This month, the Heritage Hotel commemorates its 70th Anniversary. Our reporter JUSTIN MKWEU caught up with the hotel’s brand manager Daniel Ngwira for an insight into business operations during the period.
Give us the background of the hotel?
It is a collaboration of historic companies including Nyasaland Hotel Company & Brewery Limited built the then Shire Highlands Hotel in the 1950s. The hotel has been functional ever since and with time, still preserved the excellence of time and maturity offering historic and monumental hospitality services.
In 2017, the hotel, was acquired by Serendib Hotels and Resorts and rebranded to Heritage Hotel by Serendib. Heritage Hotel is our pride, having roots stemming back to the country’s historic and heritance era with some of the finest lodging a historic hotel has to offer while executing a classic ambience to stay true to its roots. It is one of the few remaining structures built in the early 20th century and has undergone extensive renovations to reveal a hotel that stands true to its name and promise. The hotel has various amenities such as:
The Balmoral Restaurant, symbolic for being lavish in etiquette and an elevated sense of hospitality stands true to its name. Signature Continental and Asian cuisine is perfectly crafted by the executive chef and his team to ensure that the guests are catered to a palate infused with delectable dishes just as it was in the founding days.
Heritage Hotel’s Meetings and Events Venue can accommodate between 10 and 100 delegates.
The Beautifully Landscaped Gardens are an oasis in the heart of the bustling city which has an ideal backdrop for many outdoor events.
“Le Croissant” Coffee Shop and Patisserie at the Heritage Hotel is a rewarding spot to unwind at the end of a long and tiring day. Freshly baked French baguettes, wide variety of breads, croissants, pastries and gourmet sandwiches complimented with special cup of Satemwa Coffee or a cup of Ceylonese Tea makes it worth a visit. And, at this historic place, we make probably the best bread in Malawi as often commented by our customers and if you would visit and see how the bread is highly demanded for, you will certainly be astounded.
We have rebranded the service offering for the hotel to embrace the modern traveler demands and of course align with variety of needs for our different types of clientele including events such as weddings, birthdays and conferences. We do host themed activities and our gardens and swimming pool are simply ideal to such activities.
Thus, this captures in brief the transition from the old managements to the present day ownership and management of Serendib Hotels and Resorts in the operations of Heritage Hotel.
Tell us about how you are celebrating the anniversary this year.
Our celebrations are going to be an ongoing feast for us and our customers. We are speaking to various stakeholders that form part of our history and indeed the international community just to mark our excitement and appreciation to Malawians for supporting us and keeping us consistently a part of the leadership process in as far Tourism and Hospitality is concerned in this country. Meanwhile, we have already extended a Discount Coupon of K25,000 to all valuable guests aspiring to access our accommodation services. In this campaign, customers have an opportunity to spend nights at Heritage Hotel at nearly half the standard price. Coupons are redeemable until end of August 2021.
We will keep innovating throughout the year and extending various special deals as marks of our celebration.
What features do you have which separate you from the rest?
It is a tall order to single out any features over the holistic experience which is packaged into various service and product categories offered at the hotel. For example, our accommodation service is set apart by nature of its historic blueprint which can only be experienced with us alone in the country, we have the best Pastry Shop in town, well-equipped meeting room facilities with modern technology, Green Garden facility for weddings, parties, meetings and product launches, variety of Asian / Western food selection made by experienced international and Malawian chefs, an Executive Boardroom Coach, the only in Malawi and in extension, we also offer cruiseship on our iconic MV Mangunda for customers aspiring cruise adventure out of town. Our customer service is also among our key strengths and we ensure we continue to get feedback and act upon it as we perfect our 70+ years craft in hospitality. Maybe, just to add that our sister hotels in Blantyre Lotus Hotel and Serendib Suites, both in Namiwawa, give us extra uniqueness as we are able to rotate clients to each other just for an experience.
What has been the secret behind your 70 years of existence?
Rather, the secret behind our acquisition is that Malawi has a rich past of which we could not go past. Hence, Heritage Hotel marks the great history of Blantyre City and Malawi. This place was the commercial hub of Blantyre, Limbe and it has a record of being the busiest business centre with the railway, buses and all major businesses and we wanted to preserve these memories and bring people to their roots in Tourism and Hospitality. Blantyre built its pride and financial activities around Limbe and Heritage Hotel (then Shire Highlands) remained the dream destination for all travelers and fun seekers. We preserve this and integrate it to the modern day standards and elevated experiences.
Why should people choose Heritage Hotel when they think of hospitality?
Heritage Hotel preserves the roots of hospitality in Malawi. It offers the best experience that merges the history, the present and an aspiration into a great future. It is not just the menus, structures, brick and mortar that attracts visitors, rather, it is the settings and tranquil found at the hotel and the surroundings.
Additionally, we offer best value for money; we deliver an experience that aligns with our executive intent to exceed guest expectations.
What is unique to this hotel?
Heritage Hotel serves an average of 700 visitors a day, making it by far the most visited hotel in the country. Our customers visit the hotel for various services such as the restaurant, the bakery, garden events, live cooking sessions and more. This speaks of an incredible hotel property and our dynamism and resilience to serve excellence while offering solutions that can only be delivered through a heritage well preserved.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.