Dominica – A tasteful blending of old-world charm with
modern luxury and amenities is about the best way to describe
the facilities at the
Young Hotel in Roseau, Dominica. Symbols of its fighting
days, now in the past, two highly polished cannons flank the
entrance of the hotel, which was built by the British in 1761;
it was also home to the Dominica Police Headquarters from 1859
— 1955. The Fort was officially unveiled as the Fort Young
Hotel in 1964. After being rebuilt in 1989, ten years
after 1979’s Hurricane David, it was again renovated in 1999.
It further benefited from an ambitious expansion project in
2004. The seventy–one room hotel beckons and welcomes
visitors to the shores of Dominica with well–trained, professional
and friendly staff.
Fort Young Hotel offers four styles in accommodation:
Standard, Oceanview, Deluxe Oceanfront and Oceanfront Suite
rooms. From the moment When Steel Talks (WST) press team
stepped into the hotel’s reception area,
the point of departure three days later, the experience was
one that offered welcome respite from the team’s hectic schedule
while on the island. In step with the times and technology,
the hotel offers free high speed internet connection in all
their rooms. Guests can also savor the Balas Bar & Lounge
adjacent to the lobby, sipping at cool drinks with appetizers,
while working away wirelessly on their laptops and PDAs.s
The hotel also features business and conferencing services
which make it ideal for meetings. Guests, who are in Dominica
strictly for vacation purposes, can count on the availability
of massage and spa facilities. Quality in-house entertainment
on the bill is the norm, and this is additionally augmented
periodically, depending on which 'act' is in town, as was the
steelpan artist Vanessa Headley in 2006.
accommodations for WST were the spacious Deluxe Oceanfront rooms,
complete with private balconies overlooking Roseau Bay.
The rooms are located in the most recent additional wings of
the hotel. The bathrooms were large and elegant with attractive
fittings, complete with oversized sunken baths. They were
also equipped with welcome features such as mini refrigerators,
personal in-room safe-boxes, and adequate desks for working
away after WST’s coverage of events. As a plus for families
considering choosing the Fort Young Hotel for their stay in
Dominica, some rooms are inter-connected. Air-conditioning appeared
to be central, was very effective, but so unobtrusive that the
guest did not audibly know it was on while functioning.
on where your rooms are located, there are breathtaking views
of the panoramic Roseau Bay, and a beautifully semi-secluded
pool set to the bay as its backdrop, that entices you to pause
no matter how many times you make your way to the dining area
and other parts of the hotel.
In addition to optional room service, there
is buffet style breakfast and lunch (the latter with different
themes on a daily basis) and à la carte dining for dinner, with
an appetizing choice of both international and local cuisine.
WST generally dined in the Waterfront Restaurant, where the
staff was officious and attentive at almost every turn.
Like its name, the Waterfront Restaurant lines Roseau Bay, and
also overlooks the Roseau Berth where, during the day, there
is often a cruise ship in port.
The hotel currently functions under the seasoned and watchful
eye of its Sri Lankan-born general manager, Fazl Khan
(pictured). He is world-traveled,
has worked in about twenty–three countries,
made St. Lucia his home with his family for almost seventeen
years; they remain there as he tends to his present assignment,
Fort Young Hotel.
Khan has been in the hotel management business
for twenty years, especially within the Caribbean.
He came to Dominica in November of 2007 to take over the management
of the Fort Young Hotel, where his initial tenure is slated
for two years. In the short space of time that has
elapsed since coming on board in November, he has significantly
upgraded the facility, motivated the staff, and heightened the
lure and marketability of the hotel. His specialty is
‘boutique hotels’ and he is a master at resurrecting hotels
that are bankrupt or in a lurch and putting them on the path
He has an exceptionally strong base in human resources, one
that is borne out by his words “staff come first, guests come
second, and the owner comes third…If your staff is happy, then
automatically your guest is happy; if your guest is happy, then
automatically the owner is happy...This is my philosophy, which
some [other] owners do not understand.”
went further to explain that his staff is his asset, and he
is a team worker. Fort Young Hotel is owned by one of
Dominica's leading business entrepreneurs and chairman
of the hotel’s board of directors, Philip Nassief. Khan
further ensures respect for his workers by having them ‘work
with their own people.’ “If you look [around], there are
no expats [expatriates in supervisory positions above his staff]
here.” When in the Caribbean, he looks within the region
to acquire his human resources.
Khan mingles unobtrusively with guests, sometimes
sitting at dinner, quite unassuming but quietly and keenly observant,
usually with no one but staff knowing who he is. He emphasizes
that he enjoys not operating as a figure of fear, but being
a genuine part of their support and growth process, while at
the same time tweaking in areas whenever there may be a need
for enhancement in their service. “I love to train and
guide my people as much as I can” he explained.
Though adept at all phases of the hospitality
industry, Fort Young has made the ‘leisure’ market their target
audience; they have identified honeymooners, diving enthusiasts
and other such leisure-seekers, as their objective. The
Dominican Government also contracts the hotel’s services.
There are occasions when high–level ministerial meetings are
held on the island; the hotel then teems with officials, and
their attendant retinues. It is the ideal time to observe
Prime Ministers, Presidents and other high-powered personnel
in more relaxed frames of mind, as they mingle in the classy
Fort Young Hotel. At that time those familiar with general
manager Fazl Khan, drop by the latter’s office to easily renew
the acquaintance and jokingly ensure that their pet ‘penchants’
are being catered to during their stay.
Fort Young Hotel is currently listed at three-and-a-half
stars, but Khan’s aim is to mold it into a four-star establishment.
To this end he has put forward the Fort Young as a candidate
for AAA Four-Diamond-status in the hotel’s ongoing upwardly
mobile thrust. Already touted as the island’s premier
hotel, it remains Fazl Khan’s constant vision. In his
doggedly determined manner, the veteran manager – arguably a
man with the ‘Midas touch’ when it comes to hotels – says he
will continue the focus on ‘his people’ [the staff], and by
extension, his guests. “I always train my staff, regardless
who it is, as soon as they [the guest] walk into that door [hotel
lobby], you treat them like a king or queen…” His philosophy
is that if he can get every guest to return as a repeat customer
[and recommend to others], then “that is the hotel’s success.”
contact: Fazl Khan,
Young Hotel | email:
| tel: (767) 448-5000
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