What’s it like? Famous in Lagos and dating back to the 1950s, the Federal Palace relaunched in 2008 under the management and ownership of Sun International. Next door to the six-storey hotel is the much larger 16-storey “Towers”, shut in 2008, though there are plans for that to be renovated from October. The hotel’s website emphasises the casino but if you’re not a gambler don’t let that put you off – this is an excellent property with friendly service, clean, decently-sized rooms and some well manicured grounds on the south side of Victoria Island.
Room facilities The number of rooms has been reduced from more than 200 to 146, giving it a slightly boutique feel. The whole hotel is smart and modern, while retaining the feel of a previous age in the overall design – the size of the public areas, for instance. The in-room technology, including flatscreen TVs and free wifi, worked impeccably. Rooms have either city or sea views, and it’s better to go for a sea one (though the city is fascinating), since you can watch the large ships moving in and out of the harbour. Each room also offers air conditioning, 24-hour room service, international direct-dial telephones, minibars, laptop safes and tea and coffee-making facilities.
Restaurants and bars The Explorer’s restaurant is on the lower level with a terrace outside where you can drink local Star lager from chilled glasses and watch the evening draw in (assuming you’ve taken your malaria tablets). It has several buffet options in the evening, including grilled meats, salads and some delicious langoustines. The Ancestors bar is up a few steps from the lobby and has views across the grounds to the coast. Snacks are also available on the pool deck.
Business and meeting facilities There is a good-sized business centre and several meeting rooms – Nigeria’s declaration of independence was signed in one of them in 1960. To one side of the hotel opposite the car park is a 700 sqm, 500-seat permanent marquee for conferences.
Leisure facilities This is a notable strength since the new US$2.5 million pool club opened in September last year, refurbishing the existing Olympic-sized pool and adding water-park slides, tennis courts, an outside exercise park, jogging track, miniature golf, a children’s play area, a food and beverage outlet and a merchandising stall.
Verdict A good hotel that’s well known by everyone in Lagos – a plus, as this means local clients won’t mind coming to meet you there for meetings.
How many rooms? There are 146, including 116 Kings, 12 Junior suites, and eight one-bed apartments.
Room highlights The superb view of the tankers just off Lagos harbour from sea view rooms, and free internet.
Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from US$490 for a King room.
Contact 6-8 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island; tel +23 412 779 000; suninternational.com