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Remarkable new resort now operating in Accra

Marwan Zakhem

Marwan Zakhem, its activator, talks to Sydney Paulden

An entrepreneur called Marwan Zakhem is going to get Ghana a higher profile in the global travel sector. Raised and educated in the UK from the age of 3, when his family moved from Lebanon, he is MD of Gold Coast City Resort Ltd. This company is already well advanced in its plans to create a brand new modern destination within the environs of Accra in Ghana.

Gold Coast City will extend over 300,000sqm when its three phases are complete. Phase One has given priority to a 5-star 269-room hotel that is already welcoming guests, with most of its amenities now at their service.

There is little doubt that for any corporate meetings in the region of West Africa, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City – Accra will be a prime choice. It has the largest hotel ballroom in Africa, measuring 1,000sqm with additional break-out space for from 20 to 100 people.

The new hotel will also offer 24 suites and will boast West Africa’s largest spa. Already under construction immediately adjacent to the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is the Galleria shopping mall that will entice guests with quality international and local products.

‘We have been fortunate’, says Marwan, ‘in being able to build our new compact destination and resort on the most advantageous plot in Ghana’s capital city. It is conveniently located in the downtown area in close proximity to the State House, the Accra International Conference Centre and the National Theatre.’

Asked about what Ghana has to offer in addition to attract business visitors and conference delegates, Marwan is not short of information. ‘Ghana is one of most promising countries of West Africa. Neighbouring territories are known for certain riches and assets, but Ghana has them all. It is rich in oil, timber, diamonds, phosphates, magnesium and more. And, of course, it wasn’t called The Gold Cost for nothing.

‘It has a good warm climate, pristine beaches and an abundance of historic monuments of great interest, particularly dating from the slave trade that operated until the beginning of the 19thC.’

Ghana’s coastline is dotted with ancient fortresses and castles built by different colonial powers. In the present-day, Ghana is becoming well known for its art and culture, both ancient and modern. The new Kempinski hotel already has Gallery 1957, named after the year of the country’s independence from Britain, displaying examples of the best local work.

Music is another focus of attention in the country and it is also gaining a name for its football prowess. Visitors can enjoy surfing and tennis, whilst there are a couple of reasonable golf courses.

Marwan says that the Government of Ghana is keen to see the new development project succeed and even has a financial stake in it. But he also admits that there is some way to go to make visiting Ghana easier. ‘There is a fee of US$100 for a visa’, he confesses, saying the simplest way is to arrange a visa at a Ghana embassy before travelling. ‘But bear in mind’, he adds, ‘that the very high quality of facilities and service and food at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is well below the price that a guest would expect to pay at a similar property in a European capital city.’

Prices average about US$250 per night. The peak and low periods in Accra equate roughly to those in Europe, with business activity more pronounced in spring and autumn and lower in the summer months and leading up to Christmas.

A significant fact is that BA operates daily flights between London and Accra and it is the airline’s second most profitable route.

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