Good things come to those who wait.. Well, finally, the much-delayed Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City has now opened to compete for top billing with Ghana’s very finest hotels. The Gold Coast City Hotel is from the Kempinski group that has a global reputation for doing things in style, this is no exception. It marks the brand’s West African debut and is a dazzling addition, with a complex spread over 35 hectares and comprising numerous buildings, including commercial and residential towers organised along a ‘broad boulevard and esplanade’. The hotel itself will have 269 rooms, all at least 50 sqm in size, including a pair of seriously snazzy presidential suites. Guests can also enjoy an extensive spa with 10 treatment rooms, a hammam, yoga studios and a fully kitted-out beauty salon. Other hotel features include an organic food bar, a cocktail bar, tennis courts and a flashy outdoor pool. In addition, there will be seven meeting rooms with the latest audio-visual equipment, a number of outside meeting areas and a conference centre measuring 1,750 sq m.
No matter how impressive a hotel looks from the outside, it's the details that really matter. Was the check in and out fast? Was the concierge as helpful as he or she could have been? Were the food hours convenient? But also, was the room comfortable? Were the light switches easy to use (it sounds banal, but it can be infuriating)?
It's an area hotels in Accra have suffered with in the past, particularly the service - something that should be spot on given the price that many hotels are charging. Yet there are a few hotels that are concentrating on the details, and a stay making homely, but doing it with panache.
All eyes at the moment are on the Kempinski, the latest opening and stunningly designed. The building itself is based on the Compound houses, commonly built by tribal chiefs across West Africa, with the residences built around a central courtyard with shaded seating areas and a performance pavilion. US architects PageSoutherlandPage have built in 269 rooms, a retail space, lounges, restaurants, a large spa with ten treatment rooms, swimming room and tennis courts, among other facilities in the complex. Connecting the main lobby to the ballroom and function spaces is the 'Butterfly' building, named for its butterfly shaped roof. Inside, Looney & Associates have melded contemporary West African design with internationally recognisable amenities. All the lighting and furnishings are custom designed for the hotel.
It's been the Mövenpick that has got most of the attention in recent years. After opening it quickly become Accra's hotspot for the well-heeled. A large airy lobby, restaurant and bar, and that pool - unmmissable - make it a superb option. It should be said service here is among the best in Accra. Two other smaller hotels should also be mentioned for excellent design. La Villa Boutique should be celebrated for creating a gorgeous retreat among the bustle of Osu. Its rustic chic look, while not ground-breaking, is certainly a refreshing change from the 'could be anywhere' style of many hotels. Similarly, the Olma Colonial Suites has loads of space, are very well appointed and homely. The newly refurbished Labadi Beach Hotel – never one to rest on its laurels either – remains one of the best hotels in Ghana.
There are also a host of new openings too, and one of the highlights is the Tang Palace Hotel, a new luxury residence fairly close to the airport.
Out of town then we've been very impressed with the overall design of AquaSafari – large spacious villas – and the rooms of The Royal Senchi are to a very high standard and well considered. Lansdown Ibru Heights is also a remarkable spot out towards Aburi that manages to be both pleasantly hidden away while being very luxurious. Also pretty new is the Best Western Atlantic Hotel out in Takoradi. It's a thoroughly modern, spacious hotel with a great pool area. Design lovers will enjoy the chalets most. Finally, AquaSafari on the estuary of the River Volta is a stunning location, and have been very generous with space. The beach front chalets are as inviting as the pool.
But it's not going to stop there – there are new openings planned with the Hilton, Marriot and something else very special all in the pipeline.
After years of the hotel industry staying the same, these hotels are pushing up the levels for everyone and at every price bracket. Here are some of our favourites...