A Trip Advisor award is not enough to change government’s mind about acquiring the Grenadian by Rex Resort.
This was told to reporters on Tuesday by Minister of Health, Social Security and International Business, Nickolas Steele who addressed the weekly post-Cabinet Briefing at the Ministerial Complex.
According to the senior government minister, despite the fact that the Grenadian by Rex Resort has received an award for excellence in services from Trip Advisor, government will not change its mind about acquiring the property.
The award reflects the excellent services that are provided by the staff of the resort and the government is saying that the problem with Rex is infrastructure and not the service it provides.
Steele said previous reviews indicated that guests are not pleased with the infrastructure of the resort and this is what should be considered in the acquisition move by the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government.
“If you look at Trip Advisor…Trip Advisor records throughout…October, November. Look at some of the reviews on Trip Advisor – words like awful, words like run down, words like needs to be repaired and if you look at the Trip Advisor now there is quite a bit but it’s talking about the staff, the Grenadian people that are there, that I am proud of, that I have no problem with”, he told reporters.
According to Minister Steele, the staff at the Resort are the ones who should be employed at a five star resort and “not a run down three-star.”
“Those are the people that our tourists are recognising and speaking about on Trip Advisor – it’s the treatment that our Grenadian people give to our tourists that we as a government respect and want to give more of a chance.
“…When a hotel moves from a three star hotel or a two star hotel to a five star hotel one of the first things they must do is increase the guest to employee ratio – that is what we want to see, that is what we have been begging and trying to work with the Rex to do since we came into government. That is what they have not wanted to do and that is why they have left us with no choice.
Minister Steele charged that a hotel the size of Rex should be performing much better than it has done over the years that it has been in operation.
He told reporters: “It took three years of us begging and asking and pleading and then we have seen within those three years other hotels of similar size open with a five star rating; high occupancy. Look at Sandals, 95% occupancy – one of the best in the region, not just for staff satisfaction and politeness of the staff but in terms of accommodations, in terms of rooms, facilities, food and the staff…look at Calabash, they close every year for maintenance rebuilding – that is why they are number one, not just like what Rex is trying to show off their staff alone.
“…They (Calabash) are number one in facilities, they’re number one with their staff, they are number one with returning visitors as well, no body uses value for money as their excuse when they staying at Calabash or so…they say it’s the number one hotel,” Minister Steele said.
Government was given the go ahead by a local high court to proceed with the acquisition of the Rex Resort but has not revealed who will be taking over the operations of the hotel.
Steele told reporters this cannot be done at the moment because the issue is in the hands of the judiciary.
“We will take pleasure in announcing the progress of the Rex as the Rex progresses in terms of the investment, in terms of investor, in terms of stages.
“The reason that I have been silent simply is because I respect the Judicial System and this government respects the Judicial System and it is still in the process of completion.
“Once completed, I guarantee you, we would be here in front of you and the nation as a whole to announce why we have taken the risk to be questioned and why we think it is worthwhile.