Renowned and highly awarded hotel architect, Dexter Moren, founder of Dexter Moren Associates, is returning by popular demand to speak on the Design and Development panel at the second annual THINC Africa conference.
Dexter Moren grew up in Johannesburg and maintains a strong affinity with Africa, which is evident in the spectacular hospitality designs he and his team have created throughout the continent. His first hotel design was the 30-storey iconic beachfront Marine Parade hotel in Durban in 1981. It’s a testament to his incredible career that 36 years later he is now about to see the launch of his latest African hotel design, Tsogo Sun’s SunSquare complex in Cape Town, opening in September 2017, which is currently owned by the same owners as that first Durban hotel. Moren says the South African market is sophisticated with good construction and trades. “There were no unusual challenges with Tsogo Sun, and the project is set to open earlier than anticipated too, perhaps a minor challenge was negotiating the local architect planning design committee.”
Regarding the challenges of developing a hotel in Africa, compared with Europe, Moren says those challenges often arise due to different policies, finance and logistics. “To have a successful project in Africa, you need to work with partners who are experienced, as well as eager to work in the country. We have developed good working relationships with both local and international developers.” When it comes to the future of tourism in Africa, Moren is “very optimistic!”
“The wonderful thing about arriving in Africa is that you will always receive a very warm welcome, rather than being questioned on why you are visiting. It is crucial for the growth of tourism, however, that government creates an environment that encourages foreigners to invest. To quote Bill Marriott: The first impression is the lasting impression. If talking about tourism, what more do you want, than a beautiful country and friendly people who want you to experience it.”
“THINC is the perfect size, not too big, so there is the opportunity to converse with most of the attendees, which is not always possible at larger events. There was also an interesting group of people over the two days last year,” Moren says, adding that he was looking forward to returning, as the inaugural conference and the level of networking it offered impressed him. Celebrating 25 years in business, DMA is an award-winning practice of architecture and design specialists who work across the entire hospitality spectrum, with a design-led ethos of “creating places people want to stay”.
THINC Africa details
Date: 30 to 31 August 2017
Venue: FNB Portside Building, V&A Waterfront
Source and image: HVS Consulting