Category: News

Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort: Adventure that awaits you now, always

Posted By : superbeo/ 101

Considering the daily bashing of the Naira against the Dollar, with an unimaginable foreign exchange rate resulting in high airfares, pricey hotel accommodations and tour packages, overseas vacations this summer are surely for those with deep pockets.

Moreover, holiday big spenders are now constrained by the health and safety challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic, amid the stress of undergoing several expensive tests and quarantine as required by most countries of the world today.

Well, you do not need to shelve this year’s summer holiday as you did in 2020 when the pandemic was raging madly across the world; rather, it is time to look inwards, especially to the many home-groomed destinations.

If you are in doubt of such enthralling destinations, Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, is worth your visit this summer and always.

There are many reasons to visit the resort, which is unarguably, the best in South-South and South-East of Nigeria.

Set in Nwaniba, a few kilometres away from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the resort is a hospitality jewel. Tucked in a lush tropical landscape in Nwaniba, a few kilometres away from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the resort is a hospitality jewel and a prime leisure and business hotel by all standards.

The serenity of the environment amidst tropical beauties easily gives away the outfit managed by Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of Icon Hotel Group Africa (IHGA), a Pan-African hospitality giant, as a top get-away and holiday option for discerning vacation seekers.

On offer are 130 guest rooms, 26 suites, and seven chalets; which are world-class accommodation options that complement other facilities conceptualised by the owners to glue guests to a sustained leisure outing and memorable experience during their stay. As well, the private terraces in each of the accommodation options will indulge every guest. Besides, each room looks over a forest of palm trees and the golf course. The panoramic view created by this special offering is compared to that of viewing the Atlantic Ocean from the comfort of one’s hotel room.

The Ethnic Night offering

Of course, the height of excitement at Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort is the 18-hole golf course, which has attracted the best golfers from far and near to battle for honour on its lush and well-trimmed lawns. The emphasis on the exclusive and luxury sports allows guests to meet with top personalities who, while on a golf retreat, may share the same table or swimming time with other guests. The rooms and other excitements may not make sense to you if you visit when golf tournaments are on.

Apart from the golf course, the resort indulges guests in memorable leisure through other facilities such as three bars, three stylish restaurants, Marina Club House & BBQ Terrace, retail shops, hair salon, and a VIP lounge.

With all its nature endowments and these world-class facilities, the idyllic resort truly woos guests to a golf and leisure retreat.

Similarly, the needs of the corporate and business worlds are adequately met through the hotel’s conference and banquet facilities. While the banquet hall accommodates up to 1,000 people, there are various options for meetings and seminars. As well, the hotel’s business centre includes rental office space and many function rooms.

Emphasis is further laid on leisure with other recreational facilities such as a fitness and health club, outdoor children’s and adult pools, two Jacuzzis, tennis and squash facilities, golf club, as well as a riverside marina with a floating jetty.

Lodging in the hotel gives you the opportunity to join every other guest in Icon Hotel Group Africa’s hotels across the continent to discover and explore signature offerings created and sustained by indigenous hands.

Of course, the Akwa Ibom axis is known for its great traditional culinary prowess. You will be feted with enough local dishes that keep whetting your appetite.

As well, you have a whole range of continental dishes and specialised cuisines developed by Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort’s internal talents to choose from.

Apart from the reasons highlighted above, Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort has been wearing new looks amid improved offerings, facilities and trained manpower since 2020 when Icon Hotel Group Africa took over the management of the resort.

In a recent interview, Adetope Kayode, CEO, Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, the management company of Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort Uyo, unveiled the improvements in offerings and facilities since taking over.

One of them is the Akwa Ibom Ethnic Saturday Night, a fusion of hospitality and culture, which has been attracting positive feedback since launch.

Also, the resort’s efforts at boosting the golf course for regular competitions are yielding results. Charles Muia, general manager of the resort and his team are already connecting the golf course to international almanac amid plans to host international tournaments that will draw tourist dollars to the resort, Uyo, the state and the country at large.

The Seafood Night and Happy Hour BOGOF have been wooing guests since their introduction by Icon Hotel Group.

Also on a good note, guests at resort’s Marina during the Easter holiday for the “Easter EGGSTRAVAGANZA” attested to the huge facelift, while more high profile visitors are thronging the resort for a piece of action including Mary Beth Leonard, United States Ambassador to Nigeria and the USAID team led by Anne Patterson, Missions Director, who enjoyed their stay at the resort recently.

Also, there is a newly launched Icon Management Training Program, an intensive one-year human capital development program aimed at converting semi-skilled individuals to skillful personnel that can take up opportunities in hospitality and operate at managerial levels anywhere in the world.

As well, the ICON Gold Star Award” (IGSA) and “ICON Departmental Efforts Award Scheme” (IDEAS) are now rewarding the workforce for greater achievements.

All these have kept the workforce abreast of the industry trends and world best practices, as well as boosting productivity.

As a responsible corporate organisation, the new management also carries the host community along, with many initiatives, including monthly city clean up exercise.

Most importantly, the journey to discover this hide-out is short and more convenient this summer as Ibom Air connects guests from Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country to the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, which is approximately 30 minutes drive to the resort.

As well, ardent golfers will not forget a swell experience at the resort this summer in a hurry.

IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort Launches Maiden Edition Of Icon Management Training Program

Posted By : superbeo/ 322

ICON Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, a subsidiary of ICON Hotel Group Africa, has commenced an intensive one-year human capital development program at IBOM ICON Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo aimed at converting semi-skilled individuals to skillful personnel that can take up opportunities in hospitality and operate at managerial levels anywhere in the world.

