President William Ruto built a strong narrative around his personal rise in the world of business and politics – the ‘Hustler’ story that propelled him to power in the General Elections of 2022. The President has vast business interests spread across real estate developments, land holdings, hospitality, insurance, stocks and more.
His hospitality portfolio includes high-end hotels in Kenya’s two biggest cities – Mombasa and Nairobi. His efforts in the sector also haven’t been without controversy, with his properties the cause of multiple battles with authorities over the years.
Here, Business Today looks at hotels owned by the President in Mombasa and Nairobi.
The 600-room Dolphine Hotel is located in Shanzu, Mombasa County. The three-star facility sits on a 10-acre piece of land and promises easy access to the beach and great views of the Indian Ocean.
It promises a relaxing experience, incorporating a pool, lounges and luxurious rooms in an all-white three-storey building. Multiple reports pegged the investment at around Ksh600 million – with the hotel overtaking 300-room Pride Inn Paradise as the largest hotel in the area.
The project faced several hurdles during its construction between 2016 and 2018, as the Mombasa County Government as well as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) had it stopped at different points for flouting various rules. The county temporarily halted its construction in 2016 over complaints that the contractor, Avco Agencies, was dumping construction debris on a public road.
NEMA, on the other hand, stopped its construction and ordered the contractor to vacate the area over claims they were encroaching on the Indian Ocean and blocking public access to the beach. The issue was however resolved and construction allowed to continue after site visits by NEMA officials.
Weston Hotel is one of President Ruto’s most recognizable investments. The upmarket hotel is located along Lang’ata Road. It currently costs around Ksh17,000 to spend a night at the hotel. Besides modern rooms with AC and wi-fi, Weston includes conference facilities, a restaurant, outdoor pool, gym, sauna and a spa.
Its location, close to the city centre and Wilson Airport, has helped make it one of the most prominent business hotels in the city. The hotel has also been at the centre of legal battles – including a battle with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) which has laid claim to the prime land it sits on.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) claimed in court documents filed two years ago that Weston Ltd colluded with two firms to grab its land in Nairobi’s Lang’ata area. Weston has, however, maintained that it legally bought the land from Priority Ltd and Monene Investment Ltd.
It was also accused of being behind a land-grabbing attempt targeting the play ground of Lang’ata Primary School. The use of teargas by Police as children from the school protested the attempted land grab in 2015 sparked widespread uproar.
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