Closure of Sheraton Abuja Hotel Angers Marriot

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The closure of the Sheraton Abuja Hotel by its operators, Capital Hotels Plc, has not gone down well with Marriot International, which has managed the hotel for over 30 years.

In a statement on Tuesday, the largest hotel chain in the world said the action was taken hastily and could have a harsh effect on the Nigerian economy.

It said the management of Capital Hotels did not think through the closure as the decision to shut down the hospitality facility has resulted in the loss of jobs to 291 members of staff of the hotel.

Marriot said Sheraton Abuja Hotel was contributing positively to the growth of the nation’s economy before its closure yesterday by Capital Hotels.

Before the action was taken, Capital Hotels had agreed to pay the affected staff two months’ salary as a form of severance after an agreement with the staff union.

Commenting on the new development, the Area Vice President of Sub-Saharan Africa for Marriott International, Mr Richard Collins, said, “We are deeply concerned with the decision taken by the owners of the Sheraton Abuja Hotel to close the hotel within a short timeframe, causing unnecessary distress to hotel employees and significant disruption to guests, suppliers and other partners.

“We disagree with how the owners, Capital Hotels Plc, have hurried the decision to close the hotel without making sufficient arrangements for the 291 hotel employees, some of which have worked at this iconic property for many decades.

“The well-being of hotel employees is our priority, and we will continue to do our best to support them during this difficult period.”

It will be recalled that NIPCO Plc, a key downstream operator in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, recently acquired the majority share of the hotel through its subsidiary, 22 Hospitality Limited, to become the hotel’s new owner.

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