Newly-renovated hotel is at the top of its class in Haiti’s capital
Haiti’s tourism boom is not just about gleaming new buildings with international brands that are new to the market. Those are critical new pieces to the puzzle for sure. But the story of Haiti’s resurgence as a premeire Caribbean travel destination is also found within the walls of longtime establishments that were already well-known and reliable options for traveler long before it was popular.
The Kinam Hotel— situated in the desirable center of Pétion-Ville across from the landmark Place Saint-Pierre— is one of the finest examples of how new construction and technology is blending with traditional Haitian culture and hospitality to appeal to a new generation of traveler. The Kinam recently underwent a multi-million dollar expansion project that added a new and improved wing to its property. The results — documented here on this page— put the new and improved Kinam at the top of its class in Haiti’s capital.
Senator Linda Dorcena ForryState Senator Linda Dorcena Forry today issued a statement criticizing the government of the Dominican Republic for its plan to target undocumented Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent for possible deportation amid a building international outcry prompted by what many have termed a violation of international law and human rights.
Forry, a first generation Haitian-American and the only person of Haitian descent to hold state elected office in Massachusetts called for collective action among the Haitian diaspora living abroad to use their economic and political influence to halt the actions. Forry called on Haitian-Americans and their allies to suspend vacation plans in the Dominican Republic until the government there "changes course."
"It is time for us to send a collective and clear message that we expect the Dominican Republic to treat its citizens with respect," said Senator Forry, who represents Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and South Boston in the Senate's First Suffolk district. The potential for a humanitarian crisis is real and a responsible, compassionate government would pause and choose another course. That is precisely what I call on the leaders of the Dominican Republic to do."
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued a statement to the Boston Haitian Reporter this morning in response to the Dominican Republic's plan to expel people of Haitian descent from their country:
"It is disheartening and troubling to see a neighboring country target a minority group for exclusion," Mayor Walsh said. "I urge Dominican leaders to reverse course and recognize the tremendous value of diversity and inclusion for any nation. We stand with the Haitian community in Boston and abroad."
Denis O'Brien at the Marriott Port-au-Prince opening: Second from left, the Digicel founder owns the $48 million hotel property that is managed by Marriott.
The Marriott Port-au-Prince, which officially opened its doors last week after a “soft” opening period of three months, is far more than just a symbol of Haiti’s post-earthquake recovery. It’s a living, breathing, job-creating economic engine in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince that sorely needs exactly that: jobs, vitality and the promise of further development to come.
Truth be told, were it not for the adjacent Digicel corporate headquarters, the 12-story Marriott might have found a home elsewhere in Haiti’s capital. Or it may not have happened at all.
There’s a lot to love about the newest hotel to open in Haiti.
The Marriott Port-au-Prince is sophisticated and yet firmly connected to roots culture, with handcrafted Vévé flags and Croix-des-Bouquets crafted ironwork that adorn the public spaces and guest rooms. Even the drink menus at the swanky La Sirene Bar and Restaurant—now a choice meeting spot in the capital city— accentuate Ayiti.
Sen. Forry with President Michel Martelly: The two leaders met at a Port-au-Prince reception on June 18.
State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry returned to Haiti for the first time since she was a child last week. Forry and her husband, Reporter publisher and editor Bill Forry, traveled on JetBlue’s inaugural direct flight to Haiti from Boston last Wednesday after the senator participated in a ribbon cutting to mark the new service.
Following the four-hour and 15-minute flight, Haitian-American Dorcena Forry made a whirlwind series of appearances that included meetings with Haitian Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin, whom Forry hosted in Boston two weeks ago, to discuss boosting tourism trade between the two countries.
Constructive visit: Minister of Tourism Stephanie Villedrouin visited Senator Linda Dorcena Forry at the Massachusetts State House on June 3.Stephanie Villedrouin, Haiti’s dynamic Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries, made a stop in Boston this month to spread the good news about Haiti’s burgeoning travel and hospitality trade. Already buoyed by an 11 percent increase in tourist visits over the last year (2013-2014), Minister Villedrouin carried more good news to Haitian-American community leaders and media, many of whom turned out to a Brockton country club for an evening presentation on June 3.
“We are on the right path and all stars are aligned for Haiti to be successful in the tourism field,” Mrs. Villedrouin told the Reporter in an interview. “We’ve got a lot more diaspora coming back to Haiti and new people intrigued about Haiti.”
Villedrouin was joined in her visit by a team of Haitian hoteliers, including Charles Fombrun, owner of the popular Moulin Sur Mer Beach Resort in Montrouis and Christian Fombrun, Food and Beverages Director for Kinam Hotel on Pétion-Ville.
A nine-foot-tall statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the first such tribute to Douglass in Europe, was on exhibit in Boston last week and on display at the Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill at an event aimed at building awareness for the monument and its ties to Boston, Ireland and Haiti.
Haiti’s cholera victims have taken another important step toward justice with respect to the deadly epidemic caused by the United Nations (UN). On May 27, the victims filed their legal brief in an appeal of an earlier court decision dismissing their claims against the UN. On June 3, eighty-six organizations and experts filed an additional six briefs supporting the victims’ appeal.