Top performances in Hospitality to be awarded Saturday
Fourteen awards will be presented to the island's top performers at the Biennial Hospitality Jamaica Awards ceremony, which is set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday night, three more than the 11 accorded in 2014.
More than 30,000 persons participated in the awards' nomination process, which took place over a six-week period.
The three finalists for the Best European Plan (EP) Hotel are the Round Hill Hotel, The Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston, and the 2014 winner, Half Moon Hotel of Montego Bay.
The contenders for the Best All-Inclusive Hotel (under 300 rooms) award are Jewel Runaway Bay, Hedonism II and Riu Palace Jamaica in Montego Bay, with Couples Swept Away, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande and Royalton White Sands in Trelawny making up the list for the Best All-Inclusive (more than 300 rooms).
Hoteliers Kevin Hendrickson of the Hendrickson Group of Companies, Josef Fortsmayr of Round Hill in Hanover, Shireen Aga and Barbara Walker of Mockingbird Hill in Portland were shortlisted for the Hospitality Personality of the Year, which is one of the most anticipated awards.
According to the judges, this award is presented to a "game-changer", who has at least 15 years of experience in the industry, has helped to change lives, and has made a great impact on the country's economy.
The top picks for the Best Eco/Sustainable Tourism Award was narrowed down to two of Jamaica's most exquisite resorts, the Royalton White Sands in Trelawny and 2014 winner, Half Moon in Montego Bay.
With respect to gastronomy, the front-runners for the Best Cuisine Awards are Riu Palace Jamaica in Montego Bay, Royalton White Sands and Hedonism II, which is located at Rutland Point in Negril, Hanover, while Jamaica Broilers, Caribbean Broilers and Rainforest Seafoods are the voters' top three picks for the award of Best Purveyor, which was won by Rainforest in 2014.
In the Best Small/Boutique Hotel category, the 2014 winner Round Hill, is a finalist once again, in addition to the Rockhouse, which is located in Negril's West End, and The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston.
Where ground transportation is concerned, the 2014 winner of the Best in Transportation award, Island Car Rentals, Tropical Tours and Knutsford Express, are vying to be the island's number one.
Another Negril entity, the Kool Runnings Adventure Park, is among the list of nominees for the Best Attraction award, which is completed by Chukka Adventures and the Jewel Runaway Bay Water Park, which is located in St Ann.
Hilton Rose Hall, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande and The Jamaica Pegasus emerged the three front-runners for the Best Conference/Business Hotel award, while Hedonism II and Royalton White Sands are the two finalists in the Best in Jamaican Entertainment category.
Saturday night will also see the announcement of the Best in Innovation award and a special award for the Most Eclectic Hotel, which will be presented to a property which is small and less prominent, yet extraordinarily beautiful and unique, with high standards of operation similar to larger, well-established properties; one that offers exceptional cuisines, and has done everything possible to remain sustainable and to preserve the environment.
Sponsors of the event include the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Tai Flora, John Swaby Entertainment, Rainforest Seafoods, Caribbean Producers Jamaica and Jamaica Broilers.