Italian billionaire to sell Sh500m Malindi resort
Ex-Formula One chief and Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore has announced he is seeking a buyer for one of his high-class luxury beach hotels in Malindi amid low tourist arrivals.
Briatore, through his hotel manager Philip Chai, said the decision to sell the Lion in the Sun resort was prompted by low holidaymakers’ numbers over the years. This, he said, has negatively impacted Malindi’s economy.
Addressing the press on Friday, Chai who doubles as the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers North Coast branch chairman said the fashionable resort is among six hotels that have remained closed.
This is despite booming tourism in Watamu and Malindi resorts such as Kilili Baharini and Ocean beach among others following the end of the August 8 General Election.
“Tourism used to fare well in Malindi and its environs in the 1990s until the country experienced the 2007-2008 postelection violence and Al-Shabaab terror threats,” he said.
Chai said food stuff suppliers were also accruing losses as some stakeholders are incapable of paying them due to bad business.
The Lion in the Sun, which opened in 2013, is located about 400 metres from Malindi Marine Park. The investment is opposite the Billionaire Beach Resort which is also owned by Briatore.
Hosting a seasonal outdoor pool, spa centre and restaurant, the hotel is famed for hosting international celebrities such as British supermodel Naomi Campbell and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A night at the Lion in the Sun costs approximately Sh36,336 depending on the season.
“Low bed occupancy and short term visitors are also the reason why most hotels in Malindi remained closed due to losses but in Watamu, Kilifi and Mtwapa the business is running,” said Chai.