In the next few weeks, the ancient city of Ile-Ife will witness the grand opening of a new world class resort built by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Though work is still ongoing and finishing touches are being put to the project, completion of work in the first phase is 90% ready.
The new resort built on 252 hectares of land will have 300 rooms after completion. Its situated at a lovely location, just as you drive into Ile-Ife. It is a place where modernity meets an African rural setting. If you are driving into Ife from the Ibadan end of that ever busy Ibadan-Ife road, this sprawling resort hits you in its grand splendour. To the right hand side from the highway you can see the white structures, all bungalows, built in chalet format. Because the road is on a higher plain, you can have a birds eye view of the resort.
The resort is scheduled to be opened in March, 2018. Its called the Ife Grand Resorts & Leisure, a replica of Ooni’s Inagbe Grand Resorts located on an Island off Lagos waters. The major difference is that whilst you can access the new Ife resorts by road, Inagbe can be accessed by water.
What’s the whole concept behind the Ife Grand Resort & Leisure, City People asked the Manager, Mr. Sogo “The Ooni, when he was conceiving the idea wanted to have a place where Modernity and Tradition actually come together. And that is what you see here. We have nature at its very best here. Kabiyeesi actually insisted when construction started here that none of the trees should be touched or cut. He wants nature’s presence here. That is why at the entrance into the reception hall, we left these two tall palm trees alone as we met them. They are there to beautify the structure. We had to accommodate them.”
Who are the likely clientele of Ife Grand Resorts? The management hopes it will play host to tourists and all those visiting Ile-Ife. “If you want to be close to nature this is the place to come to”, explained Princess Fadekemi Adenipekun.
“We hope that in the next 5 years, Ife would be the Mecca of tourists and the resort will be a sort of pilgrimage destination. A lot of festivals hold here in Ife to celebrate the Isese people, Odun Ifa, Moremi. We can provide acommodation for guests. This is our own Dubai. We are expecting professional bodies and corporate organisations to come here and hold their AGMs, retreats.
They all don’t need to go to Dubai. Our African Village will host them. Young people can come here to host destination weddings, interested people can hold Village-like weddings at the African Village. Here, we blend African outlook with Western outlook. People can come here for a get away vacation, for the family. They can take a whole week off or just a weekend of Friday to Sunday. Wedding anniversaries can be celebrated here or renewal of vows.”
“Kabiyeesi also wants the locals to enjoy the facilities here. That is why we have the 14 room deluxes that are affordable. There is no discrimination Kabiyeesi feels Osun State, being a civil servant state, civil servants can also take time off to give themselves a treat. They can come in to use any of the 14 room deluxes.”
“There are affordable rooms. Kabiyeesi has the interest of his people in mind by bringing to Ife, luxury for his people.” Sogo adds that we don’t have a very viable recreational centre around here in Ife. People go to Ada Golf Course and Ikogosi but you can’t compare what they have there with what we have here. This will help salvage that problem”.
“This place is also good for the University community,” explains Princess. “They can hold alumni meetings here, secondary and primary school students can come on excursions here. Pretty soon there will be a tour guide here that can take our guests from here to major sites in town. That will be part of the services here, the sight and sounds of Ile-Ife We implore all Nigerians to patronise us. The government should also patronise us for their meetings, retreats and conventions.”
“By the time the sports complex is ready football teams can come here to train and lodge. We have our 6 aside football pitch. Teams that go to represent Nigeria at Olympics can come here to train. Its like home away from home.”
“When we are fully operational our rates will be affordable. Kabiyeesi really wants to make this resort affordable so that many families can afford it.”