Golden Tulip Logo
An indigenous success story when it comes to the renovation of an existing hotel, the Golden Tulip in Lagos is currently one of the beacons of the hospitality industry. Adewole Ajao speaks with its GM Nino Miseo
It has been two years since the Golden Tulip Hotel landed in Lagos and one of the Nigerian arms of the global chain has been making its mark silently. Seven hectares of land with 471 rooms and suites would make this view seem a bit out of place, but the location, which is already giving way to increasing development and new routes, will play a huge part in the long term plans of the hotel.
Located within the sleepy FESTAC/ Amuwo Odofin neighbourhood in Lagos and overlooking the Badagry expressway, memories of its change of guard from the initial Durbar Hotel would come to life once one enters the tranquil setting packing landscaped gardens, polite staff and its mantra of four-star hospitality. Its GM Nino Miseo tells me it is still early days for the revamped setting, but things are getting better on the long road to greater market share for the brand. “Since inception of the hotel in 2010, it has been a gradual improvement occupancy-wise. The quality of our product is improving day by day and everything is functioning to full capacity now,” the Italian said.
Nigerian Hospitality Scene
Miseo admits that much has changed in the local hospitality scene; a sharp departure from what obtained in the eighties when he was general manager of the Concorde Hotel in Imo State. This was his second African experience after he handled the Southern Sun in Zimbabwe. Before his move to the Golden Tulip in Lagos last year, Miseo held sway at La Palm Royal Beach in Ghana for two years.
“I left Nigeria in 1987 and came back after 25 years. There has been a tremendous development in the local industry in the country. There are several international brands present in this city and it means that with these brands, each brand will need to improve their quality of hospitality and that in the country,” he enthused. “The development has been general. The domestic airport has changed in Lagos and other states since I left. Even the attitudes, whatever type of development occurs, if it is well managed, it will minimise the negative sides of it. By proper planning of development, it can minimise the negative impacts of that development.”
Golden Tulip Offerings
Apart from its four-star service, the hotel thrives on its multi-functional space for banqueting and meeting requirements. Miseo said its service tripod of conference markets, weekend packages and a corporate arm made it an ideal setting for corporate and leisure-minded individuals. “This hotel is an island within Lagos. People can come here and spend weekends. Relax and enjoy. We have quality food. We have different themed foods and buffets,” added the GM.
Expansion Plans Like other chains, the brand is looking to expand and get a larger market share of the growing hospitality industry. With branches in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Miseo feels it is a step in the right direction amidst comments on the obscure location of the FESTAC arm. “This is the biggest in the mainland and I think our position is strategic. The expressway is improving and we have access roads improving a lot. The area is changing day by day. You see improvements on a daily basis because the governor is doing a lot here and all over.”
Multiple Taxation Blues
With a plethora of taxes giving most hotels sleepless nights due to increasing costs, Miseo felt such challenges could only make hospitality chains develop faster. Instead of dwelling on the dearth of amenities from government, he said the Golden Tulip in Festac had developed some survival strategies of its own. “The sacrifice of spending more money is not really a dilemma. This is one very strong point. We are very much into sustaining the ecology. We have a sewage treatment plant and discharge into the environment clean water. We are very eco-friendly and conscious of our impact on the environment. We also discharge in-house use water. The hotel has a moral responsibility to ensure there is no contaminated water around. We are very much environmental oriented.”
In 2010, the hotel clinched the laurel for hotel of the year in West Africa during the West African Tourism Awards (WATHA). This was a welcome feat during its initial year of opening. Already it is poised to host this year’s edition which will draw a line-up of hospitality stakeholders to the venue. “Although it is West African, it attracts other organisations in the travel industry to the potentials of the Nigerian market. It is an important event which is getting yearly acclaim.”
Changing Customer Attitudes
Miseo said the attitude of most Nigerians to leisure was improving. With an increase in those leaving for foreign shores daily, he said there was also hope for the indigenous hospitality industry. “There are very good hotels but still, there is no real culture of Nigerians utilising hotel facilities for leisure. People we have here are business people compelled to travel but only Americans really buy into that kind of culture. Nigerians are starting to relax now. Before it would be to buy a car but now they are buying into relaxation. This is what we are about.”