Soweto Hotel celebrates 5 years in business

Award winning, four-star Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre Celebrates its fifth year in business, and will be celebrating this milestone on Sunday, 28 October, together with the Village Pope, Dorothy Masuka & Friends.

The Village Pope Tshepo Tshola, Dorothy Masuka and Friends will be entertaining guests of the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre, located at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication (WSSD) heritage site, at the fifth birthday celebration of this gem – Soweto’s pride and joy in the hospitality sector – on Sunday 28 October 2012.

Five years ago, on 27 October 2007, the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre was officially opened by then Deputy-President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.  Founder and owner, Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo is recognized for leading this initiative that marked the first four-star, black-owned, female managed hotel located in South Africa’s most famous township, Soweto. Soweto is renowned for its heritage, history, culture, and unique tourism experiences, as well as for being the home to two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, who has boasts an impressive record in the hospitality and tourism industry, is the founder of Zuka African Tourism and Investment Corporation (Zatic),  the company that developed and opened this hotel as the Holiday Inn Soweto – Freedom Square on 27 October 2007.  The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has been a partner and funder of Zatic.

Now it its fifth year of operation, The Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre is a unique, thriving player within the South African tourism sector. The establishment went through brand realignment in February 2009 – when the hotel owners relinquished the Holiday Inn branding rights to franchisor, Intercontinental Hotel Group – and has gained market share in the region.  “Re-branding our name to the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre has been a significant milestone, as this marked us being a, truly South African brand”, says founder-owner, Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo.

Nestled in the heart of Kliptown, The Soweto Hotel on Freedom Square is Soweto’s first 4-star hotel. Catering for locals and visitors alike, the hotel offers delectable cuisine, luxurious accommodation and soulful jazz with a distinct cultural flavor, intermingled with contemporary flair. This gem instills a sense of pride and nostalgia, captured by renowned photographer, Alf Kumalo’s eclectic visual collection of jazz and historical memorabilia which form the backdrop of the hotel’s stylish interior décor.

“We have seen organic growth and development of both the hotel and the Kliptown community”, continues Sangweni-Siddo.  “The community is an integral part of our daily existence and is one of our unique selling points. Our staff are from Kliptown, and the local communities of Soweto, and we source fruit and vegetables from the surrounding community”.

This four star facility has 46 Deluxe Standard Rooms and two Presidential Suites. Inter-leading rooms are available for families and groups. Rooms are equipped with televisions (with a broad bouquet of local and international channels), coffee/tea making facilities, wireless connectivity, hairdryers and in-room safes. Room service, laundry and dry-cleaning services are also available. The hotel also has three boardrooms seating six, eight and 14 guests each and fully equipped with AV equipment.

The hotel has become a prominent part of the development of Soweto, alongside development of black-owned Maponya Shopping Mall, Virgin Active Gym, VW’s recently opened retail outfit and the Orlando Football stadium, to name but a few.  It has and has also played host to Liberia’s first female president, Her Excellency Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, British Royals Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, President Jacob Zuma, and many more local and international personalities.

Local tourist guide, TKD Tours, whose training was sponsored by Fair Trade in Tourism SA, is called upon to take guests on guided walking and bicycle tours.  Other partners who offer unique tourist experiences include partners of SoWeToo, such as AahHaa Tours, Mahlatse Crafts, Soweto Outdoor Adventures, Roots Restaurant, Bird Watching and Quad Biking – and are supported and marketed as Hidden Treasures by the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP).

Soweto Hotel has also become well known for its Sensational Sundays hosted on the last Sunday of each month. This musical event epitomizes the jazz era of the fifties, alongside the diverse and contemporary sounds of South Africa and the African Continent today, and can be  enjoyed by the whole family. Guests have been entertained by top South African musicians like Dorothy Masuka, Thandi Klassen, Indyebo Band as well as African musicians such as Khensy and Kunle Ayo.

COLLABORATION WITH BIRCHWOOD HOTEL

In July 2011 the Soweto Hotel announced a business collaboration with the Birchwood Hotel. Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo was then invited by the CEO of the Birchwood Hotel, Kevin Clarence, to join them as Managing Director of both the Birchwood Hotel and the Soweto Hotel & Conference Centre. The partnership was not just on a shareholding level, but also resulted in the development of a new conference centre, seating 20 to 60 delegates.

The value that the Birchwood Management Company brings to the table is its long track record in the industry, which will result in turning the Soweto Hotel into a profitable entity. The Birchwood Hotel brings with it many years of experience in conferencing and servicing government departments, corporate and private clients successfully.

JOIN THE SOWETO HOTEL’S  5TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS ON SUNDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2012 

The public are invited to purchase tickets at a cost of R250 per person to attend the Soweto Hotel’s star-spangled fifth birthday celebration on Sunday, 28 October 2012,  featuring: Tshepo Tshola, Dorothy Masuka and Friends.  Young, local Mzansi talent, Moneoa and Jozua Davids will also be performing longside these musical legends.  The   Soweto Hotel’s 5th Year Birthday celebration will take place from 12h30 on Sunday 28 October 2012 at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, located on the corner of Union Avenue and Main Road in Kliptown, Soweto.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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