Monday, November 2, 2009

Island Routes launched in Jamaica, pt.4 (night 3, Sandals Montego Bay)

two representatives of Cool Runnins', Negril, official launch night

On the final night Island Routes was officially launched at Sandals Country Club Ocho Rios. MC Weston Houghton ran down the history of Jamaican popular music and dance from 'mento', through 'ska' and 'rock steady' (recalling that then dancers were so anchored to their spots the craze was dubbed 'rent-a-tile'). CEO Adam Stewart, inspired by a recent trip, explained, "In Africa everyone just assumes you're there to see their land, here in the Caribbean we never thought of it that way, but we've got just as much to offer". Island Routes GM, the fabulous Dominique Peterkin, and the girls then demonstrated all the latest dancehall moves like 'Signal The Aircraft' and 'The Gully Creepa' (God bless Jamaica, with all it's problems, still turning out dance crazes like it was the 60's).

One of the most pleasant surprises of the trip was spending a little time before the flight home at Sandals Montego Bay -the property that started it all for the 'all inclusive, couples only' empire. Yeah, yeah, that's 'couples only', but don't get the wrong idea (you're thinking of Hedonism). Originally The Roc Bay Hotel (designed by Edward Durell Stone, the architect of Radio City Music Hall), the 251 room resort has almost a 'boutique-ish' feel, that concentrates its lively vibe. Staying here puts you as close to the 'action' (and misadventures) afforded by Mo'Bay as you'd want to be, as well as to a quick getaway via Sangster International Airport when necessary. In fact, it was here that the perceived drawback of being located virtually at the end of a runway was creatively dealt with by instituting 'the wave'. I participated in at least one 'wave' while I was there and have to say the passing jets thing is no big deal. Sangster isn't JFK (thank God!).