Eric Feniet

135 room luxury 4* beachside resort at Crown Point (listing)
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Ben D
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Eric Feniet

Post by Ben D »

I've heard rumours Eric has left Coco Reef, can anyone shed any light on this?
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Re: Eric Feniet

Post by Steve Wooler »

Hello Ben

Sad to say, but it does seem to be true. I have no details, but I know that there were major changes at the hotel underway since owner John Jefferis handed the business over to his wife last year. I'll try to get more info and post here.

:( :( :( :( :(
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Re: Eric Feniet

Post by Ambroseosullivan »

Sadly the news is true after 26 years at the hotel. I have just had an email from Eric confirming that.
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Re: Eric Feniet

Post by Steve Wooler »

I spoke to Eric over the weekend. On the face of it, it is a very sad story.

Eric claims that he was dismissed on 27th May and escorted off the premises on the orders of the owner. He claims that no substantive reason was given other than that his services were no longer required.

Eric Feniet had been with the Coco Reef Resort for 26 years. He was a Directory of the hotel, as well as being General Manager.

John Jefferis, the original owner of the hotel, is sadly suffering from Alzheimer’s and in poor health. His seventh wife assumed ownership and management of the hotels last year. Eric ran the hotel as if it were his own, as instructed by John Jefferis (and confirmed to me the last time I met John). I imagine that Eric’s passion for his guests may well have created tensions with any new owner or management structure.

This all occurred whilst the hotel was closed, due to the pandemic. Hospitality businesses are clearly hurting, and it is inevitable that there will be casualties. However, it does seem to me that Eric’s dismissal is a very short-sighted action, particularly if done for financial reasons.

Modern hotel managers are more like accountants, permanently ensconced in their office studying spreadsheets. Eric, on the other hand, was very much a hands-on front-of-house manager, greeting customers and personally dealing with issues large and small. Eric’s memory for names and family detail was legendry. He had that wonderful knack of making every guest feel welcome, valued, and important. A regular criticism of the hotel was that it was more like a club and first-time guests could sometimes feel a little left out. This was an unintentional by-product of the personal attention that Eric and his staff lavish on guests. Inevitably, the better they knew the guest, the ‘friendlier’ they could appear. Frankly, it is not surprising that the luxury tour operator Tropical Sky named Eric Feniet as The Best Hotel General Manager in the Caribbean, back in 2012, based on customer feedback surveys.

Everyone who has stayed there will agree that Eric IS (or sadly WAS) the Coco Reef Resort. With the hotel suffering from chronic lack of investment in recent years, repeat business is the only reason that the Coco Reef has survived. Eric’s personal attention and the hospitality he offered guests created a guest repeat rate that most hotels can only dream of. A substantial percentage of those repeaters returned to the hotel despite the faded fabric and facilities simply because Eric and his team made them feel so at home. I sadly feel that this sector will all but abandon the hotel now.

I wish the Coco Reef Resort all the very best for the future, but the bottom line is that without Eric, I feel that the hotel’s future might well be very short-lived. How sad! :( :( :(
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Re: Eric Feniet

Post by Ben D »

Well I'm very sorry to hear this is true.
A big mistake Imo.
I wish Eric all the best for the future.
He made our numerous stays at the hotel very enjoyable.
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