The GrandWest Grand Hotel will be getting “grander” after the Sun International Group announced that it will be investing an initial R122 million to expand the Grand Hotel from 39 rooms to 103 rooms.
Sun International’s investment is the first phase of a master plan that envisages developing a separate 250-room, 4-star conference hotel at GrandWest, says GrandWest general manager Mervyn Naidoo.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri officiated at the sod-turning ceremony, on Wednesday November 9.
Mr Hill-Lewis said that he remembers land the hotel was built on being “an enormous dustpan” when he used to skate at the old Goodwood Ice Rink growing up.
“I must have been around 13 or 14 when this place was built so to see what it has become in the Cape Town landscape and to have the opportunity to take part in it’s further development and growth is very special.”
The mayor said it was one of the first big projects to get off the ground after Covid, and it was important for the city.
“This is a 103-bed hotel, a R122 million investment, but it symbolises so much more, it symbolises the returned confidence in our Cape Town economy after Covid,” he said.
Ms Nokeri said the development would be good for Cape Town.
“I can imagine how many jobs it’s going to create. There are so many events that can take place here, and I think it’s going to create a great event influx for the economy of SA.”
The expanded hotel, which will be completed by October 2023, will feature an indoor heated swimming pool, a spa, a gym and a nail bar.
It will also include presidential suites, ordinary suites, double and twin rooms and inter-leading family rooms. A new access road will be built to give visitors direct access to the hotel.
“Once the hotel has been built, we will be employing an additional 15 permanent staff members. They will be working within the hotel, reception and housekeeping department,” said Mr Naidoo.
The development will employ 300 construction workers.
Mr Naidoo said architects would endeavour to keep the extension consistent with the original architectural plan and style.
“Uniquely, all of GrandWest’s facades are scaled down recreations of old Cape Town buildings – the much-mourned Tivoli Music Hall (demolished in the 1930s) and the even more sorely missed Alhambra Theatre (demolished in 1970); the Old Railway Station (1905 – 1968); and Cartwright’s Corner, that now-vanished Adderley Street landmark.”
To respect the existing architectural style the design is based on, Sun International’s development and infrastructure manager Anton Steenkamp said they would be developing two identical three-storey wings positioned symmetrically on either side of the existing entrance and porte cochère, which would remain largely unchanged.
Mr Hill-Lewis said it was great to see the appreciation for Cape Town’s history, culture, and diversity woven into the extension.
“It is very special for Capetonians, and I’m sure that everyone will appreciate it,” he said.
Ward councillor Franchesca Walker said the development would foster job creation and create opportunities for contractors to take on smaller businesses to help with the development.
“GrandWest has supported our communities exceptionally well throughout Covid, so it’s not just about looking at where people have money to spend at the hotel but also they are giving back to those in need and making sure that vulnerable communities receive the necessary help.”