So, my daughter Annette was at a Party at the Eko Hotel with her Aunty Vicky who had just flown in from the UK. It was the 90-year birthday celebration for their Prophet and I went in to say hello to them. I had checked her into one hotel somewhere on Victoria Island so she would not be very far from the venue.
I had gone online and had seen that the pricing had changed. I called in. Why am I paying N55,000? I inquired. The female voice at the other end said, ‘ Oh sir, we have renovated’. I said fair enough.
The next morning when I went to pick my daughter, I was aghast. The room was stale and just bland. I made it a point never to come there again. Then Aunty Vicky called, she had forgotten her ATM card and wanted Annette to bring the same to her in her own hotel just opposite the Eko Hotel.
We drove in and got a mild shock. Now I used to know this particular facility as Protea and with my old school brain, this was what I was looking out for. In fact, the name change did not hit me very quickly as we drove in but the uniforms of the pretty young girl at the Reception quickly engaged me.
I had stayed at the Park Inn in Abeokuta during my Play Aremu. I had fun while staying there and as such remembered very succinctly the Uniform. Then I looked around.
The simple but very elegant décor of the lounge caught my attention. Its sparse luxury sits down well with my love for not complex Art. The huge black and white pictures of Lagos majestically seated on the front porch as you engage the Hotel grabs you and remind you that Lagos is truly a uniquely beautiful city.
Then I ask for the room rates and saw the standard room at N53,000 I wept. Ohh my God what did I just do? I had spent a whooping N55,000 just two streets away in a dingy hole called a hotel when I was literally just standing at the pearly gates this morning and taking in the luxuriant ambiance of this Oasis.
I walked to the bar, took a seat, and asked for a drink. The dining area engaged me. The décor was the same spartan luxury. A little bit minimalist but not enough to arrogantly seduce you. It didn’t give you the aggressive pushback of the other Hotels where you could actually feel the need for them to stomp your head with over-the-top luxury.
This was cool, inviting, and primal. I loved the gray hue that enveloped the dining area. The 60s’ like furnishing but coming with a curated modern-day feel. It suggested class and pseudo aristocracy the type of engagement that is earned from a lifetime of understanding the very good things in life.
I said to myself that I must stay here. I asked for the Manager and a dutiful Emmanuel emerged. He appeared strict and almost authoritarian, maybe because he had been informed that a ‘yahoo’ boy was in his hotel taking pictures.
He politely explained to me why I couldn’t take pictures because of the sensitivity of other guests and asked that he would have to delete the pictures from my phone. The fact that the request was ‘funny’, didn’t stop me from giving him my phone. I hoped he would stumble on the Tiwa’s Sex tape and jump out of his skin. Gratefully, that didn’t happen.
He wanted to know why I was taking the pictures while also wanting to know me better. What he was engaging wasn’t an ordinary ‘yahoo boy’ as he could sense the arrogance of an accomplished writer and theatre producer. He began to slowly come out of his strict mien and assumed a more accommodating and friendly mode. He didn’t have to, I liked him already because his passion for his hotel was evident.
Do you know we have the very first Nigerian Female General Manager in the Raddison Group here? He said with pride. I didn’t know the import but I said, ‘ you don’t mean it. He smiled with his chest swelling as he took me through the facilities they had and requested that I patronize them.
I said, ‘I want to do a shoot’. His eyes lightened up. What kind of shoot, he asked and I explained and he went ahead to give me all the support I would need for the shoot. I said, ‘thank you as I proceeded to the room.
It was luxe. It was a beauty. Nice use of space, sweet furnishing, and a feel of retro-luxury that made all of your hard work in Lagos worth it. The air-conditioning was perfect and my room opened up to the very beautiful Adetokunbo Ademola street whose night lighting gave you a Parisian feel.
The shower was my love. I loved the sweet, smooth cascading feel of the water. It was like I was under the rain as the petals from the water hit my tired body melting away the pressure and making me feel like staying there forever. For a man who was not very friendly with bathing, I took a shower over 5 times during my very brief stay. I simply just loved it.
Breakfast was a buffet and it was on the house. The made on the spot and to order breakfast filled the room with a glaringly inviting aroma. Chaperoned by a sweet charming lady was a major attraction. I tried the beans and fried plantain in small portions – remember I am on a diet and then took down some fruits with a healthy dose of water to complete my healthy diet.
As I walked towards the bar en route checking out, I looked to the left and saw the swimming area. Now, this is a slight dent in an otherwise almost perfect story. The swimming area looked like – by the time they got there, energy levels were at their lowest ebb. It looked like something you would say, ‘make us just try and go sleep I do tire. It was just that, a swimming pool. Nothing attractive just come and swim and go. Even the lounge chairs didn’t have cushions and were not inviting. I just smiled and walked away.
As I drove off, I felt powerful. I had had fun, I had enjoyed my stay and would definitely come again. The black and white pictures of Lagos splattered strategically all over the Hotel playing a very significant part in this love affair with the Park Inn Radisson at Violet Yough in Victoria Island Lagos.
You should experience this.