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PE-Express
King Edward Hotel being restored to former glory
The historic King Edward Hotel is being restored. Photo: Lulama Zenzile

Restoration work is underway to restore the historic King Edward Hotel in Port Elizabeth to its former glory.

The repairs to the 116-year-old building come after thieves and vandals started looting the hotel last year.

Sheikh Khalaf Ahmed Khalaf Al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates bought the hotel in 2012.

In 2018, the hotel closed its doors. It was previously reported that the hotel, which had been restored at a cost of millions of rands barely three years earlier, had become a place where homeless people were squatting. Theft and vandalism continued daily in June last year.

Antiques, paintings, expensive furniture, taps, geysers, bedding, telephones and television sets were among the items stolen from the hotel.

Africorp International Properties (AIP) announced last week that it had been appointed to undertake the restoration work and that large sums of money had been invested to bring the hotel back to its former five-star status.

According to AIP’s statement, the hotel has been and is being repaired in phases since the past three months. Some of the vandalised rooms are ready to be occupied again.

The planned restaurants, conference centres, exhibition halls and the remaining rooms will be ready next year.

When all the restoration work is completed, the hotel will have 105 rooms, four conference centres, four waiting rooms and lounges, a coffee shop and three restaurants.

According to AIP, numerous new jobs will be created once the hotel reopens.

Nadir Jeeva, AIP’s CEO, said: “We know that Nelson Mandela Bay residents attach sentimental value to the hotel and that the hotel has a rich history.

“The building has a direct influence on the city’s tourism.

“Our vision is for the hotel to become the heart and soul of the city centre again.”

The hotel forms part of the metro’s Donkin Reserve and the Route 67 Heritage Trail.

Jeeva said he believes the King Edward Hotel will also add value to the operation of passenger ships, as visitors to the city often undertake heritage tours on day-long excursions.

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