Those who know it fondly refer to it as the 'house'. The new development, a hotel, sits in a space, formerly occupied by a two-storey flat in Nairobi West. The property, called Mvuli House, opened for business early this month.
But the significance has not been lost to property industry insiders who now view hotels as the next frontier of development in the country's property market.
"The number of tourists coming to visit in the past few years has been increasing, with no corresponding increase in bed space because people have not been investing in that area," says Mr Anthony Mwaniki, CEO of an investment group called Alliance Capital Partners.
"Realisation that tourism will continue to grow has made investors to start looking in that direction. That is why a hotel like Mvuli House was established," says Mwaniki.
Curiously, though, investment in hotels is being driven not only by tourists looking for holiday homes for their own use, but also investors lured by rock-bottom prices and the hope of rapid returns.
Global hotel chains like the Kempinski Hotels Worldwide and Accor Hotels are the latest to express interest to establish properties in the country.
The growing interest is reflected in the tourist numbers. A fortnight ago, the Kenya Tourists Board (KTB) announced that earnings from the tourism sector jumped 26 per cent to Sh34 billion in the first half of this year, compared to similar period last year.
The tourism sector is now desperate for hotel beds, given the increasing number of tourists flocking into the country, particularly at the Coast, and the rising number of conferences being held in Nairobi each week. Opportunities - which the Government has been marketing to local and international investors through the office of the Director of Tourism- exist in the North Rift, Western Kenya, Lake region, Nairobi City and Mount Kenya region.
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