With nearly a quarter of its total rooms already occupied within one week of opening, the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, has been described as a ‘game changing’ facility designed to pioneer a new age in the hospitality industry in Nigeria.
Making this disclosure at a media briefing to formally open the hotel which took place inside the meeting room of the expansive hotel, Thursday, Chairman, Honeywell Group, Dr. Oba Otudeko, OFR, said that the opening further demonstrated ‘an important milestone in the history of the Honeywell Group’.
The newly-opened Radisson Blu Victoria Island, Lagos is a property of the Anchorage Leisure Company, a subsidiary of the Honeywell Group. The hotel is however a brand of the Rezidor Hotel chain, which will provide the managerial capacity.
The Achorage Leisure Company is the real estate and lifestyle arm of the Honeywell which will oversee Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotels, Lagos, that opened for guests last week.
Otudeko who reaffirmed his belief in a private sector driven economy for the country, explained that this informed the decision of his company to establish a fully Nigerian firm with the ‘best of talents from around the world to drive the hospitality sector of the Nigerian economy’ as seen with the Radisson Blu hotel.
“This hotel opening represent a strategic development for us. It is a proudly Nigerian company; we want to work with the federal government so as to drive the economy of the country in all the sectors that the Honeywell is represented in Nigeria.
“The Honeywell Group is willing and ever ready to work with government and other stakeholders to develop critical sectors of our economy. The Radisson Blue Anchorage Hotel is therefore a contribution of the Group to the development of the hospitality and tourism sectors of the Nigerian economy,” Otudeko said.
He acknowledged the support of the federal and state governments all through the process of birthing this hotel, just as he expressed his belief in the value of partnerships, saying, this ‘has been demonstrated in the involvement of private and institutional investors for the achievement of this landmark project.’
Otudeko stressed that his company’s partnership with the Rezidor Group, owners of the global Radisson brand, will transform the hospitality industry, assuring further that the two firms ‘will manage what will definitely become a major point of reference for best-in-class hospitality services in Nigeria.’
On his part, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Rezidor Hotels and Resorts, Mr. Kurt Ritter, said the opening of the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, was consistent with his company’s vision of being represented in every major capital city of the world.
He also announced other openings planned for Nigeria, with the Radisson Blu in Abuja, and the Park Inn brand also planned in Apapa, Lagos.
These openings, along with another Radisson Blu in Accra, Ghana, form the beginning of an expansion campaign by the hotel chain planned for the sub-Saharan together and together with southern Africa, Kenya presence, will on a broader scale, become ‘clusters of Rezidors properties’ in Africa.
Ritter who noted that political instabilities, lack of infrastructure and experienced professionals, unwillingness of the banking sector to advance long-term loan facilities, coupled with hotels being heavily dependent on strong commodity prices, were challenges confronting his hotel chain’s ambitions for Africa, however, praised the continent for rebounding quickly from the global recession.
“Indeed, Africa has rebounded from the global recession rather quickly compared to some European economies, it is this outlook that also informs Rezidor’s renewed interest to do business in countries like Nigeria which has also shown a remarkable potential for growth,” said Ritter.
The Rezidor Hotel chain’s Radisson Blu in Abuja, opens in the last quarter of the year 2011, while the Park Inn, in Apapa, Lagos, is slated for opening in 2013.
“Nigeria is one of our key markets in Africa and extremely suitable for our dynamic mid-market brand Park Inn by Radisson. We are already developing a Park Inn in Lagos, Ikeja and have also established the brand in Abuja and Abeokuta”, said Ritter.
According to Ritter, Lagos although remains one of the most dynamic hotel markets in Africa the area is still lacking internationally branded hotel rooms as a result of a surging economy buoyed by high oil prices and high barriers to entry limiting hotel development.
Explaining the rationale for the choice of the location of the Park Inn, the Rezidor boss said: “Apapa is the major port of the city of Lagos and has a high concentration of businesses related to shipping and petroleum.”
Besides 125 guestrooms, the new Park Inn will comprise an all day dining restaurant, a sports bar, 330 m2 of meeting space, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. The surrounding area is heavily landscaped and park-like, which a major advantage in Lagos.
Rezidor has identified the emerging markets of Africa as a focus area for future business development; the group currently has the largest pipeline in Sub-Saharan Africa and develops its core brands Radisson Blu (upper upscale) and Park Inn by Radisson (mid market) across the continent.
For the newly-opened Radisson Blu in Victoria Island, Lagos, the interior of the hotel was designed by the Swedish hospitality designer Christian Lundwall; who has also decorated the 170 guest rooms in two unique styles. All rooms offer views of Lagos Lagoon or the city, have both bathtub and walk-in shower, and guests benefit from Radisson Blu signature services such as free high speed internet access.
The all-day-dining Voyage Restaurant with own terrace serves an international buffet with a choice of Nigerian and continental dishes, in addition to an à la carte menu with dishes from the region and Europe. The Surface Bar & Grill on the terrace offers al fresco dining and views over the lagoon, with jetty access for dining cruises. And the View bar lounge promises a stunning lagoon panorama, light snacks and drinks.
With a top-floor Business Lounge, 4 spacious meeting rooms and 2 boardrooms, the hotel has some of the finest meeting facilities in Lagos. Three of the conference rooms are located on the ground floor and provide access to the veranda, which overlooks the lagoon and can be reserved for special events.
For relaxation after a day of sightseeing or meetings, the new property includes a fitness and wellness area with gym, massage rooms, outdoor infinity swimming pool and children’s pool.