One&Only is to launch two resorts in Rwanda, One&Only Nyungwe House and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest.
The two properties will sit under the new brand of One&Only Nature Resorts, as the hotel operator seeks to expand its reach beyond its traditional beach resort roots.
Along with the One&Only Nature Resorts brand will be One&Only Urban Resorts and One&Only Private Homes, as well as One&Only Beach Resorts.
The company had its foundations in the African continent where its founder Sol Kerzner is from, but it only has one property there at the moment, One&Only Cape Town.
The addition of the two properties in Rwanda gives it a strong foothold in a growing destination where few other international luxury brands have yet ventured.
One&Only Nyungwe House will open first in Gisakura, a working tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park.
The park is home to the Nyungwe forest, thought to be one of the oldest in Africa, with a diverse environment that is home to more than 13 species of primates, representing 20% of all the apes in Africa; 275 species of birds; and 75 different species of mammals.
The hotel will have 22 rooms and two, two-room Forest suites; no firm date was given for its opening, but the company said Q4 2017 was likely.
The other property, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, is located near the village of Kingi, on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range and is set for a 2018 opening.
Guests will have views of of the Volcanoes national park and the rare chance of trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas Rwanda is famous for.
It is one of only three countries in the world where these critically endangered creatures live; experts estimate there are only 780 mountain gorillas in existence, a third of which are in Rwanda, with numbers increasing there by 14% in the past 12 years.
In addition to the gorilla trek, guests will also be able to visit Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Camp.
“Rwanda is such an incredible destination with truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said One&Only chief executive officer Philippe Zuber. “We look forward to immersing our guests in the country and culture and providing that ultimate connection with nature in the ultimate locations. Building on the legacy and success of One&Only, it is an exciting time for the brand.”
He hinted he would be able to share "additional locations for our resorts", soon.
Also under the One&Only Nature Resorts will sit Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia.
It was the first hotel in the world to achieve carbon-neutral certification by CarbonZero, and all One&Only Nature Resorts will aim for this distinction.