The Three Cities Group has added five new hotels – the Hide Safari Camp in Zimbabwe, the Makakatana Bay Lodge within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu Natal, Ubizane Tree and Safari Lodge near Hluhluwe, Durban’s distinguished Upton Hall and the Jozini Tiger Lodge in Northern Kwa Zulu Natal – to its portfolio of properties, bringing the total number of new alliance partners this year to 10. Mike Lambert, CEO of the Three Cities Group, said that each of these beautiful properties was a perfect fit for Three Cities. Last year, the group signed up just four new partners. Lambert said that the inclusion of 10 new properties within the first half of the year was a coup for the group and evidence that the tourism sector was beginning to ride out the economic downturn.
Three Cities was formed in 1988 as a hospitality group offering specialized services in the tourism industry. Today, the group manages and markets over 32 quality tourism and leisure properties and has a strong network of sales and marketing specialists working out of Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and London. Its distinctive portfolio includes four operating divisions – City Hotels, Resorts, Exceptional Safaris and its Exceptional Collection.
“We ensure that both the consumer and travel trade believe in our brands and trust what they stand for. Our stringent membership criteria ensure that we maintain the integrity of our brands which are at the forefront of the four and five star hospitality offering,” he said.
Lambert explained that brand flexibility was one of the Three Cities Group’s hallmarks and allowed each hotel to own and maintain its singular identity whilst being sold to the travel trade under the Three Cities brand.
“We focus on each hotel’s specific needs and recognize that no two hotels are the same. We believe that each hotel must obtain a real return on investment in all market segments in order to ensure that it is successful in a highly competitive operating environment. By promoting our brand collectively and spreading the costs through joint sales and marketing initiatives, individual properties can achieve economies of scale with their marketing budgets.”
He added that smaller independent properties also stood to benefit from the technical expertise that an alliance with a big brand like Three Cities offered. “Three Cities’ extensive investment in a digital reservation platform encompassing real time connection to each properties reservation system, a dedicated call centre, online booking engine as well as direct links into several online travel agencies and other API and GDS channels would ordinarily be out of the reach of smaller, independent operations”, he said.
The Upton Hall Boutique Guest Lodge in Durban will be marketed as part of the Three Cities Exceptional Hotels Collection. One of the city’s premier 1930′s-style mansions, it was transformed into a boutique guest house that combines distinctive features such as a magnificent chandelier, grand staircase and a cigar lounge with modern day essentials such as electronic access and state-of-the art security. Individually themed luxury suites as well as distinctive features such as a gym that offers the option of a personal trainer and a well-equipped boardroom are aimed at the discerning guest.
The exclusive Hide Safari Camp in Zimbabwe, Makakatana Bay Lodge within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ubizane Tree and Safari Lodge near Hluhluwe in KwaZulu Natal have joined the Three Cities Exceptional Safaris brand which offers a range of upmarket eco and game lodge experiences across diverse wildlife destinations in Southern Africa.
The Hide Safari Camp was built in 1992 by the Preston family which has a passion for nature and the Hwange National Park, in particular. It comprises ten beautiful tented suites with views over the waterhole where animals congregate day and night.
The four star Makakatana Bay Lodge is the only privately owned safari lodge set on the banks of Lake St Lucia within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, providing guests with a unique opportunity to explore Africa’s largest estuary which forms part of a World Heritage site.
The Ubizane Wildlife Reserve – Zulu for the Place of Calling – just outside Hluhluwe comprises the luxury Zululand Tree Lodge within the surrounding Fever Trees and the self-catering Zululand Safari Lodge, stretched out across rolling lawns under the Acacia Canopies.
The Jozini Tiger Lodge in Northern KwaZulu Natal is the first Zululand-based member of the Three Cities resorts division. Located in scenic rural settings, these offer comfort and tranquility as part of a distinctive lodge resort experience. The Jozini Tiger Lodge is approximately 300km from Durban, close to the picturesque Pongolapoort River and the Jozini Dam. It provides a range of accommodation options including self-catering units and bed and breakfast facilities in luxurious en suite accommodation.
For further information about any of The Three Cities Properties, visit www.threecities.co.za or call reservations on 031-310 6900.