The program known as ICON Management Training Program, which is in line with the vision of the ICON Hotel Group “to be a leading hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism development and management services provider in Africa, and among the best in the world”, was inaugurated on Monday 7 June, 2021 with seven pioneer trainees at Mbo meeting Room of IBOM ICON Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, by the Chairman Board of Directors of the Hotel Mr. Udeme Ufot MFR.

Also present at the inauguration were other directors of Ibom Resort and Hotels Limited, Mr. Orman Esin, Pastor Imo-Abasi Jacob, Barrister Bassey Ekanem, representing the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Akwa Ibom State, as well as Mrs. Utomobong Inyang, Ag. Company Secretary Ibom Resort and Hotels Limited.

Others were the CEO ICON Hotel Group Africa, Mr. Fred Maina, the CEO ICON Hotels & Resorts Nigeria, Mr. Adetope Kayode, the General Manager Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Mr. Charles Masilia, the Head of Operations of the Hotel, Mr. Gilbert Thinji, the Head, Human Resources, Mr. Akan Bassey and the Training Manager of the Hotel, Mr. Awak George.

Speaking at the inauguration on behalf of the Board of Directors, the Hon. Orman Esin, commended the Management of the Hotel, ICON Hotels and Resorts Nigeria for initiating the program aimed at developing indigenous talents and preparing them to take up opportunities across the globe. He charged the trainees to take the opportunity seriously and put in their absolute best in learning and be diligent in their work in order to graduate to become leaders in the hospitality industry.

The Management Training Program, whose objective is to ensure continuous supply of talented future leaders for sustainable growth in the hospitality sector, has its trainees drawn from the Hotel’s host communities, ICON employees and fresh graduates with leadership qualities, good communication skills, caring attitude and a track record of hard work.

Speaking during the orientation organized for the trainees on the same day, the Head of Human Resources, Mr. Akan Bassey, explains that the aim of the program is to develop the trainees to become competent company management executives at an accelerated pace.

He stated that those who emerge successful among the trainees at the end of the program will receive a merit recommendation certificate award and enjoy a remarkable career growth leading to taking up management positions in frontline operations in hospitality industries globally. He added that the most outstanding among the trainees will have an opportunity of participating in exchange programs within ICON Hotels across the globe.

Giving a detailed overview of the one-year program, the Training Manager of the hotel, Mr. Awak George, explains that trainees will be exposed to all aspects of work and functions across all operational and supporting departments of the hotel for the period of nine months and a three-month specialist training on a specific operational area of their choice as well as attend Managerial Skill Development and Strategy Workshops that will help sharpen their leadership skills.

The trainees were full of joy and gratefulness to the Management of IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort for the great opportunity given to them to participate in such a life-transforming program and pledged their commitment to ensuring that the aim of the training program is achieved.

This is a new dawn for young graduates who aspire for career in the hospitality industry as ICON Hotel Group will not relent in their efforts to identify and develop indigenous talents and expand their capacity to operate on global platforms.

The inauguration did not only mark the beginning of the yearly program in IBOM ICON Hotel and Golf Resort but also the beginning of hope, development and expansion for youths in our host communities, Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large.

For Nigeria to lead tourism recovery, some elements should be in place

Posted By : superbeo/ 275

Adetope Kayode is the Chief Executive Officer, ICON Hotels & Resorts Nigeria, the management company for Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. A subsidiary of ICON Hotels & Resorts Africa, the firm is a pan-African hospitality chain based in Nairobi, Kenya, with properties and interests across Africa. Over the years, ICON has worked in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. In West Africa, the brand is currently expanding to Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Ghana. In this interview, he spoke on the vision of ICON brand for Africa, ongoing transformation at Ibom ICON Resort and how Nigeria could lead tourism recovery post COVID-19. He spoke with Chinonso Ihekire

Adetope Kayode

Could you share with us the vision behind ICON Hotel & Resort as a hospitality brand?
The whole idea of the brand Icon is more or less a movement that is targeted at the emergence of hospitality professionalism in the African industry. Kenya has a very long history of expertise in the hospitality industry that dates back several decades. From that training in professionalism, the business has arrived. You would find a lot of training institutions and Kenyan experts exporting talent across the continent and generally pushing the standard to the next level. That’s exactly what is happening in Nigeria today.

The Nigerian hospitality industry has come of age. It is about time that the experience we have cultivated over the years gets channeled into actively managing our prized assets by ourselves. This particular asset we are managing used to be a Western asset, but it is now called the Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo; we are rebranding the facility. We are taking creativity in terms of product offerings, and service delivery to another level. By doing that, we are showcasing African hospitality unashamedly and in an authentic manner.

You took over the management of Ibom Resort in the middle of the pandemic. How were you able to manage the situation, especially when most hotels were shutdown as a result of the nationwide lockdown?
So, we had been here – specifically talking about Uyo – since February 2020, just before the pandemic hit hard. We were here throughout the lockdown from February to October when we took over the asset. Then, we spent time going through every fabric of the property; there was nothing to do anyway; we studied, understood the property and its challenges. Then we started to create rapid response initiatives so that post-pandemic when we deploy them, we would have very sharp growth trajectory.

