Infirmary residents unwind at Riu Ocho Rios
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:CLUB HOTEL Riu Ocho Rios observed World Tourism Day last week Saturday in a special way, inviting several elderly residents of the St Ann Infirmary to the hotel for the day.
Over a dozen residents enjoyed a full day at the luxurious property, arriving early enough for breakfast, later enjoying lunch and with all amenities at their disposal, they made use of the opportunity.
"Today is World Tourism Day and I think it's just a nice gesture as they are very close to the hotel," General Manager Katharina Doehler told Rural Xpress.
"We invited them to show what tourism is about nowadays. It was in partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA). Each hotel in the area does something for the community and I chose the infirmary."
It was the first time any hotel had made such a tremendous gesture, although hotels have consistently supported the infirmary through donations.
Doehler sees things differently and decided that Riu's first involvement with the infirmary would be special.
"We're all going to grow old one day," she remarked. "Today, they have the pool, they have the beach, the food, the ambience, everything, plus it's an opportunity to come out of their usual environment and see something different."
The collaborative effort also included the JHTA and Jamaica Cooperative Automobile and Limousine Tours which provided free transportation for the residents.
"It has been very good. I'm happy we're able to do this," said Judy O'Sullivan, events committee member of the JHTA Ocho Rios/Runaway Bay Chapter.
Sullivan was accompanied by other members of the organisation including Maxine Gawron and Carmen Peart.
"It's really good that we're able to offer this day to them to add to their experiences; I'm really happy for this day," O'Sullivan said.
Meanwhile, patient care assistant at the infirmary, Roderick Cameron, said the residents all had fun.
"Things are going fine and everybody is enjoying themselves. They had breakfast, lunch, snacks and now they're just relaxing by the pool," Cameron said
Elaine Coombs, housekeeper at the infirmary, was thankful for the gesture and called for more for the residents.
"I just want to thank Riu for what they've done for us today. we don't often get to do this. It's very good for the residents and I would love to see more of this happen from different hotels and so forth," Coombs said.