We had barely settled into our Cabana when the rain started at Laguna Beach. It felt as though a bucket of liquid metal had been poured into my spine. My mouth went dry. I looked at everyone’s face for answers but all I got were blank stares laden with disappointment. I felt the pain sharper with every droplet of rain that landed on my body.
“This wasn’t how I planned this!” I whispered to myself as everyone scampered out of the Cabana for safety. The time was 12:40 pm.
You see, shortly after the COVID Lockdown was eased in Lagos, Diusor stormed Instagram with some alluring pictures she took at the Laguna Beach, Lagos. I could have eaten the pictures had my phone turned edible that evening. By the evening of the next day, I made up my mind not to just go to Laguna beach but also go with some really amazing friends whom I’m sure would love the vibes.
Two weeks later, I was on the Lekki Epe expressway alongside Bukola- an intelligent lady who forced me into a friendship I never wanted (lol). Our mission was simple- get to know everything about the beach so we can plan efficiently for the hangout.
Here were the most important things we found out about the facility (but you need to read this post till the end for this to make sense):
Location of Laguna Beach
Simply ask Google maps. It’d help you with ease. However, Abraham Adesanya roundabout (popularly called the fish roundabout) on the Lekki/Epe expressway is your port of call. At the roundabout, take the right exit if you’re coming from the mainland or Lekki. If you’re coming from the Awoyaya-Epe axis, make a left turn on the roundabout then go right and continue on that road. You’d see a signage for the beach at the point you need to exit the road. But be sure to let the map guide you.
Entry fees at Laguna beach
According to our findings, it costs N1,000 per person to gain access to the beach.
Being one of the very few beaches with proper Asian styled Cabanas in Nigeria, Laguna beach has quietly distinguished itself from the lot. These Cabanas are portable cubicles near the beach made of strong woods that act as chairs, tables, and pillars. Sheets of clean white materials ran from one side of each cabana to the other through the roof, ensuring their stability.
However, for you to use a Cabana at Laguna beach, you must have made a reservation prior to your visiting because there are just 8 of them. In our case, we made the payment 7 days earlier. It costs N10,000 to book one Cabana.
Opening and closing times
Laguna Beach opens on Mondays all through to Sundays and also on public holidays by 8 am and Closes by 10 pm daily.
Cost of food at Laguna beach
The food and drinks are relatively affordable when compared with other private beaches. However, we were made to understand that you can bring in your food and drinks from home but will have to pay a corkage fee of N10,000.
I took some pictures of the menu.
Then the planning began
With a sense of fulfillment, we left Laguna beach to start the preparation properly. First, I reached out to everyone whom I had invited and gave them briefs on the proposed date, location, dress code, and cost implication. In the following days, Bukola worked on all the supplies including foods to drinks. We looked at the weather forecast to ensure the chosen date was good enough.
With all Ts crossed and all i’s dotted, we continued with our lives as we counted down to the great day. I resumed back to my 9-5 marketing job while Bukola continued with her peppersoup Business.
Then Came the Great Day
12 pm was the agreed time of arrival, and since most of the participants will be coming from the mainland, we had studied their respective locations and advised that they carpooled using a cab-hailing service to save transportation cost and also encourage punctuality.
By 1 pm, Niyi, Chidinma, Wunmi, Noah, Damola, and Jide were already seated at our Cabana as we awaited Abiola, Yewande, and Dami.
Being a bonding hangout, we structured the activities such that they helped ensure we truly bonded.
- Introduction and reintroduction
Instead of simply introducing themselves the regular way, we made each participant reintroduce the previous person before introducing themselves. That way we ensured everyone paid good attention to everything everyone else said about themselves. It paid off as everyone got a good laugh (especially when Wunmi got carried away and couldn’t remember anything about Niyi).
2. Charades game
This group game is the best at setting up the desired mood for any hangout. In playing Charades a single person would act out a word or phrase while the rest of the group guessed. We split the participants into two groups and the excitement was thrilling. The highlight was when Noah tried describing a Monkey to his team.
3. Journey into finance
Since everyone invited was in one way or the other related to the finance industry, each person was made to talk about how they got into the industry and share their aspirations with the rest of the team. You could tell that this session inspired the participants.
4. Blind drawing
This game was particularly interesting because everyone had a healthy dose of laughter. One of the team members would be appointed as an artist and tries to draw any picture with the help of their team.
5. Scavenger hunt
It was the majority’s favorite. It’s simply a game in which participants have to collect a number of miscellaneous objects, solve riddles and perform some bizarre tasks.
I shared the vote of thanks shortly before the photo session by the beach.
Immediately after the photo session, each group ordered their rides. I watched on as each person hopped in. It was an emotional moment because I wanted us to hang around for much longer.
On the flip side, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had just helped a group of strangers make new friends.
I felt tired and exhausted but the sense of accomplishment did a good job of masking the fatigue. The breeze from the beach continued punctuating my thoughts as the sun moved slowly towards the west. The time was tending towards 6 pm. It was a day well spent.
A quick review of Laguna Private Beach
Save for the fact that the beach was being renovated as at the time of our visit, I think it’s got a really cool ambiance. Laguna Beach is a good representation of semi-private space to get away from trouble. The management has also tried to put a few mechanisms in place to ensure this mission isn’t eroded. One of such was the hicking of entrance fees from N1,000 to N2,000 unannounced. This was actually disappointing because as when we came earlier for inquiries, N1,000 was what we were told to pay.
Since we opted for the option of bringing in our food, we didn’t have the opportunity of exploring Laguna’s menu. However, we ordered 2 jugs of fruit juice and it tasted quite good. Again, I must comment on the fact that the management at Laguna did a terrible job of communicating their policy changes with their customers because after making payment for our Cabana and we’ve been reassured of the possibilities of bringing our food, we got a shocker that morning that the management has rescinded on that decision. According to the new rule, nobody is allowed to bring in any food or drinks. It was a really painful experience, one which was really disappointing because a healthy flow of communication would have saved us the stress of bringing along so much food and drinks and not be able to bring them in.
In all fairness, the staff at Laguna Beach were cool and very empathetic. The manager is not just a good fit for such a role due to his lackluster attitude towards work.
I got home that night and sent some words of appreciation to everyone and also tried getting feedback from them regarding the day’s hangout.
Below are snapshots of some of the responses:
Thanks for reading to this point. You deserve 2 crates of your favourite drink!
“ The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” — Dalai Lama.
This post is dedicated to Tayo Phillips for his relentless support towards the Nomadic Negro Brand from its earliest days.