US $110 Million Oyster Bay Hotel to Open June 1

The Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts will on June 1, become the newest member of the country’s growing fleet of luxury brands with the opening of its US$110 million hotel in Oyster Bay, Trelawny.

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Ground was broken for the 315-room property last March.

With the opening, Excellence Group will join Royalton Resorts, owners of Royalton White Sands and Blue Waters, and Melia Hotels International, which operates the Melia Braco, as the three main internationally recognised brands to set up operations in Trelawny.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, tells JIS NEWS that the opening of the world-class hotel brand will further raise the country’s stock as a premier destination for luxury travel.

“Following the flurry of openings we had in 2017 with luxury brands such as the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, Zoetry Montego Bay, and Breathless Montego Bay, here we are again with another crowning jewel,” he beamed.

“This is yet another testament to Jamaica’s ever increasing status as the top Caribbean destination for high-end travel. Attracting a luxury brand like Excellence is nothing to scoff at,” he said.

Mr. Bartlett also pointed out that the country can take pride in knowing that it is being viewed as a safe and stable destination to do business, adding that “the best is yet to come.”

The Minister said the pending opening of Oyster Bay is another feather in the cap for the people of Trelawny, who have been seeing a dramatic increase in their tourism offerings.

“In recent times, we have seen the opening of the US$4 million plus Good Hope Adventure Falls, the continued development of both the Falmouth pier and the town of Falmouth, and now the soon to be opening of Excellence Oyster Bay,” he noted.

For his part, Excellence Group’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Domingo Aznar said the project “is of great excitement for us to deliver the best Excellence product to date, and our first foray outside of the Dominican Republic and Mexico.”

“With Excellence Oyster Bay, we raised the standard to offer a whole new all-inclusive luxury experience for adults and we are confident that Jamaica is the perfect choice for it,” he told JIS NEWS.

Built on a private peninsula and located just 35 minutes from the Sangster International Airport, Excellence Oyster Bay will offer nightly entertainment, daily activities, eight world¬-class restaurants, nine bars, state¬-of-¬the ¬art fitness facilities, two beachfront swimming pools, a chill¬-out lounge with rooftop pool, the exclusive Excellence Club, and the brand’s famous Miilé Spa.

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The Queen of Soca will reign at the Pure Grenada Music Festival

The Pure Grenada Music Festival is thrilled to announce Alison Hinds as the headline act on Sunday 15th April, 2018, the final night of the festival activities presented by Grenada Cooperative Bank Limited.

Alison’s musical journey began over 20 years ago and tells a success story of 40 singles, over 75 concerts throughout the Caribbean Islands and the diaspora worldwide and 2 albums which spawned hit classics like “Roll It Gal”, “Togetherness” and “Faluma”.  This raw talent and dynamism extends to her latest hits such as “Born Wit It”, “A Ladies Anthem”,  “No Way”, “Brace and Wine”, “Baddy” and “Gals want more Iron”.

Through her powerful emotional vocals and energetic performances, Alison continues to positively impact the Caribbean music industry through a varied selection of soca tunes loved by her fans worldwide for their pulsating, rhythm oriented anthems.

She is recognized as an icon of the “girl power” movement and one of the driving forces behind the eruption of “innovative urban-influenced Caribbean based artistes changing the face of music all over the world”. Her collaborations with renowned artistes such as Kevin Lyttle, Machael Montano, Shaggy, Richie Spice, Mr. Vegas and Jah Cure, among others keep her sound fresh and always relevant.  Her awards are equally bountiful including 2009 Best Female Vocalist and Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer; for 2010, Caribbean American Heritage Award, Female Entertainer of the Year, Caribbean American Heritage Award; and for 2012 and 2013 ‘Outstanding work in Calypso, Zouk, Chutney and Soca Art Form’.

In true trailblazer fashion, Alison maintains that live performance is the best way of “exposing people to the music in its entirety and its purity”.  The Pure Grenada Music Festival and Presenting Sponsor, Grenada Cooperative Bank, promises a Caribbean Night that will be nothing less than legendary, inspired by the “infectious rhythms and spirited spicy lyrics” of the undisputed SOCA Queen.

Pure Grenada Wins Expedia Caribbean Destination of the Year 2017 Award

Announced on Jan. 31, 2018 at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico, Expedia named Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, as the Caribbean Destination of the Year 2017. The coveted prize was presented to members of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) at a press luncheon held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center during the two-day industry event. Those in attendance to accept the award were; Patricia Maher, CEO of the GTA; Francine Stewart, Marketing Manager, GTA; Christine Noel, Director of Sales US Market, GTA and delegates representing the destination’s various hotel and tourism products.

