Peermont invests R110m in KZN resort

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The Tusk Umfolozi casino resort in the heart of the uMhlathuze region in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, is being transformed at a cost of R110-million in a project that will change the face of the existing 21 500m venue.

As part of the development, a new Peermont Metcourt hotel with 44 rooms and suites, a conference centre, an entertainment and events arena, a themed sports bar and outdoor facilities are planned.

In addition, the existing casino interiors will be upgraded and the restaurant will be revamped and enlarged.

With the expansion, the resort will take on a completely new identity as the Umfolozi Hotel Casino and Convention Resort.

Peermont CEO Anthony Puttergill says: "The addition of a new Peermont Metcourt hotel, conference centre and multipurpose entertainment and events arena to our upgraded casino complex will provide guests with progressive and inexpensive accommodation, as well as much-needed meeting and entertainment facilities in the greater Richards Bay area on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

"Peermont is confident that this resort will quickly become one of KwaZulu-Natal's premier business and leisure destinations and is proud to be an integral part of providing this region with the very best in entertainment, conferencing and leisure options. With this investment we will create over 350 new jobs during the construction phase and over 80 new jobs upon completion."

The new facilities use a modern Zulu design theme with bold colour palettes highlighting the richness of the Zulu culture.

The new Peermont Metcourt hotel will become a sanctuary for those wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle of this busy region. The design footprint of the hotel replicates a homestead with open yet central living spaces. The large double-volumed entrance foyer will give an impression of grandeur and space as a series of courtyards entices guests to explore further.

Once inside the hotel, guests can choose to visit two levels - the higher level features the newly revamped Shaka's Grill, whilst the lower level overlooks a landscaped central courtyard.

Mark Jakins, Peermont's chief commercial officer, says: "Not only is Umfolozi located in the business and industrial heartland of the uMlathuze Municipality, but en route to a number of leading game reserves and tourist attractions such as the St Lucia Wetlands; Phinda, a lush conservation area that has earned World Heritage Site status; and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park, so we hope to not only welcome local guests but international tourists onto the property.

"We will be investing further in training our staff to ensure they deliver the warm, friendly service that is synonymous with the Peermont brand."

The conference facility can seat 600 people cinema style and will also include a climbing wall and an event facility for corporate functions and team-building sessions.

Guests will have direct access through shaded walkways to the new Salon Priv which will feature slot machines and roulette and blackjack tables adjacent to the gaming floor and exclusive parking for Salon Priv guests, including a separate entrance into the gaming area.

Outside, the landscaped surroundings will be brought to life with indigenous plants and trees as well as timber and stone.

"We are incredibly excited to showcase this property and offer the very best in entertainment, accommodation, conferencing and gaming experiences to all our guests. This major refurbishment and construction of new facilities underpins our commitment to the KZN Gambling Board to uplift and drive tourism and economic prosperity in this area. We looking forward to launching the new look resort and marking the occasion with a celebration in true Peermont style," says Puttergill.

Peermont Hotels, Casinos and Resorts is said to be South Africa's most empowered hospitality and gaming company. Peermont has a solid track record in the design, development, management, ownership and operation of multi-faceted integrated resorts. This includes hotels, casinos, convention centres, retail outlets, restaurants, bars and other sport and entertainment facilities.

Peermont has a strong market position in South Africa and Botswana, where it owns and manages 15 casino and hotel properties including: Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Convention Resort, Johannesburg; Graceland Hotel Casino and Country Club, Secunda; Mondazur Hotel at San Lameer, KwaZulu-Natal; Frontier Inn & Casino, Bethlehem; Tusk Umfolozi Casino Resort, Empangeni; Rio Hotel Casino Convention Resort, Klerksdorp; Khoroni Hotel Casino Convention Resort, Thohoyandou; and Mmabatho Palms Hotel Casino Convention Resort in Mafikeng. In Botswana, Peermont owns and manages The Grand Palm Hotel Casino Convention Resort and the Mondior hotel in Gaborone; the Metcourt hotel as well as the Sedibeng Casino in Francistown and Syringa Casino in Selebi Phikwe.

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