Marriott International, which now owns Starwood and all its brands, announced the signing of a hotel deal with Green East Master Limited for an Aloft Hotel. If developed and opened according to schedule, it might become the first Aloft-branded hotel on the continent (the other being the Aloft Almadies in Dakar, announced in 2015 and now expected to open in 2020). The project is slated for completion in early 2019, in the central business district of Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius. It is an adaptive reuse project of an existing 9-story office building in the city center. Commenting on the deal, Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott’s President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, said that the “Aloft brand is particularly suited for adaptive reuse and in today’s challenging economic environment, projects like this one can offer developers significant advantages.”
An adaptive reuse is the process of reusing an old site or building for a different purpose other than what it was initially built for. It is a creative way of conserving and rehabilitating old, historic buildings, preserving existing real estate, and contributing to revitalization efforts in a city. This practice is quite common in the US, where developers in large, urban cities and secondary markets alike are using adaptive reuse projects to create new and trendy hotels. One notable recent project is The Beekman Hotel in New York City, which was first constructed in 1883 as Temple Court, one of Manhattan’s original skyscrapers. Another recently opened adaptive reuse project is the Trump International Hotel, which was converted from the old U.S. Post Office Department headquarters. The building was originally constructed between 1892 and 1899.
The Aloft brand is a great choice for an adaptive reuse project in Africa. The brand is defined by its urban, modern design and hip social experience at an affordable price. Aloft is currently operated in 18 countries, with 116 hotels and 19,715 rooms. The brand is one of the more flexible hotel brands in terms of development, with the options of turnkey prototype, non-prototypical new builds, adaptive reuse and conversion projects. The Aloft Port Louis is planned to have 150 spacious, loft-like rooms, accessible technology and a hip, social atmosphere.
Marriott (through its Starwood acquisition) already operates four hotel properties in Mauritius – St. Regis, Le Meridien, The Westin and the Shanti Maurice – A Nira Resort. The group is also developing the Sheraton Hotel & Residences, which is scheduled to open in July 2020.