Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, tourism industry stalwart and chairman of Grenada’s Spice Island Beach Resort has been recognized as the “Most Outstanding Hotelier” for his 49 years of service to Grenada at the country’s 40th Anniversary of Independence Awards Ceremony, held at the at the Grenada Trade Centre on Feb. 7, 2014. The award was presented by Her Excellency Dame Cécile La Grenade, Governor-General of Grenada.
The evening was a fitting tribute to the spirit and resiliency of Grenadian culture and the remarkable individuals who have contributed to the county’s development.
“Refining my mother’s traditional Grenadian recipes for the international palette, attracting affluent travelers to our shores and becoming a role model for some of the brightest young minds have been a dream come true. I consider myself truly blessed to have had an opportunity to follow my passion and play my part in establishing our vital hospitality industry,” said Sir Royston.
“I was thrilled to be in such good company on Friday with some truly deserving awardees, from inspirational educators to pivotal members of the business community, as well as Kirani James, who single-handedly raised Grenada’s profile through his remarkable feats at the 2012 Olympic Games in London,” he noted.
Sir Royston has had an extensive and distinguished career in the hospitality and tourism industry spanning more than 49 years of contributions to his home country, Grenada, and the entire Caribbean region.
Sir Royston began his tourism career when he joined the family business at the Ross Point Inn in 1965. Then, at the age of 20, he was appointed to the Grenada Board of Tourism where he served for 18 consecutive years. He holds the distinction of being the first Grenadian to be elected president of the Grenada Hotel Association (an accomplishment at the age of 24), a position he held 14 times.
In 1969, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Spice Island Inn, and in 1975, was appointed Deputy Chairman and Deputy Managing Director of the resort. He bought the Blue Horizon Hotel (now called Blue Horizons Garden Resort) along with his brothers Arnold and Gerald in 1978.
Sir Royston purchased a majority interest in Spice Island Inn in 1987 and became owner and chairman of the property, which he renamed Spice Island Beach Resort.
Under his skillful stewardship, the property expanded from 28 to 56 suites by 1990 and underwent a $6 million transformation in 2000, reopening with 66 elegant suites, a new spa, restaurant and bar. Also added were many enhanced services and amenities, further elevating the level of luxury at the property.
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan devastated the resort and Spice Island had to close its doors a second time. Undeterred, Sir Royston embarked on a US$12 million project to redesign and renovate the award-winning resort, which reopened on Dec. 15, 2005 at the highest level of Caribbean luxury and personalized service, with facilities on par with any major five-star resort in the world. The resort now employs 205 persons.
In 2013, Sir Royston invested in another multi-million dollar series of upgrades and enhancements to ensure the boutique resort remains at the forefront of the luxury tourism market.
At a regional level, Sir Royston has served on the Board of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), where he’s held numerous positions since 1970 including director, vice president, president and chairman. During his tenure with CHTA, Sir Royston founded the Small Hotels Committee, which today is still one of the most important sub-committees of the association. Sir Royston was also the youngest Director of CHTA ever elected.
Sir Royston was one of the first Grenadians to establish a Scholarship Fund for needy children when he adopted the Grand Anse R.C. School in 1992. He worked in collaboration with the Grenada Union of Teachers and the Ministry of Education to enlighten teachers about carreer opportunities within the Tourism Industry and created a lobby for tourism to be included in the schools’ curricula.
Sir Royston is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the coveted CHTA “Hotelier of the Year” honor, Lifetime Achievement Awards from CHTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Grenada’s Silver Anniversary Independence Award for 25 years of dedicated service, the Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, and numerous other recognitions from the Grenada Hotel Association.
In December 2004, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II conferred the title of Knight Commander of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) for Sir Royston’s contribution to tourism in Grenada and throughout the Caribbean.
Today, Sir Royston is internationally known for his industry knowledge and savvy. He is the former Chairman of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), the largest private sector sustainable organisation in the region, and is a member of the Executive Committee of CHTA. He is also an Honorary Director of CHTA and the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association, and Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children.
In December 2013, Sir Royston was appointed Ambassador At Large for Tourism by the government of Grenada.
Sir Royston is married to Lady Betty Hopkin and has three children, Ryan, Nerissa and Janelle.