Cresta Oasis Hotel and Apartments in Harare has been officially relaunched following the completion of a year-long, US$3,5 million renovation project aimed at market-leader status in its field of operation.
A celebration of the new-look hotel was held recently to mark the completion of work and to create awareness of the renaissance of the 44-year-old hotel, which is set to help keep Harare — and Zimbabwe — on the travel and tourism map, especially with visitors from across Africa.
Cresta Hotels is one of southern Africa’s most vibrant and best-known hospitality groups, with operations in three countries: Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.
The group operates five hotels in Zimbabwe: Cresta Oasis, Cresta Lodge and Cresta Jameson in Harare; Cresta Churchill in Bulawayo; and Cresta Sprayview in Victoria Falls. Together, these provide a range of hospitality services for guests from across Zimbabwe, and for visitors to the country for holiday or business purposes.
The Cresta Oasis renaissance programme has transformed the hotel into one of the most exciting venues in its specialised market field, a natural home for conferences, long-stay guests, short-stayers primarily from around Zimbabwe and across the southern African region, and people from within the city looking to be hosted and entertained in a stylish and modern manner.
The hotel celebrated its 40th anniversary fours year ago and the refurbishment has been built on the foundation of one of the true hospitality gems of Harare.
Work involved all apartments and bedrooms, all public areas, all conference rooms, the creation of a new conference room on the site of a previous public bar and the creation of an exciting new bar and entertainment centre in the old night club on the eastern side of the hotel. In all the bedrooms and apartments, bathrooms were upgraded, an important factor given that almost 60% of decision-making related to choosing accommodation is based on perceptions of the bathrooms!
In addition, a new hotel entrance was created along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, closing entrances through the sanitary lanes using them only as service lanes. As a result of the new entrance, the reception was also be repositioned to face the new entrance. Re-paving all the car parks and installing car ports in the main car park helped improve the aesthetics of the hotel.
The Cresta Oasis programme is part of a bigger story, because in the past seven years Cresta has invested more than US$10,5 million into upgrading of Zimbabwean properties, gearing them for current and future growth in travel and tourism and ensuring they remain relevant as market leaders in the three and four-star market.
The group started this refurbishment programme by opening a major conference centre at the Cresta Lodge property in eastern Harare, called Cresta Sango, opening up a new opportunity for conferencing, banqueting and eventing in the market for up to 1 000 people.
A complete renovation and refashioning of Cresta Lodge followed, creating a popular, respected and sought-after hospitality establishment with excellent feedback from guests across the board. Cresta Lodge last year celebrated its 25th anniversary and looks forward to continued growth in its prime market, which is that of business travel.
Cresta also entered into an arrangement to take over and revamp an existing hotel in Victoria Falls and in 2013 opened this as Cresta Sprayview, the group’s first entry into Zimbabwe’s primary tourist destination. Business there has been consistently good and this hotel has established itself as one of the most attractive and desired accommodation and event venues in the town.
Cresta then converted the accommodation block at the rear of Cresta Oasis into an apartments facility, aimed at long-stay travellers who wish to have a larger accommodation offering linked to a hotel with all the features of a hotel, from conferencing rooms to restaurants and bars.
After that, work started on a series of upgrades and changes at Cresta Jameson, a hotel that carries with it history dating back to 1958. Works there will be completed later this year, after which the hotel will meet changing expectations of guests who first and foremost enjoy the ambience of a busy and buzzy establishment in the exciting city centre.
In Bulawayo, Cresta last year re-launched Cresta Churchill after a year-long refurbishment costing US$700 000, aimed at making the facility a market leader in Bulawayo and encouraging increasing business levels.