Smiler’ still greeting guests
A doorman who is known by tourists from all over the world will continue to greet guests at the hotel where he worked.
For a portrait of George Jones, nicknamed “Smiler” for his cheerful grin, now has pride of place at the Elbow Beach Resort and Spa.
Mr Jones, who watched the unveiling of the painting by artist Jane Masojada at the hotel yesterday, said: “I was surprised to see it here because I worked here for many years.
“My life has been working in a hotel, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.
“I enjoy meeting new people — new faces, old faces.”
Mr Jones, 82, started his job as a doorman at Elbow Beach in 1999 and welcomed guests up until about two years ago.
His earlier career included work as a room service busboy at the former Castle Harbour Hotel and an elevator bellman, then doorman, at the Belmont Hotel.
He was among 22 people who were painted by Ms Masojada for her People of Bermuda exhibition at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art last year.
Mr Jones, from Sandys, accompanied by his wife, Elynn, said the portrait “couldn’t be any better”.
Ms Masojada has visited the island from her London home many times over the past 11 years.
Her works for the show included figures like David Burt, the Premier, and actor Michael Douglas.
But she explained: “I wanted to try to get the essence of Bermuda. It wasn’t about the great and the good, it was about people who wouldn’t normally be painted.”
Ms Masojada and her family were regular visitors to the Elbow Beach resort and she knew Mr Jones would make an ideal subject.
The artist said: “George was the first and I wanted him to be life-size.
“He epitomises the welcoming face of Bermuda.”
She added: “It’s his warmth, his smile and his enthusiasm.” Rochelle DeSilva, the hotel’s chief concierge said: “We still have repeat guests come back and ask for George all the time.
“He’s very missed because he was always at the door waiting to greet the guests, always there when they needed him.”
Gioacchino DiMeglio, the Elbow Beach general manager, said Mr Jones was “a very good employee”.
He added: “He’s a very well-liked person. We’re pleased to have done this for him.”
Mr DiMeglio said: “This is an iconic hotel and iconic lobby — we have a portrait of the Queen and we have George.”