Business People: Rahul Sood

Sun Africa Hotels owns a collection of some of the most prestigious lodges and retreats in Kenya. We sent Mfonobong Nsehe to talk to CEO Rahul Sood about his portfolio and Sun Africa’s expansion plans. 

Business_SoodSun Africa is a collection of four hotels and lodges across Kenya. Tell us some fun facts about each of the hotels in your portfolio.
Sun Africa Hotels offers the perfect combination of bush and scenic safari holidays, with varied choices, and the distribution of these hotels makes it simple for travellers to choose. This allows travellers to see the best that Kenya has to offer: everything from the best bars, unique game drives and exquisite spas to breathtaking balloon safaris, sandy beaches and lake boatrides. At Sun Africa Hotels we aim to give you the best mix of holiday experiences you’ll ever remember.

Seven hundred square miles of lush, sun-drenched plains encircle Keekorok Lodge, the oldest property in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in southwest Kenya. The lodge is ideally situated in the direct path of the spectacular animal migration that occurs every year from July to October. Guests can experience unparalleled safari adventures – morning and evening game drives are a must for anyone visiting the reserve.

Lake Naivasha Country Club offers an abundance of activities to please all visitors to Nairobi, Kenya. The resort dates back to the 1930s and has since been transformed into a sprawling 55-acre property with a variety of accommodation and guest facilities, including cottages, a swimming pool, and sumptuous gourmet dining. For adventurers, the nearby Crescent Island is a haven for zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, and giraffes. The old colonial architecture is solid and comfortable with accommodation set in 12 hectares of green lawns shaded by mature acacias and spreading fever trees. The guest rooms are elegant and cool.

Kiboko Luxury Camp Naivasha is the first all-inclusive luxury camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha, with only eight luxury tents. The camp offers unlimited soft beverages, wines, local beers, and tea/coffee with one guided nature walk during your stay with the resident guide/ornithologist and free high speed internet. Kiboko Luxury Camp Naivasha tents are approximately 60 sq m with ensuite bathrooms.

With just 14 private, spacious suites, true attention to detail and personalised service can be expected at sovereign suites. This luxury Nairobi boutique hotel is set on a private, well-manicured estate, complete with its own lake. The hotel offers The Main, a quality restaurant, as well as meeting and event space. Whether you seek a romantic getaway or simple peace and quiet, Sovereign Suites is an ideal choice.

Which of your properties consistently has the highest occupancy rates, and are there any special marketing strategies you adapt to market your properties?
Keekorok Lodge is highly visited due to its location in the wild, its rich history, our all-round facilities and our Balloon Adventure experience, all offered in the Mara Game reserve.

A lot of foreign tourists I’ve met in Kenya complain that the luxury and boutique hotels usually don’t serve traditional Kenyan food. How is Sun Africa responding to this?
Our chefs ensure that at all our hotels our guests experience international food choices with a touch of Kenyan cuisine. We also offer a wide à la carte and snack menu.

For now, you’re solely invested in Kenya. Is Sun Africa Hotels eyeing expansion opportunities in other East African countries?
Sun Africa Hotels has plans on the table to expand its wings far and wide. Not only in East Africa but to the whole of Africa. We are currently exploring two management contracts in West Africa and this would be our first venture in that region.