THE BAHAMAS - The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has named respected Grenada hotelier Leo Garbutt 2020 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year.
The owner of Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel in Grenada received the coveted honor during the opening of Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Nassau last night as recognition of his exceptional contributions to Grenada and the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry over the past 30 years.
"We all know that 2020 vision is perfect and at this moment this is a perfect moment in my life," said an emotional Garbutt upon receiving the coveted award. The hotelier thanked CHTA, previously awarded hoteliers of the year, the people of Grenada, his wife and his family for their support.
Frank Comito, CHTA's CEO and Director General, described Garbutt as "an adept, self-taught entrepreneur, whose love of his hotel, his adopted island and the Caribbean drove him to master the intricacies of the industry in our region."
Garbutt began his hotel career by chance when a delayed flight to his native United Kingdom landed him in the Calabash Hotel in 1986. That led him to fall in love with the island and the hotel. "We all know that love makes people do strange things and despite a complete lack of experience in the hospitality business he and his wife bought what was then a 22-room hotel and built it into today's 30-suite world-class award-winning luxury resort and spa," said Comito. "As they say Amor Vincit Omnia - love conquers all!"
Garbutt's commitment to excellence has seen the continuous improvement of his hotel product and service over the years. TripAdvisor now ranks Calabash the top luxury hotel in the Caribbean. A member of the coveted Virtuoso and Fine Hotels & Resorts programs as well as the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group, Calabash's worldwide recognition has significantly raised Grenada's international profile as a top-class tourist destination.
Leo Garbutt's love for Grenada and the tourism industry grew as he invested his time and treasure into the property, and he and his staff have made significant contributions to the community. Now Second Vice President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association, over the years he has pushed many initiatives to promote sustainable tourism, notably including the recent national ban on Styrofoam and single use plastics.
Calabash is strongly committed to the community and the staff are 100 percent Grenadian. Dedicated to looking after their island and community, the family supports early childhood education through Grenada Schools Inc and the island's children's homes through Pack for a Purpose, with donations to The Bel Air Children's Home, The Dorothy Hopkin Centre for the Disabled, The Queen Elizabeth Home for Children and Programme for Adolescent Mothers.
His daughters Adele and Beth and niece Hannah work alongside Garbutt to maintain and add sparkle to his five-star offering. The team works tirelessly to treat staff and guests as if they were extended members of Garbutt's family, making Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel their home away from home.
Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, this year's Caribbean Travel Marketplace host sponsors are the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Baha Mar, and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, while Platinum sponsors include ADARA; AMResorts; Figment Design; Interval International; Marketplace Excellence; Mastercard; STR; TravelClick, an Amadeus company; Travelzoo; U.S. Virgin Islands; and HM&B.
Gold sponsors are American Airlines, Best Western International, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Travel + Life powered by Islands, Caribbean Wellness & Education, HCP Media, play AWARDS, Questex Travel Group (Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor), Questex Travel & Meetings Events, Sojern, Symova, Travel Relations LLC, and TravPRO Mobile.
Silver sponsors are 7 Pillars Marketing on Demand; Arrivalist; BCV, a Rategain Company; Caribbean Journal; Condé Nast; Copa Airlines; Gamemasters Escape Solutions; interCaribbean Airways; Mitel; Northstar Travel Group; Pegasus; Saint Lucia Tourism Authority; SiteMinder; St. Martin / St. Maarten Tourist Office; Travel + Leisure | Blue Group Media; and TripAdvisor.