Creating the master security plan for a new African hotel

With their prime locations in urban centers and along sunny beaches – and their iconic status as plush watering holes for international travelers and local elites – luxury hotels have always had to pay close attention to security.

With a growing number of vicious terror attacks on major hotels – many of which are specifically targeted at foreign visitors – the need for effective security is at the top of every four and five-star hotel manager’s agenda throughout Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world.

The challenge

Create a security master plan for a major new hotel – and suitable for heads of state.

Our client, a global infrastructure and property developer, was constructing a five-star hotel in an African capital for a major international hotel operator. Together with the country’s government, the hotel was conceived and designed to serve as the hub of a convention center suitable for high-level conferences and other events for government officials, NGOs and business executives from across the region, the continent and the world.

A flagship event was already on the books for soon after the hotel’s soft opening: an international conference for 39 heads of state, all of whom would be guests at the hotel. Top-tier security was required and suddenly at the top of the developer’s priority list as governmental protective details from all countries had to approve the hotel and conference facility before their VIPs would attend.

Could AS Solution design a security master plan – including fire safety – that would provide the hotel and conference center with the highest standard of security, and satisfy the close scrutiny of governmental security details? Of course, the plan would also have to respect the hotel operator’s hospitality practices as well as local culture.

The solution

A comprehensive RTVA and security plan done in collaboration with owners, operators and the president’s security detail.

AS Solution’s senior hotel security consultants visited the site and conducted an in-depth risk, threat and vulnerability analysis (RTVA), examining threats such as terrorism and crime, but also considering the political and socio-economic stability of the country.

Upon completion of the RTVA and working closely with the client, the hotel operator and the head of the president’s security detail, we designed the security master plan according to both the highest international standards and our extensive experience in Africa, so that the plan was both ambitious and achievable within the local context.

Physical security recommendations covered perimeter, shell and cell defense through physical and technological barriers, including anti-terror lockdown mechanisms and extensive work with engineers and architects to design approach roads and guardhouses that are effective, but with minimal impact on traffic flow and the guest experience.

Our fire safety assessment included meticulous review and approval of all fire escape routes, means of egress and signage placement for effective evacuation; of course, all fire detection and suppression systems meet with the stringent American NFPA 101 standard. Other tech recommendations, including primary and emergency lighting, the CCTV system and monitoring room were implemented according to our specifications.

We furthermore consulted on manpower issues including routine and emergency SOPs; procedures for recruiting, vetting and training staff; and carefully designed preventative and reactive measures.

The result

Solid security in place in time for inaugural conference.

After we presented the security and fire safety plan to the president and his team, they were satisfied that the hotel and conference facilities indeed had achieved the highest levels of security and safety available in the industry today.

The president’s security advisors approved the hotel and convention center for the inaugural conference and subsequent government-level events, a vital endorsement of our security master plan – and an essential condition for the commercial success of the project.