The City’s Airport Recommended Business Hotels General impressions or tips with regards to travelling on business in the city
Abuja It’s difficult to know whether this airport is finished or not!  The arrangements for domestic arrivals are bizarre (“use the little door round the side there”), and then trek through the international hall to the departure area.  Domestic departures have two places to go, depending on which airline you’re on.

 

I have never travelled international in or to Abuja.

If you want to see and be seen, the Transcorp Hilton is a must – all the worked passes through there at some time or other.   The Sheraton is old but friendly, with some great restaurants.  The three small Protea hotels are more cosy than their bigger cousins, and the Hawthorn Suites offers an apartment-style product. Thee road network is really good, and there always seems to be anew highway under construction in Abuja!  The road from the airport to town is undergoing a major rebuild, and delays are possible, particularly on the way in early in the morning, due to a security check.

 

There are very few restaurants and bars outside of the hotels, and both the Sheraton and the Hilton have nightclubs and casinos.

 

There are some good quality green taxis plying the streets, and you might even see the odd London cab!

 

 

 

Accra The international airport is working well, although immigration can be a real bottleneck at peak periods.

 

The duty free shop is good value, but there’s only the one.

There’s a wide range of hotels to choose from in Accra, from the beachside Labadi Beach and La Palm, to the Holiday Inn at the airport.  The newest place in town is the Mövenpick, which will be challenged for market supremacy very soon by the Kempinski. Traffic congestion in Accra is worse at times than Lagos (sic!).  the arrival of Big Oil has seen a boom in activity, and that means more cars, but not more roads.  So beware getting caught downtown with only a short time to get to the airport.

Captain Hooks restaurant has good fish.

Addis Ababa Bole airport is a major transit point for the region, and seems to be coping well with the pressure.  Connectivity with ET is normally quite good, but sometimes needs an overnight stop.  The duty free shops are not bad. The best hotel in town is the Sheraton, and is the place to see and be seen.  The Hilton has seen better days, but has a good bar where the expatriates hang out.  Radisson Blu have recently opened, close to the Hilton, but the facilities are quire limited.
Dar es Salaam Dar airport is pretty crummy, although the duty free shops are good.  The whole building needs renovation, and it can also win the prize for “ugliest airport terminal”! Big selection of hotels to choose from, in the CBD and out on the beaches of the peninsula.  Seacliff is the poshest, but also the furthest from the CBD.  The Hyatt is the grandest, and has a good Chinese restaurant.  The Best Western is cosy, with a great pool and sea view. The best restaurants are on the peninsula.  There is quite a variety up at the Seacliff Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lagos Lagos airport is really horrible, and not for the fainthearted.  The treatment of arriving international passengers is the worst I have experienced in Africa – and as I live here, I experience it very often!  If you can, organise for a protocol officer to escort you through – but you will still have to wait ages for your luggage.  Yellow fever vaccination certificates will be demanded only from white-skinned travellers. There are several hotels to choose from these days, but the best hotels in town are the Proteas (six of them!), the Sheraton, the Southern Sun, the Radisson Blu and the Four Points.  Don’t be put off by the high published rates – there is always a deal to be done. Lagos is not as near as daunting as people think.  Sure, you have to be plenty street-wise, but with sensible precautions you can have a good time, and without it costing an arm and a leg.  Check out Pat’s Bar in Victoria island, good priced drinks and food, plenty of TVs to watch the game(s), and live entertainment some nights.
Luanda What used to be a horrendous experience is now a modern, well-operated airport, although the check-in is a bit chaotic at peak times (where isn’t it?!).  Allow plenty of time, as the lines can move pretty slowly.  The arrival experience is fine, immigration is very efficient, and you will be asked for a yellow fever certificate. The two new hotels in town are the Baia and the Epic Sana, both modern and well managed.  The Continental Hotel is unpretentious and very good value for money.  Avoid the Presidente like the plague, it is terrible. Luanda is extremely expensive, but there are signs that the prices are on the way down, as competition increases, and more locally-produced food becomes available.  The Ilha is the place to be in the evenings, or go there at lunchtimes for some good meal deals.
Nairobi Nairobi airport is old and creaky, but seems to work OK.  It is way overcrowded, and the departure hall always seem to be strewn with stranded passengers from exotic places!  The duty free is not bad. There are a lot of hotels to choose from.  In the CBD, the InterContinental and the Regency are the two main ones, and the new Crowne Plaza on Upper Hill is getting good review. Central Nairobi has a reputation for being dangerous, but I have never had a problem there – but be streetwise all the same. The traffic in town is appalling, so leave plenty of time to get to the airport when leaving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windhoek The international airport in Windhoek is small and really quite charming!  The little departure lounge is right next to the apron, so you know what’s going on. The two main hotels in the centre of town are the Hilton and the Kalahari Sands.  The Hilton is clean and modern, but needs to shape up on its service standards.  The Kalahari Sands is located in the middle of a shopping mall, and is a little shabby. Not the most dynamic of cities, Windhoek can be a bit claustrophobic after a few days.  It is fund to walk around during the say, but don’t expect anything to be open after 5pm, or on a Sunday – the German influence!  Joe’s Beer House is worth a visit, if only for the atmosphere – although the beer and food get good reviews.

 

Trevor Ward

W Hospitality Group, Lagos

trevor.ward@w-hospitalitygroup.com