Italian billionaire to sell Sh500 million luxury resort in Kenya's coastal area

The move to sell the high-end resort comes in the wake of dwindling holiday makers in Malindi over the years

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Italian billionaire and ex-Formula One boss Flavio Briatore is looking to sell his $5 million (Kshs.500 million) exclusive luxury beach hotel in Malindi.

Mr. Briatore says the move to sell the Lion in the Sun resort has been prompted by a decline in number of tourists over the years which has negatively affected Malindi’s economy.

The hotel manager, Mr Philip Chai, said the exclusive resort is among six hotels that have remained closed in the county.

“Tourism used to fare well in Malindi and its environs in the 1990s until the country experienced the 2007-2008 postelection violence and Al-Shabaab terror threats,” he said.

The move comes despite the booming tourism in Watamu and Malindi resorts such as Kilili Baharini and Ocean beach among others following the end of the General Election.

“Low bed occupancy and short term visitors are also the reason why most hotels in Malindi remained closed due to losses but in Watamu, Kilifi and Mtwapa the business is running,” added Mr Chai.

The Lion in the Sun, which first opened its doors in 2013, is located about 400 metres from Malindi Marine Park.

It boasts of a seasonal outdoor pool, spa centre and restaurant and is famed for hosting international celebrities such as British supermodel Naomi Campbell and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

A night at the luxurious hotel costs about $350 (about Sh36, 336) depending on the season.

Kenya’s tourism sector remained unaffected by the jitteriness that followed the run-up to the elections.

All of Kenya’s tourist hotspots remained peaceful during and after the election.

“We are glad to confirm that our international visitors are safe. During the elections and after, we have not had any incident where a tourist’s life was put in danger,” said Sam Ikwaye, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Branch Executive Officer

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