After a long, tiring day at work, it was time to settle into an even longer and busier weekend, and the only upside to this story was my home for the next couple of days — Eko Hotel and Suites.
Peddled as the most prestigious international hotel in Lagos, I was super excited to discover that it was my employer’s choice location for a work-filled weekend. And so though tired, I gladly packed four bags and dragged myself to the front desk hoping to check in quietly and then resume my duties for the evening.
After interacting with the receptionist, I discovered that my name had been omitted from the booking list so I walked into the Customer Care office to rectify that. Returning to the front desk with the anticipation of receiving my keys after filling a form, I was asked to wait another 30 minutes for the room to be prepared. It was going to be a busy evening and I didn’t have the luxury of time but seeing that there really was nowhere else for me to dump my bags and get straight to work, I waited for 30 minutes at the reception. Thirty minutes eventually morphed into an hour and then almost two hours. I recall arriving at 5:00pm but my room was only ready at 7:14pm, leaving me knackered and particularly disgusted at the rather unprofessional service with which I was welcomed to the hotel.
I walked into Room 139 and I was impressed with its neatness. The hallways looked well-kept and I had soon forgotten the stress I encountered at the lobby. The room itself was beautiful and so were the beddings: pure white sheets and a pink and red duvet. I crumbled on the soft bed and laid my head on the fluffiest pillow I had ever come across. On a closer inspection, however, I discovered that some of the wooden surfaces of the tables and chairs were worn out and outright unsightly.
Taking a shower the next morning, enjoying the strength of the flow from the taps, I was impressed with how neat the bathroom was given the fact that the room was previously occupied only moments ago. Refreshed after a long day, I had dumped my towel in a neat pile at the side of my bed as instructed by the hotel to indicate my interest in having fresh towels. I returned to the room in the evening to find that the towel was gone, as expected. But it wasn’t replaced.
One thing you can be sure of though, the meals were utterly divine. Breakfast: freshly boiled yams, baked beans, ham, sausages, boiled ripe plantain and a glass of freshly squeezed juice. In fact, all the meals had at the Eko Hotel and Suites restaurant were deliciously and impeccably made, making your mouth water at the very thought of the next meal.
Feeling patched in the middle of the night, I walked to the fridge and tried to open it but discovered it wouldn’t budge. It then occurred to me that the fridge must be locked. Searching vigorously for the key, I finally gave up and with an exasperated sigh, I went back to bed
Walking to my room after a long event on Saturday night, I could see debris of broken glass littering the corridor. It was 4am but the previous day, I had seen a waiter who stacked an unreasonable amount of plates on his tray lose grip of the plates and fall down with a thunderous clatter. There was enough time between 6:00pm when the crash occurred and 4am when I returned for the mess to have been cleared. But apparently, cleaning up pieces of broken plates and glass is not priority for the cleaning staff. This was not the first time I had heard or seen plates sprawl uncontrollably to the ground in the two nights and three days I spent at the hotel.
Security was another subject that plagued my stay at the hotel. Anyone who has ever been to Eko Hotel and Suites knows that once your car is checked with a scanner at the gate, you have free range to lounge at the lobby, walk into the halls, use the bathroom and even the elevator. How safe am I if anyone at anytime could walk up into an elevator and wait around for an unsuspecting guest, trail her to her room, tie her up maybe and then cart away with valuables or even worse?
A colleague of mine who was also lodged at the hotel for the same duration as I explained how he had watched a young man walk into the hotel premises and take a seat at the lobby. After some time, my friend went to the bathroom to take a leak; he saw that same man walk into the gents, change his clothes, wash his face and then walk out of the gents and out of the hotel. The lounge, which is open to all and usually always has a large mass of people loitering about, does much to cheapen the elegance that the hotel has worked hard to build.
I remember walking past the lobby and sighting an artisan whose simple attire instantly stood him out in an environment of opulence. Locking eyes, he immediately yelled the words “wait and get”; and only then did I realise he had been holding a camera in his hands. Yes, a prestigious event had just been concluded in the hotel premises but was that reason enough to let just anyone with a camera into the “exclusive” hotel?
I think security is one issue that the hotel management must seriously examine if it intends to uphold the high standards it has so gallantly tried achieving. Having pedestrians loiter around the hotel premises without a business in there is no way to assure guests of their privacy; and this will in time drastically displace the hotel from its pedestal.