Exploring Zimbabwe’s Hospitality Sector with Yolanda Zenasi of The Peech Boutique Hotel

Delve into the dynamics of the hospitality sector in Harare and Zimbabwe with Yolanda Zenasi, Hotel Manager at The Peech Boutique Hotel, as she provides a candid assessment, highlighting both the strengths and challenges faced by the industry. Yolanda also shares the unique story of The Peech Boutique Hotel, a family-owned establishment set on a historic equestrian estate, renowned for its serene environment and exceptional guest experiences. She discusses the hotel’s commitment to high standards, environmental initiatives, and future plans, painting a vivid picture of their journey towards becoming a benchmark of excellence in hospitality.

Interview with Yolanda Zenasi, Hotel Manager at The Peech Boutique Hotel

What is your assessment of the hospitality sector in Harare and Zimbabwe as a whole? What are the latest trends?

I believe that the essence of hospitality, as embodied by its meaning, has been somewhat neglected, and this reflects on the industry at large. Hospitality should revolve around welcoming guests into our environment, ensuring their comfort, and helping them enjoy their hard-earned money while delivering value and creating memorable experiences. This, to me, is the core principle that should define the hospitality sector. However, this viewpoint merely scratches the surface. While some establishments embrace this philosophy and strive to provide exceptional vacations, entertainment, and cuisine, others fall short.

In my opinion, a lack of understanding is often the underlying issue – the challenge lies in knowing how to effectively treat guests and respond when unexpected situations arise, without simply resorting to apologies. It may also stem from a lack of genuine care and an overemphasis on financial considerations. These factors collectively compromise the integrity of the sector.

Having said that, I observe a new trend emerging in the hospitality industry: boutique hotels. These establishments are characterized by their small, intimate size and specialized offerings. They provide a personalized and luxurious experience that appeals to many guests seeking privacy and exclusivity. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on sustainability, with many boutique hotels striving to reduce their carbon footprint. These trends are redefining hospitality, pushing it to new levels of innovation and service excellence – pathways that we are also committed to pursuing.

What is the story of The Peech Boutique Hotel and its distinctive features? What makes this boutique hotel unique?

The Peech Boutique Hotel is situated on Rumbavu Park, an equestrian estate that has been in the Peech Family for over three generations, spanning more than a decade. This heritage alone makes it unique and special. The property’s rich history is infused into the land, trees, and water, creating a deeply meaningful atmosphere. With two dams on the estate, water plays a significant role in its charm. Covering approximately 95 acres, the hotel grounds boast this expansive natural setting, enhanced by two private dams, which adds to its distinctive character. The hotel rooms themselves were originally horse stables, skillfully transformed into luxurious accommodations that echo the qualities of champion thoroughbreds, a source of pride for the Peech family and a marvel for guests.

How do you maintain high standards of service and ensure consistent guest satisfaction?

We constantly train our staff to ensure they improve their service delivery. We also listen to our guests and their experiences with us. If there is a deficiency, we quickly identify and rectify it. We have set SOPs that guide us on consistency. We believe in exceeding guests’ expectations and going the extra mile, which is our driving factor for guest satisfaction. We welcome complaints as they show us where to improve and help us provide more personalized service.

Can you share some memorable experiences or feedback from guests that highlight the unique aspects of staying at The Peech Boutique Hotel?

Yes, definitely. We have had guests commend the quiet, serene, and peaceful environment of our hotel. They particularly appreciate this unique quality, especially given our proximity to the Central Business District. Most of our guests are fascinated by the history and the conversion of stables into luxurious rooms. Additionally, the opportunity for guests to check-in, take a trail walk, encounter horses, and go fishing in Harare is something we and our guests love about the hotel.

With sustainability gaining importance in the hospitality sector, what environmentally friendly practices and initiatives have been integrated into The Peech Boutique Hotel, and how do they reflect your values?

By visiting The Peech Hotel, a person can see how nature and water embrace us, and we take pride. We believe in life in its natural state. We are surrounded by trees, grass, flowers and water. In all our rooms and common areas, we put fresh roses from our gardens. We dry the petals after they wither for decorative purposes. We purify our water and use recycled glass carafes for the rooms. We also use our own organic farmed herbs and vegetables for the kitchen. Everywhere we can, we try and avoid leaving a carbon footprint. This shows how we value life and the environment that sustains us.

Could you provide insights into any forthcoming plans or expansions for The Peech Boutique Hotel, such as the introduction of new amenities or services?

The hotel is still quite new; however, we do have plans to build a semi-permanent structure for events at the dam, which we believe will be a grand feature. We are also considering adding another conference room, as we are becoming increasingly popular in that aspect.

Looking ahead three to five years, what is your vision for the hotel? What milestones do you hope to achieve during this time frame?

Well, I envision the hotel gaining popularity due to its service and hospitality, becoming a yardstick of excellence in hosting. To achieve this, much needs to be accomplished, including finding the right team for the job, as not everyone is cut out to serve. We will perfect our craft with love and determination, and a lot of teaching, training, and inspiration will transpire in our journey to becoming the ultimate host.

For more information, please visit: https://thepeechhotelzimbabwe.com.

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