By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has said that the 146 room Four-Point by Sheraton Hotels located at Ikot Ekpene local government area is 97 percent completed and expected to commence operation before the end of 2021.
The Director of Projects, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Special Duties, Engr Ephraim Udosen disclosed this yesterday when newsmen went on a facility tour of the hotel following criticisms and speculations that the project has been abandoned.
Udosen said the hotel has become one of the most technologically advanced in the country after modifications and upgrades carried out in the facility including the power installations, water treatment process, fire suppression and fighting systems, cooling system, and ICT, in line with the requirements of the hotel managers.
He said, “We also installed Automatic Fire Suppression System (FM200), 20KVA inverter system and additional 12,000 BTU/Hr (3.5kw) – split wall type AC system in the IT room and procured active switches/accessories for the IP close circuit cameras to complete the installation of the CCTV system of the Hotel.
“To tell you how committed Governor Udom Emmanuel is to this project, he ensured that the maintenance contract was re-awarded to the original contractors to ensure continuity. The only hindrance now is in attaining the high standards of the hotel managers in certain areas and in this regard we have attained between 97% and 98%.
“It also purchased thousands of equipment, furniture, and utensils and procured all outstanding Operating Supplies and Equipment (OS & E), Furniture Fittings and Equipment (FF&E), and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure under the agreed US $7.2m released to the Hotel operator.
“The administration also provided the first phase of Hotel Guest Room Management System (GRMS) involving the incorporation of setback temperature control devices in all guest rooms Fan Coil Units (FCUs) and certification of all installed Plants, Equipment and Systems like Lifts, Boilers, Chillers, Firefighting Equipment/Systems, Water Quality (Potable, Swimming Pool, Chill Water), etc by third parties as recommended by Marriott”.
Udosen also disclosed that the present administration constructed the parking lots, 310m access and link roads around the hotel, completed outstanding landscaping, procured transformers with switchgear, and constructed dedicated power supply lines from the National Grid to the Hotel, ensuring availability of constant power supply
It could be recalled that the multi-billion naira and expansive 12-floor edifice was started in 2013 under the administration of the then Governor Godswill Akpabio shortly before the end of his tenure in 2015.
But the hotel project according to government officials was not technically completed then because most of its facilities failed to meet the standard and specifications of the hotel managers, Starwood Group whose franchise was later taken over by Marriott.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts has since been acquired by Marriott International Hotels in a deal that was wrapped up in September 2016.
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