘White Rhino’ after white settlers shot and killed a rhino at the site.
It was built for big game hunters and it only admitted white guests until 1965 when things changed and it grew to become one of the biggest hotels in Nyeri County.
It belonged to Berkely Cole, Lord Cranworth and Sandy Herd but when Kenya gained independence in 1963, the Europeans sold it to an Asian businessman Ramnic Bhadrese, who later sold it to Amos Wamuyu in 1970.
In 1985, the hotel changed ownership to its current owner- the family of the former Kieni MP David Munene Kairu, which manages it through Legend Hotels Limited.
The multi-storey hotel building which has a bar, restaurant, staff quarters, administration block, coffee shop, butchery, gatehouse, basement parking and a borehole was gazetted as a national monument in 2001.
White Rhino becomes the fourth top hotel in the region to shutdown over Covid-19 effects on the hotel industry.
Outspan and Treetops hotel, built in the 1920s, were put up for sale in October last year. Outspan hosted the founder of the Scouts movement, Lord Baden-Powell, from 1938 to 1941while Treetops attained global recognition after it hosted Queen Elizabeth II who went to bed as a princess and woke up as a queen following the death of King George VI.
Serena Mountain Lounge and the Green Hills hotel also closed and reopened twice since the onset of the pandemic. It shut down operations again in March 2021.
The closure of White Rhino hotel comes barely a month after Nairobi city’s iconic Hilton hotel announced that it will close its doors indefinitely in December after being in operations for more than five decades.
As a result, unspecified number of workers will face lay off, underlining the troubles of the hospitality industry in the wake of the Covid-19 travel slump and other factors beyond the pandemic.
Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]