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Commentary: Tourism Matters: Another reason to travel to the Caribbean
Published on August 28, 2017Email To Friend    Print Version

By Adrian Loveridge

While it was branded as a Raffles property, my wife and I were fortunate enough to stay at the resort on Canouan Island. Quite frankly for me, it was one of the most enjoyable holidays experienced in my decades of being involved in the tourism industry.

Their room rates at the time were way above our budget, so we booked through a company called Luxury Link, which offered an auction option, where lower than normal prices could be bid.

Adrian Loveridge has spent 46 years in the tourism industry across 67 countries, as a travel agent, tour director, tour operator and for the last 24 years as a small hotel owner on Barbados. He served as a director of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and as chairman of the Marketing Committee. He also served as a director of the Barbados Tourism Authority and is a frequent writer on tourism
The concept goes back to something we have been trying to convince many of our restaurants over the years, notably revenue control, which is now widely practiced in all areas of the tourism industry. It’s not rocket science, but clearly there is no profit in a vacant room, unoccupied dinner table or empty airline seat and so on.

The initial attraction of staying at Raffles Canouan was driven by not totally believing that the legendary service delivered by other Raffles properties, around the world could be replicated on a tiny island of a fraction just over five square miles in the Caribbean Sea, with all the challenges that brings. While there were clearly some small deficiencies when directly comparing to the Asian locations, as mentioned before, from our standpoint it was a wonderful stay.

Raffles had sent a number of staff to their Singapore location to give on job training and they returned with such enthusiasm and beneficial experience, that it rubbed off onto members who were not so fortunate to have travelled.

After Raffles withdrew, the property rebranded under the name of Pink Sands Club and now another Asian based luxury hotel group, Mandarin Oriental, has taken over the management and will re-open on 1st November 2017. The current facility only has 26 suites and 12 three- and four-bedroom villas, all with ocean views. The villas all have private pools and there are onsite restaurants, an outdoor infinity pool health club.

According to the press release Mandarin Oriental will also operate the new Residences, which are scheduled to open near the hotel in 2020.

Private jet transfers will be offered from Barbados, St Lucia and the newly opened Argyll airport on St Vincent.

Some may fear that this will be added competition to our own iconic Sandy Lane Hotel, but I seriously doubt it. If anything, it will add another reason to travel to the Caribbean and help fill those first and business class seats, at critical higher revenue, which airlines essentially need to help maintain and grow airlift.

Hong Kong based Mandarin Oriental currently manages truly luxury awarding wining hotels in 30 locations across Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas. This is their first venture in the Caribbean.

I will leave readers with a direct quote from their website, which seems to sum up the company’s stated objectives: “Stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and beyond, Asia is steeped in spirituality and Oriental hospitality. From the Temples and Buddha’s of Thailand to the cherry blossom of Japan, the sights never fail to delight and traditional lifestyles meld with the modern in the bustling cities.”
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