Adetope Kayode is the Chief Executive Officer, ICON Hotels & Resorts Nigeria, the management company for Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. A subsidiary of ICON Hotels & Resorts Africa, the firm is a pan-African hospitality chain based in Nairobi, Kenya, with properties and interests across Africa. Over the years, ICON has worked in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. In West Africa, the brand is currently expanding to Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Ghana. In this interview, he spoke on the vision of ICON brand for Africa, ongoing transformation at Ibom ICON Resort and how Nigeria could lead tourism recovery post COVID-19. He spoke with Chinonso Ihekire

Could you share with us the vision behind ICON Hotel & Resort as a hospitality brand?
The whole idea of the brand Icon is more or less a movement that is targeted at the emergence of hospitality professionalism in the African industry. Kenya has a very long history of expertise in the hospitality industry that dates back several decades. From that training in professionalism, the business has arrived. You would find a lot of training institutions and Kenyan experts exporting talent across the continent and generally pushing the standard to the next level. That’s exactly what is happening in Nigeria today.

The Nigerian hospitality industry has come of age. It is about time that the experience we have cultivated over the years gets channeled into actively managing our prized assets by ourselves. This particular asset we are managing used to be a Western asset, but it is now called the Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo; we are rebranding the facility. We are taking creativity in terms of product offerings, and service delivery to another level. By doing that, we are showcasing African hospitality unashamedly and in an authentic manner.

You took over the management of Ibom Resort in the middle of the pandemic. How were you able to manage the situation, especially when most hotels were shutdown as a result of the nationwide lockdown?
So, we had been here – specifically talking about Uyo – since February 2020, just before the pandemic hit hard. We were here throughout the lockdown from February to October when we took over the asset. Then, we spent time going through every fabric of the property; there was nothing to do anyway; we studied, understood the property and its challenges. Then we started to create rapid response initiatives so that post-pandemic when we deploy them, we would have very sharp growth trajectory.

We spent a lot of time brainstorming and creating new ways of hospitality for the post-pandemic. One of those things was to have a very carefully thought-out COVID-19 protocol in place for guest safety and awareness; we went about that specifically. We started, for each guest checkout, disinfecting the rooms; we started implementing more contactless hospitality solutions, given the available technology.

There are a lot of initiatives we put in place, which have now given our guests comfort. We are now attracting events from a lot of groups, including government officials, because they know we pay attention to detail when it comes to health and safety.

Before now, there was this popular opinion that, if Nigeria would get it right with tourism, Calabar would be the perfect place to start. However, it looks like Uyo is taking the lead in terms of infrastructure needed to develop tourism. How is ICON looking at Akwa Ibom’s tourism potentials, what’s the big picture for you?
There were a number of masterstrokes that have brought Uyo to where it is today. Again, the location of the city is very good, in terms of road links to other cities in the Southeast and South-South regions. Beyond the facts of its location, aviation was the biggest masterstrokes.

Tourism thrives with ease of access and volume; everything needs to work seamlessly. With the advent of Ibom Air, the vision that they took is a stroke of genius; the vision and capacity of that airline is expanding. The whole idea is to make Uyo become a regional hub for aviation; it has a huge impact on tourism and it has been felt dramatically. At the resort now, we get large groups from all over the country. The reason they are able to easily come here is that Uyo is serene, peaceful and safe. Most importantly, it is easy to get into. Within 30 from the airport, you are at the resort; it is working excellently.

There is also the aspect of infrastructure; the infrastructure here is topnotch. From any angle of this state to the next, you can get anywhere within two hours. The roads are pretty good quality; there are streetlights everywhere. When you come to a place like Uyo, you also have places to go; you can get there within an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. So, it makes people spread the word. There are lots of sights and sounds in this state. The government, over the years, have done a few things right; this present administration has done a lot.

One of the major contributions of this administration is that it has improved security. Uyo is one of the safest cities to live in, and that makes people want to come here.

As ICON, do you plan to come up with tourism packages that would encourage guests and tourist to visit?
This hotel is a platform for the growth of tourism in Akwa Ibom; it is not just about filling our rooms. What we have been able to do since we have been here is to put together very attractive packages. Except via a travelogue option, Nigerians don’t get to benefit from all-inclusive packages. What we have done is to create all-inclusive packages for our guests.

Apart from the all-inclusive, we have tour packages to places within Akwa Ibom such as Ikot Abasi and even other places like Itu where you have Mary Slessor’s life and missionary work. We are also leveraging on the blessed geography that Akwa IBom has; this state is blessed with beautiful waterways. This resort has a jetty and Marina that was designed to be a hub for leisure activities on the waterways; we are revamping that.

Over the years, it has been neglected, but we recognise the potential of the Marina to be an absolute catalyst for tourism here. We are creating a boat club, a bush bar, and we are completely transforming it to a tourism attraction. From the Marina, you can go to the islands; it has a lot of Fauna and sea creatures. By creating opportunities for people to go from here to places of interests, we are creating a robust experience for people to completely get a feel of Akwa Ibom like never before. You can do things like fishing, experience local riverine culture, taste palm wine and the rest.

Lack of maintenance culture is a big issue in the hospitality sector in Nigeria. What are the measures being put in place to maintain Ibom ICON Hotel & Golf Resort?
As of when we took over, the Marina area was overgrown with weeds; the jetty itself was dilapidated and the slip way was not in use. Basically, the entire facility was in a state of neglect. We utilised local know-how to clear the entire Marina of weeds. For the first time in years, you could see the entire water mass. Those alone made people want to visit the Marina; spend time at the clubhouse and even to take pictures.

