The story of Bakadaji Hotel is one of family ties and perseverance. It began under the shadows of Dittah tree in the bustling streets of Latrikunda, where Mr Njie Senior, the late father of Buna Njie, opened his first restaurant 30 years ago. From there on, he continued to open more restaurants, including one at the site of the current Bakadaji Hotel. The name "Bakadaji" pays tribute to Mr Njie Senior, as it is his home village in the Upper River Region of The Gambia.
Bakadaji Hotel is proudly Gambian. The interior design showcases the beauty of African art and culture, from gorgeous paintings to handwoven Malian mud-cloth spread across the beds. It was essential to Mr Njie to emphasise the artistic potential of the African aesthetic and to differentiate himself from other hotels in the country, most of whom have a standardised “copy and paste” look. The restaurant also offers a selection of hearty continental African cuisine to give visitors a taste of the diverse culinary landscape. The room sections are named after 11 tribes that live in The Gambia so that tourists and non-natives get a feel of the country's rich cultural heritage.
Mr Njie mentions how the COVID crisis pushed him to expand the offerings of his hotels, as he aims to move away from the typical Gambian tourism season and instead focus on corporate and private clients that will occupy Bakadaji Hotel all year round. He also emphasises the ability of Gambians to run and manage businesses in the tourism industry.
Another heart project of Mr Njie’s is supporting the local community: 1% of the shareholding of the hotel is scheduled to go back into the Gambian economy - either directly to the hotel staff or to other members of the community. Bakadaji hotel supports local women gardeners by giving them free access to water and pipes to facilitate their vegetable production.
Mr Njie’s passion and experience in hospitality management are evident in the impeccably designed and executed Bakadaji Hotel. Check the interview below for more interesting insights and opinions of one of Gambia's most influential personalities in the hospitality sector.
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