Courtyard by Marriott opens today
Courtyard by Marriott New Kingston officially opened its doors today.
General manager of the hotel, Koen Hietbrink, said persons had already been able to enjoy the unique ambience that comes with the American brand from last week's soft opening.
Despite being a US brand, Hietbrink assured that the hotel would have certain Jamaican qualities.
"It's Marriott in a Jamaican way," he said. "The Jamaican hospitality, you will notice that from the moment you come in. Our menu has local taste ... . You feel a lot of local elements coming through. It kind of enriches the experience, and that's what we do in every market that we enter. It's really about bringing Jamaican flavour into this hotel."
The initial feedback has been very encouraging.
"They (early guests) are very enthusiastic, they love the rooms, they love the hotel and the people, obviously," he said, adding that the majority of the 75-strong staff were Jamaican.
"The hotel can be as modern as it is, but it's the people, in the end, who make the difference."
Courtyard by Marriott is part of the Marriott family, one of the 19 brands under the name. Hietbrink said the hotel and brand offer the essential needs for the business traveller. These include multifunctional rooms and a lobby where guests can be relaxed when necessary but also productive when they need to work.
The 129-room hotel (four levels of guest rooms) features state-of-the-art products. The hotel is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified, making it an energy-efficient building.
"Guests like to identify these days with those kinds of initiatives," he said. "The way we think about the environment, the way we take care of that part of the business, it's giving to the community, but it's also giving to the environment, and a lot of guests like the affiliation."
Hietbrink estimates that they will host up to 300 guests at full capacity, complemented by those attending meetings and other events held on property. Despite opening at the start of December, Hietbrink was cautious about predicting a tremendous Christmas season.
"But for us, it (December) is really a good month to start up and hit the floor running in 2016," he said. "The projection is to have an exciting year (2016), to optimise our product and our service, making sure that we establish ourselves in the market and making sure that we enrol more guests into our loyalty programme that we help increase the return business to Kingston," he said.
He is very confident in the Marriott brand and wants as many locals as possible to experience it for themselves.