WHY Kempinski ACCRA IS STATE OF THE ART
The five-star Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra isn’t just a luxurious place to stay, it’s also a spectacular art gallery in its own right – and the gateway to a whole city of culture as Lysanne Currie discovered
For years, Ghana’s sweltering capital Accra has offered a smorgasbord for the senses, from the self-explanatory La Pleasure Beach – a gorgeous golden coastline complete with reggae nights – to the bustling Makola market, and a host of stylish boutiques. And yet a whole other cultural and artistic treasure trove awaits those visiting or working here. For situated inside the stunning complex that is the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is a dazzling collection of works showcasing the best of emerging contemporary African artists.
Having first opened its doors in 2016, the eclectic ‘Gallery 1957’ is British Lebanese-born construction owner Marwan Zakhem’s creative gift to the capital. Named after the year of Ghana’s independence, its purpose, via exhibitions, installations and special performances, is to highlight young African talent and bring it to global attention, such as Yaw Owusu’s All That Glitters, which painstakingly repurposes loose copper coins, treated with salt, into striking representations of social and political symbols. Zakhem’s showcase is rather crucial too; due to lack of infrastructure, many young art graduates will typically seek representation overseas, rather than vie for the tiny handful of Ghana’s high profile galleries. Gallery 1957 provides that much-needed platform and voice in a desirable setting.
In addition, the Hotel has recently created an ‘Art Safari’, which aims to guide tourists and local around the city’s fast-growing art scene, its installations and locations such as ‘Untamed Empire’, a concept store that combines high-end fashion and design, and The Nubuke Foundation, situated in East Legon – an art space promoting Ghanaian heritage and history by way of drama, poetry and workshops. Elsewhere, the Artist Alliance Gallery houses pierces from more established artists like George Hughes and Owusu Ankomah and newcomers such as Ebenezer Borlabie. Meanwhile, down on the coast, the Jamestown Tour invites art lovers to explore Ghana’s oldest suburb; its rich history, art hubs, restored museum the Brazil House, and Accra’s oldest photographic studio.
Suffice to say, the hotel that houses Gallery 1957 provides its own pleasures, and those exhausted from a hard day’s art-appreciation will find themselves well catered for by the building’s 269 rooms, tennis courts, cocktail bars, great restaurants, spas – and Ghana’s largest ballroom. But, really, the art’s the prize.
Kempinski Gold Coast City Accra offers the guided Art Safari from $300/£235 per group per day based on two sharing including entry fees, driver for the day (10 hours) and private tour guide.
Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City offers luxury accommodation in Accra from £223 per room, per night. Contact the High Commission for a visa as early as you can – it can take a while.