Karl Snater, Meikles Hospitality managing director said work had started in March, where all 132 bedrooms and suites in the wing were cleared of fittings and furnishings and demolition of existing bathrooms took place.
“Renovation work is now well under way and we are expecting to have completed the exercise by the end of November,” he said.
The north wing is now closed to the public, with the exception of La Fontaine Grillroom, the hotel’s flagship restaurant situated on the first floor. Later this year the restaurant will also be closing for a short period, to allow for refurbishment of both the restaurant and its kitchen, but for the time being remains fully operational.
The work taking place in the bedrooms and suites involves reconstruction of bathrooms, which will be fitted with a granite and tile finish, as well as replacement of electrical fittings and installation of energy-saving door card switches.
On the wing’s 12th floor a new Presidential Suite is to be created which will be Harare’s most luxurious suite, aimed at the top-end business and holiday traveller. On the 11th floor, the existing Club Dining Room will be upgraded and its kitchen relocated and redesigned.
On the 10th floor, the existing Imperial Suite is being extensively upgraded, while 13 Park Suites in the wing will feature upgraded bedrooms, lounges and guest toilets, while each of their bathrooms will be substantially enlarged.
Two of the bedrooms will be created specifically for use by paraplegic guests.
Banqueting and function rooms on the second floor will have new fittings and a new design, while eight public restrooms will be revamped and will include facilities for paraplegic visitors.
The north wing’s three public elevators for guests and one service staff elevator are being modernised for smoother operation.
The La Fontaine kitchen will be closed for extensive upgrading and fitment with new equipment and facilities, including electrical services. While this happens, La Fontaine will be closed for its own refurbishment, and the hotel will temporarily re-open Bagatelle Restaurant to offer a la carte and table d’hote fine dining for this period.
Banqueting and function rooms are also being revamped, including the Stewart Rooms and the adjacent small conference venues, the Edward and Connaught Rooms. On the ground floor a new conference venue is being created, with the restoration of Palm Court, originally a restaurant and latterly a banking hall rented out commercially.
“It is our aim to offer world-class amenities and facilities in keeping with our role as a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World group, which includes in its members some of the world’s best-known and most acclaimed hotels,” said Snater.
Meikles Hotel was opened in 1915 and was last refurbished in 1995. The north wing was originally built in 1958, when it was known as the east wing. The old west wing was demolished in the mid-1970s and replaced by what is now the south wing. The renovation work involving the north wing will in due course be followed by similar work in the south wing, preparing the hotel to celebrate its centenary in 2015 with a completely refurbished look.
“The finish in the north wing bedrooms and suites will feature a new theme, focused on African designs and styles, while at the same time being of the highest international standard in terms of both design and finish,” Snater said.
“Meikles Hotel has always catered for the most discerning of international and local travellers and we aim to use this renovation project to build on almost 100 years of experience and tradition with some exciting innovations that will make the hotel both state-of-the-art and aesthetically pleasing,” he said.