Garwin Davis, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Hilton Kingston hotel, situated in the New Kingston business district, has been acquired by Cash Plus Development for US$42 million. Cash Plus chief Carlos Hill said: "We are, however, planning to do some substantial refurbishing, with the intention to bringing the Hilton up to five-star status." - Norman Grindley/Deputy Chief Photographer
Cash Plus Development, a subsidiary of the Cash Plus Group Limited, is now officially the new owners of the Hilton Kingston hotel, the first time the prestigious international brand has fallen into Jamaican hands.
The hotel was purchased at a price of US$42 million (J$2.8 billion), and will now give Cash Plus, already the owners of the Executive Inn hotels in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and also the Golden Seas resort in Oracabessa, St. Mary, a sound footing in the island's hospitality sector.
"Cash Plus Development has acquired the shares of Ocean Chimo Jamaica Limited - the former owners - which now gives us full control of the property," confirmed Carlos Hill, Cash Plus' owner. "This is the first time in the history of the Hilton hotel that a franchise is owned by a Jamaican, and for us, this is a big deal."
The Hilton is one of the most prestigious brands of hotels worldwide and has locations in a number of countries.
Cash Plus, a five-year-old company in Jamaica, has built up an array of businesses in its expanding and diversified portfolio of companies. Hill operates in the telecoms, financial, shipping, hospitality, fuels/ chemicals, real estate and other sectors. He claims ownership of a number of other properties in the Corporate Area, including Priscilla's Nightclub.
More acquisitions ahead
"Our first-class gaming operation and the equally high-standard restaurants will remain in place," Hill added. "We are, however, planning to do some substantial refurbishing, with the intention to bringing the Hilton up to five-star status. We currently have 360 rooms, but there are plans in place to increase this number substantially as time goes by."
Hill, whose company is rapidly growing in stature, said there are currently plans in place for more acquisitions. "Our goal is to remain competitive," he said. "The Hilton acquisition is our finest moment yet, but believe me when I say the best is yet to come."