Increasing appetite for luxury apartments to shape the local tourism industry

Owning luxury apartments is a trend that is fast catching up in the country’s hospitality and tourism sector, according to luxury hotel operator Hemingways Collection whose 21 luxury -residences in Watamu are now available for purchase and occupation.

Hemingways Watamu Operations Manager Melinda Rees says that the hotel has witnessed an increase in domestic tourists with many preferring the space and freedom that an apartment affords as opposed to a hotel room.

She noted that the new style now allows the hotel to meet the demands of every traveler especially families or groups who love the ‘apartment style’ living with all the services of a five-star hotel. The 21 one, two and three bedroom Hemingways residences are up for sale at between Ksh 45 million and Ksh 145 million.

“This new Hemingways Watamu design is much more favorable especially to local tourists who love travelling as families or groups.

If you are coming down with your children little or older they like to have more space. The apartments make this possible with the added facilities such as dining rooms and a kitchen that makes it easier to cook for young ones,” she said.

Ms Rees opined with this trend, hoteliers will have a guaranteed income even during the low season, ensuring that they remain open and retain their staff all year round.

“This trend will definitely grow. Being able to have a holiday home that is already set up makes it easier. As travel to the coast becomes less seasonal, visitors will come more often thus increasing land and property values and making the residences a good investment,” she noted.

Figures from the Kenya Tourism Board indicate that travellers going on holiday account for 67 percent of tourist arrivals, a number that is set to increase as the luxury market continues to diversify its products.

At the same time, there is a great demand for travelers not to just to visit a destination but to actually experience it.

She noted accommodating this need for an authentic experience beyond where vacationers stay is a growing trend in providing luxury services.

Hemingways Watamu caters for this need through partnerships with local community organizations to provide guests with a truly enriching experience.

Maximizing on its ideal location inside the Watamu Marine National Park, guests are encouraged to explore the offerings of Destination Watamu beyond the park to include visiting community snake farms, permaculture groups, crab farms, bird watching and sampling the local cuisine.

Ms Rees underscored the need for hoteliers and the local community to communicate and find ways of working together.

She stated the importance of partnering to support eco-friendly projects that benefit both parties.

“This helps to maintain economic stability of the local community members and contributes towards socially responsible tourism.”