This is beside the other hotel projects already in the pipeline in Lagos, Ibadan and other locations with some nearing completion, thereby extending its influence and presence in the Nigerian hospitality market as one of the largest international brands in the country. Contract for the new four-star hotel project was recently signed between the Akwa Ibom State government and representative of Starwood in the Governor’s office in Uyo, the state capital.
The state Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem signed for the state while the Vice President of Starwood International, Mr. Hassan Ahdab signed for the hotel group. Governor Godswill Akpabio said ‘‘the signing of the agreement is another milestone for Akwa Ibom people and the building of the four point hotel is to strengthen our hospitality in the state. The project was awarded to Renaissance Construction Group and the construction of the hotel is already ongoing.
We are on the seventh floor now and we are expected to commission the hotel on March 31, 2015. The hotel would be a 12-storey building, with 128 standard rooms, 16 suites, two presidential suites, meeting rooms, swimming pools, roof top cafe, among others.’’ The choice of Ikot Ekpene, said the governor is based on the cultural and historical heritage of the town, which he said should draw attention to the town. ‘‘Ikot Ekpene is one of the oldest cities in the state. It is not only known as a raffia city but it is an archival centre for Akwa Ibom State.
The project is sited at there the former Ikot Ekpene Prison was located, which we had to pull down and relocate the prison to another area, so that the hotel would turn the place of grief to a place of joy, because this government came with a determination to turn our sorrow to an uncommon joy, which today has led to the uncommon transformation of the state.’’ Although hotel business and tourism is private driven, the governor said that the state government decision to invest in the new hotel building is to give impetus to development in the state and attract other investors.
Akpabio commended Starwood for the successful management of the Le Meridian Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, expressing the hope that they would replica such and even more with the Ikot Ekpene hotel once it comes on stream. On his part, Starwood Vice President, Mr. Ahdab, expressed appreciation of the group to the statement for the support and confidence it reposed in the group for trusting them with the management of the new hotel. He assured the governor of the deployment of the best hands and management practice of Starwood in order to make the hotel a success. He also applauded Governor Akpabio for the transformation of the state Ikot Ekpene inclusive, stressing that the presence of the hotel would greatly enhance the value and economic activities of the town.