Devon House Reopens
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Most Hon. Carla Seaga, Chairman of the Devon House Development Company Ltd cut the ribbon to official declare the reopening of Devon House on Monday, July 26. Looking on are: Janette Taylor (third left), Executive Director of the Devon House Development Company Ltd and Carrole Guntley, Director General in the Ministry of Tourism.
The historic Devon House was officially reopened recently after undergoing a $100 million restoration courtesy of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
At a late afternoon ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett officially reopened the property, describing the occasion as a most timely and symbolic event given the relevance of Devon House to Jamaica’s rich heritage and its importance to developing heritage tourism.
Barbara Beckford, tour guide at Devon House provides details of a four-poster bed belonging to Theresa Stiebel, the daughter of George Stiebel who was the original owner of the historic property.
“We come this evening to another milestone in the history of a Kingston landmark at a critical juncture for the city, our island and the tourism industry on which so much of the economy of our island turns,” Minister Bartlett said.
Minister Bartlett noted that the $103 million allocation by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for the restoration works “is in fulfillment of its mandate to perform functions that would achieve growth and development in areas of tourism including heritage, entertainment, culture, environment and community-based tourism”.
He said the reopening marks a renewed thrust by the management of Devon House to reposition the historic property as a premium heritage tourism site. It also represents an opportunity to establish it as a preferred venue in the city for leisure, fine dining, entertainment and shopping for indigenous Jamaican novelty items.
Devon House tour guide Barbara Beckford describes to guests the intricate and elaborate detailing of original art pieces and ornaments that adorn the historic mansion during a tour following the official reopening of the heritage site on Monday, July 26.
According to the tourism minister, some $85 million of the total allocation by TEF has so far been spent on landscaping the grounds, effecting infrastructural improvements to the interior and exterior of the great house, interior decorating and improving the general roadways and parking areas on property.
Meanwhile, Mr Bartlett said additional works are in progress to sub-divide and diversify the Grogg Shoppe, outfit the Devonshire restaurant with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and wireless Internet service to facilitate functions at the venue, build a children’s play area, establish a plant nursery and improve facilities to accommodate bridal parties.