Stage two is refurbishing the jetty, refloating the sunken walkways, clearing the slippery and we are equally refurbishing the Marina Clubhouse. We are also creating a zipline across the water, with a canopy walk. We are transforming that area to create a hotspot for tourists. We are creating partnerships with specialists in marine engineering to operate the boats and to do proactive maintenance there.

While we are partnering with experts to keep the Marina top notch, we are also revamping the hotel itself. We have started with new designs for the rooms; we are also redesigning the banquet area for the hotel. In terms of the backbone facilities of the hotel, we are specifying and refurbishing the entire system. At the end of this exercise, we would have a brand new facility.

ICON started from Uyo, but are there plans for expansion in Nigeria, where’s your next target?
We have an aggressive growth trajectory; we are able to achieve significant growth management. Outside of Nigeria, we also have aggressive growth targets as well. We would grow aggressively in Nigeria over the next couple of years.

What do you think the industry needs to do post-COVID-19 in terms of recovery?
For Nigeria to lead the COVID-19 recovery plan, some elements should be in place. Nigeria’s biggest challenge is insecurity in certain parts of the country. So, the first thing we should address is security. There was a time when people confidently drove to different parts of the country. Personally, while growing up, I did road journey to Sokoto and beyond many times. Now, I can’t try that.

As a country, we have to address our security situation; there are no quick-fix solutions to that issue. It took a mix of issues to get us to where we are as a country. But there are still places in this country that has been safe enough to encourage tourism, places like Uyo. Now, in those safe places, we have to preserve the reputation.

Also, we have to layer attraction. I don’t believe in the adage that you should ‘build it and they would come.’ You need to understand what to build to make them come. There is that aspect of conceptualisation of experiences; tourism is all about selling experiences. In Ibom ICON, there is a programme that we have launched: One experiences, a lifetime of memories. As a country, we need to create such experiences. We have them already, but they are not optimised to leave lasting impressions on visitors.

We need to strategically think about upgrading the tourist hotspots we have in Nigeria. Places like Osogbo, Ikogosi, Idanre Hills and so much more. Almost every state has something of value to a tourist. But when you go to these places and you don’t even have good roads, comfortable hotels, nice means of transportations, tour guides and tailored experiences; you cannot leave an impression that way. The kind of multiplier effect it would have on the economy is huge. Everyone would benefit, from the palm wine tapper, to the transporters, to the hoteliers. We as a country have to learn to teach ourselves to catch fish and not feed fish to the needy. It is at that point that we would get the full benefit of the exclusive growth in tourism.

For ICON Hotels & Resorts in Nigeria, local content is very key. The Marina that was covered with weed, we used the locals to drive that project. We are impacting the economy and the environment; locals are fully engaged. We are also impacting lives; from the lowest to the average man in the city. Everyone is feeling the impact of the management.

AKWA IBOM – Making Profound Statements

Posted By : superbeo/ 876

It must be one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world… the snaking rivers of the delta as the plane descends into the Victor Attah International Airport. I sat at the very last seat on the Air Ibom flight so I could ask the nearby cabin crew member what the name of the river was.

She said ‘it’s not a river. Shocked at her statement, I then looked again. Truly it was more like a series of connected rivers, with dense forests separating them as they snaked into each other, all bound for the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Some were much wider than others, and on this very day, they are were swollen from the torrents of rain that gave this region its sleepy, rustic feeling.

I could see the rusty roofs of village houses, some located precariously close to the lush, light brown river.  Something had to be spectacular about this landscape. Unfortunately for us in Nigeria, we aren’t very good at telling our story. This should be a haven for all sorts of people who understand the beauty of the environment, but the story of that delta is told more in the light of violence, poverty, and strife. Something has to change.

Ibom Air, by the way, is one of the best local airlines in Nigeria as at today. Their aircraft are neat, and you get the idea that they are in very good condition. When Akwa Ibom State decided to launch its own airline, some felt it had no business doing something of the sort. Some others felt, well, perhaps the Uyo airport there will just get busier. But in a short while the whole idea started to make sense.

The state is prepared for tourism business. So why not? In time, Nigerians have seen that Akwa Ibomites take themselves very seriously. The airline itself is known to be a stickler for time. I have flown them a few times and not had cause to complain. You could almost set your watch with the Ibom Air schedule. The cabin crew, disciplined… ok, sometimes almost stern to a fault as they ask passengers to comply with the new covid rules. I could sense a proper corporate organizational culture.  Even on the ground, Akwa Ibom airport rules are a bit more advanced than elsewhere in Nigeria. The disinfection kit is modern, spewing proper fumes, unlike the ‘Gammalin 20’ cans used everywhere else. The aircraft themselves have good legroom even in economy. I type this very comfortably, seated in one, unlike some of the other guys who squeeze everyone out just to get more seats in and max out profits (British Airways especially; shame on you guys. I shall never forget my last flight).

The best part of flying Ibom Air came for me upon landing. I never stop to trip and smile with a wide grin when the announcement is first made in the Ibibio language. Lovers of diversity and languages will get a high from it. Check how it goes:
Ukang-nyin, Mme ette ye eka-nyin, Etok-etok ye ekamba..
Emedi..o…..
Mbak ududa unan Sine mkpaha isin mfo

Meaning: Our people, our fathers and mothers, our young and old, we welcome you.  Fasten your seat belt.

