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PICTORIAL: Speke Apartments unveils 83 new apartments on Kitante Road- long term residents to get up to 49% in discounts

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Following the expansion of its flagship, Speke Apartments on Wampewo Avenue, last year, Ruparelia Group, has announced the completion of yet another 83 fully furnished apartments, this time on Kitante Road.

A luxuriously furnished living room in one of the apartments

Known as Speke Apartments Kitante, the group, in a press statement said that the apartments are yet another “luxurious and finest housing project.”

Speke Apartments specialises in self-catering apartments for corporate, leisure and family travellers in Kampala for short or long term lets.

LUXURIOUS COMFORT: One of the bedrooms. Long term residents get up to 49% in discounts

The group said, Speke Apartments in Kitante, like all other group properties, combines “a great location with a secure, quiet, clean, serviced apartment accommodation spread out over five floors.”

All apartments come with fully-equipped kitchens to make self catering easy especially for long stay clients

The one and two bedroom fully-furnished and serviced apartments, are according to the group built British Standards and come with a fully fitted kitchen, double glazed sound proofed windows, led flat screen TVs with customized sets of channels, complimentary high speed Wifi internet, air conditioning, ample parking space and 24 hour security.

A restaurant and bar are under construction and residents have free access to the Kabira Country Club and Speke Apartments Wampewo state-of-art health clubs.

The bathrooms are tastefully finished to British Standards

“Our two and three bedroom apartments balance the style and hospitality of an intimate hotel with the space and comfort of a fully appointed luxury rooms,” said the group in a statement.   

One bedroom apartments go for $130 a night while monthly residents get a 49% discount; paying $2,000 monthly instead of $3,900.   

A two bedroom apartment goes for $160 daily and $2,500 monthly.

A two bedroom superior apartment goes for $180 daily and $2,800 monthly- a 48% discount for monthly residents. 

The above rates are exclusive of 18% value added tax.

Ruparelia Group is Uganda’s largest hotel chain with a portfolio of luxury and budget hospitality facilities that include: Speke Resort and Conference Centre (www.spekehotel.com), Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort (https://www.munyonyocommonwealth.com), Kabira Country Club (https://www.kabiracountryclub.com), Dolphin Suites (https://www.dolphinsuites.co.ug), Forest Cottages (www.forest-cottages.com) and Speke Apartments (https://www.spekeapartments.com)

Other group hotels/accommodation facilities include: Speke Resort Bujagali, Kitante Apartments, Bukoto Heights, Naguru Apartments and Boulevard Suites.

Recently, the Ruparelia Group announced plans to construct a 5-star Speke Resort and Convention Centre, in Entebbe. 

Lifestyle

FOOD WARS: Cafesserie pushes Java House out of Village Mall; to open second branch in October

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Cafesserie is opening its second branch at Village Mall, this October, displacing Java House

Cafesserie, the Italian coffee and French bakery house is opening its second Ugandan outlet at Village Mall Bugoloobi, CEO East Africa, has reliably learnt.

Ironically the premises it is occupying, was formerly occupied by a Java House eatery and another locations by Planet Yoghurt- a dessert shop.

Java House is part of the out of Nairobi Java House Africa with restaurants all over East Africa, while Cafesserie itself is out an out of Mombasa, Kenya, where they have one outlet.

A cup of niceties at the former Planet Yoghurt outlet at Village Mall. The store is now permanently shut to pave way for redevelopment ahead of Cafesserie’s entry into Village Mall Bugolobi.

The Village Mall outlet should be their second store in Uganda and a third one in East Africa.

“We can officially confirm that we are coming to Village Mall,” Eve Njoroge, the Cafesserie Uganda Manager confirmed to this reporter on the phone, adding: “If everything goes to plan, we hope to open this October.”

Yesterday, a press release by Knight Frank Uganda, the Village Mall property managers, said that both Java House and Planet Yoghurt “would be permanently closed on 19th May 2019, as part of the initiative to redevelop the mall.”

Marc Du Toit, the Knight Frank Head of Retail said that the redevelopment is a “move to improve our tenant mix and customers’ shopping experience.”

JAVA HOUSE SLAYER? CJ’s staff at the Lugogo outlet opening later last year.

We have not yet established whether Java House closed their outlet due to some downsizing of sorts or were paid a handsome goodwill to vacate the premises. However, a source very familiar with the transaction said that- “once the Java House space became available, Planet Yoghurt which is adjacent to Java House was made an irresistible offer.”

The closure of Java House’s Bugoloobi Branch may be an indicator of the intense competition they are facing from mainly Café Java’s (now CJ’s). Late last year, when CJ’s opened their 10th Ugandan store at Lugogo, many social media commentators said the nearby Java House at Shell Lugogo would fall.

The Knight Frank Uganda Statement announcing the closure of Java House and Planet Yoghurt stores at Village Mall

The fall of Village Mall therefore does not come as a surprise.

Javahouse has also been subject to frequent social media criticisms over alleged bad service.

Java House’s troubles could also be linked to an unstable ownership regime following a number of changes in ownership.

Java House (formerly Nairobi Java House) was founded in 1999 by a Kevin Ashley who in 2012 sold a 90% stake to Africa-focused but Washington-based private equity firm, Emerging Capital Partners (ECP).

ECP themselves sold East Africa’s largest coffee house to Abraaj Holdings — a Dubai private equity firm for a reported $100 million, late 2017.

This January, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) gave a node to UK-based private equity fund Actis, to acquire 90% stake in Java House from Abraaj, following months of a takeover rumors.

Java House has had 6 outlets in Kampala and Entebbe.

CJ’s recently took the fight to Java House’s heartland with two signature openings on Koinange Street and Village Market and is said to be opening a third outlet this year- following phenomenal success in Java House’s backyard.

