Designed by Studio Moren, the recently opened InterContinental Lusaka, Zambia is poised to quickly re-establish itself as the destination hotel in the Zambian capital. Here’s how…
The opening of InterContinental Lusaka marks the completion of the final phase of a project where Studio Moren designed the refurbishment of the existing hotel – an important landmark in Lusaka’s Government District – to create two separate and distinct hotels under the same roof: a new 162-key Holiday Inn, which opened in 2020 and the new 106-key luxury InterContinental.
The project is the result of an extensive collaboration between architects (Studio Moren and Prism Architects), lighting designers (Design Omni), contractors (WBHO), project managers (Mace), quality surveyors (Equate), MEP (CKR), joiners (RAM and Design UP) and procurement (IPS Global Procurement).
Studio Moren’s design for the hotel included an extensive meeting and conference facilities, including a ballroom, a large pre-function area, a business centre, a bar, a restaurant with a terrace and improved reception facilities. An elegant new club room on the top floor has become a dazzling venue, unequalled in sub-Saharan Africa, with views across the city.
“Our brief for this project was to refurbish the existing InterContinental Hotel to create a Holiday Inn, an InterContinental and additional meeting facilities,” said Joel Iseli, Associate, Studio Moren. “We have provided a complete design solution with architectural and interior design proposals for all two phases.
“Studio Moren’s experience and understanding of the African market and the requirements of international brands were key to the successful delivery of this scheme. Our design avoided cliches and created a vibrant, urban venue that appeals to a modern, cosmopolitan young Africa. Whilst construction and opening during the global pandemic were challenging, forcing us to do many things remotely, we are honoured to have played a role in the ongoing story of this important and much-loved Lusaka landmark. We are delighted to see its doors open to guests once more.”
InterContinental Lusaka is an important part of the city’s history. Designed by William B Tabler and constructed in time for Zambia’s independence in 1968, InterContinental Lusaka has been the backdrop for significant international political events, as well as the place for important personal celebrations.
With its smaller number of rooms, the InterContinental has the feel of a boutique hotel, emphasised by the high proportion of luxurious suites giving a more sumptuous experience that will appeal to young, cosmopolitan, international guests staying in Lusaka either for business or pleasure. Studio Moren’s architecture and design concepts reflect a contemporary, metropolitan Africa, expressed through vibrant colours and bold graphics without resorting to stereotypes.
To optimise space within the hotel and improve its efficiency, Studio Moren used its hospitality space planning expertise to review circulation within the building, which had become an issue when the hotel was hosting conferences and hundreds of delegates would cross the hotel reception area. Studio Moren’s design resolved this issue by creating separate entrances for the conferencing facility and hotel, as well as providing a new, wide corridor to allow conference delegates to access the restaurant more easily. The separate hotel entrance provides a more intimate and personalised experience for hotel guests.
Improvements to the efficiency of the kitchen area also helped gain space for the front of house, allowing for a more expansive restaurant that can cater for large lunches for hundreds of diners, with movable panels and partitions to create a more intimate feel when required. The space opens onto a generous terrace, ideal for large events, whilst a new private dining room offers a more exclusive eating experience. The bar also faces onto the terrace, with windows that can be opened fully to enjoy the setting, particularly in the evenings.
A new seventh-floor club, created by Studio Moren, has become an exclusive place for meeting and dining whilst enjoying the view over Lusaka from the new outdoor deck. The club is unique in this part of Africa, raising the bar further on the five-star experience and ensuring the InterContinental becomes the most sought-after destination hotel in Lusaka.
Main image credit: Studio Moren / IHG