I hear some Nigerians have criticized Ibom Air for making announcements in Ibibio. They said they are ‘personalizing’ the… flight? Aircraft? Venture? I don’t know what exactly they are said to be personalizing. We fly Ethiopia and they must always do their announcements in Amharic. That one starts something like “Kuburatu kubra…” Fly EgyptAir or Qatar and they must offer a Muslim prayer before takeoff and perhaps upon landing. If you don’t like it, float your own airline yes? I look forward to the day we will use this way to celebrate our diversity – even though I know those who will complain if Max Air or Azman did their announcements first in Hausa. Still, Akwa Ibom has fired the first salvo. Let others take note.

Perhaps a bit of envy comes up because this state has done what others have been unable to do. The first time I flew Ibom Air, I met a friend on board who later asked me wistfully when we landed ‘why has Lagos not done something such as this?’  I was taken aback. Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria, with all the bragging rights to being connected with whatever is modern and progressive. The smartest guys are there and every Nigerian heads to Lagos. If Akwa Ibom can make a success out of Ibom Air, why not Lagos? Then the question comes up about sustainability.

I wish Akwa Ibom the best because the aviation business is crazy, risky, finance-intensive. But I commend the state for making a point with this Chinese-type state capitalism by which states run efficient businesses by doing so at arm’s length. Emmanuel Udom must be commended because many state governors and politicians will not allow their egos to give way to unbiased efficiency. I also wish Ibom Air godspeed and that they sustain what they have started. Other states should emulate. I see that Cally Air has also berthed – for Cross River State. I expect they will make their own announcements in Efik, and project the glory of Ediye Canaan (Canaan City) including other parts of the state, up to Ikom and beyond. Perhaps, we are onto a new model of governance and business here.

I also stayed at the serene Ibom Icon Hotel – used to be Le Meridien. My friend Akan Bassey insisted and I’m thankful that I didn’t go elsewhere. What a beauty! This is not my first time there though (could be my fourth or fifth), but in these two days, I saw the beauty of Ibom Resort in a different light. Now, the Le Meridien brand has left and many people will expect that the standards dovetail as a result. Not in Akwa Ibom State, where their covid protocols are stricter than ever. The smart thing Udom did with the hotel is to bring in a Kenyan team to run the place.

The simple thing that has killed many government-owned businesses in Nigeria is the idea that government can use facilities for free. With this team of professionals a couple of whom I met, this tendency should reduce – of course with the governor’s help. Kenyans are also a lot simpler than Nigerians. They have no airs about them unlike us here.  I met Mudi, the Lagos-based award-winning fashion designer and he couldn’t believe his eyes when he got to Ibom Icon Hotel and Resorts.

He swore he was coming back shortly with his entire crew. He also asked one rhetorical question. “what if the president spent a little of his annual vacation in a place like this?” Whereas Nigeria is led by people who for some reason believe someone is always after their lives, this is not the case in reality. That place could be cordoned off by intelligence services for a week while the president and his family convalesce. A lush 19-hole golf course is also attached.

The swimming pool is the cleanest I’ve seen in Nigeria. The serene atmosphere is fantastic for outdoor exercise and the gym – situated on two floors – is the fitness freak’s paradise. The rooms are great and they have the softest pillows I’ve ever used! Enjoyment is good o! I however advised the hotel management to see to always having healthy options on all their menus (Nigerians are getting more health-conscious), and of course to be quick with daily maintenance of little things before they become huge crises – our bane in Nigeria. The Willa Band that plays at the hotel lobby is also amazing and I sang a few songs with them. Lady Willa should get more visibility.

I will be going back! Yes, it’s almost like a resolve. Life is short and one just has to prioritize one’s happiness these days. Akwa Ibom in general is a beautiful state, presently being led apparently by serious-minded people, who are minimizing waste and salvaging government facilities. Yes, the state is lucky, given what it generates from its crude oil. Obasanjo did a big thing for this state with the law on littoral states, and Architect Victor Attah – the former governor – also put in place some solid infrastructure which is paying off today. Akpabio – the uncommon governor – went crazy with infrastructure building and in spite of criticisms, he got many things right. Udom is cruising but also making us ex-bankers and accountants pretty proud. Sometimes, all one needs is an opportunity to prove your style of management.

The icing on the cake on my visit was the play hosted by Duke of Shomolu productions, a Joseph Edgar company, at the Ibom Hall. Joe is one person who inspires me with his proficient, no-holds-barred, don’t-give-a-damn writing, mostly done on the keyboard of his phone. Through this inspiration, I have received a further boost to write more even when I was getting tired of Nigerian affairs and whatnot. I saw one of his plays in 2019 and got hooked. Ibiom – When Doves Fly, the new play, tells the story of Akwa Ibom, their interactions with the Arochukwu and Ogoja people in times past, woven around love, hate, war, and peace. Historical, epic, thoughtful, colorful. Lovers of culture, history, diversity, must see this one. What a blast!

Caution. Nothing is perfect. Akwa Ibom ranks high on the unemployment charts in Nigeria, so this needs to be looked into. Why exactly? Maybe there aren’t many roles for locals to play in the infrastructural development that is the focus of the state (Akwa Ibom has perhaps the best roads in Nigeria).  There have to be roles that the youths can play.

Of course, I saw side-streets off Oron Road, Uruan Road, and so on, that young students from Uniuyo should be the ones proudly building rather than waiting for big contractors. The youths must be involved. Maybe if they are, we will not see a situation where some misguided Akwa Ibomites are giving funny elements grounds to test-run their craving for anarchy. We have heard of policemen being killed by secessionists or whomever. That state is too beautiful, too delicate to be allowed to contort into anybody’s nightmarish vision of strife. Akwa Ibomites, Dakkada mbok!

