At 80 years of service delivery in the hospitality industry, the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, is rolling out the drums to celebrate its existence.
The octogenarian hotel began as an owner-operated facility with five rooms in 1942 and was named “Grand Hotel, Lagos’’, by its then owner, Mr Joseph Harold, a Briton.
Mr Harold renamed it “Ikeja Arms Inn’’ in 1956.
Soon after independence from Britain, the defunct Western Region, led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as premier, bought into the hotel by acquiring substantial equity participation.
In 1976, states in the southwest geo-political zone took over the ownership of the hotel following the Indigenisation Decree promulgated by the retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
It was the period that Nigeria was one of the frontline states in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and Obasanjo nationalised assets of the UK in Nigeria for supporting the apartheid regime.
Some British-owned companies fell under the hammer of that decree.
The new owners, Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Lagos states renamed it Ikeja Airport Hotel and made it one of the subsidiaries of the Oodua Investments Company Ltd. conglomerate.
Chairperson, Board of Directors of the hotel, Princess Olufunnke Olugboji, told newsmen in Ikeja that it had set aside Oct. 21 to Oct. 25 to felicitate 80 years of the hotels’ unbroken service.
She said the hotel had been able to weather the storm in its 80 years of existence because it consistently engaged strong management teams and supervisors.
She noted that the hotel management planned to upgrade its facilities, improve service delivery and sustain repeat patronage by its valued guests.
She added that management was also working assiduously to increase the hotel’s market share.
“Lagos Airport Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Nigeria that sustained its services since its establishment in 1942, providing exceptional hospitality services to its numerous customers.
“To the glory of God, the hotel since 1942, has weathered the storm and remains standing in spite of all odds; even after all of its contemporaries have gone into extinction.
“It has remained the hotel of choice, serving generations through professionalism, personalised services, accessible location, security, and courteous and friendly staff which make the hotel a perfect home away from home.
“The hotel is continually making guests’ satisfaction its priority,’’ she stressed.
Olugboji explained that the Odu’a Investment Company Ltd. was working hard to put the hotel on the international pedestal to partner with investors and international brands within its group.
“Our hotel will be celebrating its 80th anniversary from Oct. 21 to 25. To make it a worthwhile event, we have lined up various activities to herald our eight decades of excellent hospitality services.
“The celebration is kicking off with a Jumat Service at the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja and a poolside entertainment follows.
“On Saturday, Oct. 22, the hotel staff and the public will enjoy free medical services and there will also be a novelty football match between Eko Hotel and Suites and the Lagos Airport Hotel followed by entertainment at the poolside.
“On Sunday, Oct. 23, a thanksgiving service will be held at the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Cathedral Church, GRA, Ikeja.
“On the evening of the same day, there will be light entertainment at the hotel’s poolside as well,’’ Olugboji said.
According to her, the grand finale will come up on Tuesday, Oct. 25, with an anniversary lecture entitled “Culture, tourism, and hospitality as agents of economic growth in the Southwest region.’’
She said that the event would be attended by the governors of the owner-states as special guests of honour.
Earlier, Mrs Folashade Awe, General Manager of the hotel noted that it has 277 rooms ready for hire and that they are equipped with modern-day hotel facilities which make guests’ stay memorable.
“The hotel’s cuisine is another area of strength as the chefs are ever ready to provide sumptuous continental and indigenous meals to the delight of our guests.
“In spite all economic and environmental odds, the hotel is still flourishing and constantly reinventing and has continued to offer distinctive and standard hospitality services to all and sundry,’’ Awe said.