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‘We were one big family’

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A cruise down memory lane for former staff of the old Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel in Hamilton Parish raised $2,000 for the Matilda Smith Williams Rest Home in Devonshire.

The hotel was torn down several years ago to make way for the Rosewood Tucker's Point Resort. Wilhelmina Trott, who worked at the Marriott for 13 years, organised the cruise attended by 200 people.

“This is our third reunion event,” said Ms Trott. “This time we had 200 tickets done up and they sold out.

“Everyone was dressed in white for the event. Leon O'Brien gave away tickets to people who couldn't afford to come.

“It wasn't a fund-raising event, but after expenses were taken care of we had $2,000 left over. I know everyone has an ageing relative who needs care or who may need care in the future.

“We decided to give it to the Matilda Smith Williams Seniors Residence. The money will go to maintenance of the facility.”

Former Marriott employees Nikita Robinson and Ronnie Burgess also helped to organise and promote the reunion cruise.

“There is always talk that we need to get together,” said Ms Trott. “It was such a gathering; it was amazing. We ran a bit out of food, but no one seemed to mind.”

Ms Trott started working at the hotel at 18 years old. She was accepted to college, but decided it would be better to work and make a living.

“I worked in the housekeeping department for two to three years,” she said. “When I was with housekeeping, myself and five others, had the chance to work overseas with the Marriott in Farmington, Connecticut. We worked for a whole month. That was nice.”

Later, at the Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel, she and several other women were asked to transfer to the engineering and maintenance department.

“We made history because we were the first women in that department,” she said. “We worked there until the hotel closed. I was painting and they taught us how to do furniture touch ups. How to repair scratches.”

When the Marriott took over the hotel in the 1980s they added a wing to the hotel, and this new wing caused problems.

Maintenance such as touch up painting was required constantly.

When the hotel closed, Ms Trott went to work at the Mid Ocean Club, also in the maintenance department. She now works in the bus garage in the same area.

“Times were good at Marriott as staff received special awards for perfect attendance and years of service through appreciation dinners held in the ballroom,” said Ms Trott. “We were one big family.

“Guests were pleased with the hospitality they received from bellman Victor Woolridge, shuttle driver Wilbur (Sparky) Lightbourne and front desk staff.

“Once the guests were satisfied by their first impressions they had no worries about their stay.”

Her favourite memories were of mingling with other staff members and greeting the hotel's many repeat guests. “The guests remembered you,” she said. “They were excited about their stay from the moment they first came to the bellstand.”

Former Marriott staff have had several reunions since the hotel closed. One was to Hawkins Island.

“She said there would probably be another reunion event in two to three years.

Staff at Marriott Castle Harbour in the 1980s
Second from left Matilda Smith Williams Rest Home Relief Worker Irine Nusum accepting the $2,000 donation from cruise organisers Nikita Robinson, Wilhelmina Trott, and Ronnie Burgess.

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Published September 05, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 04, 2013 at 7:43 pm)

‘We were one big family’

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