Couples Negril, Swept Away celebrate 20 years
Negril-based sister hotels Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away celebrated their 20th anniversary in true Jamaican style last weekend.
The resorts, which are renowned for their ecological prowess, their huge percentage of repeat guests, and humanitarian work in Negril, ramped up the ante.
Friday night at Swept Away was the more relaxed of the nights, with elegant dining and soft music. But Saturday night's open-air affair, was destined for much frolic, with an acrobatic show, led by Negril group Soul Dynamics; the big highlight being the pouring of champagne from bottles held aloft by female acrobats who swung from beams and crossbars above.
Those activities were cut short when the heavens opened and the showers poured. As guests scurried out of the rain to the dining room, the Jamaica Philharmonic Orchestra put on a show which made everyone forget the raindrops bearing down outside.
Operator of Couples Resorts Lee Issa and his wife, Jane, were their usual relaxed self, and prior to the downpour, mingled among celebrants who offered their well wishes. Issa said the longevity of the two hotels says a lot about the calibre and worth of Jamaican hotel brands to the nation's tourism industry and other sectors in the tourism value chain.
"As a Jamaican-owned and operated resort group, we are still around and we cannot afford to sell out our patrimony to all these overseas international corporations. So we are here for the long haul and this is our 20st anniversary and we hope to be here on our 40th anniversary," he said.
He said the resorts' authenticity extends throughout the properties, from the furniture and bedroom accessories to the gift shops, where items made in Jamaica by local artisans abound.
"My wife tends to like to deal with the local artisans and to use as much local products in the final design of our resorts. In short, we are a Jamaican family-owned and operated all-inclusive resort for couples, and we want to give people an authentic experience when they come to our resorts - that they feel they are in Jamaica enjoying the food, the culture and the architecture, and also the furniture and the interior look," he explained.