Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham is the world’s largest and most diverse hotel company, encompassing approximately 9,000 hotels and more than 600,000 rooms in 66 countries under 20 hotel brands. In this interview with Stellamaries Amuwa, the general manager, Hawthorn Suites, Amine Saad, shares his belief that Nigeria is a potential hub for development projects especially when it comes to hospitality industry.
Why did you choose Nigerian environment to run your hotel?
As a managing director in charge of Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, I am already a Nigerian, and I have been in Nigeria for the past seven years. 2012 was my first time of visiting Nigeria to start a hotel, which was in a different part of the country, now I am back in Abuja with Hawthorn suites.
Nigeria is a very rich country especially when it comes to hospitality business. As I see it, in the future, we will see all international chains of businesses coming to invest and looking for investors to develop art and projects in Nigeria and Africa in general.
In what aspect would you advise Nigeria to come in or upgrade in terms of bringing in foreign investors?
It is very important for Nigeria to bring in foreign investors, people who are ready to invest their money into development projects in the country and around the country, especially when it comes to hospitality. I guess there is a minimum of eight arts and projects in the country under development, which is a very good sign for the economy, a very good sign for art industry, and also for Nigeria.
How would you appraise the Nigerian hospitality business in terms of taxation?
We are made to pay so many taxes as stakeholders in hospitality business in Abuja, which range from the normal tax to even bicycle parking taxes. This is indeed weighing our businesses down, including cost of running like electricity, water among others.
What new thing are you bringing into the hospitality industry that is different?
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham is part of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, an international hotel and resort chain based in the United States. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest and most diverse hotel company, encompassing approximately 9,000 hotels and more than 600,000 rooms in 66 countries under 20 hotel brands. Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Abuja is owned and operated by Shelter Suites & Hotels Ltd, a leading hotel developer and operator in Nigeria.
With a 108-suite hotel offering guests single, double and suite accommodations, our property features complimentary hot buffet breakfast and high-speed wired and wireless internet access, infinity pool, fitness centre, guest laundry, meeting spaces for up to 2000 max and Wednesday evening social hour. Room features include wet bars, expanded cable television, and upgraded bedding featuring signature sweet suite bedding experience. Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, member of the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts family of lodging brands, are extended-stay hotels located throughout the world, featuring studio, one and two – bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and wet bars.
The Abuja branch boasts of uncommon facilities and services. With Wyndham loyalty programme, which is one of the best and easiest loyalty programmes around the world, if you spend 1$, you will get benefit of 1point; if you spend 100$, you will get 1thousand points, if you spend $3000, you will get a discount on your stay, you will also get 15 thousand points, which will enable you to get one free night and it’s very easy to get 15 thousand points. Our benefits are all over the world, not only here in Nigeria and you will benefit in Wyndham new world, in every Wyndham hotel whether you are staying in America, Europe, Asia or Africa. It’s just something very encouraging to our guests and international travellers that are coming to Nigeria and who will also like to benefit from our Wyndham system.
Hawthorn Suites, Abuja will be commissioned in Abuja on Sunday after years of renovation and rebranding.
Among others, we select properties and allow pets too.
How many outlets do you have in Nigeria?
Currently, Wyndham Hotel and Resort operates only Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, that is the only hotel though new projects are in the pipeline, but currently that is the only hotel we have in Nigeria.
How do you intend to sustain your business here in Nigeria?
We have decided to float this business because we have upgraded our facilities and we have a stronger team, we have developed coffee shop, pool lounge and so many facilities. I know Nigerians like good things, so we are bringing international standard to Nigeria. We source most materials and consumables locally, which is also a way of giving back to the country and we have employed a good number of staff who are also Nigerians. With all these solid foundation, we hope to sustain our business.
Why were you out of full operation for a while?
We had to close some of our rooms while others were under renovation but the hotel didn’t shut down for the past two years.
Hawthorn Suites is a very big name and hospitality industry around the world, you can go to Dubai and stay in Hawthorn Suites, go to Abu Dhabi, you can go to any place in US and stay in Hawthorn Suites, same in Europe and Asia. So, it’s a very big name in hospitality and I guess our presence here is a very good sign for Nigerian economy.
This grand opening announcement comes after completing a multi-million dollar renovation that the hotel has been undergoing for the last two years. This investment comes from our belief in creating value. We value the guests that stay with us and value our employees who are the reason for our success.
I would like to use this medium to thank everyone who contributed towards the success of completing the renovation of the hotel. I especially extend my gratitude to my team for their hard work, commitment, passion and dedication into successfully reopening Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Abuja. A special thank you goes to our chairman, Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, our managing director, Mr Faruk Aliyu and our board of directors for their commitment and lasting support.
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