Sun International spearheaded a US$10 million soft refurbishment of the Federal Palace Hotel & Casino after taking over operational management responsibility in August 2008. A nice bit of trivia is that the Nigerian Independence Declaration was signed in what is now the hotel’s main boardroom, back in 1960.
What is it Like?
The hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the lobby will blow you away, once you step through the doors. Luxurious, opulent, air-conditioned and, quite frankly, huge, it was one of my favourite areas in the hotel, with plenty of options, for informal meetings, a coffee, a drink at the bar, or even a meal in the extended bar area. Further to that, the service throughout my stay was excellent.
Where is it?
The hotel is situated in the commercial hub of Victoria Island and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The property is in close proximity to the mainland and is just off the exit to Victoria Island. Murtala Mohammed International Airport is 25 kilometres away, although leave yourself plenty of time to get to and from the airport, as the Lagos traffic is legendary.
My room was more than comfortable, whilst not huge, with wooden laminate floors and a king-size bed. It had all the requisite features of a business hotel – among those, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities, comfortable work desk and chair, digital safe, hair dryer, air-conditioning, 24-hour room service and universal adaptor socket. With regards the en-suite bathroom, my personal preference is for a 5-star establishment to have a separate bath and shower, and not a bath in a shower.
Restaurants & Bars
The hotel has three dining options. Explorers Restaurant offers a wide range of food, buffet style. The food here was very impressive, with a big selection of both local Nigerian dishes and ‘international’ cuisine. Just a warning – the pepper soup is very, very spicy! Ancestors Spirits and Wine Bar is the bar off the lobby area and is well suited for an evening drink or a quick bite during the day, whilst the Casino Bar offers drinks and light meals 24 hours a day.
The hotel has seven boardrooms and an executive business centre, which is fully-equipped with all the requisite ‘mod-cons’. The air-conditioned external ballroom, next to the hotel, is ideal for bigger functions and is able to accommodate 500 people, with projector and screen, technical support and catering, on request. We hosted our Business Traveller Africa conference there and it was well managed, turned out and with a wide selection of good food for lunch. Full marks as a conference venue.
The revamped pool club is a stunning place to relax. The pool itself is one of the oldest and deepest public pools in Lagos. However, it was clearly a shadow of its former self, until the hotel decided to revamp the area around it. The revamp was completed in October 2010 and now includes the refurbished swimming pool, an enhanced sun deck looking out onto the bay, giant waterslide, children’s pool with water-slides, games room, The Deck Restaurant and a bandstand. Also close by are two tennis courts, an 18-hole adventure golf course, children’s play park including a trampoline, jungle gym and swings, an outdoor exercise circuit and a jogging track. For those who prefer their entertainment indoors, there’s the casino, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and houses both slots and tables games, operated in US Dollars.
All in all, an excellent hotel experience and only the bath/shower issue stopping me from giving it full 5-star marks.
Address: 6-8 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, +234 1 277 9000, suninternational.com