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    The Coconut Residence, The Gambia: Finding a niche in Five-star Luxury

     

     
     
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2001 

    The Coconut Residence is a five-star luxury hotel at Kololi, The Gambia, with 18 suites, 24-hour room service, conference facilities, two swimming pools and two en-suite pools. For the maximum of 36 guests, there are 150 staff. Gambian-born Farid Bensouda, one of the enterprise's two proprietors, bought the land on which the Coconut stands about 15 years ago with the aim of investing in the tourism sector. But he waited for the right product and only decided on a luxury hotel in 1995. The investment was originally meant for the Caribbean but was attracted to The Gambia partly because of the investment climate and partly because of Mr.Bensouda's vision.

    Though many Europeans prefer short flights for vacations, Mr. Bensouda was convinced that The Gambia would be attractive, only six hours from most European countries, with a perfect year-round climate and no hurricanes. Soon after construction began, marketing the hotel commenced: small, exclusive travel agencies in Germany and Switzerland were invited to visit the set-up. By the time construction was finished, the Coconut Residence had received contracts from various agencies in Germany and the United Kingdom. Among the problems: staff were not used to offering the level of service required. They quickly adapted with training by the Spanish chef, who has long experience in European hotel management, and because of management openness to staff.

    Contacts: Mr. Farid Bensouda-Nettlau, Mr. Walter Lohn, The Coconut Residence, P.O. Box 3160, Serrekunda, The Gambia. E-mail: coconut@qanet.gm 



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