Chido Nwakanma discovers how Ikot Ekpene, the former penal colony has transformed with a luxury cube of a world-class hotel.

Four Points By Sheraton Hotel is now a prime reason to visit Ikot Ekpene in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State. The hotel has transformed the town into a tourist destination. It is the vision of the former governor and now Senate President Godswill Akpabio. Akpabio provided infrastructure that gentrified this former rustic town and restored its colonial and First Republic allure.

For instance, Four Points By Sheraton Ikot Ekpene is already contributing to the character and appeal of Ikot Ekpene. It attracts visitors to the town, and such visitors can find other attractions. It boosts the local economy and would do more with greater, focused integration with the people and environment to enrich the offering.

His successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel, promised and delivered on the target of the September 2021 opening of the hotel with an N25b valuation. Emmanuel stated before the start that the AKSG pledged to ensure that “every strategic infrastructure is converted into a valuable asset for the benefit of Akwa Ibom people, is finding expression in the Four Point by Sheraton Hotel”.

Promoting tourism is a critical and contributory role of facilities such as hotels. The then Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel (now Transcorp Hilton Hotel) was instrumental in dousing doubts about the viability of Abuja as the federal capital. It ran adverts and promotions showing its splendour. The regular Abuja City Tour was part of that promotion when I first lodged there in 1989.

Four Points is an excellent reason to come to Ikot Ekpene. It is increasingly becoming a destination for corporate retreats and leisure. The facilities are world-class.

Luxury is in every nook and cranny. The rooms are splendid, as are the facilities available. It boasts that it offers “Travel Reinvented: Everything you need, plus the style and extras you love”.

The details of that promotional talk are remarkable. Four Points Ikot Ekpene has four event spaces on hire. The Raffia Ballroom is 6184 feet and can seat 700 persons. The Akwa Meeting Room hosts 130, the Unwana Meeting Room 80 persons and the Ikat Boardroom 45 people.

DELICIOUS: Ekpang nkukwo

Four Points offers the best of Akwa Ibom cuisine. Recommended is the Ekpang nkukwo. Of particular appeal to me were the salads and fruit variety. There are four restaurants in this beautiful four-star facility.

It offers an outdoor swimming pool, bar, a compact gym with essential equipment and top-notch security. No one goes up to the floors without an access card. Nor can you change your mind and visit another floor on a whim. Go up to the 11th-floor terrace for a panoramic view of the surroundings.

Four Points offers 146 rooms. They include two business suites, 16 Junior Suites, 21 Double-Double, 83 Deluxe rooms and 24 Classic rooms.

The grounds are capacious. I used it for my morning waka going round the car park.

The meeting rooms are exquisite and fit for purpose.

The hotel is pricey. Our conscientious host, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, welcomed all participants with notices emphasising cost management. You pay for any excess!

Four Points Ikot Ekpene needs to borrow from the late 80s and 90s Hilton Abuja playbook. As the Third World group sang, “Now that we’ve found love, what are we gonna do with it?” Guests need places to see in Ikot Ekpe.

Four Points should provide an excursion service. The Local and State government should build monuments and sites of interest.

Engineer Nsikak Essien mentions building a commemorative structure at Control Post. Control Post Ikot Ekpene was the British landing and staging post when they entered Ikot Ekpene in 1903. Neighbouring Calabar has many such historical attractions.

Four Points Ikot Ekpene itself sits on history. It was the site of the Ikot Ekpene prison. This former penal colony now hosts the luxury cube of Ikot Ekpene and is now a luxury colony.

A magnificent view of Four Points By Sheraton, Ikot Ekpene

Critics say investments such as the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel misdirect government resources. They draw on the history of wastefulness that characterised government expenditure since the military era. History shows that such landmark infrastructure projects defined our regions and spurred development. Similar investments include the Hotel Presidential, Enugu, and Concord Hotel, Owerri, representing class and sophistication in their time. They were pillars of the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) industry.

For instance, Four Points By Sheraton Ikot Ekpene is already contributing to the character and appeal of Ikot Ekpene. It attracts visitors to the town, and such visitors can find other attractions. It boosts the local economy and would do more with greater, focused integration with the people and environment to enrich the offering.

Two corporate groups were on the ground during our visit.

Travelling to Ikot Ekpene

How to get to Four Points By Sheraton Ikot Ekpene

Four Points By Sheraton is at Plot A342, Raffia City Plaza, Highway 530101, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom. You can reach them on 0803 900 8010. Or call the Rooms Division Manager on 09062831403.

One can reach Ikot Ekpene through three or four airports. They are:

  1. Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo. A 45-minute drive to Ikot Ekpene.
  2. Margaret Ekpo Airport, Calabar. About two hours to Ikot Ekpene on poorly maintained roads.
  3. Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa. Similarly, it takes about two and a half hours to Ikot Ekpe.
  4. Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri. Takes about three hours.

There are connecting car hire services from the airports and from the major neighbouring cities.

Contact Information

Four Points By Sheraton is at Plot A342, Raffia City Plaza, Highway 530101, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom. TThey can be reached on +234 803 900-8010. Or call the Rooms Division Manager on +234 906 283-1403.

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