St. Lucians from all walks of life from the Prime Minister to managers and workers in the tourism industry have welcomed Allen Chastanet`s return to his native land and believe his entry into the hotel sector as an owner and operator will do great things for the country`s number one industry.
The former Air Jamaica Vice President of Sales and Marketing landed in Castries last month and within six weeks opened the 20-room Coco Kréole boutique property in Rodney Bay, dubbed by the nation`s leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony, as “Allen`s statement for the industry”.
Speaking on national television this week, Chastanet, who is the island`s former director of tourism, said that while working with Air Jamaica for eight years, it has always been his dream to `come home`. In fact, he had been planning to leave the airline industry in 2001, but the terrible attacks on
America and its subsequent impact on travel and tourism delayed his decision.
Now that he has returned, Chastanet is upbeat, not only about his property, but by the decision of Rodney Bay restaurateurs and hoteliers to brand the area as `Rodney Bay Village` and expose its varied attractions to international audiences through media and travel and tourism partners. In fact, the `village` will host about 100 North American travel agents this weekend.
Rodney Bay features hotels of different sizes and experiences and numerous dining options, from classy Chinese, Indian and Creole cuisine to Domino`s
Pizza and KFC fried chicken.
Coco Kréole, a three star property, provides a homely Caribbean experience with all of the modern conveniences for the leisure and business traveler.
Rooms feature air conditioning, ceiling fans, radio alarm CD players, television and VCR (a video library is available on property) and wireless, high speed internet access. Each room displays the work of Caribbean artists and artwork is on sale to guests. Room rates begin at US$75 for a courtside view, including continental breakfast.
Chastanet`s travel experience has influenced a decision to abandon the reception desk at Coco Kréole and “hosts” whisk new arrivals to their rooms within seconds. “After completing your bio while clearing immigration,” Chastanet cynically quipped, “the last thing you need is to complete yet another form while waiting to be checked in”. Both check-in and check-out will be done in the air-conditioned comfort and privacy of the guest room.
After leading the expansion of Air Jamaica during the past eight years, Chastanet`s re-entry into the hotel industry resurrects his previous extensive hotel experience as a former St. Lucia tourism director and a past Director of Sales and Marketing for Island Outpost and its 11 hotels in Miami`s South Beach, Jamaica and the Caribbean.
He already has plans to break ground on 90 additional rooms this winter on land next to Coco Kréole, and later to add a further 90 rooms, spa, a convention facility, shopping mall and movie theatre. “The master plan has been completed and I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in my life.”
He thanked all those supporting him in this new venture, including Air Jamaica and regional commuter carrier, Caribbean Star Airlines, for transporting a number of regional and international media officials to cover last weekend`s opening of the property.
Related stories on Caribbean Weekly:
(29/08/03) Chastanet back in St. Lucia
(23/10/03) Chatanet opens Coco Kreole with competitive rates