The Analyst (Monrovia)

Liberia: New ROYAL Grand Hotel to be dedicated Tomorrow

Long time Lebanese businessman, Mr. Ezzad Eid will on Tuesday, January 22, dedicate the ROYAL Grand Hotel, his most recent investment in Liberia.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to cut the ribbon, officially opening the Hotel; while two plaques at the entrance of the hotel will be unveiled by the Ministries of Information, Culture and Tourism and State for Presidential Affairs.

Mr. Eid, also president of the World Lebanese Cultural Union, has expressed thanks and appreciation to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Government for providing the enabling environment for investors to do business in Liberia. "I want to thank President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Government for the encouragement and continued support to investors," adding that policies initiated by government has given him and others the encouragement to invest in the country.

The business tycoon, with other investments in Liberia including the International Aluminum Factory, City Builders Incorporated, Reality Management Corporation, City Motors Incorporated, National Paint Industries, Hard Rock Crusher, among others, said though businessmen do face constraints, he has invested in the country because of the confidence in the government, the love for Liberia and its people and the continuous support from the government officials and concerned parastatals. "I keep investing in this country because I consider Liberia my home," he said, noting that he has a third generation of children here.

Mr. Eid, who by January 26 would have resided in Liberia for 47 years, said he has spent enough time to have confidence and gain the love of the Liberian people which has encouraged him to continue to make such huge investments in the country. He hoped that the dedication of the ROYAL Grand Hotel will encourage other foreign businessmen to come to Liberia and invest in the economy as the investment climate here is very good.

When quizzed about how he succeeded over the 11 years he had run the old hotel, Mr. Eid said, "This is clear evidence of our hard work and government's support to us doing business in Liberia. We must thank them for all the support given us over the years."

The new ROYAL Grand Hotel, designed with Jerusalem Stone, an Aluminum Facing with Roman Pillars at its entrance has a total of 60 exquisite furnished rooms. The hotel is equipped with central air-condition, a revolving entrance door, and two guest elevators and one service elevator.

Also included in this glamorous new hotel are conference room facilities for 60 persons, a media center equipped with modern multimedia setup, office for secretarial services and a business center.

The main restaurant, "SAKANA", a Japanese word which means 'from the sea', is situated on the roof top overlooking Tubman Boulevard and adjacent areas. On the outside of the terrace is 340 square meters of open space referred to as "WEST" which will cater to customers who would just want the pleasure of being on the roof top.

The ground floor will host "CAFÉ ROYAL", the venue for breakfast and luncheons. It will also host large selection of shops including the "CAFÉ ROYAL EXPRESS" which will display an assortment of desserts, coffee and tea; an "AFRICAN GIFT SHOP" that will display an assortment of African arts and artifacts; and a third shop that will exhibit a variety of wine, and an assortment of liquor (spirits). British Airways will also have an office on the ground floor.

The basement will host a beauty salon, spa facilities and gymnasium.

ROYAL Grand Hotel's Chief Executive Officer, Wael Hariz, noted that there are plans to initiate the second phase of the project later this year. He indicated that there will be an extension to the main building that will host a banquet hall, additional meeting and conference rooms as well as suites. "We have plans to demolish the old Royal Hotel to make way for the annex, swimming pool, parking facilities, and landscaping," he said, adding that the essence is to raise the hotel standard to 5-star level.

Speaking further, Mr. Eid, who is also chairman, disclosed that during the construction of the hotel, because of the lack of skilled technicians to handle delicate aspects of the construction and installation especially the elevators, central air-condition, kitchen equipment, revolving doors, security system, fire alarm, among others, he had to recruit expatriate technicians.

However, he indicated that to promote the transfer of skills, he instructed each expatriate technician to recruit between three or more Liberians to work along with them to gain the knowledge and expertise. "This idea gained very good results," he said, adding that all those apprentices have now acquired the knowledge and skills in these technical areas to handle any problem if it occurred rather then send for expatriate technicians to repair these delicate equipment. "We now have qualified Liberian carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other technicians that were trained during the construction of the hotel that can now provide the requisite expertise when needed," he said.

Providing some background to the brand name, Royal Hotel's Chief Executive Officer disclosed that Mr. Eid originally built the structure as an apartment building in 1987; but decided to lease it to a Spanish businesswoman who remodeled it into hotel rooms. In 2002, Mr. Eid repossessed the building and turned it over to a management team that continued running the facility as a hotel. "A little over three years ago, in November 2009, Mr. Eid commenced the construction of this new hotel which we will be dedicated Tuesday," Mr. Hariz revealed.

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