How Souadou Niang Went From Housekeeping To Owning A 5-Star Luxury Boutique Hotel

Last updated on Mar 20, 2024

Posted on Mar 11, 2024

In 1993, at age 18, Souadou Niang emigrated from her home in Dakar, Senegal, to New York to further her education. Four years later, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended Nova Community College, Virginia, for liberal arts and communication studies. There, she came across the Ritz Carlton. Impressed by its grandeur and beauty, she applied for jobs and eventually began working in housekeeping as she continued her studies. During her time at the Ritz, she was trained in every department before joining the management team.  Wanting her children to be familiar with their Senegalese background, she decided to return home in 2008. 

Upon her return to Senegal, she carried with her a determination to establish the same standard of quality hospitality that she observed at the Ritz Carlton.  In spite of being rejected for a loan on numerous occasions by banks that considered her to be “too risky”, her passion was evident. “… The bank branch manager for all of Africa … [said] that he could see the passion in my eyes”, said Niang to Hertelier, as she expressed how he agreed to take the financial risk to help her.  

For 10 years, she rented a 10-room villa, and completely transformed it. Today, she is the owner of the 5-star Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel in Dakar, Senegal, with a staff that is made up of 80% women. The luxury hotel has 20 rooms, and features an outdoor swimming pool, wellness center, and garden. Guests can also enjoy on-site breakfast at the restaurant.

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.” – Souadou Niang
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