Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra Hotel – Project Newsletter Issue 2: Site Investigations and Surveys Completed

Design of the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra Hotel Accelerates – The design of the 200-key first class Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra continues to make good progress with activities both on the ground at the Aberdeen site and also by the international design team in London

Site Investigations and Surveys Completed

Drilling Rig

One of the most important issues in building any structure is knowing what sits below the structure and the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra is no exception. With the demolition of the old building completed, IDEA contracted Edward Davies Associates, a local engineering consultancy, to undertake the site investigations.  This involved drilling through the soil and rock at specially determined positions to understand the nature of the terrain.  The results of these investigations have been fed into the ground contour survey data to determine the best position and orientation of the hotel.



Water Tower

The old hotel may have been demolished, but one easily recognised and much loved part of the complex will remain.  The Cape Sierra Water Tower can be seen from miles away in several directions and locals associate the unique tower design with Cape Sierra.  In order to ensure that the tower meets the stringent standards of the new development, another Sierra Leonean Engineering company Techsult, was asked to undertake a structural survey of the tower.  The tower was found to be excellent condition and so will be refurbished and maintained as a visible landmark in the new set-up.




Hilton, Project Architect and Consultants Hit Town

L-R (Keith IDEA UK), Victor, Girish (Hilton) and Mark (Vertical Integration)

Building an International First Class Hotel of the class of the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra involves a lot more than meets the eye.  A structured and complex design process is what lays the foundation for operational success. There are consultants from fourteen different disciplines whose designs have to seamlessly integrate. Most of the issues will never be visible to the guests when the hotel is in operation.  This is why members of the international team of designing the hotel have been paying visits to Freetown and to the site over the last couple of months. Victor Rodrigues (Hilton Vice President – Architecture and Construction, Middle East & Africa) and Girish RamaChandran (Hilton Director – Development & Design, Middle East & Africa) paid a 48-hour visit to Freetown in early May. Victor is a 22-year Hilton veteran who is currently overseeing the development of over a hundred Hilton hotels. Victor, Girish, and Mark Saade of Vertical Integration (lead architect for the project), spent time familiarising themselves with the site now that the old building has been pulled down and the site has been cleared. They also visited other hotels in the area to understand the support infrastructure such as power, water and other services for the hotel.  Armed with this information these experts were able to sit down with the IDEA team and decide on a number of features of the hotel such as the size and use of the leisure facilities. Kroll Consultants, an international firm of security experts, visited the site and met with a cross-section of senior representatives from the public and private sectors to better understand how to integrate security measures into the design of the hotel.


L-R David (Campbell Reith), Adama, and Adrian (LE Group)


They were followed by Campbell Reith (Lead Project Engineers) and Red Engineering who focused on assessing the quality and availability of local materials, skills and infrastructure support services.  Campbell Reith also selected Adama Bangura from the LE Group, a local engineering firm, to spend time in their U.K offices as a graduate trainee under the project’s local content policy initiative. Matrix Partnership (Landscape Consultants) also visited the site to review landscape and environmental protection issues.




New Hotel Designs Revealed

Hotel Entrance

Following the consultants visits, the design team recently released the latest pictures of the proposed hotel. The current design has moved on significantly from the first concept that was displayed at the Turning of the Sod ceremony last year. The new layout is much more compact, in a T-shaped format and now comprising a lower ground, ground and seven floors of accommodation. Other features include an “infinity” swimming pool, a gym, several restaurants, a marina and state-of-the art conferencing facilities.




Next Steps

Hotel from Sea

With the site investigations and surveys now completed, the next stage of works on site will be the start of excavation and foundations works in June/July. Meanwhile, the London-based design team continues to progress the detailed design of all aspects of the hotel.

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