In January 2019, Java House announce they would infuse a further $10 million in the region to upgrade the Java House experience and open new outlets- a stitch in time, if you ask me.  

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Sport

RALLY: Rajiv Ruparelia promises ‘triple threats’ with his ‘Double Trouble’ car

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All work with no play literally makes Rajiv Ruparelia a dull boy!

Away from Managing the Ruparelia Group conglomerate, where he is Group Managing Director, youthful Rajiv has decided to awaken the dare devil in him by joining rally driving. 

And typical of the Ruparelia streak, he chose to dive in mazzi mawanvu (deep waters) style- with a state of the art Polish-built Volkswagen Polo WRC Proto Car.

The car according to rally Mechanic Mike Mwanga, is built from the shell of a Volkswagen Polo R WRC- a World Rally Car built and operated by Volkswagen Motorsport and based on the Volkswagen Polo for use in the World Rally Championship.

For power and performance, the 4×4 beast is equipped with a 2.0 litre turbo engine and a 6-speed KAPS sequential gearbox- specifically made for racing.

To enhance speed and safety, it is largely built of lightweight fiberglass panels and comes with an FIA certified roll-cage.

According to Mwanga, himself a member of the Rajiv Ruparelia Rally (RR) Team there are two other proto cars in East Africa, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania, but based on Ford Fiesta shells.

The machine, nicknamed “Double Trouble” was unveiled to rally fans, friends, family and the media fraternity on Saturday, May 4th at Speke Hotel.

A beaming Rajiv was surrounded by wife Naiya, dad Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, friends and other rally drivers.

The Rajiv Ruparelia Rally (RR) Team will be managed by Rajiv’s uncle, Dipu Ruparelia, himself a veteran rally driver.

“Crazy runs in the family…And I now welcome my son Rajiv Ruparelia to the world of Motorsport. I am honored to manage the Rajiv Ruparelia Rally Team,” Dipu wrote on his Facebook timeline.

Rajiv recently underwent specialised training at the Rally Sports Academy from Sun Carousel, in Johannesburg, South Africa under the stewardship of Africa’s No.1 trainer Leone Botha.

“It’s finally here. Double Trouble now becomes a triple threat; every angle- same astonishment. Ladies & Gentlemen, let’s welcome “Double Trouble”,” said Rajiv Ruparelia.

“We are ready to hit the track,” Rajiv told the media saying he hopes to make a debut at the forthcoming Pearl of Africa rally by the Federation of Motor Sport in Uganda(FMU).

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Lifestyle

Dubai International Airport handled 22.2 million passengers in Q1 2019

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DXB is the world’s number one airport in terms of international passenger traffic and number three globally in terms of total passenger traffic as reported by Airports Council International. Some 73 passenger carriers connect DXB to 221 airports in 215 cities across 95 countries.

Dubai International (DXB) welcomed 22.2 million passengers in the first quarter of 2019, down 2.2% from the same period last year due largely to reduced flights and a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday.  

Cargo volumes increased 4.1% in the same period to reach 641,250 tonnes, according to a statement released by the company.

Key facts and figures

Customers served: Total of 22,230,810 customers were served during the first quarter of 2019 (-2.2%). The average monthly volume of 7.41 million was slightly lower than the average monthly traffic of 7.42 million recorded in 2018.

Cargo: A total of 641,250 tonnes of airfreight was handled at DXB during the first three months of 2019 up 4.1%.

Dubai Airport Terminal 2: Waitings times at the airport were reduced by a whopping 30% in Q1 2019, thanks to what the company says is an “advanced operations centre which uses real-time information to improve service and efficiency, as well as the smart gates that help speed customers through immigration.”

Flights: Total passenger flights during the first three months of 2019 totalled 95,857, down 3% from last year partially due to the grounding of 737 Max aircraft in effect since March 13 in the UAE.

Top destinations

India continued to hold to its position as DXB’s top destination country by passenger numbers, with traffic for the quarter reaching 3,121,809 – propelled mainly by top city destinations Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin.

Saudi Arabia was number two on the list with 1,745,750 customers, followed closely by the United Kingdom with 1,511,917customers. Other destination countries worthy noting, included: Pakistan (1,159,722 customers), the U.S. (764,489 customers), Germany (690,062 customers), China (620,013) and Russia (414,445).

Cargo handling at DXB: A total of 641,250 tonnes of airfreight was handled at DXB during the first three months of 2019 up 4.1%. 13.3 million bags (-0.9%) passed through the airport’s 175 km long baggage system during the first quarter of the year.

The top three cities were London (871,180 customers), Mumbai (624,442) and Jeddah (605,628 customers).

Countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was the fastest growing region with growth of 3.8%, followed by North America with 2.7% growth.

GCC countries include: Saudi Arabia,Kuwait, the United Arab EmiratesQatarBahrain, and Oman.

Waiting Times: Wait times were reduced by a whopping 30%* in Q1 2019, thanks to DXB’s advanced operations centre which uses real-time information to improve service and efficiency, as well as the smart gates that help speed customers through immigration.

Baggage volumes: 13.3 million bags (-0.9%) passed through the airport’s 175 km long baggage system during the first quarter of the year.

About Dubai Airports
 

Dubai Airports manages the operation and development of both of Dubai’s airports – DXB and Dubai World Central (DWC). As an integrator, Dubai Airports works to balance the interests of all stakeholders to maintain aviation growth, protect operational resilience and ensure that service providers collaborate to provide a safe and secure service and improve the experience of our customers whilst maintaining a sustainable business.

DXB is the world’s number one airport in terms of international passenger traffic and number three globally in terms of total passenger traffic as reported by Airports Council International.

Some 73 passenger carriers connect DXB to 221 airports in 215 cities across 95 countries.  

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