By Tafadzwa Hove
In a positive story which is making rounds on the internet a former housekeeper who used to work at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the United States is now the owner of a five star luxurious hotel. Souadou Niang is the owner of Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel in Dakar, Senegal.
She told BBC Africa that ,”I started out cleaning toilets. Today, I am the manager of my own five-star boutique hotel with 60 employees.
Born and raised in Dakar, Niang moved to the U.S. at the age of 18. She went from New York to Washington, DC, where she applied for work at the Ritz-Carlton to help pay for her academic fees.
Niang worked cleaning rooms at the hotel for 10 years while also studying. Throughout those years, she always dreamt that she would someday become more successful in the field. Indeed, she later got a job with the management team at the same hotel she started working as a housekeeper.
Niang further said ,”I rose through the ranks and that’s where I got the passion. I said one day I will go back to my country and show that luxury and quality of service can be achieved there.”
And she did exactly that! She launched Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel upon returning to Dakar, Senegal in 2017. However, the journey was not a bed of roses. She experienced rejections from several banks mainly because she is a woman. Not until one investor believed in her determination and took the risk to invest in her project.
Now, Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel is a famous five-star hotel which is run by a staff of 80% female. Niang chose to hire more women as she believes in their potential.
Moreover, she hopes to expand the hotel locations across Africa and even internationally.
She comments, “My dream is to conquer Africa, and why not the world. As the international hotel franchises in Africa, we should be able to adapt our Afro-chic boutique hotels in Western countries, and show African women can run luxury boutique hotels with the same standards as the international hotels.”