Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Jamaican Hotels score big at hospitality awards

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 12:20 PM
Claudia Gardner Photo Director of Operations at CPJ, Ryan Peart, is nestled between the company’s Human Resources Director of CPJ, Debbie Clarke (left) and Chief Financial Officer Jan Polack.
Claudia Gardner Photo Anna-Kaye Russell of Deja Resorts looks stunning.
Claudia Gardner Photo Sales Executives at Rainforest Seafoods Ophelia Johnson, Louis Reid and Sashan Anderson arrived together.
Claudia Gardner Photo Executive Chairman of Mediamix, Lennie Little-White (centre) is flanked by (from left) Marcia Erskine, Lana Francis, Nicola Madden-Greig and Prudence Simpson.
Claudia Gardner Photo Reggae superstar Beenieman and his belle Krystal Tomlinson. Tomlinson was one of the evening’s two emcees.
Claudia Gardner Photo Winston and Denise Dear strike a pose.
Claudia Gardner Photo Paul Pennicook and his wife Dorothy were among the first arrivals.
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In an evening that will be long remembered for both style and pageantry, The Jamaica Pegasus and Royalton White Sands cemented claims as two of Jamaica's finest hotels by dominating The Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica Awards 2016.

In front of a packed audience at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James, Jamaica on Saturday, November 19, both hotels walked away with a combined six awards, including the coveted 'People's Choice' award (Royalton) and the prestigious 'Hospitality Personality Of-The-Year which went to Jamaica Pegasus' owner Kevin Hendrickson.

Jamaica Pegasus' other awards were for being 'Jamaica's Best Conference/Business Hotel and also 'Jamaica's Best Small/Boutique Hotel. Royalton in the meantime also scored for 'Jamaica's Best In Innovation' and 'Jamaica's Best All-Inclusive Over 300 Rooms'.

The event which was a joint collaboration between The Gleaner Company and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and dubbed 'the Oscars' of the local hospitality sector honours tourism related entities for outstanding achievements on a biennial basis.

The other winners were: Hedonism II which won two awards for 'Jamaica's Best In Cuisine' and 'Jamaica's Best Entertainment; Chukka for 'Jamaica's Best Attraction; Knutsford Express for 'Jamaica's Best In Transportation; Rainforest Seafoods for 'Jamaica's Best Purveyor'; Half Moon Hotel for 'Jamaica's Best Eco/Sustainable Resort; Round Hill Hotel and Villas for Small/Best Boutique; RIU Palace for 'Jamaica's Best All-Inclusive Under 300 Rooms, and Hermosa Cove which won the Special Award for 'Best Eclectic Hotel'.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, hailed The Gleaner team for its staging of the event, saying the awards were a reflection of the outstanding work being done to enhance tourism and grow the country's economy.

"Locally, this biennial hospitality event is the biggest and most prestigious we have which honours our homegrown and the people who are responsible for taking care of our visitors," Bartlett noted.

"I had an invitation for a conflicting overseas event but there is no way I could have missed the pageantry and goodwill that I have seen here tonight. This is what tourism is all about and on behalf of the Ministry I want to publicly thank the organisers for putting together an event of this magnitude, saluting those who have excelled and who continue to do great work in the hospitality sector."

The minister further informed that Jamaica was on the crux of becoming the number one tourism destination in the region and that never before in the nation's history have there ever been so many rooms being constructed or in the pipeline to be built at any given time.

For her part, an excited Kerry-Ann Quallo Casserly, Royalton's regional director for sales and marketing for Jamaica and St Lucia said: "We truly value the recognition we received here tonight."

"To be recognised by your peers ... to receive this show of love from the people ... it's truly something to savour. These awards reflect our unwavering dedication to our guests, providing them with the best possible experiences while maintaining top luxury standards within the travel industry," she added.

Meanwhile, a visibly moved Kevin Hendrickson who gave a stirring speech to an equally moved and an equally receptive audience said the awards reflected an appreciation for all the hard work being done to maintain Jamaica's status as a top flight hospitality destination.