Last updated: 10:54 AM ET, Mon March 30 2015

'Industrial Delay' Led to Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Launch Rescheduling

Hotel & Resort | Palace Resorts | Brian Major | March 27, 2015

'Industrial Delay' Led to Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Launch Rescheduling

Photo: The Moon Palace Jamaica Grande's opening is again delayed.

While an “industrial dispute” that delayed the opening of Palace Resorts’ Moon Palace Jamaica Grande property in Ocho Rios is over, it did not come soon enough to prevent Palace from re-scheduling the opening.

Palace had planned to launch the new 700-room resort on the site of the former Sunset Jamaica Grande hotel in late March. A top official said the company now awaits "a definitive opening date" from its general contractor. 

In a Jamaica Gleaner article, the resort's general manager attributed the delay to “an industrial dispute.” Clifton Reader is further quoted as saying “things are back to normal” following a resolution.

“Palace Resorts is still pending a definitive opening date from our general contractor in Jamaica,” Kathy Halpern, Palace Resorts' vice-president of sales and marketing, said in a statement issued Friday. “As with any opening of this magnitude in a new market, operations and procedures must be honed in order to effectively meet the highest standards.

“The Moon Palace brand has become synonymous with superior caliber offerings that have redefined the all-inclusive concept, and the company seeks to take every measure to ensure that same five-star experience is fully in place prior to the Ocho Rios property’s unveiling,” she said.

Halpern did not address Reader’s claim, but said “Clifton was the general manager at Sunset Jamaica Grande for eight years, has been Moon Palace Jamaica Grande’s general manager since September 2014. [He] has been overseeing the overall operation of the hotel including staff development and budgeting.”

Halpern added, "The opening of Moon Palace Jamaica Grande will greatly support Jamaica’s economy. The property will be hiring double the amount of employees that were employed at Sunset Jamaica Grande."

Palace officials have also emphasized the company’s intent to establish the new Moon Palace resort as a Jamaican-themed property. The new hotel will replace what had been long been considered a landmark, if time-worn, local property. 

“The iconic property former known as Sunset Jamaica Grande has been a cherished treasure for guests from around the world for many years,” Helpern said. “We understand this is largely a testament to the resort’s phenomenal employees, and as the property evolves into Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, we have embarked on this transformation with the goal of preserving the original resort’s allure and capturing the spirit of the destination.”

She continued, “Palace Resorts has retained all of the original property’s core employees throughout the entire construction process. The brand also invested in the property’s valued team by offering the opportunity to travel to [its] headquarters in Mexico to understand and learn the company culture.”

In a statement, Halpern said the Palace Foundation is a non-profit organization, created in 2004 “to contribute to solving social issues in the local community.”

Established in October 2014 following Palace’s announcement of the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande development, the organization received initial funding of $250,000 from the Chapur family, Palace Resorts’ owners, said Halpern.

Additional funds were raised through the sale of furniture from the former Sunset Jamaica Grande. More than 200 staff members have agreed to donate a percentage of their salaries to foundation projects and have volunteered to assist Foundation activities.

The Foundation has forged alliances with the Jamaica Cancer Society; Great House Pharmacy; Jamaica AIDS Support; the Bustamante Hospital for Children; Medical Response Ambulance Service; Mustard Seed Communities, Young Associates Clinical & Counseling Psychologists Jamaica; Recycling Partner of Jamaica; Dolphin Cove; Mystic Mountain and the Jamaica Autism foundation, Halpern said. 

As for travelers who had planned to be among the first on site for the resort's grand opening, company officials said they will take care of all travel plan changes and fees associated with the delay.

“We will be handling all changes to any existing airline reservations and absorbing all change fees," Halpern said in Friday's statement. "Palace Resorts is working closely with all industry partners to ensure that guests inconvenienced by the opening date change are compensated accordingly.”

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