Hos­pi­tal­ity Ja­maica Awards

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Clau­dia Gardner Gleaner Writer

VET­ERAN HOTELIER Kevin Hendrickson was as sur­prised as he was elated when he was an­nounced the Hos­pi­tal­ity Per­son­al­ity of the Year dur­ing The Gleaner’s Hos­pi­tal­ity Ja­maica Awards cer­e­mony, held Satur­day night at the Mon­tego Bay Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in St James.

Hendrickson came out ahead of Josef Forts­mayr, of Round Hill in Hanover, and part­ners Shireen Aga and Bar­bara Walker of Mock­ing­bird Hill in Portland.

He was lauded as hav­ing proven him­self to be a com­mit­ted con­trib­u­tor to Ja­maica’s tourism in­dus­try, in­vest­ing con­tin­u­ously in up­grad­ing and re­fur­bish­ing his prop­er­ties and pro­vid­ing ser­vice and prod­ucts be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions.

Hendrickson was also ap­plauded for, among other things, his heavy in­vest­ment in staff train­ing, per­son­nel devel­op­ment and preser­va­tion of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

He be­gan his foray in 1981 as gen­eral man­ager of the then Courtleigh Ho­tel on Trafal­gar Road in St An­drew and later ac­quired other prop­er­ties over the decades, in­clud­ing The Ruins at the Falls in Ocho Rios, Knutsford Court Ho­tel, Hol­i­day Inn Re­sort in Mon­tego Bay, the for­mer Wyn­d­ham ho­tel in 2014, and The Ja­maica Pe­ga­sus ho­tel, which was also a big win­ner on Satur­day night, cop­ping two awards for the Best Con­fer­ence/ Busi­ness Ho­tel and the Best Euro­pean Plan ho­tel.

“I was shocked,” Hendrickson told The Gleaner fol­low­ing the awards cer­e­mony.

“I wasn’t even pre­pared. I didn’t even think you had to make a speech ... . I was ex­tremely sur­prised, and hon­oured, I must ad­mit. The feel­ing is fan­tas­tic. It is very re­ward­ing, you know, any­time you win an award for any­thing, more im­por­tantly for the team, the whole morale of the whole team, (be­cause) even if they are not in that par­tic­u­lar prop­erty, it is still a team ef­fort.”

A FAN­TAS­TIC PROD­UCT

He added: “I am just proud to have been part of this Hos­pi­tal­ity 2016 awards. It re­ally is nice, the recog­ni­tion that Hos­pi­tal­ity Ja­maica gives to the in­dus­try over­all and the ex­po­sure, not just to us Ja­maicans, but to the en­tire world. The pub­li­ca­tion shows off a lot of fan­tas­tic prod­ucts, the cul­ture, the peo­ple, the whole range of what Ja­maica is all about as a lo­ca­tion.” The other hos­pi­tal­ity stake­hold­ers who shared the spot­light in­cluded Ne­gril’s He­donism II, which copped the Ja­maica’s Best in Cui­sine and the Ja­maica’s Best in En­ter­tain­ment awards. Trelawny’s Roy­al­ton also took home three awards on Satur­day night – the Best in In­no­va­tion, Best All-in­clu­sive – over 300 Rooms and the Peo­ple’s Choice awards. Tak­ing home one award each were Rain­for­est Seafoods, which won for Best Pur­veyor; Chukka, which took the Best At­trac­tion ti­tle; Knutsford Ex­press, which was voted the Best Trans­porta­tion Com­pany; Half Moon, which copped the Best Eco/Sus­tain­able Re­sort; and the Round Hill Ho­tel and Vil­las in Hanover, which won the ti­tle of Best Small/Bou­tique Ho­tel. The Her­mosa Cove Ho­tel in Ocho Rios took home the judge’s spe­cial award for Most Eclec­tic Ho­tel award, while Mon­tego Bay’s Riu Palace were the win­ners of the Best All-in­clu­sive – Un­der 300 Rooms. Min­is­ter of Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett, in his ad­dress, lauded The Gleaner for the ini­tia­tive. “In­spired thought has been trans­lated into strong ac­tion that brings recog­ni­tion to the play­ers of the in­dus­try who have per­formed with ex­cel­lence,” Bartlett said. “I do be­lieve that these ac­tiv­i­ties en­hance the per­for­mance of the stake­hold­ers in the in­dus­try and gives us a sense of place; a sense that if you do well, you can be cel­e­brated; you can be po­si­tioned for oth­ers to em­u­late.” 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.

PHO­TOS BY CLAU­DIA GARDNER

Min­is­ter of Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett (left) presents the Hos­pi­tal­ity Per­son­al­ity of the Year award to hotelier Kevin Hendrickson.

Hos­pi­tal­ity Ja­maica co­or­di­na­tor Janet Sil­vera (left) presents one of three awards to the Best All-In­clu­sive Ho­tel – Over 300 Rooms to the Roy­al­ton White Sands team.

The Gleaner’s Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Man­ager Nor­dia Craig with He­donism II’s Gen­eral Man­ager Kevin Levee (cen­tre) and the re­sort’s ex­ec­u­tive chef, An­thony Miller, af­ter ac­cept­ing the award for Best Cui­sine.

Dr David Lowe (left), chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Caribbean Pro­duc­ers, presents the Best Small/Bou­tique Ho­tel award to Round Hill’s Hil­lary Stew­art, food and bev­er­age di­rec­tor, and Omar Robinson, gen­eral man­ager.

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