The Catholic Diocese of Murang’a has ventured in the hospitality industry by investing in a high-end conference facility in Nairobi. The Sh500 million Elysian Resort is located off the Northern bypass in Kiambu, 15km from Nairobi CBD.
The Catholic Diocese of Murang’a says it had wanted to build a standard relaxation centre for church retreats or rental apartments, but finally settled on a commercial retreat and conference centre. Elysian seats on a five-acre property with an additional undeveloped 2.5 acres, at the boundary of Nairobi’s Runda Estate and Kiambu county.
Construction of Elysian Resort has been funded by the parishioners of Murang’a, friends and well-wishers. “Because of our location and size, the original idea morphed to what is a modern conferences and convention facility with a distinctive blend of comfort, style and hospitality,” says Rev Father Elias Kabutu, the Diocese Finance Administrator who has worked with the project consultants since 2015.
The first phase of the project comprises conference rooms that can accommodate over 350 people. The facility also has 42 rooms furnished in natural tones with an African touch and intricate designs, a contemporary restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a poolside restaurant, a gym and a kid’s park. It is set on vast grounds ideal for celebrations, weddings and birthday parties.
The conference centre opened recently and the response for walk-ins, conferences, meetings and events has been encouraging, says Father Kabutu. They are targeting church retreats, children recreation, capacity and team building exercises, conferences and meetings for corporates, NGOs, government, as well as individual events and accommodation. “The presence of a chapel for prayers for our Christian clients is a worthwhile addition,” said the cleric.
Kabutu said the resort, which will employ over 400 people when complete, has opened at a time when tourism and business travel sector is picking after a two-year lull. Elysian management is also betting on the growth of hospitality sector where the last five years have seen over 10 other establishments open in Kenya. Research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers says that Nairobi needs an additional 2,400 beds to meet growing demand.
To tap this potential Elysian Resort management says it will kick off phase two next year to double its room capacity and eventually the third phase to push the number of rooms to 120 as it aspires for four-star rating.