James Drew takes a look at one of Côte d’Ivoire’s leading luxury hotels in Abidjan.
As the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire and one of the most populous French-speaking cities in Africa, Abidjan has quickly become the place to be seen in Côte d’Ivoire. Standing as it does at the cultural crossroads of Africa, Abidjan is characterized by a high level of industrialization and urbanization. With historical highlights such as the Vridi Canal (completed in 1951), which enabled Abidjan to become an important sea port, and almost all the political institutions and foreign embassies of Côte d’Ivoire located in Abidjan, the largest city in the country is undoubtedly its economic capital as well – the jewel in Côte d’Ivoire’s crown.
And that is why the Radisson Blu Hotel at Abidjan Airport is the perfect welcome to the city, offering the sumptuous accommodation that one would only expect in such a cosmopolitan, cultural enclave.
Modern landmarks include La Pyramide, a ziggurat-like building, while St. Paul’s Cathedral is a swooping structure tethered to a massive cross. Artwork, cultural relics and handicrafts are also on display at Le Musée des Civilisations de Côte d’Ivoire.
Abidjan is a challenging city to move around – it’s vast and connected by mini-motorways – and you’ll have to get in the swing of hailing taxis, negotiating fares and buzzing down the busy roads in order to get from one spot to another. But each neighbourhood’s distinct feel gives you an insight into the vast scope of Abidjan’s character and contradiction – it’s quite common for sharp luxury to exist adjacent to poorer areas. Make sure to dip into the markets, street-food stops, art galleries and a sleek bar or two.