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New luxury hospitality group reinvents CT icon

Sep 19 2016 12:45
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The iconic Ritz hotel in Sea Point is undergoing refurbishment of R110m and the 220-bedroom property is set to be operational in in December.

The hotel was established in 1972 and features Cape Town’s only revolving restaurant. The Top of The Ritz offers 360 degree views of Sea Point, Lions Head and the Atlantic Ocean. The aim is to have the refurbished hotel fully operational by December 1 2016. Apart from the Top of the Ritz, it will boast a Switch Gym, exclusive residency and a new nightclub.

The newly-launched Shimmy Luxury Collection (SLC) of entrepreneur Nicky van der Walt has taken on a 20-year management contract for The Ritz. Van der Walt will personally manage the Ritz and his wife Leanne Liebenberg is involved in a creative advisery role.

He explained that he launched SLC as a luxury hospitality group with an equity-based management model. So far SLC’s portfolio companies include the Shimmy Beach Club, The Ritz, the Bloemendal Wine Estate and Bon Amis @ Bloemendal. There is also a strong pipeline of projects in development stages on the continent.

The goal of SLC, according to Van der Walt, is to uplift the hospitality landscape in Cape Town. His aim is to plough resources back into city, create jobs and contribute to the ongoing urban renewal of Sea Point’s commercial precinct.

Van der Walt wants to ensure that SLC becomes a leading hospitality solutions business, offering memorable entertainment spaces on par with top luxury collections in the world. He wants it to represent design driven accessible luxury.

Therefore, SLC aims to become an alternative to the traditional corporate hospitality brands "bringing an x-factor and element of cool that is unconventional and incomparable to what is currently available in the market place".

"SLC is a unique venture with an interesting business model and a strong management team offering 360 degree insights. We position ourselves as business partners rather than a management company and offer equity-based investment solutions, enabling SLC to provide bespoke design concepts and operational solutions across the industry," explained Van der Walt.

“We’re not simply a management company. We offer equity and investment solutions that create a partnership model by being vertically integrated by offering a single-source turn-key solution. We have the resources that enable us to deliver on all aspects, from bespoke design concepts through to operational solutions. We offer a vision and provide the blueprint to get there.”

All bases are covered, from legal support, financial investment and operational modelling through to design and brand building.

He pointed out that Cape Town is poised for a record year of tourism. In his view, there is, therefore, great demand for new hospitality groups like SLC, "whose service and offerings enhance the sector and satisfy the needs of affluent travellers".

On top of that, he foresees that the Western Cape's growing importance as an ITC hub, should attract more business travellers.

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