Over 25 years ago, while Ghana was making plans for its new political future as a multi-party democracy, investors, developers and architects were pouring over ambitious plans of their own. They were going to build a luxurious 104-room hotel on the outskirts of Ghana's vibrant city of Accra.
And when they first broke ground at the edge of one of Ghana's most beautiful beaches, the location alone promised that Labadi Beach Hotel would be destined for a glittering start.
Indeed, Labadi Beach Hotel has risen over the years to shine as Ghana's premier business address, where West Africa meets, works, and plays. Popular with business and leisure travelers alike, millions of guests have swept through Labadi's grand doors, including presidents, prime ministers, first ladies, and royalty from all over the globe.
The hotel has scooped up 12 awards over the years, including the Ghana Tourism Authority Best 5 Star Hotel Award, the West African Tourism and Hospitality Best 5 Star Hotel Award, as well as Tourism Retailer of the Year and Best Hotel Garden of the Year awards.
Labadi Beach Hotel's enviable location, impressively enhanced by the surrounding tropical gardens, coupled with its conference and banqueting facilities that can cater for up to 600 delegates, also provides a prime venue for entertainment on a grand scale. The hotel has hosted prolific events like the U.S. Marine Ball, the Diwali Indian Festival, and the Stanbic Jazz Festival.
"It is without doubt that our superb location is one of our pillars of success," says Legacy Hotels and Resorts Managing Director, Paddy Brearley. "But a great deal of Labadi's success also rests with our staff."
Of Labadi's 359 staff members, Brearley says, "They're warm, they're dedicated, they're innovative, they create a homely environment, and they keep our guests coming back for more. They're the embodiment of Ghanaian hospitality."
He goes on to say, 'We see Labadi Beach Hotel as a success story within a success story. Ghana itself is flourishing economically in a stable democracy, and its capital, Accra, which is just a short drive from our hotel, is rapidly becoming one of the leading business hubs in Africa."
Ghana has become an important emerging market in Africa, and is the second largest economy in West Africa. It is also a hot market for hospitality expansion. The number of hotels in Ghana increased from 992 in 2000 to 1,775 in 2013, and is fast becoming a development hub for large international hotel chains looking to expand in Africa.
Ghana's ever improving infrastructure is also attracting an increasing number of business and leisure travelers. Ghana's hospitality report released in mid-2016 shows that in 2014, tourism represented 7.8 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2015, tourism was the 4th highest foreign exchange earner after gold, cocoa, and oil.
The last 25 years have also seen success stories of a more personal nature for Ghanaians. Many of Labadi Beach Hotel's own staff members have worked their way up from entry level jobs to top positions within the hotel.
William Ahinakwah started as a porter and is now Labadi Beach Hotel's night manager. Colbert Ashong worked his way up from security officer to head of security; Evans Adzaho advanced from maintenance technician to chief engineer; Irene Ofosu-Anim moved from reservations agent to reservations manager; David Eduaful was promoted from night auditor to house manager; Doris Abbey advanced from banquet coordinator to banquet manager, and Olivia Tetteh was promoted from sales secretary to human resource manager.
The hotel itself has grown from 104 rooms to 164 rooms. The Presidential Block, which was built in 2010, is a luxury block that boasts two presidential rooms, four executive suites and 54 luxury rooms.
Labadi Beach Hotel's new conference hall was built in 2014. It can be split into four rooms and is the only one of its kind in Accra. Labadi Beach Hotel has also launched its own state of the art spa - enticingly set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Other additions include an exclusive beach bar and smart renovations to the Lagoon Bar, as well as the wellness and fitness center.
With so much to celebrate for its 25 year anniversary, Labadi Beach Hotel hosted a dazzling event last year. Amongst the 250 esteemed guests were local government officials, the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Executive Director of Ghana Tourism Authority, the Director General of SSNIT, and other celebrities.
Guests raised their glasses, wholeheartedly ushering in another 25 years of success for Legacy Hotels and Resorts' glittering jewel of West Africa.