“On behalf of destination Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, it is an honor and privilege to be presented with such a prestigious award from our industry partner, Expedia,” said Patricia Maher, CEO of the GTA. “This represents the hard work and dedication put in by the entire team at the GTA and our international offices as well as the continued drive and collaborative efforts from all our on-island partners, whose combined tireless efforts continue to attract visitors to our shores. We are looking forward to another year as a partner of Expedia with the many benefits it provides.”

The annual awards recognize original and groundbreaking partner campaigns that demonstrate exemplary innovation, creativity and success in digital travel marketing and advertising. Grenada’s 2017 campaigns exemplify innovative and collaborative ways to engage travel audiences and drive impactful results. Expedia Inc works with 85 properties in Grenada and Carriacou.

2017 proved to be fruitful for Pure Grenada as it experienced an overall increase of more than 8.14 percent in stayover arrivals. This, coupled with the island’s many tourism developments and hotel renovations, allowed the destination to flourish and stand out amongst the rest. The destination expects a strong upcoming year with additional developments, vigorous marketing efforts and increased airlift to match demand.

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Team Grenada accepting the Award from Expedia Representative

In A League All Its Own…Meet The Perfect Headphones of 2017

The Bowers & Wilkins’ PX is by far the best wireless headphones reviewed by PANACHE Magazine. From the moment you receive the box, you fall in love with the clean modern design. This beautifully crafted work of art is every audiophile’s dream. This is the first headphone whose fit is perfect- not too slack nor too tight with over the ear cups that nestle in just right. Unlike other brands, even after hours of playing, there is no pain or tightness from the cushioned headband forcing you to retreat from your solace. For hours of listening the PX is your trusted companion that stays with you through it all. Congratulations to Bowers & Wilkins on the level of thought and love that went into the sleek design of the PX- the decades of experience truly shine through.

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The PX and its app which you can download from the Apple Store or Google Play comes with intelligent controls that respond naturally to your behaviour- this listening experience is totally intuitive. Imagine pausing your music with just a lift of an ear up; or needing to go to another room and experiencing zero interruptions in your listening experience (the Bluetooth is great). This headphone is smart- just remember that when the music resumes it will be at the volume level you left the settings in (so don’t give yourself a surprise blast by listening to high volumes).

The innovative noise cancellation the PX presents is unmatched, with a simple tap on the app you filter out distractions and become more in tune with the music. The level of refinement in blocking out environment sounds without distorting your listening experience is groundbreaking. There are three environment filters: Flight, City and Office and you can choose the isolation that best suits your needs at the time. So from bustling traffic to office gossip, you can set your customization to limit the distractions.

The soundstage is phenomenal and it delivers a clear sound that makes you feel like you are in the studio. It doesn’t matter what you stream reggae, dancehall, pop, rock or hip-hop; from Bob Marley to Beethoven- the PX delivers the best audio quality with good mids and highs and a deep base. For best sound, do keep the wireless adaptive noise cancellation off and the experience is still excellent given its strong isolation.

The “no fuss” buttons for the PX which control volume up and down, next and back are located on the right side and great to use. Bob Marley said, “When the music hits, you feel no pain,” the PX delivers sound as it should be heard. Headphones are always a personal choice whether it’s a Bose, Sennheiser or Sony; however, hands down the PX is the best Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones of 2017. At the end of the day, your investment in a pair of headphones boils down to sound and the Bowers & Wilkins’ PX is worth every penny.

Sound Quality: 10/10
Comfort: 9.5/10
Aesthetic: 9/10
Wireless/Bluetooth: 10/10
Adaptive Noise Cancellation: 9.5/10

Bowers & Wilkins PX, $399.99, available at Amazon

  • From Bob Marley to Beethoven- the Bowers & Wilkins’ PX delivers the best audio quality.
  • Adaptive Noise Cancelling Headphones – customize to limit distractions in your environment.
  • Need to pause the music- just lift an ear cup (go do what you need to do) and simply put it on back to resume playing. The PX has been perfectly crafted to naturally respond to you.
  • Best Wireless Bluetooth technology and excellent battery life.
  • From packaging to product, the design aesthetic is clean, sleek and modern.
  • The headband and over-ear cups are a perfect fit and offer top-notch comfort.

