AYA brothers bow out of Pearl of Africa Hotel as LAICO takes over
After a tumultuous five years and several changes in management, Pearl of Africa Hotel has changed hands, with the Libyan Arab Investment Company LAICO, assuming ownership of one of the most iconic properties on Kampala’s skyline, 256BN has been told. According to the grapevine the deal for the 296-key property was quietly closed towards the end of 2022, with LAICO taking over management about two months ago.
Information about the transaction such as the price tag is still scanty, but a google search of Pearl of Africa returns a “PRMANENTLY CLOSED,” result. The Pearl of Africa branding has also been removed from the property although business continues under the new owners.
The change in proprietorship brings an end to a dramatic five years of operation. Initially supposed to be branded under Hilton Hotels, the management deal suffered a still birth even before construction was completed. Hilton pulled out of the project and AYA brothers who started developing the property in 2006, soldiered on until commercial operations commenced on October 1, 2017, under the One & Only brand. The marriage was short-lived however and the AYA brothers assumed management of the property under the Pearl of Africa brand.
The Hilton subsequently launched the Garden Inn, under a partnership with the Alibhai family, who developed the 90-key property that is located from just across the British High Commission in Kololo. Under another partnership with Twed Investments, the Hilton will be launching a much larger property that is nearing completion in Nakasero.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more details become available.