By Norma Tsopo
Sitting elegantly in the verdant Manyame River bank, Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) Hotel – the flagship of CUT Hotels is a luxuriant expression of the aspirations of the relatively new hospitality group.
Its architectural splendour – a brilliant mix of circles and rectangles makes this hotel strikingly expressive, making it one of the finest structures in Chinhoyi.
It affords guests who check in to their top floors on the western end captivating views of the river, its acacia forest covered banks and its bridge.
Set on a beautifully lush-green manicured lawns, flower decorated pathways in a sloppy landscape the ambiance of the hotel is perfect for both relaxation and quite reflection by business travellers that it primarily targets.
The hotel has a rather simple but clever infrastructural design which separates its various business units which also allows for effective management of guest traffic.
Right at the entrance to the hotel, in a stand-alone building, is a drive-in restaurant for on-the-run clients which specialises in traditional cuisine. It also has sitting room at the back for those who would like to eat from restaurant—this has proven to be a hit with both locals and wayfarers.
The main building’s first section has conferencing facilities comprising of conference rooms, a banqueting room, a breakaway room and three board rooms as well as a hair saloon.
Again, this is strategically positioned to protect the privacy of guests booked for accommodation– which is on the western end of the complex, from the often inconvenient of running into the nearly 900 guests it can accommodate if it decides to host a wedding as well as conferencing and offer boardroom facilities all at once.
The hotel has 34 en suite luxurious rooms broken down into four executive suites, 16 twin rooms and 14 single rooms all with DSTV and tea/coffee making facilities.
CUT’s restaurant is in a separate wing together with the bar Manyame Cocktail Bar. The restaurant which serves delectable African and international cuisine is superbly laid out with a section for a bigger group and a section where couples and smaller groups can dine privately.
Patrons to the bar can drive straight over and leave without interacting with other hotel guests unless they come to the bar. Its Thursday jazz sessions have now become a special feature of the sleepy town’s entertainment calendar.
The hotel is also disability compliant as all its facilities are accessible to differently abled people with at least a room specially designed for a wheel-chair bound guest.
Service – from reception to bar tenders, chefs, waitresses, caretakers to management as well as all the requisites of a modern hotel, makes this a model hotel.
The hotel was established as a strategic hospitality centre and business unit by CUT and falls under the university’s School of Hospitality and Tourism.
Its take-over of the iconic Orange Grove Motel made CUT Hotels a hotel group and also spread the quality to the motel which was in dire need of improvement.
The motel, like CUT Hotel, is now a two-star facility according to its grading by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
The name which incorporates motel has no bearing on the quality of the service as it is locally now just a remnant of the old accommodation classification. “Inns, hotels, lodges and motels among others are now competing at the same level,” CUT Hotels marketing executive Zororo Marangwanda noted.
It also takes care of guests that desire a more leisurely ambience than the more formal CUT Hotel.
The group has now opened a new self-catering eight-roomed lodge in the resort town of Kariba. Its on a hill and offers spectacular views of the beautiful lake.
This evolving and growth in the face of growing competition and opportunities as tourism is on the rebound after years of flux speaks volumes of the groups’ ability to navigate the challenging local economic environment.