As our days as active hands–on hoteliers come to a conclusion it maybe time to reflect on our 30 year journey in order to acknowledge and personally thank some of the many people who have helped make our seemingly impossible dream reality.
By the time we completed the purchase of the then derelict Arawak Inn, from initial contractual agreement to completion, the value of sterling had fallen by over 25% against the US/Bds$, virtually eliminating the funds we had put aside for renovations and refurbishment.
At that time all the monies to complete the Sale had to be brought in from overseas carrying an additional ten per cent government tax for the ‘privilege’. So a derelict hotel and no funds to upgrade……. What do you do?
The Banks were extremely reluctant to provide overdraft facilities and the vast majority of distributors and suppliers declined any form of credit accounts.
Number one on the ‘Thank You’ list is Richard Carter of Carter and Company Ltd who believed in us from that first order of greenheart lumber.
Second would be Peter Marshall, formerly of Mount Gay, for supporting our various culinary promotions.
We desperately needed a 21 foot high ladder but could not afford one. We proposed a trade-off with Scott Oran, who willingly supplied it based on restaurant trade-offs at a later stage. Win, win situation.
Whilst our cherished guests, with their personal reviews, had vaulted us towards the heady heights of Trip Advisor # 1 hotel on Barbados, in the background, all at Axses Web Communications, but especially Kathy-Lynn Ward, was monitoring and guiding our social web presence to a level far beyond invoice value charged.
Of course it was never all down to money.
The late Sir Harold St John visited us often two or three times a week. Even when I was painting a door or a wall he would kick off his shoes, relax, and we would talk for hours on a subject we both loved – tourism! Quite remarkable when you think he represented a constituency that we could not vote in and was a rival hotelier at that time, just half a mile away…
Later Dr Colin Hudson gave us the confidence and expertise to operate our` walking tours of Barbados, which became the second best selling destination of the worlds largest specialty walking tour operator (with New Zealand being the first.)
It would be silly to portray there have not been bumps along the road. A classic example was during one week, when we had exhausted our bank balance and had no in-house guests, and the only life line was our popular Sunday BBQ, which required the necessary ingredients. Some may remember the green trading stamps given by a leading Supermarket. My wife spent the night sticking in these stamps and the following morning redeemed sufficient provisions to serve 50 BBQ offerings. That revenue sustained us until the next guest arrivals and we moved on.
Not for a second am I heralding this as a sensible ‘business plan’ and any bankers reading this column will probably twinge with horror. But in all honesty, this is often the everyday reality of operating a small business!
Should our experiences put you off acquiring a small hotel?
Peach and Quiet has introduced us to some of the most incredible people on earth, many who remain friends and have become life time devotees to Barbados.
Together, with our small staff, we are immensely proud of our contribution to tourism and sincerely thank all those people along the way that helped make it possible.