Meet Class One Dropout Owning Multi-million Hotel

For many to attain great wealth and a rich base of assets, the general assumption is that formal education would play a key role. 

However, to James Mwangi Kuria, dropping out of school at Standard One didn’t thwart his dreams of becoming a millionaire now owning the prestigious Sunshine Hotel in Kericho County.

In a report by the Daily Nation in October 2014, Mwangi indicated that his passion to work in the hospitality industry led him to establish his own hotel after years of doing odd jobs.

A past photo of James Mwangi Kuria proprietor of Sunshine Hotels, Kericho County

While running errands in Kericho County at the age of 34, the Kuria received information that a resident was renting out a prime kiosk near Tengecha lane in Kericho Town and quickly took the step to actualise his dream.

Due to insufficient capital, Mwangi talked to his two friends (Rop and Muiruri) and convinced them to contribute Ksh20,000 which was needed to rent the place as an eatery. 

Even though the two agreed, they later gave up at some point as the venture didn’t seem to earn them a fortune as had expected.

“They said that we should sell the business, but I refused. I asked them to be patient so I could pay them back their share of the contribution,” detailed Mwangi.

Mwangi would then purchase sacks and line them on the ceiling to change the eatery’s physical outlook.

He also painted the room and started stocking kitchen utensils and later got a permit to start a hotel from the town council health officials.

“I bought one kilogram of flour and meat. Then my money got finished. I requested a man called Juma to show me how to prepare the dough.

“He did it just once then I struggled on my own. I took hours to light a jiko,” remarked Mwangi.

Mwangi continued with his hard work expanding his hotel that was now taking shape as he moved to a better room.

A steady rise of Sunshine started in 1991 when Mwangi had earned enough to employ more people where he brought in a hotel manager-Charles Ochieng and the two worked together in the Kitchen as well as accounting tasks.

Due to his hard work, a local investor in the area, Benjamin Tirop, who admired his work, asked him to be a tenant in one of his buildings at Tengecha lane and from there, things started flowing to profitability.

From this Mwangi re-launched the hotel bringing up likeable guest rooms.

However, the only disappointment to his customers was that alcohol and casual dates were prohibited in the hotel and only legally married persons would book a room together.

The hotel came to the limelight in July 2018 when the management denied admission to Laikipia County woman representative Cate Waruguru and her husband Kiprotich Kiget after they failed to produce a marriage certificate.

According to the Daily Nation, Kiprotich who is a lawyer booked a room at Sunshine Hotel at around 4 p.m. and then left with his wife to his rural home but drama arose when the couple returned at around 9:30 p.m. when the management barred them from proceeding into their room demanding proof that they were married.

This angered the vocal parliamentarian who even threatened to sue the facility for denying them admission even after the intervention of local leaders in the region.

However, Mwangi stood his grounds indicating no remorse for his strict actions stating that the regulations were only meant to uphold family values.

"It is against our rules for unmarried couples, a man and woman outside wedlock to sleep in one room.

"Some managers have threatened to quit over the strict hotel rules but I'd rather lose clients than compromise on family morals inherited from my father," asserted Mwang at the time


A photo inside a room at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho county

A notice at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho.

A photo of the Sunshine Hotel in Kericho county
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