Ibom Icon Hotel & Golf Resort unveils new reward programmes

Posted By : superbeo/ 910

IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort has introduced new performance reward programs for its staff.

The management recently introduced two key initiatives “ICON Gold Star Award” (IGSA) and “ICON Departmental Efforts Award Scheme” (IDEAS) aimed at rewarding individual as well as departmental performances to motivate its workforce to greater achievements.

Every month, Managers are expected to nominate junior employees who have performed excellently for recognition and rewards through the ICON Gold Star Award program.

The winner of the monthly reward program is to receive a cash reward of N50,000 a Certificate of Excellence and have his/her portrait prominently displayed at the Front Office for recognition. The first and second runners up are to also receive cash reward gift of N30,000 and N20,000 respectively as well as Certificates of Excellence.

For the ICON Departmental Efforts Award Scheme (IDEAS), the management of the Hotel will identify, recognize and reward the highest performing department. The winning department would be rewarded with a cash prize of N100,000 and a Certificate of Recognition.

According to the management, IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, “our workforce are key players who deliver efficient services and memorable experiences to our guests. We consider every employee has a talent who can transform every service opportunity to a unique experience that our guests will be glad to share wherever they go. Our priority is to ensure every guest who stays with us leaves happier than they were when they booked in with us, as such our staff at all levels are poised to ensure that our guests have great stories to tell about every tot of whiskey we pour out, every slice of bread we toast, every piece of bedding we lay and every good morning we say”

It takes a workforce that is motivated, passionate, engaged and dedicated to deliver world-class hospitality services and the Management of IBOM ICON Hotels and Golf Resort is determined to ensure that such great workforce is in place. The program has so far motivated staff in each department to work together as a team in order to achieve their departmental goals and stand a chance of winning the Award. This is a big win for the hotel as each department now puts in extra efforts to ensure high performance, quality service delivery and achievement of goals and targets.

The Hotel also noted that it has witnessed a sudden increase in performance and service quality since the inception of the program which is a clear testament of the motivational effect of the reward program on the people.

“The introduction of these two performance-based reward programs, among other staff incentives, is a landmark Human Resources strategy that is transforming our employees to superstars in terms of performance and quality service delivery. We know that a happy staff make happy guests and at IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort we are set to take that happiness to the next level”, they added.

Easter eggstravaganza at IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort

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The management Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort is promising guests and diners a memorable experience this Easter season. To this end, the hotel will line up an array of entertainment activities themed “Easter EGGSTRAVAGANZA.” Activities for the Easter celebrations will commence with a Good Friday TGIF Party to be hosted at the hotel’s Marina which is renowned for its serenity and attraction. The Good Friday TGIF Party would feature an outdoor disco setup, mouth-watering meals, as well as a Celebrity DJ appearance to play for entertainment.

Guests and diners will also be treated to an Easter Sunday brunch at the hotel’s Vista Restaurant and Family Pool Party. Diners will be entertained with exciting games to win fantastic prices ranging from Sunday family fun day BBQ brunch voucher, discount on bills, and complimentary brunch vouchers. They can also request for a special table setup with Easter themed giveaways containing chocolates, candies, Easter-colored eggs, trinkets etc.

In addition, entertainment at the brunch and pool party also promises to be top-notch and will feature Mc Chico and co, Bouncy Castle, Live band, Easter Egg Hunts, Egg Coloring Station, Easter Essay Competition, Swimming, Egg painting contest Dance Competition, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter-themed photo booth and Kid’s area with indoor and outdoor games.

Speaking about the hotel’s activities, Head, Sales and Marketing, IBOM ICON Hotel & Golf Resort, Daniel Lordis, stated that the hotel is pleased and ready to receive visitors within and outside the state.

“Our services during this period have been planned to cater for every single guest visiting the hotel and all activities/entertainment have been creatively designed for their delight. We are happy to also feature special packages suitable for families who intend spending their vacation at the hotel during the holidays. These packages are all a three nights – four days’ stay starting from Good Friday to Easter Monday and categorised into Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond Package.

Ufot Heads Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort Board

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A seven-member board to oversee the affairs of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort has been inaugurated with Mr. Udeme Ufot MFR as Chairman.

According to a statement, inaugurating the board on behalf of the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, recently, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, charged members of the board to ensure that the hotel meets the aspirations of the government and people of Akwa Ibom State in terms of optimal performance and revenue generation.

He stressed the need for the board to work in synergy with management for optimal productivity of the hotel.

He also urged the board members not to attempt to usurp the functions of the management.

Ekuwem, expressed confidence that members of the board would bring their wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of their duties by providing effective guidance and leadership to management towards ensuring quality services that will attract patronage and generate revenue for the state.

“There could be no better choice of Chairman for the hotel than Udeme Ufot who is a distinguished professional and businessman, recognised nationally and internationally as a marketing communications professional of repute.

“He brings to the assignment a triple value of passion for the hotel, understanding of the industry and professional marketing savvy. He would also be the perfect bridge between the hotel management and the state government. The Governor therefore expects the very best from him,” the SSG stated.

Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of Icon Hotel Group Africa (IHGA), a pan-African hospitality giant was recently appointed to turn around the fortunes of the hotel.

Responding on behalf of the board members, Ufot expressed appreciation to Emmanuel for the privilege to serve the state, and the confidence reposed in him and the members of the board. He pledged to make the facility the most attractive destination in West Africa for meetings, incentives, conferences and entertainment, stressing that the facility was one of a kind in West Africa.

