*Pictured is Fortis Hotels CEO Grant Mclachlan (right) presenting an award to Alpheus Mabote who recently retired after 40 years with the Fortis Hotel Group, working most recently at the Protea Hotel Capital (now Fortis Hotel Capital). 

After operating several Protea Hotels around the country, Fortis Hotels is striking out under its own brand, and has announced that 40% of the business equity will be owned by its staff.

The family-owned business, under the leadership of CEO Grant Mclachlan, has launched six Fortis branded hotels: Fortis Hotel Capital (Pretoria), Fortis Hotel Manor (Pretoria), Fortis Hotel Malaga (Waterval Boven), Fortis Hotel Witbank (Witbank), Fortis Hotel Highveld (Emalahleni) and Fortis Hotel Evander (Secunda). They will continue to franchise with the Protea and Marriott group at their hotel, Protea Hotel Hunters Rest.

In 1954 the Mclachlan brothers, Archie and Jimmy, opened the Boulevard Hotel in Pretoria, following a few years later with the Boulevard Witbank and the Boulevard Impala in Phalaborwa. In November 1993, the hotels converted to the Protea Hotel brand and enjoyed many years of a very beneficial and constructive association. In 1998, Grant Mclachlan bought the trading companies from his family and is the major shareholder, and from the 1st of March, the hotels began trading under their own brand, Fortis Hotels, which has signed a management contract with the Boulevard Hotel Group.

A significant move is the announcement that the staff of both the Boulevard Group and of Fortis Hotels will own 40% of the equity in their respective companies, which gives new meaning to the brand’s motto of ‘It’s Personal’. Grant Mclachlan, Fortis Hotels CEO says, “We are not launching a hotel or expanding a business, nor are we filling a gap in the market, we are starting a new era and we want you to be a part of our journey. Our ambition is to be a sought-after African hospitality company known for a portfolio of individually managed hotels that create warm, welcoming and happy guest experiences at the same time as developing, and sustaining our people, our communities and our environment. This is a truly South African cultural brand with international qualities.”

Fortis Hotels also takes training seriously, and entered into a training partnership with the Capital Hotel School in Pretoria in 2016. Out of the 21 trainees that began their studies with the Capital Hotel School, while still working full time, a whopping 19 achieved their qualifications cum laude and graduated in January this year.

The 21 trainees were mostly unemployed when they were offered full-time traineeship positions. Their first year of study was orientation, and they could then choose between Professional Cookery and Hospitality Management qualifications. This was the first time in 17 years that CHS trained a group of full time employed learners, to become qualified with internationally accredited Diplomas in both the above disciplines. The course consisted of blended learning methods comprising of contact time during scheduled block releases (lectures), learning material and guidance through distance/e-learning methods, practical training at one of Capital Hotel School’s fully equipped training centres, and workplace based assessments and assignments.