Small hotels still relevant, says JHTA head
Ground being broken for the 451-room UNICO Montego Bay, one of the major large-scale projects planned for the near future.

MONTEGO BAY, St James - While welcoming news that Jamaica's tourism sector is set to benefit from several large developments, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Robin Russell is stressing the important role smaller properties still have to play.

"We're seeing the new trends where people want to experience more, people are looking for just a diverse experience, being immersed in the culture of Jamaica, and these small properties, that's exactly what they give the people," he told the Jamaica Observer West.

"When you stay in the small properties and the owner of that property takes you to church and take you down to Charles Gordon Market, and tasting the fruit right out of the basket, that's what tourism is about," he added enthusiastically.

Jamaica is set to welcome the RCD Group's 451-room UNICO Montego Bay and Hard Rock hotels. Other major projects, a combination of new builds or renovations, include Princess Resorts, Royalton Bahia Principe, Grand Palladium, and RIU. These are expected to add a total of about 6,000 rooms to the current stock, providing accommodation opportunities as Jamaica seeks to lure more visitors to the island.

While not discounting the importance of larger hotels, Russell was keen to point out that there are some things larger properties simply cannot do as well as smaller ones.

"You go to these big properties, and, yes, they're lovely, they're shiny, they're pretty, they offer everything. But when you come to Jamaica and you go on the Hip Strip or you go to the restaurants and you eating a local curry goat and you go to different places, that's what Jamaica is all about," he said.

Russell is general manager of the 93-room all-inclusive Deja Resort located on Montego Bay's Hip Strip.

Small properties, between five and 50 rooms, he insisted, represent the core of the hotel business.

"When you stay at a small property you tend to have a better connection with Jamaica and Jamaicans, and we're seeing how popular they are," he remarked. "Social media is driving that process; we're seeing people wanting to take pictures at different locations, doing different things, not just sitting at a pool drinking piña coladas."

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy