by Cheryl Anne-Sturken | June 10, 2019
Jamaica has seen an unprecedented influx of new hotels in the last two years, mostly in its resort areas of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. But the island's capital, Kingston, which has not had any new entrants since 2015 when the Courtyard by Marriott Kingston Jamaica opened its doors, is adding two upscale hotels, as Marriott and Hilton both have selected the city to launch first flags in the Caribbean for their soft brands.

In 2017, Jamaica-based Sandals Resorts International inked a deal with Marriott International to bring AC Hotels by Marriott to the Caribbean. Construction currently is reaching completion on the 220-room AC Hotel by Marriott Kingston, which will feature 10,000 square feet of meeting space and is scheduled to open later this month.

"There is a renewed energy in Kingston," said Adam Stewart, CEO and deputy chairman of Sandals, in a statement announcing the deal. "We plan to capture this vitality, to create a destination within a destination, a place where world-class meetings and events happen alongside everyday occasions. With its emphasis on design and locally inspired experiences that elevate the guest's stay, AC Hotels by Marriott is the right brand to bring our vision to life."

In addition, Hilton has signed a management contract for the ROK Hotel, Kingston, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton property, which will represent that brand's debut in the Caribbean. Opening in 2020, the 168-room property, which is owned by Kingston-based PanJam Investment Ltd., will be part of a multipurpose complex on the Kingston Waterfront and include retail, on-site entertainment and commercial office space. 

"Strategically focused on our expansion across the Caribbean and Latin America, we value the opportunity presented with Tapestry Collection by Hilton," said Juan Corvinos, Hilton's vice president of development for the Caribbean and Latin America, in a statement announcing the signing. "With Tapestry Collection, we open the door to owners with unique, upscale hotels, who seek to maintain their property's distinctive character, but also seek the benefits of the Hilton engine and our award-winning Hilton Honors program."
On Ocean Boulevard overlooking Kingston Harbour and directly across the street from the Jamaica Conference Centre, the 12-story, 168-room ROK Hotel, Kingston, will be a multimillion-dollar transformation of the former Oceana Hotel. Features will include an expansive pool deck on the first floor, as well as a fitness center, a lounge area, a restaurant, a cafe and bar, and event space. Part of an ambitious plan by the island's government to revitalize the city's waterfront area, the new property is set to open in 2022.
"Following a year of impressive growth since the brand's launch, including the signing of our first two properties in Peru, we are energized by our expansion in the Caribbean and Latin America," said Jenna Hackett, global head of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. "With its deep roots in the community, the ROK Hotel, Kingston, will offer guests an authentically local experience coupled with the warm and welcoming hospitality of Jamaica."

"As Hilton continues to expand its presence throughout the Caribbean, we are excited to have the opportunity to support their growth and debut the Tapestry Collection brand in the region," said Stephen Facey, chairman and CEO of PanJam. "We recognize the value in collaborating with a well-respected global hospitality company such as Hilton, particularly as we work together to introduce travelers to authentic Kingston experiences, while offering them the brand's upscale accommodations."