ONE of Zimbabwe’s top hotels, Meikles Hotel has resorted to treating guests with a rural experience by offering buckets of hot water during power cuts as its generators lack capacity to power up its geysers during Zesa power cuts, NewsDay Business has
Owing to a blanket power cut experienced in Harare’s central business district (CBD) on Saturday, the hotel’s guests were advised that there would be no hot water in their bathrooms.
As an alternative, the once rated five-star hotel told its guests that should they require hot water for bathing, they just needed to call housekeeping who would then bring a bucket of hot water to their room.
Since Saturday, power cuts have been affecting business in Harare’s CBD with power only being restored yesterday, leading to Meikles resuming its normal services.
“We had a fault which was a general fault in the area from Zesa on Saturday until Tuesday. The reason why we told guests that buckets of hot water could be fetched for them is because our generators do not have capacity to pick up our geysers,” a hotel source said.
When asked why another alternative could not be explored, the source said: “We do the best we can do at the time.”
Hotel general manager Tinashe Munjuma did not answer repeated calls made to his mobile phone although he had earlier on advised guests to brace for power interruptions.
“Please be advised that the hotel has been operating on generator power since Saturday, June 11th, 2022, due to a fault that developed within the CBD. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is working around the clock to try to fix the problem,” Munjoma wrote to guests.
“Considering the above, the air conditioning in the rooms and public areas is not working, and there is no hot water. If you require hot water for bathing, please contact our housekeeping department on extension 82, and a bucket will be delivered to you. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
This incident is Meikles’ first major setback under its new owners, ASB Hospitality (Zimbabwe) Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based Albwardy Investment with links to the United Arab Emirates government. Diversified firm, Meikles Limited disposed of Meikles Hotel in 2019, a transaction that was completed at the end of February 2020 with control transferred to ASB Hospitality by March 2020.
This came after international investors shunned Meikles Limited’s initial asking price of between US$50 million and US$70 million for the hotel, before it agreed to sell it for US$20 million to ASB Hospitality.Meikles Limited disposed of the hotel as it required US$30 million in substantial modernisation of guest facilities as well as electro mechanical and plumbing infrastructure to restore it to a five-star property by international standards.
Based on Meikles Limited financials for the year ended March 31, 2019 and 2020, the hotel has been struggling owing to the effects of COVID-19 and its high
charges that have left many unable to afford it.