Terra Nova celebrates AAA Four Diamond status

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel on Tuesday celebrated its achievement of the AAA Four Diamond hotel rating by hosting a cocktail reception at which a plaque bearing the designation was presented to the property's owners.

“Terra Nova holds a special place in Jamaica's tourism history,” Edmund Bartlett, the tourism minister, said during his keynote address.

“This prestigious designation is very well deserved,” Bartlett added. “That you have been serving business travellers and others for over 55 years is testament to your ability to provide exceptional service.”

Terra Nova director Christelle Harris read the congratulatory message from AAA inspector Elizabeth Stewart.

“Congratulations to the management and staff of the Terra Nova Hotel on the achievement of the coveted AAA Four Diamond rating. Only approximately six per cent of the diamond-rated hotels reach the Four Diamond level. This is indeed a reason for celebration.”

Just 6.1 per cent of the more than 27,000 AAA-inspected and approved hotels make the Four Diamond List, which is afforded a property that is refined and stylish, providing upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.

Each year, inspectors — known as 'mystery shoppers' in the hotel and tourism industries — visit more than 31,000 establishments across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean to conduct anonymous, on-site property evaluation.

With that in mind, Bartlett lauded Terra Nova for its superior quality, attention to detail, and excellent service.

“Achieving the AAA Four Diamond rating is no mean feat,” Bartlett said, before explaining the protocol involved in the assessment process. According to Bartlett, service is a key determinant in the overall rating an establishment receives and is the primary reason for mystery shoppers turning up unannounced to conduct inspections.

“It is not about who you're serving, it is that you're serving. And that is what the mystery shoppers seek to find,” he said.

Following his speech, Bartlett presented the plaque to the hotel's managing director Ruth Hussey and Harris, who is her granddaughter.

This is not the first time the hotel has attained the AAA Four Diamond status, having done so in 2015. However, Tuesday evening's ceremony was of special significance to the Terra Nova team.

“One of the things that set Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel apart is the level of service and hospitality that everyone in this room I'm confident to say, has received,” Harris said. “There are some very special guests in this room, that have been the providers of this high level of service, that have made this hotel feel like home to all of us. And tonight, we want to honour some of our team members with their own awards.”

Nineteen staff members were presented with Terra Nova Outstanding Service awards. And the hotel's long-standing maître d' Frank Gilmore was presented with the Excellence in Service Awards for decades of service, showcasing dedication, loyalty, attention to detail, and consistency in service.

Gilmore's tenure at Terra Nova began in 1966, but was briefly interrupted when he migrated to the United Kingdom in 1990.

“Mr Gilmore was back in action on October 31, 2001,” Harris informed her guests, before highlighting the impressive list of special guests Gilmore has served during the span of his career, notably NASA astronaut Ronald McNair of the space shuttle Challenger, The Rolling Stones, Chris Blackwell, and a string of former prime ministers — including Portia Simpson Miller, who was in attenda nce to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Former Governor General Professor Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall, and government ministers Daryl Vaz and Robert Montague were also among the dignitaries in attendance.

The ceremony was held in the Venetian Room of the hotel.

— Desmond Dennis


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