Guests strolling under a huge archway carved from a gigantic block of ice, onto a sprawling, well-manicured front lawn bedecked with thousands of pepper lights and corporate logo electric posters.
A bride and groom arriving for their mid-afternoon wedding in a horse-drawn buggy – the 15,000th wedding on the elegant beachfront property.
And a concert pianist serenading the Prime Minister of Jamaica and over 1,200 other poolside cocktail reception guests, atop a platform anchored in an Olympic sized swimming pool filled with huge water lilies.
That was the Alice In Wonderland ambience created last Wednesday afternoon when SuperClubs’ Couples Hotel celebrated its 15th birthday – a rich, glittering showcase which also marked the 15th anniversary of SuperClubs introduction of the all-inclusive couples-only concept of carefree vacationing the world.
It was a birthday extravaganza perhaps unrivalled in Jamaica’s tourism industry, pundits agreed. And before it was all over, after midnight, guests had savoured a gourmet buffet dinner spread and a cabaret-fashion show spectacular that was extraordinary for choreography brilliance and dance step elegance.
It was Couples’ big day – and SuperClubs rolled out the red carpet, so to speak, to make its guests realize it. The 172- room hotel at the little district of Tower Isle, St. Mary, was so solidly booked out that many guests had to be housed at three other nearby properties.
At the crack of dawn, a special breakfast greeted the birthday guests – and the ritzy treatment continued right through the day – and after midnight. Brunch followed, and in between all the conviviality some three dozen repeat guests who have stayed at Couples five times and more had their names chizzled in a bronze star, on a newly created walkway near the front door.
By mid-afternoon the excitement reached fever pitch, so to speak, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson arrived – and the camera started clicking away. He was the toast at the poolside reception. Couples’ general manager, Joe Issa, welcomed the over 1,200 guests; his father, SuperClubs’ chairman, John Issa, introduced the Prime Minister.
And after two hours of official addresses and animated chatter, the guests strolled across the hallway onto Couples’ imposing front lawn for the piece de resistance – dinner and the entertainment excitement.
It was a spectacular affair, men and women dressed at their casual very best. Hundreds of tables and chairs filled up the entire lawn area. The food was fit for the palate of even the most discriminating epicure. The liquor flowed copiously.
The area was resplendently lit up by the hundreds of pepper lights which were strung across six trees. Huge electric Couples corporate logo posters with ubiquitous coupling lions added to the glamour.
And then shortly after 9 o’clock the entertainment package unfolded. It was a masterpiece of fashion and dance, the guests agreed – and it featured some of the best of Jamaica’s very best.
Jamaican cabaret star A.J. Brown – now operating out of the celebrated La Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada – thrilled the Couples audience with his deep, mellifluous voice.
He performed at the opening show 15 years ago, returned for the 13th birthday – and was brought back once again for birthday #15.
The presentation was a production of Maestro Productions of Kingston, and it was directed by former Jamaican Tourism Director, Mrs. Carrole Brady.
It featured a cast of 20 singers and dancers from The Company Dance Theatre, in Kingston. Tony Wilson was the choreographer, and fashion houses participating were Mushroom, Mingles, Yallatanza, Max Brown, Caution Boutique, and Chapeaux.
Peter Ashbourne and Ashes band provided music.
Source: The Gleaner