Worldlillies Hotel… A hidden paradise in Ibadan
There’s this thinking in some quarters that outside the big cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, getting a decent accommodation in other lactations is a matter of ‘try your luck.’ However, a close observation shows that, beyond what you see in the big cities, decent and luxury hotels are springing up on a daily basis across the nation. A good example of such ventures is the Worldlillies Hotel & Events Centre in Ibadan; it’s indeed a hidden paradise.
Located in the heart of Ibadan, and easily accessible from the Lagos through the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the hotel is tastefully build to give customers value for their money. With free WiFi for guests, Worldlilies Hotel, which is about 13 km from IITA Forest Reserve, operates a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage for guests. Every room is equipped with a desk and a flat-screen TV; each room includes a private bathroom and wardrobe, while some rooms, particularly the Presidential Suite, also feature a kitchenette for private use. A continental breakfast is served each morning at the hotel’s restaurant, which serves both European and African cuisines.
Two buildings away is the Events Center, a luxurious multi-purpose venue suitable for a wide variety of events. Recognised as an industry leading and fully integrated with the highest quality visual and lighting systems, the centre guarantees a world-class experience for those, who appreciate class.
The centre, which can be reconfigured to suit a wide range of events, can take 800 guests for a banquet dinner, while the theatre sitting will accommodate 1500 guests comfortably. Meanwhile, the gallery upstairs is perfect for smaller meetings or seminars for up to 250 guests and can also be used as a VIP area for banquet dinners, with a capacity of 150 guests.
As you step into the hall, the enchanting array of chandeliers is sure to bring sophistication and glamour to your events and compliment your décor. The hall is also equipped with two 240 inches indoor LED screens and a 220 inches outdoor LED screen, which could be used for live screening. These big screens deliver high impact, gorgeous video and images of your events indoor and outdoor as they happen.
With an exclusive 500KVA Transformer; two 350kVA powerhouse generators and a 100kVA generator to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity, the hotel also boast of a spacious packing space for guests.In a chat with the CEO of Worldlillies, Abodun Olatunji, the legal practitioner informed that the organisation is poised to change the face of hospitality business in the city and beyond.
“Everything you see here is imported, including the bricks because, we want to set a standard. Yes, I designed it, though I had one or two contribution from my architect, engineer and my wife, who is an interior designer. I can boldly tell you that I’m a man of taste and anyone who has met me can testify to that,” he said.
On his decision to have the hotel in Ibadan, as against Lagos where he’s currently based, Olatunji explained, “Maybe you don’t know, but I grew up in Ibadan; this place is like my second home. I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education here in Ibadan. I have always wanted to have businesses around the globe not just Nigeria, so, when I conceived the idea of Worldlilies Guest House, in fact the first place that came to my mind was Ibadan; not Lagos.”
While speaking on the business potentials of Ibadan, he said, “as a businessman, you need to have foresight and Ibadan is the third most populous place in Nigeria. By 2036, experts have predicted that the population will skyrocket to 11.3million and you know what that means for the hospitality industry. So I see a new Ibadan set to emerge.”
On his experiences so far doing business in Ibadan, Olatunji noted, “Things are picking up fast, this is just our third month of operation, so, I don’t want to be too forward, but we have great expectation and so far, it hasn’t been bad. Ibadan people are actually more social than we perceive them to be, though we know Lagos is a buzzer! But whenever people come in here, they are always surprised at the standard of our facilities; that’s what we are bringing to the table,” he said.
On how he plans to maintain the facilities and the possibility of giving out the facility to international hotel managers, the CEO said, “In the long run, yes! Even though the present team on ground is doing fantastically well. But you know as time goes on, we will have to expand and that means we will need more professional hands.”
On expansion, he said, “Of course; even the name should tell you that. Like I said earlier, Ibadan is just a starting point by the grace of God.Speaking on his interest in the hospitality industry, Olatunji said, “hospitality business for me has always been a thing of passion; I felt really fulfilled when we started operation. But I know we still have a lot of work to do and by God’s Grace, we will sail through.”
Though the hospitality industry in Nigeria is currently going through some challenges, Olatunji see a bright future for the sector.“The hospitality industry is a huge industry all over the world. I understand that there are many challenges here, but it’s never a write off; not in this era of new technologies, tourism and development. Hotels are always in demand as more and more people are travelling and in need of accommodation; that’s why all our facilities are of international standard. What I would say is that the business is capital intensive; so, you have to have patience and a lot of it,” he said.
To a large extent, Olatunji’s training as a lawyer has helped the business greatly.“It has given me the necessary background to do a whole lot of things without limitation. One thing I always tell people is that the legal profession is the best profession ever; I call it the ‘high leveler.’ As a lawyer, with the kind of training you get, you can fit into any business you venture into. So, let’s just say some other things are coming up for us; you will hear about them soon,” he assured.