VICTORIA FALLS – The opening of the new and iconic Palm River Hotel was marked with a celebratory event held yesterday on the hotel’s grand entrance foyer, overlooking the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.
Honorary members of council including the Mayor of the Municipality of Victoria Falls, Cllr Dhlamini, investment partners, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, National Parks and Wildlife Authority and other esteemed guests were gathered to celebrate the opening of Victoria Falls’ first 73-room hotel on the Zambezi River.
During the ceremony, the official declaration of opening was pronounced by the Mayor of the Municipality of Victoria Falls, Cllr Dhlamini. The opening declaration was followed by speeches from joint investments partners Old Mutual Zimbabwe and the Spencer’s Creek Group.
Jim Brown, CEO of Spencer’s Creek Group expressed his gratitude to guests, “Today we are surrounded by many establishments who have supported our vision of this impressive $24 million dollar project. The Spencer’s Creek Group have been in the tourism industry in Victoria Falls for 50 years and is renowned for our existing property, Ilala Lodge Hotel, located in the heart of Victoria Falls. We continue to participate, contribute and collaborate with all sectors of local Government, Town Council, Municipality and the local business community. Our investment partners Old Mutual Zimbabwe are also well represented here today - and without their support this project would still be in its infancy.”
“The Palm River Hotel is a unique development; the first of its kind in Victoria Falls. I am proud to say that we are now the market leaders in this level of luxury accommodation,” said Brown
He continued, “The Palm River Hotel has been a substantial project, running over the course of two and a half years. We have endured dire circumstances through the Covid-19 pandemic, which has only further demonstrated our confidence, and the confidence of our investment partners, to achieve this iconic architectural triumph.”
The Palm River Hotel opens to the public on the 1st December 2021, offering 31 rooms including 28 Deluxe Rooms, a Presidential Suite, an Executive Suite and an exclusive Villa. Phase two of the project will be complete early 2022, bringing the number of rooms to a total of 73 rooms and suites. The hotel was originally scheduled for completion in June 2020 during the global Covid-19 pandemic, and as a result faced its share of challenges including restricted construction schedules, postponed logistics and social distancing restrictions imposed on contractors. An extended construction timeline was implemented to overcome these obstacles and ensure completion to the highest standard.
During his speech, Brown acknowledged the hard work and resilience of the design and construction teams for their efforts to source materials, skills, and labour from within the Zimbabwean borders. He added, “during construction we have employed over 150 building labour and countless skilled senior staff from across the country. Furthermore, the opening of the hotel allows a further 200 employment opportunities for hospitality staff and personnel from within the local Victoria Falls region.”
Brown credited the return of tourism confidence in Zimbabwe to the ongoing efforts of the Government for their vaccine roll-out programme, the relaxation of the COVID protocols and re- opening of the land borders for tourism.