Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Welcome to Kingston! - Courtyard by Marriott officially opens its doors

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left), assisted by (from left) Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott, Koen Hietbrink, cuts the ribbon officially opening the new hotel in Kingston last Friday. Sharing in the occasion are Dr Wykeham McNeill, opposition spokesman on tourism, and Pan-Jam’s Stephen Facey, owners of the property.

Adding to Jamaica's growing portfolio of international brands, the country's first silver-certified LEED hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, hosted its official opening last Friday evening.

The 129-room hotel, a partnership between Caribe Hospitality (Jamaica) Limited and Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust (Pan-Jam), opened its doors December 1, 2015.

The hotel is also the first to be constructed in the culture centre of the Caribbean - Kingston - in more than 30 years, and the first Courtyard branded hotel in Jamaica.

"It adds quality and diversity to Kingston's tourism product," Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told the large gathering which included Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke, Stephen Facey, chairman and CEO of Pan-Jamaica, and several members of the business community.

Citing the ITB World Travel Trends 2015-2016 Report, Bartlett said city trips were the fastest-growing part of the international leisure travel market, as Europeans, Asians, North and South Americans head for attractive destinations.

"City trips soared by an amazing 82 per cent between 2007 and 2014 to reach a 22 per cent share of all holidays. There is no reason why Kingston should not profit from these growing visitor numbers."

The tourism minister, who recently returned to office after a four-year hiatus, said as Jamaica seeks to improve and diversify its product offerings, further steps would be made to develop Kingston as a tourist destination.

INCREASING ROOM STOCK

He said critical to the process was increasing the room-stock. "The Courtyard by Marriott has aided in this regard," stated Bartlett. He noted that with the addition of the Courtyard by Marriott, Kingston now boasts 1,668 rooms, and there are 1,042 more in the pipeline.

General manager of the hotel, Koen Hietbrink, said it was designed and constructed to have practical and measurable energy efficiency, representing a conscious effort to impact on the country's natural and economic environment.

According to hotel chain, the edifice is 30 per cent more energy-efficient than a standard building, with a 16 per cent reduction in water consumption.

Hietbrink also noted that except for himself, all his staff are Jamaicans and the company is committed to Jamaica.

"We have made an effort to buy Jamaican. All our furniture and fittings and even the staff uniforms are all products of Jamaica," said Hietbrink.

Facey in his remarks said the Courtyard was the only business-focused hotel in Jamaica.

Paying tribute to his father, the late Maurice Facey, he said it was his father's vision and tenacity that carried Pan-Jam to great heights. "It was under his leadership that Pan-Jam made its sojourn into the hospitality sector," he stated.

Janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com