The award winning, Spice Island Beach Resort (SIBR) has won another major international award again.
Located on the world famous Grand Anse beach, the resort on Tuesday night was presented with the prestigious Six Star Diamond Award from the New York-based American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
The award was presented to owner and Managing Director of the hotel, Sir Royston Hopkin by President of the Academy, Joseph Ciniquie in the presence of a large gathering of top government and private sector officials headed by Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, and Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
In accepting the award, Sir Royston said that he would like to dedicate it to the memory of his late mother and father Audrey and Curtis Hopkin, who were pioneers in the hospitality industry with their little eight bedroom Ross Point Guest House in the Belmont area of St. George’s.
The Ross Point property which is no longer in operation was used in the 1980’s by the U.S government as its Embassy in Grenada following the October 25, 1983 U.S-led military intervention on the island to topple a group of hardline leftist leaders that had seized power in a bloody coup in which marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed by
Sir Royston, the island’s most decorated hotelier, described his mother as a leader in her own rights for the manner in which she was able to take foreign recipes and give it a local touch to become “one of the finest pioneers of Caribbean cuisine in the entire region”.
He said that his mother and father had built up a reputation of their own with their little Inn to the point that it had come to be known as the place “where everyone who visited the island had to come and eat”.
He referred to his mother as a very hard worker who took charge of the kitchen from as early as 7.00 a.m each day and worked until 10.00 p.m at nights.
Two of the children of the elderly Hopkin’s – Sir Royston and Arnold – have followed the family tradition in the hospitality industry with the former now owning the multi-million dollar Spice Resort and the latter operating Blue Horizon which is within walking distance of each other.
Sir Royston praised the workers of Spice whom he referred to as “our family members” for the work they have put in over the years to help the hotel win award after award.
He said that he is always driven to achieve success through the response given to him by each and every guest when they are at the end of their stay at the luxury hotel.
He told the gathering that he only becomes satisfied when, “I hear from all of my guests, 100% of them that (the stay) has been an experience beyond expectations, that they had an experience on the culinary side of it – the best food – and that Spice has the best staff on planet earth”.
According to Sir Royston, he is confident that SIBR can stand up against any of the hotels.
He spoke of just returning home with his wife, Lady Betty from a holiday trip to Dubai and The Seychelles and took a look at the hospitality industry there and is not frightened for Spice.
“I visited all the top resorts, all the boutiques and I have seen nothing that is ahead of me”, he remarked.
The island’s leading hotelier described last night’s gala event as one for him to acknowledge the “:tremendous staff” at Spice.
Apart from his son Ryan and daughters Janelle and Nerissa who are part of the Management team, Sir Royston singled out for special mention the manager of 15-years, Brian Hardy and in particular his local chef, Jesson Church.
He praised Church, who was first hired by the hotel as an ordinary cook but has improved and grown to the point that he is now the one who “puts out the kind of cuisine that no other foreign chef in the history of Spice Island Inn has turned out”.
“… Jesson Church has to be complimented and congratulated because he started with us 13 years ago as a Commis cook. Today he is my Head Chef, he is the one in charge of the whole operation and I am very proud of you Jesson and your entire team”, Sir Royston told the gathering.
The Spice Boss also praised Prime Minister Mitchell for the generous support given by his governments over the years to help Spice to maintain its attractiveness in the hotel industry.
He said the support from the State was able to help the hotel undertake a number of important improvements over the years to stay on top of its rivals.
Sir Royston said: “Those who understand a 5-star resort know that every 7-9 years you have to refurbish the entire resort if you are to stay on the cutting edge and compete with the best and the best in the world”.
The hotel’s manager, Brian Hardy provided figures to show that Spice has spent approximately EC$133 million dollars over a 27-year period in carrying out improvement and upgrades to the hotel.
Hardy said that this tremendous amount of money has impacted heavily on the local economy in terms of purchases from local businesses, and jobs to persons in the construction industry.
Spice Inn has won among others the Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2013, # 1 property of the Top 25 resorts in the Caribbean, Virgin Holidays’ Platinum Collection eight time Gold Award Winner, 2006 to 2013 and winner of Conde Nast Johansens 2011 & 2013 Most Excellent Service Award & the 2012 Most Excellent Resort for the Atlantic, Caribbean & Pacific Islands.