Hotel de France, Kano: sleeping in history
One thing I’ve learned in Nigeria: old hotels suck, new establishments give you some hope. But there’re a few exceptions, and the Hotel de France in Kano is one of them. This hotel is not old in the nothing-works and everything-is-a-bloody-mess sense of the word: we’re talking here of a real piece of history, and sleeping in a well-maintained historical building in Kano (!) is definitely an experience worth having. Built in the 1920s when Nigeria was under the British, the hotel is an oasis of peace hidden in Tafawa Balewa Rd between Bompai Rd and Murtala Muahammed Way. The beautiful and airy restaurant (chess floor and solid wooden doors) has the sleepy charm of a place that went through so much, and nonetheless is still there. Hausa-owned and managed since a couple of generations, the Hotel the France was built and originally owned by… yes, a French family. The current owner and manager, Mr Moustafa Ahmed, showed us around and confirmed that the Bradt guy wrote the truth: Charles de Gaulle spent a few nights on the premises of the hotel (well, the source being Mr Moustafa himself!). The Hotel the France is not a budget option (45€ night/room, 24h electricity and running water), but is absolutely recommended if you want to enjoy the chaotic life of Kano while keeping a decompression corner to yourself.