Why Umubano Hotel was not classified

The recently concluded hotel classification by RDB ranked only two hotels as Five Star, leaving a lot of room for the rest to upgrade facilities and improve their rating. Attention however rested on the unclassified Umubano Hotel, formerly owned by the Libyan African Investment Portfolio.
The Marriot Hotel under construction in Kigali. The grading of hotels will be conducted annually according to RDB. The New Times / File.
The Marriot Hotel under construction in Kigali. The grading of hotels will be conducted annually according to RDB. The New Times / File.

The recently concluded hotel classification by RDB ranked only two hotels as Five Star, leaving a lot of room for the rest to upgrade facilities and improve their rating. Attention however rested on the unclassified Umubano Hotel, formerly owned by the Libyan African Investment Portfolio.

Despite being considered as one of Rwanda’s finest hotels, with over 80 rooms and facilities way better than some ranked hotels, the Kigali based Umubano Hotel missed the star ranking.

However RDB clarified that hotels under renovation or construction were not included in the first ever hotel ranking, meaning that Umubano Hotel was excluded until it finalizes key renovations it is currently undertaking.

“The Management of Umubano Hotel wrote to us saying that they wanted to develop and expand the hotel, and gave us a timeframe within which they would be excluded from the rating,” RDB stated.

According to Dennis Karera, the Chairman of Rwanda Hotel and Restaurant Association, they requested RDB to spread out the ranking to other hospitality entities which were not considered in the previous ranking, such as villas, motels and restaurants.

“The ranking has created an incredible desire by hoteliers to know how their facilities are graded. New hotels are coming up and will soon demand for the ranking service; therefore, we won’t wait for a year for the next ranking to take place,” Karera said.

RDB employed the East African Community guidelines to categorize hotels; for five star establishments, the locality of their location and the environment are paramount; the outlook should be suitable and of highly recognized international standards.

All that is needed for a one star ranking however is for the hotel to be in harmony with the natural environment laws and conform to the building regulations applicable to the town where it is located.

Due to the increasing demand from the private sector, the rating will be conducted annually in the initial stages, but in the future, it will be conducted biannually, according to Emmanuel Werabe, the Quality Assurance Manager in the Tourism Department of RDB.

“We classified a good number of hotels, lodges and vacation sites but did not look at the whole hospitality sector. In future we will be able to cover the entire hospitality sector,” Werabe said.

For a hotel to receive at least three stars, it must provide adequate natural ventilation or sufficient mechanical ventilation with quality fixtures and fittings, whereas to get a four or five ratings high quality air conditioning systems are a must.

Whereas a swimming pool is not a must for One Star hotels, other classifications must have adequately sized swimming pools with treatment rooms and filtrations plants as well as a separate pool area for children. For a Four and Five Star, swimming pools must not be less than 100 square meters and high standard design and the water temperature should be regulated.

Other interesting criteria include; having approved and bottled drinking water supplied daily in the bedrooms for hotels between one and three stars, including a “Do Not Disturb” sign, stationery, waste bin, insect repellent, laundry bags, air freshening supplies and water glasses.

For hotels with four or five stars, the above must be complimented with flowers, chocolates, sweets and fruits.

All hotels are required to have public liability insurance and other statutory insurance policies.

ivan.mugisha@newtimes.co.rw

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