Evan Williams' dream, the R Hotel, finally opens in New Kingston

Senior reporter

Sunday, June 09, 2019

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The old Jamaican proverb says, “ e very dawg have him day an every puss him 4 o'clock”, and we could add to that, “everyone has their own story”.

And so the story of Jamaican architect Evan Williams' year so far, has already convinced us that 2019 must be his year.

Just a couple of months after his Design Collective Team's concept was identified as the most fitting one representing the significance of the new Jamaican parliament, on which construction is expected to start next year, Williams was finally able to open the doors, Thursday night, to his pet project for nearly two decades, The R Hotel on Renfrew Road, New Kingston.

A formidable structure in the midst of the vast expanse of concrete and asphalted New Kingston, the new hotel stands out like a tribute to his years of untiring devotion to Jamaica's most prestigious business community, the way the Red Bones Café once did, thanks to the support he has received from his most recent partner, investor Joseph Bogdanovich, over the past few years.

There's no telling what would have been the eventual outcome of the prized venture had Bogdonavich failed to recognise its value to urban tourism, as well as Williams' heritage, and came to its rescue.

Williams' woes in creating the legacy also impacted Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the special guest at Thursday night's opening, that he passionately assured guests that the Government is improving the speed of doing business, while making improvements to the country's infrastructure to facilitate economic growth.

Holness charged his Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with the responsibility to ensure that business processes within the public sector become more efficient and much faster.

“My word to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and indeed to the entire Government, the entire civil service and the public sector, is that we have to do both and do them well,” the prime minister said.

“We have to comply, and we have to be efficient. We have to comply with the rules, we have to be efficient in getting outcomes — that is the charge that I gave and it is not an empty charge; it is one that we intend to see implemented, and the enabler for these things to happen is the introduction to more technology into our administrative processes, and to get our public sector managers to be more willing to review their business processes, to re-engineer business processes because many times documents get sent back because you did not dot the 'I' or cross the 't' literally,” Holness said.

He admitted that he was cognisant of the lengthy approval process for the newly established hotel, and accepted that the slow approval process is a hindrance to the country's growth.

“We've seen global economic downturn which has had an impact on Jamaica, but we have to be truthful to ourselves as well, because things that are within our authority, capability and capacity to do well and speedily we have not done it,” Holness said.

“And so, a project like this, which has to be turned down six times and then you would have had to wait 13 years to bring it to reality, that is not something of which we can be proud. No wonder the growth is slow, because the speed at which we are giving approvals, the speed at which the bureaucracy works, is not in sync with the speed of business and the speed that we need to have in order to grow,” he added.

However, he assured the audience that his Government will do everything in its powers to ensure that the economy remains stable, and remains on the path of growth.

the Government, he pledged, will control crime, make sure that the guests are safe and secure, and do everything it can to improve the physical infrastructure of the city, in terms of roads, water, sewerage, telecommunications and security infrastructure.

“So, your investment, significant investment, your investment is safe, and your investment will yield a profit and I give you that assurance here tonight,” Holness stated.

He noted that the opening of the US$6.5-million hotel in New Kingston will have an immediate impact on the overall economy of the country.

“A venture such as this one brings with it job creation, an important effect, as the Government seeks to reduce, even further, Jamaica's unemployment rate. And you will know that, based on the last statistics revealed, we are now at somewhere very close to eight per cent,” he pointed out.

“Expanding the capacity in the hotel sector in Kingston will ensure that Jamaica has the rooms and quite literally will have the capacity to accommodate all the tourists that will come to Kingston for our diverse culture, entertainment and historic offerings,” he told the crowd.

Meanwhile, general manager of the R Hotel Alexander Pike said the opening of the hotel has redefined Kingston's hospitality with its unique personal touch, delivering Kingston's first full-city concierge service.

“I can safely say the R Hotel has the most hospitality per square foot, delivering exactly what our travellers require while exceeding their expectations in the process. The R doesn't only package the hotel but we also package the destination of Kingston and our lifestyle,” he noted.

Also attending the opening were Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, and Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw, as well as the president of Jampro Diane Edwards.

A New Kingston business-type dream, amenities at the R include flat-screen smart TVs, meeting rooms and business centre access, complimentary gym, art gallery, access to private, indoor and outdoor rooftop dining, rooftop lap pool overlooking the city and secure underground parking.

There are also double-glazed windows extended to reduce external noise and to create greater efficiency in air conditioning, while environmental sensibility is evident in the design of solar-powered public area lighting, and solar water heaters for guest rooms.

Unique offerings include state-of-the-art, highly available and resilient internet connectivity for all guests, 24-hour video surveillance coverage throughout the hotel, teleconferencing services, integrated messaging system, and complimentary wireless internet access.

The “R” Hotel will offer guests the option of luxury-infused rooms and suites in four categories; the standard deluxe room, Standard Deluxe room with a fully equipped kitchenette, a penthouse with a private balcony offering spectacular views of the city, or a stylish and spacious two-bedroom penthouse loft suite inclusive of balcony and kitchenette.



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