Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Hard Rock Cafe Coming to MoBay

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 8:00 AM
From Left: Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, Viking Productions' chief operation officer, Andre Dixon, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (Jamaica), Ron McKay and director general of Secrets Resorts, Emilio Huhn, breaking ground for the new Hard Rock Cafe in Montego Bay last Friday.

Come November, Jamaicans and the tourists who visit the island annually will have access to Montego Bay's newest attraction, Hard Rock Cafe.

Operated under one of the world's most recognised global brands, Hard Rock International (HRI), franchise holders Viking Productions were given a stamp of approval to operate the entertainment-rich entity in the tourism capital.

Hard Rock replaces the popular Seawind Beach Club, operated by Secrets Resorts and Spa. Vikings, with the assistance of Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris, and president of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ron McKay, officially broke ground for the attraction.

The project, previously valued at US$2.5 million, will provide employment for some 80 persons.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony last Friday in Montego Freeport, Bartlett said that the investors were in sync with the direction in which the government was going, "which is the beginning of building the entertainment experiences that are going to define destination Jamaica".

He said one of the five pillars of growth he has been touting includes new products and networks which encompasses entertainment, sports and culture. "Hard Rock is part of that critical network, which is going to underpin the growth of five million visitors by 2021," he told the gathering.

 

Innovative approach

 

Plans unveiled at the groundbreaking showcases a representation of an innovative approach to architectural design, including many of the traditional elements of the Hard Rock brand combined with warm Caribbean colours and earth-toned textures.

The layout will accommodate seating for 154 along with 54 seats on the patio deck, said Andre Dixon, chief operating officer at Viking Productions. "Overall, including the patio deck, cabanas, pool bar, patio bar and VIP room, we will be able to accommodate more than 400 patrons."

Viking Productions currently owns and operates two other locations in the Caribbean, "A fantastic location on Charlotte Street in Nassau, Bahamas, and the venue in Georgetown, Cayman Islands", added Dixon.

He noted that his organisation also had licences to produce other premium and proprietary brands, bringing the same level of expertise to the Hard Rock brand as a wholesale operation.

"So, not only do we sell the merchandise, but we are also licensed to produce our own designs and can wholesale them to Hard Rock Cafe locations worldwide."

Lauding the bold move, Mayor Glendon Harris described the investment as long overdue and publicly assured the investors that he would ensure the project would not face unnecessary delays.

Guest speaker Ron McKay said it was an "absolute marriage" between Viking Productions and Secrets Resorts.

Renowned for their customer experience focus, McKay noted that this was what patrons should expect.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com