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La Manga

A charming beach resort with Spanish-styled villa

Stories by MUSA JIBRIL

When Johnny Pelemo first told me about the island, I thought he was being overly sentimental. Johnny is a friend, a self-acclaimed hedonist who knows the Lagos archipelagos like the back of his hand. Islands––any piece of land, fixed or floating––on the Badagry coast, in the lagoon or jutting into the Atlantic, he knew them all. So, he couldn’t be lying about the existence of this particular island. But I had a problem with his description. It seemed a product of flights of fancy; his object too richly robed in junk words and misplaced metaphors that conjured a portrait of a fantasy island that is a hybrid of tropical Africa and the Caribbean.

La Manga turned out to be all he said, and more––at a glance. Tropical weather, verdant vegetation, a coconut boulevard, pristine beach and Spanish villas that evoke an overwhelming nostalgia of Latin indulgence à la Telemundo’s novelas. If La Manga tastes like Spanish in pronunciation, the sight of four white villas planted on the beach reinforces the Spanish affinity.

The La Manga Luxury Beach Villas is sited on Ilashe Island in the Badagry creek but with an Atlantic facet. Its location, a mere 15-minute boat-ride away from Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Its appeal as a vacation getaway is evident at a glance. Its picturesque scenery––stretched on a canvas with a backdrop of coconut trees and a foreground of the unspoiled coastline of the Atlantic––is inspiring of “a poetry of magnificent sunset and a ballad of uninterrupted views of a vast blue ocean with its irregular ruffles of white waves.”

The beach, a quiet and private environment, is devoid of beach bums and opportunistic voyeurs.

A thought struck me forcefully: “Here is a serene place where you are guaranteed a good night sleep, away from clangs and chaos of a roiling city overburdened with a pulsating population of over 20 million souls crammed into a tiny strip of mainland and dotted islands.”

The resort’s main attraction is the beach villas, and in them, one can locate the basis of  ‘The Johnny Rhapsody.’ From within a spacious bedroom, you open your sliding-mirror door to a private balcony with an alluring vista of the ocean. A look downward is straight at a blue swimming pool. Above, a rooftop Jacuzzi, on the ground floor, a private lounge. The La Manga villa beachfront living room has a kitchen, a bar and a poolside barbeque grill area.

The architecture of the resort also made room for outdoor pleasures, from open-air gazebo for dining and lounging to beachfront bamboo canopies for relaxation to a massage room. A mini-golf course and a volleyball court cater for basic physical activities. For the adventurous vacationer, other adrenalin activities include quad biking, jet skiing and boat cruising.

Once in a while, tourists are so enamoured of a place they wish they could stay there forever.  There is no harm in having a wishful thinking over the La Manga villas. A tourist can actually own the beach villa––temporarily.  As I learnt later, the villas have lease options, either short or long-term – from three months to five years or beyond – for both private and corporate clients.

I also found that the resort is an ideal vacation nest for a family. Or a group. A single villa can accommodate 10 adults for an overnight stay, and up to 30 people during the day.

The villas are furnished in a way that dispels any paranoia of being marooned on the island. Any air of formality that may otherwise cramp vacationers’ style is vanquished with guests’ right to bring their creature comforts including their own food.  The homely ambience is further enhanced by the availability of amenities that give the natural home feel or its verisimilitude, including DSTV, DVD and stereo system with CD players.

And, I found out what wowed Johnny most––a bar with varieties of drinks that range from tropical cocktails to smoothies to soft drinks and champagne and wines and the other drinks.

I wondered how guests at the villa can insulate themselves from self-indulgence, if not with therapeutic massage, perhaps with a bubble bath at the rooftop spa, or marathon movies at the lounge, or just lounging at the beachfront under the cooling bamboo canopies.

With over 15,000 square meters of enclosed beachfront, La Manga is ideal for exclusive events, private and corporate.

Corporate organisations needing a taste of pleasant unusualness during their executive retreat, or seeking to introduce some zing to its one-day seminar or training, can take advantage of the resort’s 400-capacity event centre. Great also for socials such as weddings and family gatherings. Private parties? I can imagine a memorable jollification and a beach dance.

While I understood Johnny Pelemo’s enchantment, I would not, however, want to describe La Manga Luxury Beach Villas with such a jaded expression as “a little piece of paradise.”  La Manga, I think, is where you live life lovingly while the world while away. If I may borrow a line, I’d rather liken it to Madonna’s San Pedro. La Isla Bonita. A beautiful island.


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