March 10, 2016

Africa’s First Curio Hotel to Open in Lagos at Murtala Mohammed Airport

Dami Adepoju

Hilton Worldwide has reached an agreement with Quits Hospitality Ltd to open its first property under the Curio – A Collection by Hilton brand in Africa.  The Legend Hotel is expected to open in early 2017 and will be located at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nigeria.

The Legend Hotel, which will be located within the airport boundaries, will feature 130 guest rooms, including eight suites.  Travellers will benefit from the hotel’s unrivalled proximity to the international airport terminal, as well as exclusive facilities for private jet and corporate jet passengers of ExecuJet – which will allow passengers same-building access to the arrivals and departures services of this private aviation company.

Launched in June 2014, the Curio collection is a global set of remarkable upscale and luxury hotels hand-picked for their unique character and personality; each one a part of the city they call home. By partnering with Hilton, these one-of-a-kind hotels benefit from the proven track record and quality synonymous with Hilton without redefining the individualistic spirit of the hotel.  Global destinations available to travellers now include more than 80 properties open or in various stages of development, including Germany, the U.S., Jamaica and Argentina.

“Curio is a great opportunity for investors looking to benefit from the performance advantage and smart innovations of Hilton, whilst retaining the individual character and identity of their hotel,” said, Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of development Europe, Middle East & Africa for Hilton Worldwide. “Our growth strategy across the continent continues at a fast pace, with more than fifty percent of our development pipeline currently under construction – opening up new destinations for travellers to Africa.”

A new build property, The Legend Hotel will offer guests stylish interiors, and reflect the unique personality of Nigeria’s capital city, with the centre of Lagos located approximately 22 kilometres from the property.  Guests will be able to enjoy three upscale dining options, including VIP dining facilities and two bars. There will also be more than 158 square metres of events space, split across three meeting rooms.

Dianna Vaughan, global head, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, said, “Building on the success of bringing Curio to Europe, and with hotels soon to open in the Middle East, I am delighted that we are establishing a presence in Africa in 2016. I’m proud that this unique project in Nigeria will be the first of many in destinations across the continent as investors continue to respond positively to Curio.”

Sam Iwuajoku, director of Quits Hospitality and owner of the hotel, commented, “We are thrilled to be working with Hilton to open Africa’s first Curio hotel – enabling us to put our own unique stamp on the hotel, whilst benefiting from Hilton’s management expertise and global distribution. We look forward to unveiling the hotel, and welcoming guests in this exciting new airport project.”

Curio is basically a “soft brand” that allows the property more independence and flexibility especially in terms of brand specifications, whilst still benefiting from the operational advantages that the Hilton offers. This Curio hotel, if it opens as scheduled, will be the second Hilton-branded property in Nigeria, and the first in Lagos. The Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn brands also have signed deals to open hotels in Uyo, Abuja Airport, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt.  Most notably, Transcorp who currently own the only existing Hilton in Nigeria – the Trancorp Hilton Abuja – are developing the Transcorp Hilton Lagos.

According PwC’s 2015 – 2019 Hospitality Outlook, Average Room Rates for Three and Four Star Hotels in Nigeria grew from $265 to $273 in 2014 and 2015. However, occupancy rates significantly declined from an already low 57.3% to 48.7%. Political uncertainty due to the 2015 presidential elections, which were postponed, raised security concerns and discouraged travel and tourism during the year. The Foreign and Commonwealth office also advised against travel to certain parts of the country and this hurt occupancy rates as patronage from international visitors reduced.

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