In 1966 the Bandali Jaffer family woke up to the news that the Pope, head of the Catholic Church was to visit Uganda. Uganda was excited but the news had a ‘but’ in it. There was no hotel of sufficient magnificence to host the pope and his cardinals.
The Bandali family only had a house along what is now the Yusuf Lule or Kitante road but they had enough space to expand so in the news they saw an opportunity for expansion.
The advent of Fairway Hotel
They could build a hotel that the hosts of the international Catholic delegation could consider. That is how the construction of Fairway Hotel began, form a single house that housed the Bandali family of Indian origin.
Today, what used to be a home houses partly houses a classy reception area and partly the General Manager’s office, of Harrison Njoroge who shares this story. He says this Indian family began on construction which lasted up to 1969.
It is in this year that His Holiness Pope Paul VI visited Uganda, on July, 31, 1969, the very first Papal visit to the African Continent as a whole, and made a pilgrimage to Namugongo on August, 2, 1969. He stayed at Fairway Hotel handing it its place in Uganda’s history and indeed in the important occasions of Christianity in Africa and Uganda.
The Bandali were a business family and one of the first ones to start a trend that has recently caught on, of transforming residential houses into formal and informal business offices for bars, restaurants and the like.
Managing Director Azhar Jaffer, grandson of the founding owner, explains that in 1972, three years after opening business Indians were exiled by then head of state, Idi Amin which disrupted business.
“It was a bad hit because a lot had been invested,” Njoroge adds. In fact Azhar does not have much to show for the history of this hotel which takes its name from its location close to the gold course.
A fairway as Njoroge explains is part of a gold course. From the scanty history of the hotel, much of it in photography, the General Manager says Fairway was one of the first hotels to construct a swimming pool at a time when it was a luxury preserve for the whites.
“It was not common for you to see a Ugandan or black swimming in there,” he explains as he takes me around the refurbished swimming pool, located in the green lush of the hotel.
It is part of 4.5 acres on which Fairway sits, an enviable amount of land that should have cost the Bandali family quite a fortune.
Popular trend now
And this is a visible trend in Kampala today where residents of places like Bugolobi, Nakasero, Bunga, and Kololo have chosen to turn their homes into offices or bars and restaurants.
In fact many top bars like Steak out Bar and Restaurant along Lumumba Avenue, Casablanca along Acacia Avenue, the Apple Club and , Fas Fas in Bugolobi, among others were all people’s homes that have now become big time hangout joints.
The transformation of Acacia Avenue
In the mid-1990s when Henry Lota became resident deejay at Bubbles O’Leary, Acacia Avenue was largely a residential area. In fact he says they had to mind the levels at which they played the music for fear of complaints from residents who would be disturbed by the loud music.
Today it is a different case as the avenue is steadily turning into a stretch with more hangouts like Mish Mash and Insomnia which are all in a homely setting.
So this could be an idea you and me, of course with land in prime locations of the city, can think about.
Take advantage of where you live
Ssalongo Joggo, a real estate broker says that many people with home in ‘happening’ or buzzing locations like Kabalagala and Makindye have chosen to rent them out at a good price that allows them rent a house somewhere more homely band earn some substantial amount of money.
Minting from her home
Jane Nabutto, a resident of Muyenga has been working with an international organisation which posted her to South Africa four years back. She moved with her young family, leaving the home vacant.
“For the start as we planned what to do with the house we got a caretaker for the property but it was not long before people interested to rent the house came around asking for the amount at which the home could be rented,” she explains.
Given the location of the house she says she is assured of $2,000 every month, an equivalent of about Shs5.5m. She has used some of this money and her salary to acquire land in Kansanga where she is putting up apartments. She is considering more expansion in real estate.
12 years ago Peter Wacha was looking for a place to start a restaurant and as he moved up and about in Nakasero he stopped at plot 50, Lumumba Avenue. It was a residential house then and he negotiated with the owner who was willing to rent out the place.
“Initially we looked at this place as a good location for a restaurant but with time the bar idea was born,” Wacha adds though he will not reveal how much he pays in rent for the place.
He changed the home to meet the specifications of a restaurant, turning the veranda into a stretch of sitting facilities and then the compound into a dance floor and the lower quarters into a kitchen and lower restaurant.
Njoroge says through the years, Fairway has changed face too, from one house to more and more blocks that house the 96 rooms of the hotel that also has a spa, and a number of bars and restaurants to cater for the different clients that pop in for accommodation, meals and relaxation.
Njoroge throws in a good word about the hotel, “The hotel enjoys an ideal location in the exclusive Nakasero area, perched on one of Kampala’s seven distinctive hills just across the street from the city’s 18-hole golf course. The gardens are home to hundreds of varieties of trees, plants, flowers and birds.”
He adds that visitors enjoy strolling through the gardens to a row of upscale boutiques and crafts shops, including the new Art Spot Gallery in the hotel’s Palm Garden as well as comfortable accommodation and amenities, ideal for business and leisure travelers alike.
Here is how to give your home a hotel-like transformation
Are you looking for comfort elsewhere? Are you tired of the same old casual look? Edmund Ssesanga, an interior designer at Furniture Fittings gives the following guidelines on how to turn your home into a wonderful haven of its own
The Sitting/ Living room
Walling is an important aspect and Ssesanga advises that one settles for wall art pieces, and wall carpets because they say a lot.
Painting is another aspect and he advises that one opts for bright colours. Although, he advises that for the lighting, one can settle for decorative lights and if possible, chandeliers are also welcome because they add that spacious look.
Another important aspect is the chairs. Sofas should be spaced and not crowded since that only makes the room appear smaller. Also, chairs should be bright and dull as a way of contrast.
The carpeting should also be entertaining for instance carpets with designs will uplift the look.
In the bedroom
As the day comes to an end, one needs a place that will only increase their desire to slumber and not one that is distressing. Go ahead and find out how to make that happen. Ssesanga advises that the bedroom should be spacious.
He recommends plain interior designing and not something so bright. Selectivity is highly needed for instance in the choice of duvets, carpets, and pillows.
Wall art pieces can be included but they should not be very many.
In the bathroom
•In this case, he recommends water proof material and the best material is tiles or alternatively using water proof cement
•The use of bright colors is not really necessary unless the person is a fan of color. This can be pink, yellow but for things like towels and maybe toothbrush holders.
•In this case, one can opt to buy designed materials instead of plain ones. For instance a designed bath tub.
One should not ignore the walkways and corridors when setting up the house. Consider the colours and lighting. The coloring can vary according to the tastes of an individual but usually, dull colours are better.
The exterior is what finally wraps up the whole package and above all may be used to define how the interior is like. So the best way is to create a small garden and even though you live in an apartment, one can still pull this off for example if they have no space for a garden, they can alternatively use potted plants. Do not however crowd them in one area.
Garden seats may be a supplement although not necessary. If one has limited space, they can settle for the wattle seats.
Much as it is the exterior, painting counts and bright colours are a good choice.