The foremost South Western hotel, Premier Hotel, Ibadan has been shut down with the staff laid off.
The hotel, owned by Western Hotels Limited, a subsidiary of Odu’a Investments Limited, has been shut down since Wednesday, December 28, 2022.
When the Nigerian Tribune visited the Mokola Hill premises of the hotel on Tuesday, it was deserted, safe for private security guards, who directed visitors away from the premises, saying the hotel had been shut down.
The Group Managing Director of Odu’a Investments Limited, Mr Adewale Raji, said the hotel was shut down temporarily so that it could be renovated and its facilities upgraded.
The GMD said further, “In line with our plans to make our hotels world class, we are renovating Premier Hotel and upgrading its fa- cilities to make it a five-star hotel, in collaboration with a global brand chosen by the board with the help of KPMG and approval of the shareholders.
“We want to increase the number of rooms we have, and increase the capacity of the halls. We are conscious of health and safety of the people, so we had to disengage the employees. We had to pay all of them off.”
Mr Raji explained that the decision to temporarily shut down the hotel, remodel and rebrand it was taken in the best interest of the region and its people.
He added that the group was working with an internationally renowned partner to improve the hotel’s services and reputation.
While debunking the insinuation that the hotel had been sold, Raji said the arrangement, being worked out with the partner, will ensure the retention of ‘Premier’ in the name.
He however declined to mention the partner for strategic reasons, the GMD assured that all stakeholders will be happy with the choice when eventually unveiled.
He noted that all the owner state governors were aware of the decision and had given it their blessing.
Premier Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Nigeria, had been battling with declining patronage as a result of aging structures and outdated facilities. This prompted the board and management to seek international brands to salvage the hotel and shore up its fortunes.
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