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Employees our biggest assets - Jamaica Inn heaps praise on its workers; Jamaica's crime rate a hindrance to progress

Published:Monday | February 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMSashakay Fairclough
Serene Jamaica Inn
Marilyn Munroe (fourth left)is seen in this 1957 photo, at Jamaica Inn.
The staff is credited largely for the success of this hotel.

From Hollywood aristocrats like Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller to British nobles like Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Margaret, Jamaica Inn remains as timeless as its guests. Established in 1958, it is situated in the tourist resort town of Ocho Rios and is operated by third-generation owners Peter and Eric Morrow.

The hotel accommodates around 100 guests at full capacity in its more than 40 rooms and seven cottage suites. Additionally, its spa, known as the Ocean Spa, was voted number one in the Caribbean, The Bahamas and Bermuda in 2016. According to Peter Morrow, the hotel's success is largely as a result of the efforts of its more than 100 employees.

"No guest goes wanting, because we have enough people on the grounds; so they don't have to wait to be served. Our staff genuinely enjoy serving and taking care of their needs, so the guests and staff are both happy."

Morrow, along with Jamaica Inn's general manager, Kyle Mais, acknowledged that their employees, on average, remain with the hotel for at least a decade.

Morrow said, "Most of them don't retire. My head barman, Teddy Tucker, for example, has been here 57 years. When I first met him, I was 12 years old and he was 16."

Mais notes that the employees are the hotel's biggest assets and the average employee's tenure is around 15 years.

Being in the hotel industry is very rewarding, in Morrow's opinion, because of his open-door policy as an owner.

" I meet every guest that arrives and say goodbye to them, too. You meet interesting groups of people. I love sitting down and talking to my guests, and that is what makes Jamaica Inn unique. The managers and owners are always around."

Jamaica's reputation prevents more tourists from coming here

Peter Morrow admits that Jamaica's reputation abroad is a hindrance to its progress. He believes that the Government needs to work on the image of the country.

"My greatest challenge is getting over the bad rap Jamaica gets because of the high crime rate. It's been more than 50 years now, so it's frustrating. If Jamaica didn't have that reputation, it would be inundated with tourists. People still wonder if it's safe to come and visit, because of what they hear."

Additionally, Kyle Mais believes that more work needs to be done to keep the country clean.

"There is a lot of work to be done in the tourism centres. Government agencies must do their part and be held accountable; for example, with the way the roads are kept. The public also needs to be more concerned with the upkeep of our country. Stop littering and be conscious that when you litter tourism areas especially, visitors will see all of that."

Regardless of all the issues Jamaica currently faces, Morrow still enjoys his visits every year, and living in the hotel is his piece of tranquillity. He believes that future hotel owners must speak with established ones like him in order to learn the intricacies of the industry.

"They will learn that way. Many do not succeed because they don't ask questions. I have been in the industry for a long time and so have others, budding hotel owners need to go out there and network."