Jefferis unveils a lobby to impress
The lobby area at Coco Reef hotel has had a $500,000 makeover in a labour of love by owner John Jefferis.
Globetrotting industry veteran Mr Jefferis used top hotels around the world as inspiration — but vowed to go one better.
Sourcing items from around the world and with a dash of the opulence of Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles, the work took a year to complete.
Mr Jefferis said: “I'd seen some lobbies around the world and I thought I'd make mine better.
“When people arrive, the first thing they see is the lobby and to have something better than they probably expected is a good thing.”
He added: “I'm a great believer in taking pictures of things and what I really like is designing and building.
“There was no real overall plan — it evolved over the year.”
The new-look marble lobby features a large central fountain, surrounded by huge mirrors, gilt statues and potted plants and ornate French-style furniture. as well as 80 crystal chandeliers and wall sconces.
It also boasts ornate plinths topped with gilt statuary.
And the reception desk features custom-made mini-chandeliers in crystal, while the walls are decorated with bright Cuban artwork.
Furniture and fittings came from several countries, including Egypt, Spain, China, France, the UK and US.
Mr Jefferis said: “It's really satisfying to see guests come in, look around and get their cameras out. Not everybody does that, but many of them do. I think people are impressed.”
He added that the work, which also saw the atrium over the lobby lifted several feet to create an light and airy space, was “a vote of confidence” in the future of the hotel industry on the island.
Mr Jefferis said the work also included an ornate Louis XIV-style private dining room, also used for small meetings.
The room features dramatic blood red and claret paint, a stunning inlaid dining table and brocade-covered French-style chairs.
Mr Jefferis explained: “I believe you should impress with theatre. The whole hotel business is about theatre.
“I have set the stage here and put in all the scenery and background.”
But he added: “The key players are the staff — some will have major roles, others will have walk-on parts.
“But altogether they make the production and its success will be proven by the number of people who return to visit it again.”