The first of South African hotel chain, Tsogo Sun’s West African-managed properties, the Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel seems to have deliberately adopted a strategy which is geared towards it surviving in a unique market like Nigeria.

As someone who has had the opportunity of staying in four of the hotel group’s properties across two cities in South Africa, it was surprising – pleasantly sometimes – how distinct the Ikoyi Hotel is from its sister properties in Johannesburg and Durban, and the competition in Lagos.

What the hotel lacks in size comparatively, it tries to make up for in other ways. The hotel’s general manager Mark Loxley had told THISDAY some time ago how the focus was on service. “One thing I keep reminding our staff is that there’s a lot more expectation when people come into Lagos because the room rate in Lagos, is one of, if not the most expensive in the world.

“If you come in and get a room in a 4-star facility for $3s00 to $320, you are going to be more sensitized to the quality of facilities and service because you know if you go to Dubai, you can get a 5-Star hotel for a lot less, say, $260. So there’s a lot more pressure on the hotels as costumers are a lot more demanding.”

Some of this attention to detail is evident the moment you check into the hotel. At the reception, while your reservation is being confirmed, a waiter offers you a cold glass of Chapman. You would appreciate this if you’ve had to spend quite some time at the airport trying to claim your baggage from the excruciatingly slow carousel system at MMIA.

The moment you step out of your room’s floor at the Southern Sun Ikoyi, you notice a smartly dressed security personal complete with an earpiece for communication. They are courteous but there are two sides to the coin. While their presence is meant to allay the fear of guests – international especially – and project a sense of security, it could also be deemed a tad intrusive depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

The standard rooms at the Southern Sun have a modern contemporary feel with earthy and red tones dominant in the décor. This is bears testament to the total overhaul the hotel went through to emerge in its present incarnation as a Southern Sun property. They could be a little cramped though and you might need to adjust the seat at the reading table to allow a fellow guest a clear view of the TV.

The well-stocked mini bar is in the wardrobe compartment, another testament to how space is maximized. The bathroom is a different proposition though. It doesn’t compromise as it comes with both a bathtub and a shower. The former for a warm soak perhaps and the latter for a quick wash.

The restaurant and bar at the Southern Sun Ikoyi operates 24 hours; round the clock. It is gratifying to be able to call room service at say two in the morning or being able to get service at the restaurant or bar. This shouldn’t be taken for granted as other hotels of similar stature have disappointed. The Southern Sun did not fail on this note.

The best part of the Southern Sun’s services, especially for someone as dependent on the internet as a journalist, is the fact that there is free, superfast complimentary Wi-Fi internet service for guests everywhere within the hotel. Again, this is a service rarely provided by most of the competition in Lagos. It was also a welcome change from sister properties in Johannesburg and Durban that sold internet vouchers to guests with restrictions based on time or megabytes used. In the case of Southern Sun Ikoyi, the dedicated code for a guest’s internet connection comes with the room keycard.

Finally, this review won’t be complete without mention of the Sunday Brunch at the Southern Sun Ikoyi hotel which is increasingly becoming a social event. For N8,000, guests have the opportunity to indulge in sumptuous continental and Nigerian dishes, with complimentary glasses of Champagne or juice.

This writer and a couple of friends found out that you can actually have more than a glass of Champagne based on availability. Our waiter was glad to keep it coming till we had our feel. Concerted efforts like this on the part of the hotel to please guests made up for any misgiving one might have because this chic hotel isn’t located on the beachfront for example.

Source: This day live – DemolaOjo