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PANACHE Magazine authentically reviews products we think you’ll love. PANACHE has no affiliate partnerships, PANACHE does not get share of the revenue from your purchase. |P

Renovated Muirton Child Care Facility in Portland Reopens

The Government has reopened the $40-million renovated Muirton Child Care Facility in Portland, to serve boys with learning challenges.

Located in the community of Manchioneal, the home is equipped to care for boys with intellectual disabilities, and to develop their social and entrepreneurial capabilities in agriculture, computer science and the arts.

Speaking at the official ceremony for the reopening of the facility on February 21, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green said the home provides “tremendous hope”, and represents the reorganising of “our structures”, appropriately staffed to cater to specific needs.

“This facility serves as one of the first that we are embarking on in this new phase to treat specifically with our boys with mild disabilities,” the State Minister said, stressing that it is to ensure that when the “boys come here they will be able to have their holistic development met”.

The State Minister explained that specific emphasis is now placed on the type of environment in which children with learning challenges are enrolled, as State care facilities must facilitate them to reach their potential.

“We want to ensure that when they come into our care, we have them recognise that they can fulfil their greatest potential,” Mr. Green said, adding that community members must play their part in the security of children, while corporate Jamaica needs to develop long-term partnerships with the homes.

The project was completed over a six-year period and involved the installation of a new kitchen, roof replacement, drainage installation, electrical rewiring, painting of the interior and exterior walls, replacement of doors and windows, repairs to dormitories and staff quarters, perimeter fencing and other works.

For her part, Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, said persons in the area should be “instrumental” in the lives of the children, as “our children with special needs require the same love, care and dedication as any other child”.

Source: JIS

Starbucks… Brewing Opportunities For Jamaican Youth

Starbucks has a long history going back more than forty years of investing in the communities it serves worldwide by creating opportunities for young people, particularly those in underserved communities. The company plans to similarly partner with Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd. in Jamaica to support initiatives aimed at connecting young men and women in the community with the resources and support they need to succeed. Starbucks partners recently volunteered at the Garland Hall Memorial Children’s Home, painting and refurbishing the orphanage. The company is also looking at ways to support food donation and book and clothing drives.

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In line with its global efforts to connect youth to economic opportunities, Starbucks plans to work with the MultiCare Youth Foundation to develop a Life and Work Skills training program for local youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a focus on 16- to 29-year-olds who are not in school or employed. With funding from The Starbucks Foundation, the program is intended to support youth in both Montego Bay and Kingston and will include customer service skills training to ensure youth are ready to access employment in the retail, service, or hospitality industries. By working with the MultiCare Youth Foundation, Starbucks also plans to include volunteer opportunities for partners to serve as mentors to participating youth.

Starbucks has operated stores in the Caribbean since 2002 when it opened its first store in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan. It now operates in six Caribbean markets, including the Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, and now Jamaica. For Starbucks, which first opened in 1971 in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, the opening in Jamaica marks its 17th market in the Latin America and Caribbean region and 76th global market.

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Starbucks opened its first store in Jamaica in late November and entered its 76th market globally, marking a historic milestone for the global coffee company’s Caribbean operations and its storied history of sourcing the highest quality coffee from the region going back more than four decades.

The new café, located at Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, offers customers an inviting destination to relax, unwind and connect in one of the area’s most iconic neighbourhoods. Featuring custom artwork by local artist Fiona Godfrey, the store’s unique design pays tribute to Jamaica’s history and rich coffee heritage. Customers can enjoy a wide range of Starbucks beverages and food, including its signature handcrafted hot and cold espresso beverages made with 100 percent Arabica coffee. To mark this historic opening, the company is also featuring Starbucks Reserve® Jamaica Blue Mountain whole bean coffee, a long-time favourite with Starbucks customers in the U.S. and Canada.

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“As a company that has worked for many decades with Jamaica’s coffee-growing communities, we are honored to have the opportunity to work our local business partner Caribbean Coffee Baristas to open our first store in the beautiful island nation of Jamaica,” said Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, who attended the opening celebrations in Montego Bay. “For Starbucks, this is an opportunity to build on more than forty years of the best in-store experience to customers around the globe that is rooted in high-quality coffee and our engaged, knowledgeable baristas. Our new Starbucks Jamaica partners (employees) are ready to welcome customers, as we mark the beginning of this exciting chapter in the Caribbean market.”

Starbucks® stores in Jamaica are operated by Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd., a joint venture between Ian Dear, Chief Executive Officer of leading restaurant management and franchise operator Margaritaville Caribbean Group and Adam Stewart, who is also Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International. Together, they plan to open up to 15 locations in Jamaica over the next five years, with a shared commitment towards creating opportunities for Starbucks employees, delivering a unique and unmatched customer experience, and supporting the region’s coffee producers. Following Montego Bay, the company expects to open in Kingston in 2018.

