The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    June '04
space
    WHAT IS EXCELLENCE?
space
    I'm beginning to worry a little about Saint Barth. In recent weeks, all sorts of travel magazines have flooded my desk with tantalizing headlines on the cover. The Best Beaches in the Caribbean. The Best Service at Hotels Around the World. Then there was a flood of emails from a Caribbean tourism meeting. So of course I looked at the lists of winners. Here, for example is a list of Best Islands from a recent poll in Conde Nast Traveler: Maldives, Bali, Mallorca, Mauritius, Sicily, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Langkawi, Cuba, St Lucia, Sardinia, Phuket, Corsica , Santorini, Capri, Zanzibar, Crete, Bahamas, and Cyprus. In order, one to 20. But where is Saint Barth? This list of top islands was based on reader ratings on such qualifications as facilities, ecology, safety, and best buys for the money. Somehow we didn't make the cut. They also published a Hot List of 50 hot hotels world wide. Guess what? No Saint Barth places on that list either. And not on the first annual list of best spas I might add, although spas on other islands such as Bermuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Turks and Caicos did. What's up? I also looked at a map in another magazine listing the best beaches in the Caribbean. Saint Barth wasn't even on the map. Yikes! Then I read that two hotels in Jamaica scored the 2004 environmental management awards from the Caribbean Hotel Association: Sandals Inn (Montego Bay) and Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club (Boscobel). And Anguilla's Cap Juluca was honored in another magazine poll for Best Service. To top things off, Mimi Gratton of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association (AHTA) and Susan Springer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association got top honors for Caribbean Hotel Executives. Okay, maybe none of this is relevant to Saint Barth. Maybe we have won in all these categories in the past, or maybe we don't even belong to this hotel association. Or who knows, maybe our visitors don't even read these magazines. Yet it does make me stop and wonder. Is something odd happening here? Is there cause for alarm? On an island that depends so heavily on tourism, especially in coming years when we are facing new budgetary goals, why aren't we hot, happening, and the best this year? Maybe the Eden Rock will wow them once it envelopes the Filao Beach and creates an all new resort. Or the new spa at the Guanahani will take them by storm. But I have a feeling the problem may be a little more than skin deep. Perhaps we should examine our own self-appointed motto "Island of Excellence" and give ourselves a test. Where do we really excel? And what do people really find excellent about the island? Or maybe we should give that slogan a rest, and find one that really fits the soul and spirit of Saint Barth. And in searching for a new motto, maybe we will find ourselves.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
  News & Comment   |   Editorial Archive   |   A Visitor's Guide