Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event to target investors
Recently, I attended the opening of Africana House, which was featured in a previous edition of this publication. It is the latest extension of Great Huts, Paradise on the Edge, located at Boston, Portland. The addition means four more hotel rooms for the scenic parish, a popular destination for eco- and community tourists.
But, it was not just five ordinary rooms, and I cannot get over how chic and sumptuous they are without being overstated. The spaciousness, colour scheme, the motifs and creative accents, and Gilbert Nicely's asymmetrical wooden pieces of furniture will make any guest not want to leave. But they will very likely leave with lasting memories of their stay in the house as it oozes African panache.
The food served by waiters and waitresses, dressed in African-inspired outfits, was prepared by Café Africa, operated by Steven Golding. And you've got it, the food was African delights, created in a kitchen that is as artistically designed and accented as the rest of the unit. Café Africa will be the in-house caterers for guests staying in Africana House. The original restaurant is located on a property at the corner of Lady Musgrave and Trafalgar roads in St Andrew. Owner/chef Golding was present at the opening, as well as other players in the hospitality industry.
The event, compered by General Manager of Great Huts Dilton Bartley, was addressed by President and CEO of Jamaica Public Service Kelly Tomblin; Jamaica Tourist Board's regional director, Janice Allen; Nicola Madden-Greig of The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites; and the artist Mazola, who 'enstooled' Dr Paul Rhodes, owner and designer of Great Huts, as the 'village chief'. Mazola, whose artistic assemblage are part of the decor in Africana House, presented Rhodes with a robe, a staff and a stool from his collection.
After responding, Rhodes, who, some people say sounds like Frank Sinatra, serenaded the guests, some of who were obviously surprised by his performance. People were also happy with the show put on by Portland's Manchioneal Cultural Group, which mesmerised onlookers with traditional singing, drumming and dancing to climax the evening.
Also present at Africana House's opening was restaurateur and hotelier, Errol Hanna, operator of Cliff Hanger Restaurant and Lounge, and Sea Hanger Resort and Spa Ltd at Ross Craig district in Kensington, Portland. With Sea Hanger, opened November last year, Hanna has added another 15 rooms to the Portland tourism landscape.
OVER THE SEA
The three-storey structure, like Africana House, is located beside the sea, thus the name Sea Hanger. Imagine lying in a hammock on a third-floor balcony rocking to the sounds of the waves dashing on to the cliff below. Then you get the feeling that you are hanging over the sea. All rooms have a balcony facing the sea, and each balcony has a hammock. The breezy, shiny, board-floor rooms are furnished and decorated with local wood pieces, including bamboo, and offer different types of accommodation.
The 15-room, concrete, stone and wood structure has been in the making for quite some time, and now that it is open, it is ready to snuggle guests in the bosom of Portland's hospitality. Recently, construction on a wellness centre at Sea Hanger, to provide yoga and massage services, has begun, and Hospitality Jamaica was shown the spot where it will be, which is even closer to the sea than the rooms. The centre will be built among the vegetation, maintaining the rustic look of the place.
While the emphasis in resort towns like Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril seems to be on the creation of massive, multi-room, concrete structures, Portland is maintaining its bucolic charm and natural allure with the addition of rooms that invite you to relax in their memorable, carefree, but classy embrace.