The company has hired Richard Johnston as the hotel’s new general manager and appointed Greg Gautier as the hotel’s new executive chef.
According to LonZim, Johnston is expected to set the standards for the Leopard Rock to re-establish it as one of Africa’s leading hotel properties.
LonZim said Leopard Rock had started the year with “very encouraging room occupancies”, with 34% and 12% increases in January and February respectively.
The Leopard Rock is situated in one of the most beautiful natural locations in Africa.
It was historically an iconic symbol of the Zimbabwean tourist industry attracting visitors from around the world.
“We are delighted that the Leopard Rock is making such good progress in returning to its original quality as one of the foremost hotels in Africa,” LonZim chairman David Lenigas said.
Refurbishment work on the exterior as well as all hotel rooms and public areas is said to be underway and LonZim is also updating certain aspects of the hotel to provide new state-of-the-art entertainment, IT and communications systems throughout.
“Furthermore, to complement the renovations, there are plans to develop a world class Spa at Leopard Rock,” Lenigas said.
Leopard Rock also hosts a PGA Championship golf course, and the company noted that after 10 years the Zimbabwe Open Championship has been re-launched and Leopard Rock’s own on-site Golf Professional, Byran Rochr, is currently participating in the event.
LonZim stated that Johnston had an impressive career in the industry, managing some of South Africa’s most respected properties including the Cape Grace, The V and A Hotel, The Vineyard Hotel and The Saxon.
The company said whilst Johnston was at The Cape Grace, the hotel was named Conde Nast’s Best Hotel in The World and whilst managing The Saxon, it was awarded Best Boutique Hotel in The World at the World Travel Awards, London.
The company recruited Greg Gautier from Kurland Hotel in Plettenberg Bay, where he had introduced a contemporary British style of cooking.
According to LonZim, his cooking complements the traditional Zimbabwean cuisine of Charles Muchena, Leopard Rock’s established and highly regarded chef. –– Staff Writer