“Let me thank His Excellency the Governor for the honor and privilege given to us to superintend over this prime asset of Akwa Ibom people.

“It is truly a unique opportunity and a great call to duty. One of the things I want to promise His Excellency is that this board will ensure that this common asset of Akwa Ibom people becomes the most attractive business and leisure destination in West Africa, and indeed Africa. That is the challenge we would set for ourselves.

“The Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort has tremendous potential and it will be our mandate to fully realise that potential,” Ufot stated.

He further assured that members of the board would work assiduously to align with the government’s economic objectives in line with Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Completion Agenda. He also assured that the board would align with governments economic aspirations of increasing the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state.

The Icon Hotels Africa roup is reputed to be one of the fastest growing end-to-end hospitality service providers on the African continent, offering high level consultancy on different aspects of hospitality and management of projects from foundation to completion.

In just nine years of existence, the hotel group has become an industry leader with demonstrable expertise in the conceptualization, actualization and management of world-class hospitality projects in different parts of Africa.

With a strong footing in East Africa where its name strongly resonates in the hospitality industry, IHGA has in recent times made inroads into the West African sub-region with Nigeria and now fast establishing presence in Benin Republic, Senegal and Cameroon.

A new dawn for Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort as handlers, Icon Hotels & Resorts set to drive tourism growth in Akwa Ibom

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There’s a new dawn for the hospitality subsector in particular and the tourism industry generally in Akwa Ibom State.

The recent appointment of Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria as the new managers of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo, the state capital, is a clear signal that great times have befallen the state’s tourism sector which has been waiting to be explored. Indeed, this development couldn’t have come at a better time especially following the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the sector.

It has been reported that the tourism and hospitality sub-sectors have been hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic on a global scale with growing and staggering estimate of the industry loss. The situation is not very different in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom state where hospitality is one of the major sub-sectors planned for economic growth. Losses are unquantifiable.

The appointment of Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of Icon Hotel Group Africa (IHGA), a pan-African hospitality giant, for the arduous task of turning around the fortunes of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort is one that has been hailed by industry players and commentators as a step in the right direction. This comes on the heels of the pedigree the Icon Group has in African hospitality management.

The group is reputed to be one of the fastest growing end-to-end hospitality service providers on the African continent, offering high level consultancy on different aspects of hospitality and management of projects from foundation to completion. In just nine years of existence, the hotel group has become an industry leader with demonstrable expertise in the conceptualization, actualization and management of world-class hospitality projects in different parts of Africa.

With a strong footing in East Africa where its name strongly resonates in the hospitality industry, IHGA has in recent times made inroads into the West African sub-region with Nigeria and now fast establishing presence in Benin Republic, Senegal and Cameroon.

In Nigeria, The Group announced its entry grandly when it brought its expertise to bear on the successful turnaround of the former Best Western Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, through its Nigerian subsidiary – Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria. The exercise saw a complete turnaround and rebranding of the hospitality facility to become BWC Hotel, offering best-in-class services that compare with any hotel in Lagos and, indeed, the world.

That is the pedigree Icon Hotels is onboarding for the management of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, the flagship of hospitality in Akwa Ibom State. With the new development, there is heightened excitement in the hospitality industry and indeed the State on the prospects of a turnaround of the fortunes of the hotel. Indeed, expectations are quite high on what it portends for the state’s economy in the short, medium and long run, beginning with enthronement of an improved culture of excellence in service delivery, dinning experience and welcoming ambience in line with international standards befitting of the hotel’s global clientele.

Recall during the handover ceremony, Governor Udom Emmanuel underscored the high expectation of the management company’s performance in the next 12 months. The governor, who was represented by his chief of staff, Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, pledged the support of his government to Icon Hotels & Resorts Nigeria in the discharge of their task in ensuring Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort becomes one of the leading hospitality brands on the African continent. He sought innovative ideas that would attract patronage for the hotel by the hospitality managers and in particular the tourism development of the state.

Without a doubt, the hospitality giant led by the czar of hotel business, Mr. Fred Maina – the Group Chief Executive Officer of IHGA, pledged the company’s commitment to ensuring a fully revamped and globally competitive hotel brand within the shortest possible time.

According to Fred Maina, IHGA & its subsidiary, IHRN have a well-crafted and efficient business and operating model that will enable the hotel record unprecedented boost in customer experience from service delivery, excellent cuisine and ambience with international standards and well-trained personnel. IHGA excels in the area of professional training and development and is committed to bringing East African excellence in training on international hospitality best practices to bear on the staff of the hotel, while providing training opportunities to other hospitality service providers in the State.

Mr. Adetope Kayode, the Chief Executive Officer of Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, echoed the same sentiment at the prospects of the improved fortunes of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, which means a lot not just to the hotel, but the State in general.

According to him, it will signpost the future of tourism development in the State, creating value and boosting the State’s economy. With the expected rise in standards of service delivery to bring it in line with what obtains globally, the hotel is expected to become the benchmark for the standard of hospitality services in the state – one that other service providers would strive to emulate in order to be competitive. This is a positive development for the rich hospitality culture for which Akwa Ibom is well known.

There is also the fact that management of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort by the renowned hospitality experts will transform guest experience at the hotel into a full-fledged resort experience for diverse groups including corporates, leisure seekers and families. One of the stated objectives of the Icon Group is to transform the hotel into the undisputed premier destination for MICE in the country.

