My MoBay — Sept 2

Sunday, September 02, 2018

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Omar Garth Robinson General Manager of Round Hill Hotel & President of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association

How long have you lived in the Bay?

My first stint in MoBay was in 1989 when I just started as a playmaker at Sandals Montego Bay for a few years; then again since 2003 when I returned to Round Hill.


What makes MoBay so special?

The relaxed atmosphere of the city makes it easy for you to enjoy your favourite spot, whether it's on the beach, or partying at Dead End or eating jerk at Scotchies. Montegonians are warm and friendly and visitors crave the opportunity to mix and mingle with the locals.


Were you mayor of MoBay for 24 hours what would you immediately tackle?

Street-side vending across the city.


What's your favourite pastime?

Travelling — exploring new cities, cultures, foods. When I'm not travelling, just entertaining at home with my select group of friends enjoying great conversation, food and drink.


What's currently on rotation in your car stereo?

I think the '80s and'90s produced the greatest music, so anything from artistes such as Jeffrey Osbourne, Mary J Blige and groups such as The Jets, Chicago, Foreigner, Atlantic Starr, just to name a few. I enjoy driving to Kingston on Wednesdays for meetings and tuning in to ' Retroactive Wednesdays ' on RJR 94.


Which cologne are you currently splashing?

Sauvage by Dior.


Share with us a story of when the joke was definitely on you.

I was in Brussels with some friends and we decided to go to Paris for the night. I packed an overnight bag as I wanted to keep it light with only the pair of shoes that I wore. Late night while walking on the Champs-Élysées, one of the soles of my shoes fell off. This was quite embarrassing as I was unable to purchase a new pair as stores were now closed, so I had to walk around gingerly until I got back to the hotel. Lesson — always take a second pair of shoes!


How can Jamaica attract more high net worth visitors to her shores?

• Attract upscale hotel/resort brands to come to Jamaica, for example Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Aman Resorts.

• Implement a marketing strategy that targets the affluent consumer and the trade that books them to drive demand for these luxury brands.

• Attract high-end shopping brands/designers to open stores. Also find and promote high-quality Jamaican products and designs, from clothing to furniture etc. We are now swamped with cheap souvenirs and imports.


You are a global traveller. What are three things experienced overseas that you would like implemented in Jamaica?

• Increased number of automated passport control (kiosks) and mobile passport to enhance the incoming immigration process.

• Improved public transportation system to facilitate easy movement by everyone including visitors.

• Revitalised downtown areas of our cities and major towns so they become the hub of activities for visitors.


Round Hill Hotel & Villas has some of the best staff, including the best bell men and housekeepers. What's the formula? Can it be bottled?

Our Customer Promise includes the warm Jamaican hearts of our employees, who pride themselves on delivering outstanding, personalised service. This is reinforced with continuous training and development. However, the key is the genuine passion and commitment towards their work without altering their individual personalities. Can it be bottled? I don't think so. One can only stay with us and experience our magic.


You have also successfully crafted an entire narrative around the food at Round Hill. What's next on the menu?

Round Hill prides itself on offering a uniquely Jamaican culinary experience offering the freshest produce. We will be refining our menus to keep the local flavour by working with artisan suppliers to get food items such as breads, cheeses, mushrooms, salamis and cold cuts.


What would your words of advice be to the Hospitality Graduating Class of 2019?

Be open to learning all areas of the hotel industry making you well-rounded, and always maintain a positive attitude.


Finally, what's your personal credo?

To each his own…respect each other's choices and show unconditional love.

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