“Historically, foreign investment in developing economies like Jamaica have been pretty exploitative and extractive, and we wanted to see how we could approach this in an entirely different way and partner with our team in the success of the hotel.”
We’re in great company with Paul Salmon, Founder and CEO of both the Rockhouse Hotel, an award-winning boutique hotel perched on a cliffside overlooking crystal clear Caribbean waters, and Skylark Negril Beach Resort, a tropical escape for the modern traveler, nestled on the sandy beaches of Negril, Jamaica, as well as a managing partner in the beloved Caribbean restaurant Miss Lily’s.
Originally from Australia, Paul found himself working on Wall Street in New York City before finding his home in hospitality. Over the past 25 years, he has become a thought leader in the practice of sustainable tourism, setting a standard for how a foreign hotel operator can do so responsibility in a developing country.
In this episode, Paul paints a vibrant picture of his passion for his team, the Jamaican culture and cuisine, the Caribbean coastlines and cool vibes, while having some laughs and sharing some stories along the way.
[1:30] Growing up in Australia, Paul found his passion for hospitality working in restaurants and nightclubs throughout college before moving to NYC to pursue a career in banking on Wall Street…of which he quickly realized was not his calling.
[3:20] You know it’s a good story when it begins with “Well, I was dating this girl…” as Paul explains what brought him to Jamaica for the first time, making him fall in love with the country and culture.
[4:50] Rockhouse was 20 years old when Paul decided to purchase it with some friends back in 1994, with architecture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright having hosted famed guests such as XYZ
[7:35] Thinking beyond the hotel, Paul and his team set out to support the local Negril community and infrastructure by setting up the Rockhouse Foundation back in 2003, transforming childhood education for Jamaica’s students and teachers.
[14:00] For being a small town, guests can experience very different views and vibes of Negril with Rockhouse situated on the cliffs and Skylark Negril nestled on the beach.
[17:05] From the friendliness of the staff to the freshness of the food and beverage found in the restaurants to the feeling of refresh found at the spa, the vibrancy of Jamaican culture shines through.
[33:30] As an original partner in the iconic Miss Lily’s Jamaican restaurant in New York City, it was only natural to bring the restaurant home to its Caribbean roots at Skylark Negril.
- Rockhouse Foundation
- Negril All Age School Video
- Skylarking by Horace Andy
- Patoo Chocolate
- Miss Lily’s Caribbean Restaurant
- Famous Vincent Glass Bottom Boats
- Zimbali Culinary Retreat
- Murphy’s Restaurant
- Ivan’s Restaurant
- Jam West Adventure Park
- Benta River Falls
- The Grey in Savannah, GA