The exhiliration begins as you turn into the road by the Central Bank in Calabar, off the city’s Eleven Eleven roundabout. Driving down, the road is straight, then it makes a turn left, made to look like a ‘U’ by the lush green and well manicured lawn before a drive that lasts just seconds, brings you to a gate manned by agile young men who conduct a search on all vehicles entering this place of pure pleasure; Calabar’s Marina Resort.
As you drive in, a canopy of trees greet you, just like the tireless mass of water driven by back and forth tides, grab your attention and compel you to indulge. There are options and that is exactly what will tickle your fancy about this place, opened to the public on May 26, 2007, by the enigmatic Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State. Now in year 2014, a few add-ons to the original concept and the tenacity of Pro-Leisure Plus, the company managing the facility, has given the Resort a new eloquence that gels like bread and butter.
If you do get to Tortuga Island, better grab a seat, recline in it, make an order, let your eyes pan around and no matter how strong the pull is, do not let your thoughts wander off because this exquisite place is better enjoyed when taken in whole. Tortuga Island is not an island in the real sense, but the famed sit-in or sit-out in the Resort. As the Cross River laps alluringly on the well fortified edges of Tortuga Island, long rows of well trimmed flower hedges ‘enforce’ walk ways, places to sit, decorum and a total package that soothes indulgence. Ah, there is a well stocked bar there, expertly roasted fish and a few other things you need to explore on your own. If you decide to check in with a loved one, never ever miss the long walk down the Island, mumbling sweet nothings, stopping for a kiss, chasing what you have already caught or just pure fence mending talk. Whatever you choose to do, this place is and will happily be your accomplice.
Walk a few steps away from Tortuga Island and meet the past in the present. A carefully put together Slave History Museum with life-like simulations give you a perfect peep into the dark world of slavery. The guided tour through the various artificial chambers in the museum can be spine chilling to good measure. It is often never out of place to see a few persons come out of the museum teary eyed; the thoroughness and effects meticulously built into this museum, something you may never find in any other museum in Nigeria, is the reason this scene repeatedly plays out.
Not done, grab you a ticket and walk straight into the majestic embrace of the Resort’s cinema. Make your movie pick, grab you and your crew some pop corn, a soft drink and get your money’s worth. The movies you will see are top of the draw Nollywood and Hollywood movies. Even though we say so, the movies are not restricted to the two ‘film streets’, good movies from outside of these two, do make a commanding appearance on the big high definition experience this cinema offers. You better go soak you up in a good movie…, it doesn’t hurt, it is just in the pocket.
Now the kids get to enjoy a fantastic time in the new game hall or flex like tomorrow is just but a whisper away, on the carousel. What they have for the kids has been carefully selected to keep them spell bound. Entertain no fears, the Resort has experienced and well trained attendants on the ground to ensure your kids don’t put a good foot in the wrong place.
Come on now, you can also take a boat ride and enjoy a real high octane treat. The ride cost a fadding and could see you commute to Tinapa or go enjoy fresh palmwine on the other side of the river. When you get back in, plantain and bushmeat is served, not too far from where you get off the boat. If you still have some space in your stomach, ‘suya’, that famous meat kebab is also freshly done on the side for chewing options. We will dare say it sure is not finished as a trip to the Marina Resort without some play time at the Atlantic Bar and Lounge, sounds more like a half made meal.
Step into the Atlantic Bar and Lounge, open from 2pm all week and enjoy the silky sounds dropping from the in-house DJ’s wheels of steel. He drops the sounds with precise musical abandonment, strips you bare of the boredom that came with you and then takes you several notches up the pleasure tree. It is indeed the Resort’s way of helping you give you a treat.
In such an expansive facility where extensive space has been created for multi-purpose reasons, the thrill never stops and those who constantly go there, return because the Marina Resort is an excellent place for anyone to be.
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