The Lusaka Hotel
The Lusaka Hotel is the oldest hotel in Lusaka, dating back to 1914 when it was started as a family investment by a Canadian coouple, Mr and Mrs Counsell in the early 1900 under the name Counsell's Lusaka Hotel. The hotel is located on Cairo Road.
In 1913, The British South Africa Company gazetted Lusaka as a local authority under a Village Management Board. The Counsell's Hotel opened its hospitality doors as Counsell's Lusaka Hotel in 1914 after it got incorporated under theVillage Management board.
During this time the city of Lusaka was experiencing some developmental activities in key economic sectors: Lusaka's first hospital was built south of Villa Elizabetha in 1918. In the same year, the financial sector saw Standard Bank opening its doors and Barclays followed suit in 1924.
This increased the customer base for the hotel. Some of the guests enjoying the hotel's comfortable rooms and were given a unique wakeup call made by the noise from the first plane to fly over Lusaka air space in 1920. And in 1921, the hotel's restaurant become popular among the workers involved in the tree planting project along Cairo Road for its old favorite dish Oxtail.
In 1926, The Lusaka Hotel suffered a setback as a result of floods in Lusaka which caused damage to the drainage system on Cairo Road. The flooding of the city and the hotel may have been among the reasons why the Councell family decided to abandon and sell off the hotel business.
Rise of Lusaka Hotel
As the city of Lusaka grew; the need for a prestigious hotel in town became increasingly apparent. Having secured ownership of the Lusaka Hotel, Lonrho Africa began to upgrade it, adding a floor to turn it into the current two storey building. During which time the hotel was closed for a year to pave way for the ongoing renovations. It was at the end of these renovations that a new and luxurious “Counsell's Lusaka Hotel” was opened with much enthusiasm.
The hotel adopted a natural air-conditioning from the 'grand tree', a spacious Il Bambino dining room, a roof garden and self-contained guest rooms with scenic views along Cairo Road.
As of 2014, The Lusaka Hotel was owned and managed by Horizon Holdings and were at the helm of the hotel's restoration and repositioning. A renovation project in early 2014 included the construction of a swimming pool to replace the 'grand tree'. The conversion of 40 of the 80 rooms into hotel apartments was closely monitored to ensure the preservation of the character of the historic building.
Preservation of history
Management has preserved and maintained the status of this historic hotel for the benefit of current and future generations ensuring that the Lusaka Hotel remains an icon in the hospitality industry in Lusaka.
Celebrating 100 years
In 2014, the hotel celebrated 100 years of existence and hospitality service. An invitation was extended to all visitors and city dwellers to visit this historic hotel and taste the undiluted hospitality in their IL Bambino restaurant famous for “The Oxtail” – the hotel's oldest favorite dish.