ZIMBABWE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IS A BODY OF 31 MEMBER CHURCHES THAT WAS FOUNDED IN 1964 TO FACILITATE THE EMPOWERMENT OF MAINLINE CHURCHES, HELPING THEM CEMENT THEIR CHRISTIAN FOOTHOLD IN ZIMBABWE. LOCATED A FEW KILOMETRES FROM ROBERT MUGABE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OWNS THE KENTUCKY HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTRE WHICH ALL RECENTLY UNDERWENT A MAJOR FACELIFT AND EXTENSION RESPECTIVELY.
The facilities are not for church engagements only. The conference hall and functions hall are open to anyone wanting to host conferences, workshops, parties or any other type of occasion that does not conflict with Zimbabwe Council of Churches’ values. The hotel has 30 well decorated rooms for accommodation that have been recently renovated to give guests a refreshing and homely stay. Kentucky operates just like any other hotel also taking walk in bookings.
The renovations started in May 2021. The structures were due for renovations and was brought in as the main contractor for the renovation of the old interiors and exteriors of the reception area. The works included the extension of the conference hall from a 40 seater to 400 seater facility the renovations and extension of the functions hall to a 200 seater hall, and the facelift of the hotel rooms. Upgrade so Tacna Engineering A new walkway with interlocking pavers leads to the hotel which has a stone clad façade.
The hotel’s reception area had a completely different layout from what it looks like now. The space felt out dated for a hotel reception and had to be demolished. Before, a passage ran from the functions zone area to the reception. During the renovation process a wall was built separating the functions zone from the reception.
For the reception counter a modern laid back look with a granite countertop and a stone clad base was chosen. Existing furniture was done away with in favour of more contemporary furniture pieces except for the teak chairs which are for heritage purposes. Dried Leaf paint from Plascon was applied on the walls giving them an off-white look which contrasts well with the white ceiling.
From the reception, a passage leads to the ground floor hotel rooms with sensor lights that light up as you walk down the corridor. There are 10 ensuite rooms on the ground floor. Extensive renovations were done to the rooms including painting, electrical work, bathrooms, bedrooms, floor and wall tiling.
Bathtubs were removed in favour of showers with fixed contemporary shower heads. The doors, walls and ceilings were repainted giving them a new look. DSTV and Netflflix are available so guests can watch their favourite shows or documentaries on the new smart televisions mounted on the wall. The Wi-Fi package is unlimited. The rooms are spacious and can occupy a maximum of two people. In addition to the 10 rooms on the ground floor, there are 20 more rooms upstairs 10 on each wing, which can be accessed through a newly tiled staircase. The staircase deign allows a lot of natural light in as there are large windows on both sides brightening the pathway as you walk up or down stairs. The floors have also been newly tiled replacing the previous cement finish.
Included in the 30 rooms are disability friendly rooms which have been fitted with features that provide convenience for the handicapped. The doors on disabled friendly rooms open outwards to facilitate easier access in case of emergency. An outward opening door also eliminates the challenge of maneuvering a wheelchair away from the door swing when closing the door. Grab bars were also fifixed on the bathroom walls to offer support for the handicapped when transferring from a wheelchair to the shower or toilet seat and vice versa. The mirrors and the sinks were lowered to make them handicap friendly. A new fire escape was mounted to provide a fool proof escape route in the event of any emergency that makes the staircases inside the hotel inaccessible.
Three tanks with a total capacity of 30 000 litres were installed curbing any future water shortages. The water from the tanks supply all the buildings on the premise. Part of the project also involved the construction of a photovoltaic room as the buildings run primarily on solar. On top of that, taking advantage of the solar system installed, solar geysers were also mounted on top of the roof in order to supply hot water to the kitchen and the showers.
Motion sensor lights were installed throughout the building. The lights switch on as soon as they sense motion and switch back offff afterwards saving power and also creating an alarming experience. The function zone needed to be extended a little. Previously, the seating capacity was 100 and after the extension between 200 and 250 people can now be accommodated. The French doors at the front were removed and bi-folding aluminium doors were newly fitted. The back of the function zone, which leads to the dining area, was an open space so bi-folding aluminium and glass doors have been installed too.
In the tele studio, Oikos, the existing doors were removed and new soundproof double doors were installed to improve the quality of the sound recordings. The programmes seen on the Zimbabwe Council of Churches reception television and those they flflight online are broadcast from this studio. In addition, a control room for systems management and monitoring was set up in the studio. The conference hall not only needed to be renovated but also extended. The walls to the west and north were demolished in order to extend the building, increasing the number of people it can hold to 400. A new Chromadek roof was installed giving the conference hall a triangular shape as three exposed red brick pillars support the extension.
The wheelchair ramp with rubber tiles is also a new feature built to aid the handicapped. The ramp is flanked by aluminium rails for maximum support. New restroom accessories were installed from urinals, hand dryers, cisterns, toilets and wash basins in the public toilets. The existing soak away and sceptic tank were replaced for larger ones in light of the conference hall increasing its carrying capacity The renovations of the hotel and reception area plus the extensions to the functions zone and the conference hall are a sensible investment by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches considering the fact that they host most of the many mainline churches’ conventions. The hotel is also strategically located in an area which experiences much traffic so the facelift will definitely lead to more bookings.