One of the personalities who loomed larger than life on the political landscape of the first and second republic was Chief Kingsley O. Mbadiwe; a man who was known for his sagacity and high-sounding grammar. He was elaborate in dressing as he was flamboyant in words. To his credit is the frequently used phrase, ‘timber and caliber’. Mbadiwe also popularised his homestead, Arondizuogu in Imo State.
To perpetuate the memory of this colourful politician, his children led by Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe, MFR, have decided to convert his former residence in Yaba-Lagos to hotel. According to them, owning a hotel was one of their father’s unfilled dreams.
The 50-room luxury hotel on Jibowu Street will promote the Nigerian heritage through visual images and other artifacts sourced from the rich and highly exclusive collection of the late Chief K. O. Mbadiwe who was a widely travelled man. For this reason, it will be a good place to visit for guests who want to drink from the deep wells of Nigerian history. The hotel is primed to contribute to the development of the hospitality industry and tourism of Nigeria. For the Mbadiwes, this particular building brings back lots of nostalgia. At one time, his father donated it to the ruling party, National Party of Nigeria, NPN. Former President Shehu Shagari also lived there. Yaba was the end of the Western region and the beginning of Lagos. The Mbadiwe children were born and grew up in that neighbourhood. In order to deepen this reminiscence, they took bits of their parents’ names to come up with ‘King Celia’. Their mother was named Cecilia.
Greg whose love for music, particularly jazz is openly displayed with an array of musical instruments in his living room hinted on one of the unique selling points of the new hotel. While paying attention to the entertainment needs of its younger guests, King Celia Hotel will “present a niche bouquet of cultural music; whether it is jazz, highlife, soul, blues, east and southern Africa melodies.”
Greg explained the idea behind the conversion of their former residence to a hotel. “My venture into hospitality business is to make the dream of my father a reality. My late father wanted to build a hotel in our hometown before his death, but the project is still awaiting attention right now. I am also a partner to some Congolese in a hotel in that country called, Brassaville Beach Hotel. I felt I should boost the hospitality and tourism of my country too with this initiative.”
Mbadiwe also noted that, the initiative, without doubt, will also project the values and great influence of the geographical area, mostly to remind visitors with the display of various photos of national leaders indicating that Yaba was part of Nigeria’s political history.
On the facilities and services to prospective customers, the General Manager, Hassan Fawaz, a renowned hospitality business expert noted that the edifice is ready to set a new standard in the industry and the Nigerian market with a distinct hotel experience rooted in quality, excellence and culture.
“King Celia Hotel is very unique. We plan to provide our guests with an unforgettable experience matched by our very high standards and fully equipped facilities which can challenge those on the Island.”
“Located in two floors are 50 luxury rooms ranging from standard, deluxe, executive rooms and suites for guests. Other facilities include well-designed parking space, 24-hour electricity and room service, as well as internet facility. For recreation, we have swimming pool, gymnasium, onsite bar and restaurant, conference room, standard event center among others. Also, it is situated only five minutes away from the Ozone Cinemas, and easily accessible to the business districts of Lagos such as Ikeja, Victoria Island and Lekki,” he added.