Truly, something good has come to the hospitality industry in Akwa Ibom State.

Ibom Icon Hotel Excites Guests With Special Christmas Activities

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Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort, one of Nigeria’s leading hospitality brands is assuring guests of an unforgettable experience at the Hotel during this festive season. The hotel which recently had its management handed over to the Icon Hotel Group will from 24th of December 2020 to the 1st of January 2021 entertain guests to a lineup of special activities.

This includes a whole day of Christmas buffet with mouthwatering cuisines comprising local and continental dishes, special carol night featuring cake cutting, Family Picnics at the Resort, Excursions with Packed Lunch, Live Band Performance, Fun Activities for kids as well as various outdoor sports such as metro walks, acrobatics, golfing, bike riding, swimming etc.

Ibom Icon Hotel & Golf Resort is located in the safe environment of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State with excellent infrastructure, sitting on 147 hectares of well-maintained landscape amidst pristine palm-tree forest and rivers, one feels immediately relaxed and invigorated. The hotel offers excellent accommodation in 163 rooms and suites on 5-star level, with restaurants and bars.

Speaking about the hotel’s offerings, Managing Director Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, Mr. Adetope Kayode has assured guests and visitors alike of an awesome and exciting experience at the hotel, noting that this was part of the new management’s commitment to provide top-notch services to all guests at the onset of its assumption as the hotel’s new managers.

He stated that “activities such as the special Christmas Carol Night and a whole day Buffet were created to provide guests and visitors with the desired atmosphere of merriment. It was also fashioned as one of the hotel’s strategic decisions to provide a truly world-class hospitality experience this yuletide season”.

Kayode also said that customers can also experience the hotel’s exquisite cuisines and exceptional drinks serving at the Ibom Icon Pavilion at Uyo Christmas village. He encouraged visitors coming into state for leisure and looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays with their loved ones to come share their joy and happiness with some excitement at the Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort.

Ibom Icon Hotel &Golf Resort serves as a very good holiday destination with excellent services providing visitors with the feeling of a home away from home. The hotel is also an excellent choice for corporate events, conferences, AGM’s and team building sessions.

AUTHOR: OLUSHOLA BELLO

 

Akwa Ibom govt appoints Icon Hotels As Mgmt Company For Ibom Hotel And Golf Resort

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The Akwa Ibom State Government has announced the appointment of Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of one of Africa’s leading hospitality management companies – Icon Hotel Group Africa – as managers of its Uyo based 5-star Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort. This is in a bid to further grow Tourism and Hospitality potentials of the state as economic activities resume nationwide.

Performing the handover ceremony on behalf of the state government, the Chief of staff to the Governor, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen charged the Icon Hotels & Resorts management team to bring their globally rated, authentic African hospitality-infused expertise to bear in managing the hotel.

While congratulating Icon Hotels & Resorts on the appointment, the governor stressed the need to onboard innovative ideas in attracting patronage for the hotel and the overall tourism development of the state. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting the new managers in the discharge of their duties as both parties collectively ensure that Ibom Hotel becomes one of the leading hotel brands in Africa.

Governor Emmanuel said, “We expect that in the next 12 months the hotel should manifest a new culture and environment to attract patronage” urging the new management to shun victimization of workers and stressed the need for them to use those already working there, especially those who are good at their jobs.

In response, Fred Maina the Group CEO of Icon Hotel Group Africa thanked the government of the state for trusting their competence and expertise in turning around the fortunes of the hotel for the better. According to the respected hospitality management czar, the next 12 months will see the Hotel recording tuned up customer experiences in services, refreshed ambience and world class trained personnel. It will also see the hotel significantly contributing to the State’s revenue with increased inflow of tourists and businesses.

In his remarks, Mr. Adetope Kayode the CEO of Icon Hotels and Resorts Nigeria thanked the State Government for the privilege given to the Company to take over the management of Ibom Hotel. Kayode expressed happiness at the confidence reposed in their management team and their ability to attract the best African hospitality talent to ensure the success of the hotel. While pledging his team’s resolve to change the fortunes of the hospitality outfit in the State to become a world-class venture, he said they have all it takes to turn around the hotel to the desired state.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Orman Esin had thanked the Governor for his resolve in ensuring that Akwa Ibom State remains a destination of choice and for allowing private sector participation in the development of the State’s economy, saying the initiative has brought about added value.

Rt. Hon. Esin lauded the governor for identifying a capable company to take over the management of the hotel. He further reiterated that the Government’s decision is in a bid to ensure that Akwa Ibom State reaps the dividends of democracy and a proof of the Governor’s selfless interest for the development of the State. He expressed confidence That the management team of Icon Hotels and Resorts will take the hotel to the next level and was optimistic their onboarding will add value to the state.

Also present at the ceremony were: Mr. Brian Efa, the outgone Acting General Manager of the hotel and Directors of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, amongst others.

About Icon Hotel & Resorts:

Icon Hotel and Resorts Nigeria (IHRN) is a subsidiary of leading African Hospitality Group – Icon Hotel Group Africa. IHRN has a vision to be Nigeria’s leading hospitality, leisure and recreation Management Company through its unique blend of indigenously grained global expertise following the group’s enviable reputation, growth success model and foothold across several African countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, etc.

Their objective is to become one of Africa’s top ten hotel chains by 2025 through: capacity, customer focus, profitability, human capital development, extensive continental footprint coverage, online presence and reputation, and high guest experience index scale.