“As a leading Caribbean hospitality group, our achievements have always been guided by listening, responding and delivering on our customers’ expectations,” said Dear. “Bringing Starbucks, a globally recognized and respected brand, to our Jamaican shores, is a natural progression for us. We pledge to continue providing the high standards that we and Starbucks are known for. This is another occasion for us to create fantastic opportunities, for everyone involved, and to create another global platform for our locally-grown Blue Mountain Coffee. We know that this venture will be highly successful, and we look forward to an exciting future with Starbucks.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Starbucks to Jamaica and bring the Starbucks Experience to customers on the island,” said Stewart. “Through our shared values, including our dedication to delivering the best customer experience, commitment to being an employer of choice, and operating responsibly in the communities we serve, we aim to create a truly unique coffeehouse experience here in Jamaica.”
“In addition, I believe that Starbucks, with its long-standing love of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, represents one of the greatest opportunities for the incremental growth in the export of our locally-grown coffee,” said Stewart.

Honoring Jamaica’s Rich Heritage through Coffee and Design

In celebration of Starbucks launch in the market, customers can now enjoy Starbucks Reserve® Jamaica Blue Mountain whole bean coffee – a rare and exceptional coffee grown by Amber, Clifton Mount and Wallenford Estate farms in the Blue Mountain region, and roasted exclusively at the state-of-the-art Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery in the company’s hometown of Seattle. The company also plans to source Jamaican coffee for single origin coffees and blends for its stores in other markets across Latin America, and connect agronomists and technical experts from the Starbucks Global Agronomy Center to coffee producers in Jamaica. |P

Shaggy & Friends…Making A Difference

In 2001, Shaggy was introduced to the Bustamante Hospital for Children whilst visiting a friend’s son who had been admitted there. He was so moved by what he witnessed, that he vowed to do whatever he could to make things better there for our nation’s children.

Jump ahead to 2018 and Rock music legend Sting and Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean were among the international stars that performed at the 2018 Shaggy and Friends Concert, held January 6 on the lawns of Jamaica House in St Andrew. This benefit concert was hands down one of the best shows in Jamaica and the Caribbean. From the decor to the food and drinks to the overall experience Shaggy & Friends is a must-see event that is in aid of a worthy cause.

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SPECIAL THANKS for the photography by Steve James of Semiyah Photography
semiyah@gmail.com

Having been a staunch supporter of this charity over the years, it is truly amazing to see how this concert has grown over the years. Nevertheless, the mission to make a difference continues unwavered. As Shaggy shared on the night about the concert, this article too is not about promoting a show. Our goal with our support is to help the foundation raise awareness and get donations in so we can meet or even better surpass the goal of raising $100Million for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Also hitting the stage for free were a number of local and Caribbean stars in an effort to help the struggling government-run hospital acquire vital equipment to save the lives of children in the ICU. They were Jodi Rockwell, Romaine, Ity & Fancy Cat, Christopher Martin, Aidonia, Dexta Daps, Junior Reid, Shenseea, Barrington Levy, Third World, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Capleton, Professor Nuts, Wayne Wonder, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons.

The following was republished from shaggymakeadifferencefoundation.org
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The Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation (SMADF) will once again donate all the proceeds from the concert to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

According to co-producer of the show, Rebecca Packer-Burrell, Shaggy’s wife, funds from this show will be used to increase beds in the ICU of the hospital, which is the only full-service children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean.

At the launch on Wednesday, at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Shaggy appealed for support of the venture, stating that each ticket will save one life.

He said the venture started as a means of him giving back each year until he realised that it was more than he could give personally, after which he was advised to start the SMADF.

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In outlining the needs of the hospital, Dr James, Head of The Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the hospital, gave an example of the little boy who came in with his organs failing and would have died, if it wasn’t for the equipment that the SMADF donated over the years.

He said the boy can now be a worthwhile member of society and can now in the future “pay his taxes”, which brought laughter to the large gathering at the launch.

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James said, “we admit 150 patients annually to this five-bedded facility, but are beset by the consequences of resource limitations; inadequate physical space, inconsistent supplies of critical items, difficulty with the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment as well as maintenance of the equipment we have.

“We, therefore, feel extraordinarily grateful to the Shaggy and Friends Foundation for their on-going efforts in assisting the hospital and the unit. Please keep it going,” Dr James urged. |P