This is the story of a new cosy hotel that has just been opened in the serene neighbourhood of Ikeja GRA in Lagos. It is a 23 room hotel that offers good quality and classy service to both corporate and upscale clients.
The owner of the hotel, Lolade Temitope Ogungbe told City People Magazine that the location has helped the hotel gain a lot of patronages. “It has afforded us good clientele. Since we opened we have not one day regretted sitting this business here. It sells on its own, whether we are doing advert or not. We may not be getting to the peak immediately but for a new business we have not done too badly at all.”
When was H53 Suites opened?
“We started on December 13th 2018. We are just like 9 months into the business. We are not doing badly.” How many rooms does the hotel offer? “We have a total of 23 rooms”. Why call it H53 Suites? Why go into the hospitality business? Lolade, the lovely lady behind the hotel recently explained that her love for hotels made her set up the cosy hotel.
“I like to entertain guests generally,” she explained “I have been into catering & events for years before now, like 7 years ago. And I am doing very well in it and as a professional secretary, I have learnt a lot. I am a trained secretary. And I have worked in a multinational company for over 17years. I have worked with Total Oil Company. So, I have always loved entertaining. In the line of my job, it has always been about guests and hospitality. As a Secretary, you receive guests for your boss, so it’s always been about hospitality.”
“So, on this fateful day I went to visit a friend at a particular hotel, and then I found out that I like everything about the hotel except the service. So I said to my friend, I wish I knew the owner of this hotel I would have offered to help them work on that hotel, for the next 30 days.
So that they will see the difference. They have something good but they need to put tiny, tiny things in place to make it the best. My friends said, really why do you want to help somebody, why can’t you have your own? It was an idle gist on August 13, 2018. Then, I said yes, I can have mine, but how about the resources? Me starting a hotel must really take a fortune. My friend said to me that you know you can start. You just need to dream it and you can have it. I said how soon can one do it, he said between 45 to 60 days, so I left. I went to Spain. That was how I started to plan it. I have never done it before. I don’t have the experience. I didn’t go to school to study hospitality but something tells me I could make a go at it. So when I came back I started looking for the property until I landed here in Ikeja GRA. I got this property, fortunately for me, it has been used as a guest house before, So I renovated and restructured it. It wasn’t difficult. We sealed the deal exactly on October 12, which is 59 days from the targeted number of days. After sealing the deal, I went into it. I thought it was going to be a small affair, small money. When you pay for the lease you will think everything is sorted, until you have started.
Meanwhile, I don’t have any savings anywhere, but somehow, this place came up. I got help, loans, and funds kept coming from where I never thought I would get funds. With the help of my friend, we sat together and planned the whole thing. We asked ourselves a few questions. What do we aim to achieve in the Hospitality business that has not been achieved before? What is our own goal? I went back to the drawing board myself. What is the target? My friend said to me. I told my friend that my aim is to attract corporate guests, family guests. I want a clean environment, where you will be comfortable and you will feel secure and you can actually relax with your kids. That is how I came up with the concept of a Kids Club.
When I went to Spain I stayed at a resort where I left my kids and I would go shopping and I could come back to pick them. So it makes the holiday fun for both parents and the kids.
We have been able to do that here. It’s something we have been able to achieve here.
I wanted a place where as a Business Traveler, after all the hustle and bustle, you really can relax in a serene and classy environment. We have a Bush Bar that my guests like. We have a Swimming Pool. The hotel is a non-smoking facility. I want to host a business traveller who wants to have fun without the noise. It is a quiet environment. It’s a coded place where my guests can have their privacy. So private is the Bush Bar that we can conceal the Bush Bar for a single individual if it is requested. So, I call tell you that my Bush Bar is not available on a Friday night to the General Public because it has been pre-booked and the person who pre-booked it wants privacy. I am a guest-focused hotelier. I also want a clean environment. I want to be able to walk through your hotel feeling nice. We want a place that makes you feel like a home away from home and for me, this is what hospitality is all about. I have made a lot of friends with my guests. I have gone the extra mile with some of my guests to help them with tickets and other challenges they have had. I have had to help a guest, an American. That was her 1st time in Africa. Before her visit, she had a bad impression of Africa. I helped her out and she can’t forget the visit. I gave her a Nigerian name, Jumoke. Its all about making my guests feel comfortable. We have the best human relations you can get in the industry. And people have been able to manage the little we offer. We are lucky we have had very understanding guests.
We have a Gym and Swimming Pool. We have a Restaurant & Bar. We have the Bush bar. We have our Conference room that people can use for small meetings like between 30 to 40. We are planning to have a Kiddies package for the Kiddies club, where we can do a bit of talent hunt, not just playing games and all that. So now we want to have talks with the kids, maybe on weekends. You can bring your teenagers in on a Saturday and bring some experts to talk to them. We can bring in Teenage facilitators to talk to them.
– Seye Kehinde