Global hotel brand bags Nyungwe, Gorilla lodges

Saturday May 6 2017

Nyungwe Forest Lodge will be rebranded to One & Only Nyungwe House.  PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

Nyungwe Forest Lodge will be rebranded to One & Only Nyungwe House. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

One & Only Resorts, a global hospitality brand that mainly invests in beach resorts, residences and luxury hotels, has added Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest Lodge and Gorilla’s Nest to its portfolio.

The two properties, one located in the Nyungwe Forest and the other in the Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi, Northern Province have been rebranded as One & Only Nyungwe House and One & Only Gorilla’s Nest.

One & Only Nyungwe House, which was previously managed by Dubai World, opens its doors in July while the Gorilla’s Nest will open in 2018.

“I am thrilled we are able to continue to evolve the One & Only experience, providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests,” said Philippe Zuber, president and chief operating officer of One & Only Resorts.

Rwanda becomes the third African market for One & Only Resorts after South Africa and Mauritius where the global hotel brand runs beach resorts. It has other properties around the world.

The global hotel brand plans to capitalise on nature and adventure tourism with One & Only Nyungwe House and One & Only Gorilla’s Nest.

Frank Mustaff, the country director of Horwath HTL, a hospitality consulting group believes these new One & Only resorts could bring in new visitors and create tourism opportunities for the country.

“They will market these new properties and raise awareness about Rwanda with their global clients,” Mr Mustaff told Rwanda Today.

Conservation

The two properties will capitalise on the conservation activities in the two locations with guests to One & Only Nyungwe House getting to track primates and trekking the Kamiranzovu swamp among other experiences. The property is located in Gisakura, a tea plantation at the edge of Nyungwe National park.

One & Only Gorilla’s Nest will offer the gorilla tracking experience and views of local hills in Northern Province and slopes of Volcanoes National Park among others.

“Rwanda is an incredible destination that offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We look forward to enabling our guests to explore the country and its culture and provide them with the ultimate connection to nature,” a statement from the group said.

The Nyungwe National Park received 11,000 visitors in 2016, up from 9,000 the previous year.

According to Mr Mustaff, mountain gorilla tourism can be marketed as luxury experience in the country.

“On average, gorilla trekking can cost a couple $5,000, so I would consider this to be luxury tourism,” he said.

But he added that more products are needed to diversify the country’s luxury tourism offering.