By anguillian January 8, 2018 10:23



Everybody is still talking about the big Anguilla Stronger Christmas party that was held at the Sandy Ground playing field on Friday, December 22, with the participation of a number of hotel properties celebrating the island’s recovery efforts and resilience following Hurricane Irma. They were Four Seasons Anguilla, owned by Starwood Capital, Belmond Cap Juluca, Maliouhana-Auberge and Zemi Beach.

The Anguilla Stronger Christmas party, involving the employees and their families, was headlined by Starwood Capital and Four Seasons. Large positions of the playing field were taken up by tents with food stalls, children’s gifts, band music, games, and other social activities.

The party was a spillover from the Anguilla Strong Relief Centre at Four Seasons where the participating hotels have been providing food and other supplies, weekly, for persons affected and displaced by the hurricane. Employees from the hotels, particularly Four Seasons, and representatives of Starwood Capital, were actively engaged in organising the party and communicating with the many persons in attendance.

Mr. Roy Shanholtz, Vice President, Asset Management & Hotel Operations with the Starwood Capital Group, and his wife, Beth, were among the company’s officials at the Anguilla Stronger Party. “It is just a chance for people to have a great time and, obviously, we are celebrating Christmas – and we have ‘Santa’ here to give out gifts to the kids,” Mrs. Shanholtz explained. “It is a time for people to enjoy good food, games and a raffle of some nice prizes and other stuff.”

Her husband, Mr. Shanholtz, spoke at length about the event. “What is nice about Anguilla Stronger is that it was originally started by the Starwood Capital as a way to bring relief to the many wonderful employees at Four Seasons Anguilla. Our idea was that this isn’t really about Starwood or the employees at Four Seasons. It was about all of the major resorts on the island. So we ask the owners and operators of Malliouhana, Zemi Beach and Belmond Cap Juluca if they would become founders with us, as Anguilla Stronger was a way to raise money to help every employee within those four resorts. I think it is about a thousand people that= we employ on the island.”

He continued: “A thousand Anguillians are a lot of Anguillians. It touches everybody either directly or indirectly. These four hotels pretty much touch every Anguillian whether it is working at the resort, or it is the guests who come and go to Best Buy or to spend money at the restaurants. There is a lot of money that comes through with tourism so when the hurricane struck, we knew that the hotels won’t be open for a while. It was going to take a real rebuilding effort to get the resorts back opened and, in that time, we care about the Anguillians and the lifeblood of the island.

“We came together to raise money to really help every employee, so we partnered with the Hope Centre – which was already in Anguilla – and all of our founders, to raise money to bring relief aid to Anguilla in the form of food and supplies.

“We are cooking meals at Four Seasons for Anguilla Stronger at the Relief Centre, five days a week, and are also doing giveaways once a week for basic supplies – some food, sundries etc. So while people are not necessarily working, or they are working but not making the same amount of money they would if the hotels were open, through this way we are all coming together to be stronger for Anguilla. This is to get through this period until we all can reopen and bring everyone back to their feet. So this party today is Anguilla Stronger. It is a thousand or so workers, along with their families, and we are bringing four major resorts together which had never been done before. We are all working together, smiling together, and we understand we are all one big group and we are all in need. So that is all what Anguilla Stronger is all about.”

Mr. Shanholtz’s wife added: “We feel that when you go through hard times, you can emerge stronger than you were. We also believe that we need to lean on each other through hard times, and that organisations that historically are competing with each other for guests are instead cooperating to help each other get through the hard times.”

By anguillian January 8, 2018 10:23


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