The Visionaires' Summit hosted by the Destination Experience is an annual highlight in Jamaica held in Kingston which brings together a broad mix of business titans, world leaders, royalty, celebrities, and international press over a three day event. From this platform, a high level of networking occurs to connect global investment, innovation, and influence into new markets to create enterprising outcomes and mutually beneficial transformative growth.
Since its inception, Destination Experience has convened a community controlling resources in excess of $140 billion and has seeded over $300 million in investments across a variety of sectors including real estate, energy, finance, and the creative industries. Former President Obama called this "An innovative platform for the promotion of entrepreneurship and a unique business catalyst." The events attract bold global luminaries including Wes Edens – Co-Founder and Chairman, Fortress Investment Group; Dr. Patrick Byrne – Founder and Chairman, Overstock.com; Wayne Hewett – Former CEO, GE Advanced Materials, Board Member Wells Fargo and Home Depot; Michael Lee-Chin – Founder and Chairman, Portland Holdings; Hon. Andrew Holness – Prime Minister of Jamaica; Hon. Mia Mottley – Prime Minister of Barbados and many more. The man behind Destination Experience is architect turned entrepreneur Sir Kirk-Anthony Hamilton. He has spent the last few years dedicated to shifting the image on Kingston , Jamaica and the wider Caribbean with noteable success. His mission is to demystify the region where he was born and showcase it as an investment destination ripe with opportunity beyond sun, sand and sea. Jamaica especially had a reputation for a gritty culture and gloomy economy, but an economic turnaround currently underway signals the success of Hamilton's efforts.
During the day long summit at the trendy Spanish Court Hotel, high level conversations and panels centered around themes such as technology and the fourth industrial revolution, transformation for growth in the digital revolution, creating a culture that encourages inclusion to stimulate a collective genius, artificial intelligence's influence in shaping the future of finance, and Bitcoin as the world's new currency. Also highlighted was globalization and crossing frontiers into international markets and the upside of investing in Jamaica.
Amongst the business leaders who spoke at the summit were Ann-Marie Campbell- Executive Vice President, Home Depot, Jeff Pulver- Co founder of Vonage, Mr. Michael Wright- CEO Inno-life Sciences, Andrew Mahfood-CEO, Wisynco Group, one of the island's largest food and beverage distributors; PB Scott Chairman- The Musson Group, a diversified conglomerate based in Jamaica with operations spanning as far as New Zealand; Jimmy Nyugen- Founder and CEO of nChain, and Diane Edwards-President JAMPRO, Jamaica's Trade and Promotions Agency.
While insights and new ideas were discussed at the one day summit, new relationships were being forged at the various glitzy networking events and dinners, showcasing an expected side of Kingston which has remained largely undiscovered by international media. To kick off the summit, speakers and VIP guests were treated to a night of Jamaican hospitality at a cocktail reception held at Peter Bunting's private residence in the hills that was reminiscent of a glittery party in Cannes or West Hollywood. Bunting is a successful businessman who made his fortune in the investment arena and has now dedicated himself to public service.
Following the summit was the Masters' of Industry Reception and dinner sponsored by Appleton Rum that was held at the Mercedes Benz showroom and celebrated, "The Art of Innovation." Leading the discussion was Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Citizenship, KPMG who discussed the timely subject- Capitalism, Inclusiveness, and Innovation within the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In his capacity he has seen the wave of change within the workforce and addressed the importance of the changing workforce and how to adjust the mindset to today's needs in the workplace. The second presentation was an intimate fireside chat between Peter Henry Blair, Dean Emiritus, NYU Stern School of Business and Dr. Nigel Clarke, the Minister of Finance as they discussed Third World Strategies for First World Growth. Finally the evening ended with a bang with Tim Hentschel, cofounder and CEO of Hotelplanner.com, who discussed the digital revolution's impact on the travel industry and what the future holds.
For a festive ending to the three day experience, speakers and select attendees flocked to the beautiful and historic Terra Nova Hotel's Regency Room Restaurant for an intimate Influencer Dinner. Guests were kindly encouraged to sit next to a stranger over dinner in order to foster new relationships and meet at least 2 new people and engage in lively conversations. This concept has created many thriving business relationships.
The Newly Minted S Hotel – Montego Bay
While Kingston is known as the business center of Jamaica, Montego Bay epitomizes the idyllic picture perfect Caribbean paradise of white sand beaches and aquamarine waters; it is also the fastest growing citiy in the Caribbean. One of the newest luxury hotels to arise on Montego Bay's "Hip Strip" on the newly christened Jimmy Cliff Drive (We had the awesome opportunity to meet the music legend in Kingston) is the S Hotel which overlooks Jamaica's famed Doctor's Cave Beach. This modern and chic 120 room boutique hotel channels the modern trendsetting vibe of Miami or Mykonos combining urban sophistication with the resort lifestyle. The stark white minimalist décor contrasts beautifully with the turquoise waters of the ocean and pool and white sand beaches. The S is the sister property to the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, where the Destination Experience has been hosted for the past three years. In many ways the S marks the revival of the Hip Strip, a once popular tourist hub which had succumb to the challenges of Jamaica's economy with shuttered stores and dormant buildings is now on the cusp of thriving again. The owner of the S also opened Usain Bolt's Track's and Records beside the hotel and a Starbucks serving Blue Mountain coffee marks global interest in the once forgotten strip.
One of the highlights at this highly Instagrammable hotel is their sky deck glass walled infinity pool on the fifth and sixth floors. From the pool or beach below you can see right through this floating oasis of turquoise water to admire the action in the pool. Relax in a cabana or lounger with panoramic views of the ocean and Doctor's Cave Beach and grab a cocktail from their bar and lounge for one of the best sunset vistas on the island.
Other places to cool off include the expansive main pool area punctuated with vibrant red umbrellas, swim-out sunbeds, and loungers for a lazy day under the sun. Take the time to explore one of Jamaica's most famous beaches, Doctor's Cave Beach, once believed to have therapeutic powers that lies just in front of the pool with a dedicated area just for hotel guests.
Taste the fresh flavors of Jamaica from Rocksteady, and internationally focused restaurant that serves regional and international seafood with a local flair. The restaurant's vibrant design features prints by famed Jamaican artist Michael Thompson in a cozy, luxurious, and air-conditioned atmosphere. Enjoy breakfast in the more casual eatery, Marketplace that serves a bountiful buffet highlighting Caribbean and international specialties with indoor and al fresco seating.
Sleep in luxury in the modern and chic Ocean View Junior Suite with an ensuite balcony offering breathtaking views over the Caribbean Sea. Relax in the generously sized bathroom complete with a free standing soaking tub or walk in shower with three showerheads and spa amenities. Let the sounds of the ocean and gentle breeze lull you to sleep in the sumptuous bed as you awake in paradise. The Destination Experience and S Hotel will later this year partner on a Wellness Retreat, where luxury will meet health and well being.