Johannesburg-born Marc Wachsberger, 38, was a chartered financial analyst working in mergers and acquisitions when he noticed a disconnect in the local property market: hotel rooms were overpriced and residential apartment leases were cheap. What’s more, hotels were wasting money on things that business travellers didn’t care about, but not offering the things that they really wanted.
Inspired by these blatant market inefficiencies, Wachsberger started The Capital Hotels and Apartments in 2008 by leasing apartments, furnishing them to a high standard and sub-letting them on a per-night basis to compete with the hotel sector. He did everything himself at first, from negotiating leases to being the porter – giving him hands-on experience at every level, which still stands him in good stead.
By introducing cost-effective frills-free apartment-style and regular hotel-format accommodation tailored to suit business and family travel needs, Wachsberger has offered the local market and travellers from abroad a refreshing alternative to the staid status quo.
The group has just opened its twelfth hotel in Melrose’s hip and happening precinct, and employs more than 500 people across Sandton, Melrose, Menlyn, Rosebank, Cape Town and Umhlanga. With aggressive plans to open two hotels a year for the next five years, Wachsberger’s growth strategy flies in the face of conventional caution typical of the currently constrained property market.
Lounge areas plus a pool overlooking the river. It sounds extraordinary and is yet another notch in this dynamic trailblazer’s belt.