EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jaime M. Stewart, Managing Director, Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios
In the following interview Caribbean Travel News talks exclusively with Jaime M. Stewart (Ms.) Managing Director, Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios. Normally it would be just to give an interviewee an introduction. However, when the words of this young lady are read, there is no introduction that can match her own self-motivation and true love for Jamaica, and tourism to the island. Words sung like this will surely bring further blessings to an already blessed land. Irie.What was it that made you chose the tourism profession and what continues to drive you in your chosen career?
JS:From as early as I can remember, tourism has been a member of the family. We grew up together. As a little girl my passion for Jamaica, and later the Caribbean, had me convinced that if some unfortunate person had never been to Jamaica, they definitely deserved to hear me tell them all about her.
“Our food? Hot, hot, hot!!! Our music? Let me tell you about Bob, Byron and oh! this is how you do the “butterfly!” Our people? Ever seen a brown-skinned Asian with blonde hair and green eyes…and we’re just as gorgeous on the inside! Our geography? All the world’s best features rolled up into one little island!”
I was the youngest, self-proclaimed minister of tourism this island has ever seen. Today, it’s the rewarding feeling I get when I see what Jamaica does for our visitors that keeps me addicted to tourism. To think I’ve played even the smallest part in giving lovers back their flame, in giving multi-millionaires the calm they couldn’t buy, in encouraging an older lady or gent to take part in an exhilarating outdoor experience they thought they were too old to enjoy and then seeing the youth in their eyes when they tell their friends what they did, all this set against the most gorgeous canvas of all, Jamaica.
As long as our guests are happy, our people will be happy, because Jamaica so depends on tourism to thrive. As you can see, I still believe the world deserves to hear me tell them all about Jamaica. And when they get here, I’ll show them. (Is that a promise? Ed)
What sets your property apart from other luxurious, high-end, properties in Jamaica?
Royal Plantation is the Paris Hilton of Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean: We’re chic, fun and sexy…all wrapped into one petite package! And like Paris, we know luxury! Combine that with a fabulous team who know what “REAL” service is all about and you’ve got Royal Plantation.
Why visit Jamaica?
There are the obvious reasons for visiting Jamaica. Our dynamic and fascinating people. Breathtaking mountains. The serene rivers and romantic valleys. The lush rainforest’s, pristine beaches and ice blue waters…We are the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, if not the World.
But my reason for visiting Jamaica goes beyond “seeing” this beauty. Visit Jamaica to experience our beauty! Feel it and live it! It’s intoxicating! First, let us wine and dine and pamper you till you feel like yourself again…and Royal Plantation has set the new pinnacle in Jamaican luxury and service to do just so. Then get out and explore! Taste our flavours and dine in our valleys. Feel the exhilaration of zip-lining between our mountains with the rushing rivers below you. Head to Noel Coward’s private residence and let your inner artist run wild as you spend the afternoon painting, as he did. Dance under the stars to our reggae and mento bands as they play on our beaches.
We’ve worked hard to ensure that the Royal Plantation holiday can in fact be a Royal Jamaican experience. We’re serious about our levels of luxury and service we provide our guests, and extend this over to the experiences we offer both within the hotel and off property.
Pampering our guests like royalty and tending to their every wish imaginable goes without saying. Ensuring that each of our guests take a piece of Jamaica home with them, is how we go the extra mile.
What are the most important rules you assign yourself to live by each day in order to continue with the success you have been gifted?
1) Listen to people, especially if you work with them. The insight of others, coupled with your own ideas can create great things.
2) When you appreciate someone…tell them.
3) Be honest with myself and to others. It saves a lot of grief in the future.
4) Don’t second guess your instinct.
5) Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
6) “Draw brakes” when you have to. Only you can make time for you.
Finally, where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Doing exactly as I’m doing right now: Loving life. Loving work…Perhaps with a few more luxury boutique hotels, like Royal Plantation. Forever playing Pied Piper for Jamaica and the Caribbean.
What more can we say? With many thanks to Jaime, I think the people of Jamiaca have much to praise you for.
For further information on Royal Plantation visit: www.RoyalPlantation.com
For further information on Jamaica visit: www.visitjamaica.com
By Ben Kilbey