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Where to Stay in Lagos
The most densely populated areas of Lagos are situated around the western edge of the Lagos Lagoon, a large natural body of water separated from the Gulf of Guinea by a series of islands and peninsulas. The largest section of the city in terms of both area and population is the Lagos Mainland, located west and northwest of the lagoon. This is where you’ll find many cheap hotel deals in Lagos, including those closest to the airport, the University of Lagos and the city’s government buildings. However, since many pleasure-seekers arrive in Lagos to enjoy the beaches and resorts south of the lagoon, these hotels are more often patronized by business travelers and students.
South of the lagoon and southeast of the mainland are Lagos Island, sandwiched between Lagos Lagoon and Five Cowries Creek, and Victoria Island, which borders the creek to the north and the gulf to the south. Victoria Island is more popular among tourists and has more than twice as many resorts as Lagos Island, but both are scenic and within easy reach of the city’s top attractions.
Lagos Hotel Tips
Picturesque beaches, outstanding live music and captivating culture allowed Lagos to cultivate a now-booming tourism industry in the 1990s, and the development of luxury resorts has continued ever since. The finest resorts and boutique hotels in the city, largely collected on Victoria Island, routinely offer rates closer to those of three-star hotels in the U.S. Don’t assume you can’t afford the best rooms in the city before you check; U.S. dollars go a long way in Lagos.
Even better deals are available from more modest guest houses and motels on the islands, and most lodging options that cater to tourists consistently meet Western standards. The only downside to staying in this area is that it can insulate you from the “real” Lagos; to feel the city’s beat and experience the culture as the locals do, you might consider staying one or two nights on the mainland.
Lagos Hotel Recommendations
One of the most prominent international luxury hoteliers to expand into Lagos is Sofitel, whose Sofitel Lagos Moorhouse Ikoyi has become a top contender for Lagos Island’s premier hotel. It caters to a mix of business travelers and vacationers with state-of-the-art meeting rooms and amenities like a landscaped outdoor pool, professional spa services and a swanky cigar bar.
Across Four Cowries Creek, on Victoria Island, the Four Points by Sheraton Lagos Hotel is another favorite among travelers from around the world. Its infinity pool is one of the most stunning resort features on the island, and the comfortable private balconies connected to the luxury suites are ideal for enjoying sunny afternoons.
On the west side of Victoria Island, The Blow Fish Hotel is a boldly designed boutique property with 50 rooms at four different levels of luxury. This is the place to book if you want the styling of Lagos’ sleekest hotels without the noise and crowds of the enormous resort towers.
Lagos is a huge city, but most individual neighborhoods are safe and easy to explore on foot. This is particularly true of the islands, where you’ll want to be outdoors to interact with street vendors, smell the tantalizing aromas of the restaurants and savor the tropical scenery. For the sake of safety, it’s better to travel everywhere by car after dark.
You can rent a car at the airport following your flight to Lagos, but traffic congestion is notorious and the roads can be confusing to newcomers. The roads are generally in good shape, though, if you’re up to the challenge and have the patience for frequent traffic jams.
Cabs are affordable and easy to hail on the street, but there are many different taxi companies that conduct business in different ways. Drivers of the older cabs will usually want to negotiate a fare prior to departure, while newer cabs may have meters or set fare schedules based on zones of travel.
A public transit system called Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, covers routes leading through virtually all local areas a tourist would want to visit. The biggest advantage to taking the bus, aside from the affordable fares, is that buses travel on dedicated lanes, allowing them to bypass traffic jams. Hotel staff can usually provide the most up-to-date information on routes, rates and schedules.
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