BusinessDay

A look at La Campagne’s Hills & Caves Resort Ondo

Since its debut over three decades ago, the La Campagne brand has not relented on expanding its offerings across the country.

Starting off with La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, its flagship offering, located at Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, the indigenous hospitality brand has gone ahead to innovate entertainment, hospitality and cultural offerings to global appeal.

Apart from the Ibeju Lekki-based resort, the La Campagne brand experimented with different landscapes, which resulted in the establishment of Idanre Hills Resort, built at the foot of the famous Idanre Hills in Ondo State years ago.

As well, the La Campagne brand berthed at Koton Karfi in Kogi State, with the commitment to replicating the African-themed resort brand further away from the traditional ocean shore.

Again, the La Campagne brand is flagging off the first Hills and Caves Resort in Nigeria. Named Hills and Caves Resort Itan Nla in Ondo East, Ondo State, the resort was conceived and built by Wanle Akinboboye, founder and president, La Campagne.

The Ondo, the location, is the place of birth of Akinboboye, but he went beyond Ondo to Itan Nla; one of the inner recesses of natural enclave in Ondo East, which is noted for its rich history, arts and culture as well as beholding natural elements such as hills and caves, dotting its landscape.

However, the resort is long coming given the fact that Nigeria’s landscape is dotted with numerous hills and caves as well as mountainous ranges.

Truly, since the opening of the resort on Nigeria’s landscape, a resort that has in its over three decades of existence grown to become the best themed Africa resort in the world, playing host to people of different colours and statuses from across the world, Akinboboye has not rested on his oars.

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The resort, which as it has become the tradition of Akinboboye to build within a short period, was built within 10 days. It offers a rare opportunity to interact with nature at its best. This time, ascending one hill or another and exploring the entrails of the caves, as well as hopping from one tree to another, all within a fluid enclave that is enlivened by human activities of diverse kinds, are worth experiencing.

The facilities and services all bear the trademark of La Campagne, which is noted for its blend of Africa motifs infused with sophisticated and elegant eurocentric appeal. The lodges or chalets of different sizes and categories are beautifully curated on hill ranges, some inside the caves and others in the open as well as sandwiched between moulds of rocky ranges.

It is a full service destination enclave where tourists and visitors would be treated to the best of luxury and entertaining menus of different ferments. Wellness, conference, leisure, entertainment and cultural activities are all embedded within the enthralling packages of the resort, with tour packages and opportunity to interact with the locals also on offer.

Akinboboye aptly explained the vision of his initiative: ‘‘La Campagne Tropicana Brand was established in 1984 with the vision of developing Africa’s economy from ‘bottom –up’ by transforming tourism attraction sites across the world into African themed unique destinations with architecture, décor and services weaved around African culture and hospitality.

‘‘The brand has developed (and is still developing) unique tourism products in each of its destinations modelled around the rich African culture such products include; tree houses with private swimming pools, mud houses with indoor swimming pools , the longest pool in the world on a beach with six inbuilt bars, Yoru’bar, a restaurant where tourists’ sense of smell, sight, taste and hearing are aroused through live cooking of their meals alongside indigenous music and dance, bars modelled after buses used in West Africa in 18th and 19th centuries, and moonlight folktales around bonfires among others.

‘‘As the La campagne Tropicana brand offerings are weaved around Africa’s culture and hospitality it has created tremendous economic opportunities for the people living in its host community and immediate environs. This is because the brand unique African theme creates job opportunities for such indigenes that would not normally be available in western type tourist establishments. The brand has adopted African style architecture and buildings.’’

It is worthy of note that Akinboboye’s creative fecundity has remained fluid over the years with him churning out different product and service lines in not just resort branding but also in arts, entertainment, culture and security, and the whole gamut of economic activities, which are all products of his Continent Building Initiative, an initiative that sees Africa as the cradle of the world and where the world should gravitate towards.