What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.
Mt. Plaisir owner, Piero Guerrini first came to Trinidad in 1993 from Italy on a photo journalism assignment to create a photo essay on the home of Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1992. On this trip to Trinidad, he visited several Caribbean islands but favored Trinidad the most.
During his visit, Derek Walcott told Mr. Guerrini about the natural untouched beauties of Grande Riviere, the village of his childhood. When Mr. Guerrini visited the village, he felt an unprecedented warmness from the locals of Grand Riviere and he also saw many sights such as the nesting of leatherback turtles and rare birds which he thought were worthy of exposing to the rest of world. This visit to this remote village marked the end of his journalistic career as he completed his assignment and returned to Grand Riviere to open the Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel.
Mt Plaisir was originally used as a beach guest house and cocoa estate by the then Chinese owner of the estate. In 1993, Piero Guerrini purchased the property and the old cocoa estate was slowly transformed the into a rustic eco-friendly hotel one room at a time.
Although he had big plans for the estate, he was unable to obtain a loan from any financing or government agency as they were not willing to finance an eco-resort in a remote and unpopular village spearheaded by an inexperienced entrepreneur. Despite this difficulty, Mr. Guerrini was able to purchase the property with his personal investment of US$30,000. The revenue from completed rooms was reinvested into further renovations. The hotel opened to the public in 1994, and was a success from its beginning.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.
I am a third year hospitality management student at the George Washington University. I have always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and the owner of Mt. Plaisir serves as a role model for me since he was able to find success despite the number of factors that were originally against him. Since my youth, I have dabbled with a number of unsuccessful entrepreneurship ventures but as one who has stayed at the Mt. Plaisir hotel on a number of occasions, I hope to one day emulate their business model in fine service and application of sustainable tourism.
Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.
Most hotels located on the seaside cannot boast of having gigantic and endangered leatherback turtles nesting on their beaches. Viewing the nesting of several turtles per night on the Mt. Plaisir beach is one of the most unique and memorable experiences for guests who stay at this hotel. Similarly, birds unique to Trinidad can be sighted by guests who choose to go on bird walks arranged by the hotel.
Another unique feature at Mt. Plaisir is its seclusion and remoteness. Guests are forced into complete relaxation and engagement with nature as they must abandon most technological distractions while staying at the hotel as there is no cell phone service, video games and television.
What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?
The owner of Mt. Plaisir would like to open similar hotels in other parts of Trinidad and Tobago. However, he does not think that he can do it alone while ensuring the continued success of Mt. Plaisir. Therefore, the owner believes that partnerships with other like minded entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen would be most beneficial in helping to transform underdeveloped communities in Trinidad and Tobago while strengthening and growing the country’s tourism sector.