Grand Case Beach Club General Manager Stephen Wright retires

      Grand Case Beach Club General  Manager Stephen Wright retires

Farewell party. From left: Rooms Division Manager Lynn Taylor, St. Martin Tourism Office President Valérie Damaseau, Stephen Wright, General Manager Alexandra Chirlias, President Jean François Billot, and Tourism Office North America Manager Suzanne Scantlebery. (Robert Luckock photo)

MARIGOT--After 27 years at the helm of Grand Case Beach Club, General Manager Stephen Wright has announced his retirement.

A ceremony and guest mixer was organised Tuesday evening on the rock viewpoint with a golden sunset backdrop. Many hotel guests, owners and staff were present, as well as other contacts made by Wright during his tenure. His wife Marga and children were not on the island for the occasion.

Financial Manager Jean François Billot presented Wright with a book of hotel memories and an original painting as parting gifts.

“Firstly I want to thank the staff who have been so supportive. As a team they really shined during difficult times and we grew together,” Wright said in his farewell speech, noting he had originally planned to stay for only two years. “We’ve had some wonderful record years, but it’s not the wonderful years that I remember most but the really tough ones … the ones with hurricanes, the ones with COVID.

“Those were the ones where we really came together as family. Those years define us, because it is easy to deal with success, but to deal with hardship and disaster and make something better out of it, that’s really special.”

To the guests and owners he said: “You are very special because you see something in this place that not everybody sees. It takes a kind of person to appreciate what Grand Case Beach Club is, to come back here year after year, and I hope I have been supportive of that.

“I’m sad that I’m not part of it any more but very proud of the energy and good things taking place. There are so many people to thank for the wonderful time I’ve had. Lastly, the hotel will always be part of me because its where I nurtured my sons and family.”

He joked that he would be remaining on the island and “available to do any odd jobs.”

Rooms Division Manager Lynn Taylor, who started at the hotel in 2008, said, “Your spirit will always be here, because Grand Case Beach Club equals Stephen Wright.”

Alexandra Chirlias, who was Reservations Manager from 2014 to 2019 before leaving to be manager of L’Esplanade Hotel, recalled the first time she was at a Caribbean Hotel and Trade Association (CHTA) conference in Puerto Rico with Wright and how impressed she had been.

“I saw you connecting and interacting with people so easily. I’m sure you don’t remember everybody you talked to but for sure they remembered you.”

St. Martin Tourism Office President Valérie Damaseau, accompanied by North America Manager Suzanne Scantlebery, presented Wright with a plaque recognising his contribution to tourism, and a mug for his bush tea.

Damaseau remembered the pair attending a trade show in New York right after Hurricane Irma, trying to convince travel agents that the island had not been wiped off the map. “Stephen said to me, ‘Speak from the heart,’ and that’s what we did, promoting the island in every way possible. It was so important then for people to come to the island and support us.”

Grand Case Beach Club is known for the unfailing loyalty of its guests and owners who return year after year, and loyalty to the employees. Repeat guests Alyce and Niels Wittus have been coming every year consistently since Hurricane Luis. “We’ve seen all the changes, seen all the kids grow up in that time,” said Alyce. “We love it here.”

In the aftermath of Irma, in an unprecedented act of generosity, owners and guests raised a quarter of a million dollars with a Go Fund Me page to help employees get back on their feet. The money was distributed to full-time staff, part-time staff, the restaurant and contractors repairing the property.

Wright also noted that all deposits for hotel reservations prior to Irma had been refunded. “The goodwill that that created was phenomenal,” he recalled.

The Ritz Carlton in Florida, Four Seasons in Philadelphia, Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda and Peter Island, the latter two in the British Virgin Islands, are just a few of the hotels at which Stephen Wright has worked during his career.

The changing of the guard at the hotel sees long-standing Financial Manager Jean-François Billot become President and former Reservations Manager Alexandra Chirlias taking the position of General Manager. The management team is completed with Rooms Division Manager Lynn Taylor.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.