The new Morning Star Express Hotel is situated just off the Pretoria CBD in Visagie Street. Other landmarks in the area include the Burgers Park Hotel around the corner, and across the street from the Hotel is the beautiful original building of the Staatsmeisjesskool now Hamilton Primary School, a red brick Victorian style building, built at the beginning of the 20th century. The State Theatre is also close by and has started using the funky new hotel for their accommodation needs.
There is some urban deterioration in the area which consists mainly of residential apartment buildings and the upgrade of Morning Star is part of some welcome renewal, which could well provide a lot of stimuli for similar upgrades. The building used to be a boarding house with rather neglected facilities.
The building was completely renovated internally and externally with a double deck parking area at the deck.
Internally the beautiful wooden block flooring has been retained which provided a quality feel that matched the upgraded interior.
En suite bathrooms have been provided to every room and core drilling to the concrete slabs was quite a challenge as the structural integrity was an unknown factor. The existing steel window frames have been replaced with soundproof aluminium windows and AC units which altered the façade completely.
The only available space for a second lift and extension to the restaurant was literally on the street boundary. The blue box, glass façade and scenic lift not only had a dramatic effect on the main façade but provided a very scenic view over the Jacaranda City CBD.
Taking the limited budget into consideration, the transformation was a huge success and became a benchmark for upgrading of existing buildings.