SAROVA HOTELS & RESORTS
In 1974, Kenyan businessmen John Ngata Kariuki, the Late G.S. Vohra and the Late M.S. Vohra established Sarova Hotels. From the Group’s first hotel, the 94-guest bedroom Hotel Ambassador on Tom Mboya Street Nairobi to a portfolio today of eight properties in Kenya totalling over 1,200 guest bedrooms, Sarova remains a key player in Kenya’s tourism and hospitality sector. Each property is harmoniously unique to its own history and environment, strengthened by a vision to impact their local communities and build a sustainable future.
Jimi Kariuki joined the company in 1992 and currently serves as its Managing Director (MD). Since taking up the helm in 2018, Kariuki has led the luxury group to greater heights in the hospitality sector.
In April 2022, Sarova added the iconic Imperial Hotel (now Sarova Imperial Kisumu) in Kisumu City to its portfolio, making it the eighth hotel operating under the Sarova Kenya brand.
Sarova’s market leadership position was recently recognised during the 2022 World Travel Awards held in Nairobi at which Sarova Stanley, Nairobi’s oldest hotel, bagged the award for Kenya’s Leading Hotel 2022.
As the world continuously turns to sustainability in business, leisure and everyday life, Sarova plays a vital role in leading the way on adopting sustainable practices in their business operations and practices. Each Sarova property has Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes that are anchored on key pillars that guide the businesses sustainability practices. These pillars revolve around areas such as working with, supporting and empowering the local communities, wildlife conservation, water and energy conservation and tree planting. The company’s overall objective is to create sustainable development and to build awareness through this.
In accordance with the United Nations Eighth Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #8), Decent Work and Economic Growth, the success of Sarova is attributed to the employment of locals who not only understand the geography of the locations, but also have a buy-in on the company’s ideas thus making them easy to implement.
Sarova Mara Game Camp in the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve offers an on-site Masai cultural and learning centre, Isokon Mara Cultural Village. The centre is operated by the local community and is Sarova’s way to give-back to the local community, on whose land we are on, by providing them with a venue and facility not only to sell their artisanal merchandise to visitors, but also to share the rich culture of the Maasai community through story-telling and other educational activities. All the proceeds from the centre are retained by the local community.
Sarova sources all of its food ingredients from Kenya. Meat and dairy products, for example, are sourced from local producers with a reputation for consistently practising very high international standards in food hygiene and safety and providing products free of harmful chemicals. Not only does this support local businesses, it is also in tandem with SDG #3, Good Health and Well-being, of the workforce and customers.
Sarova Hotels has embarked on putting in place water bottling plants at all its properties, effectively providing safe drinking water packaged in glass bottles on site. Currently this is in place at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park and the same will be rolled out at all other Sarova Game Lodges and at Sarova Whitesands Mombasa this year.
Sarova is also very involved in monthly beach clean-up programs in Mombasa through their coastal resort Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). This has significantly reduced the accumulation of waste along the pristine coastline.
In line with the government’s target of increasing Kenya’s forest coverage to 20 percent from the current 10 percent by 2030, through both afforestation and reforestation, tree planting is an active engagement for Sarova. In partnership with like-minded organisations such as the Green Line Foundation, an average of 500 tree seedlings are planted and tended to annually. The Group also encourages tourists to plant trees at their various Game Lodges and being afforded the opportunity to have their name allocated to the tree. This encourages guest repeat visits to check on ‘their’ trees.
Corresponding to SDG #12, Responsible Consumption and Production, the farm-to-plate concept is at the heart of Sarova’s culinary experiences. All of the cooking processes are designed to minimise food waste, coupled with first-class food preparation and storage geared to ensure the highest standards in food hygiene, safety and quality as well as to prevent wastage and spoilage. The Sarova Game Lodges have organic kitchen gardens that allow guests to handpick an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs from the extensive gardens, from which they can create their own meals.
Sarova’s corporate conscience is hinged on quality education (SDG #4) and they have been involved in a myriad of projects. For instance, Sekenani Primary School located within the Masai Mara has been a beneficiary of Sarova community goodwill. A block of classes constructed within the school and the donation of learning materials has ensured continuous learning and development of the children. Selected alumni of the school later receive training and development at Sarova Mara Game Camp, acquiring some hospitality skills. Successful trainees are subsequently hired as staff at the properties.
Sarova has been a vital sponsor in helping youth in Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi to produce the award winning ‘Tales from the Slums’ in collaboration with Films without Borders and the Sandy Vohra Foundation. The film production aids in improving young people’s articulation skills, as well as instilling in them the confidence required to face the world.
Built to bring its customers the marvels of Africa, nature’s wonders, exquisite cuisine and undeniably refreshing hospitality, Sarova has set the stage in the glamourous world of luxury, while simultaneously living up to the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) global standards.