Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2014

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B M & T ••• Septemebr/October 2014 ••• 41 CARIBBEAN CORNER T heo,the lithe young man who settles in and coddles the Comfort Suiteshotelguestson Seven Mile Beach,sur- veyed the higher priced property hotels and resorts sharing the foreshore on Grand Cayman island and mused: "Why would you pay so much more when you can get the sameatourresort?" Kaye White, sales and marketing director for the Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach hotel, concurred pointing to the Ambassador Divers operation which offers a wide array of marine experiences from swim- ming with stingrays, diving, fishing for invasive fish species and learning to scuba: "Our guests, including singles, couples and families, love the fact that Ambassador Divers teaches our guests right here in our pool, just 70 paces from the most famous beach on the Cayman Islands." Manager Tom Mason said his resort team made the Comfort Suites hotel a natural choice for families, many of whom they had the delight of hosting over the busy summer sea- son: "We have now prepared great rates for the fall and winter sea- sons which are very attractive because in addition to our stan- dard rooms, we also offer large, oversized, deluxe studios with two queen beds and a pull-out sofa – perfect for the traveling group or family." Feeding families and groups is a major expense and the Comfort Suites hotel attempts to ease that discomfort by serv- ing breakfast items which exceed the stan- dard morning offerings at most brand hotels. Breakfast services supervisor Martin Parker, underscoring the importance of the day's first meal, said: "With our complimentary breakfast buffet, we want to ensure our guests start their day in good spirits. So we carry fresh products and strive to exceed expec- tations." Parker, who has worked in high-end resorts in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, settled into the Comfort Suites hotel because he liked the way management encouraged staff "to treat guests like family." And, it works because Parker estimated close to half the guests he meets return to the Comfort Suites location. "The secret is we try to deal with the grumpiness of tired travelers, treating them as family – which is probably why we get so many families returning, again and again." The chef at the Comfort Suites hotel, Jermaine Bell, agreed that interacting with guests is rewarding and that he enjoys hearing guests exclaiming: "You guys are so friendly!" It helps that Chef Jermaine will rustle up non-buffet requests, as well as address certain dietary needs. "As a special treat for his guests, Chef Jermaine can fulfill requests, time permitting, such as made- to-order omelets," adds Parker. "And that willingness to offer a special touch has had quite an impact. Guests have even phoned the hotel asking for recipes of dishes they enjoyed here long after returning home." Parker and Bell who "tag team" service both agreed that, "we know the difference between service and servitude - and we hope it shows." Choice Hotels International has nine hotels in the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, and Puerto Rico. For further information, visit or MARTIN PARKER Tranquil setting at Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach COMFORT SUITES GRAND CAYMAN TREATING FAMILIES LIKE FAMILY

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