A conversation with Jamaican tourism mainstay Daniel Grizzle

During our two night stay at the Charela Inn, we had the opportunity to dine at Vendôme, the restaurant of the Charela Inn hotel, nestled serenely by the sea where we sit to chat with Daniel Grizzle, a faithful Jamaican tourism. , the patriarch and co-owner of the boutique hotel he runs alongside his daughters, Sophie Grizzle Roumel and Charmaine Bowen in memory of his late wife Sylvie.

Read the full review of the restaurant Le Vendôme, the restaurant of the Auberge Charela Inn here

Tucked away from prying eyes and surrounded by coconut palms that provide a natural ambush for all visitors, the grounds offer many delicacies designed to take you away from the hustle and bustle of contemporary Jamaica. A central, spherical freshwater swimming pool, surrounded by a lush tropical garden teeming with island-rich vegetation, dominates the entrance after check-in.

Discover a tour of the property

The feeling is one of supreme seclusion and contemplation and yet walk a few steps south and you are less than a stones throw from the best world famous beaches of Negril.

An avowed Jamaican “country boy” who grew up in the Hanover countryside, Daniel Grizzle’s family raised cattle and sold milk to a milk processing company in Montpellier in the nearby parish of St. James.

As a teenager and member of the Windrush Generation, he moved to the United Kingdom where he met his beloved wife Sylvie, a passionate of French origin. good living. He had planned to settle in Tanzania in East Africa, but a ‘back to his roots’ trip to rural Jamaica alongside strong persuasion from Sylvie ensured they would settle in Negril, in Westmoreland. She thought it was the best place for them to raise a family as they had started a food business around this time. Daniel welcomed and served the guests, while Sylvie prepared the dishes in their little cafe.


Daniel Grizzle and his late wife Sylvie at Charela Inn in the 1980s

A graduate of one of the UK’s top agricultural schools, the Warwickshire School of Agriculture, Daniel used the premium he earned from farming to buy Charela Inn in 1980. He expanded the property by ten rooms. beachfront to include 49 additional bedrooms, maintaining the character of the original Spanish-style hacienda and distance from the sea.

Known as a mainstay of the Jamaican tourism industry, playing many leadership roles, most notably as president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce in 2018, he was recently awarded the Order of Distinction, which is awarded to those who have rendered exceptional service to Jamaica. This is one of the highest commissions one can receive as a Jamaican national.

A central and spherical freshwater swimming pool, surrounded by a lush tropical garden.

A central and spherical freshwater swimming pool, surrounded by a lush tropical garden.

What prompted you to enter the tourism industry?
When I met my wife, she told me that she wanted to share her love of French cuisine with the world, so we decided to move. We moved to Negril and opened our first cafe called Café au Lait which was a game of our two nationalities and our travels. Me being of African origin (Café) and she was white (Milk) from France. Then Charela Inn became available and we jumped on the purchase because it was a beachfront property that we could build on.

How long have you been in the hotel business?
I have been in the hospitality industry for almost four decades. We opened the Negril Delicatessen in 1975 for a year, then we bought the Mirage Resort and then opened the Café au Lait. In 1980, we bought Charela Inn from the Mucklows and opened Le Vendôme restaurant.

Prior to that however, I bought Cocoa Farm in 1974. It is in my home parish of Hanover, comprising 172 acres. It supplies fresh produce and livestock for the other properties. This was the foundation of the business and enabled me to purchase Charela Inn and Mirage Resort.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of a lot of things! My ability to speak on behalf of my community about preserving Jamaica’s beaches and helping those less fortunate. The pandemic has affected us all including the tourism industry and we have been fortunate to be able to stay open even during the lockdown and keep our longtime staff. We appreciate the goodwill of our customers, some of whom have sent money to support our longtime staff in these uncertain times. We also just won the Best Beachfront Luxury Hotel award by Luxury Travel Guide.

In addition, I am proud that Charela Inn offers disabled accommodation as well as a fusion of global flavors on our menu. There is something for everyone at the house restaurant Le Vendôme and if you are staying at the Charela Inn.


When all is said and done, what do you want to be remembered for?
I wanted to be remembered as a father. We treat our guests as if they were family. And when I opened the hostel and bought Mirage, I thought about the benefits it could bring to my family and extended family. My daughters Sophie Grizzle Roumel and Charmaine Bowen and my grandchildren Dominic and Camille will all inherit the two hotel properties.

What can Jamaican nationals expect from an experience of staying at the Charela Inn or dining at the Vendome?
We have an international touch, but we want you to always feel in Jamaica. So we have Jamaican dishes on the menu like Ackee and Saltish, Snapper and Fried Dumplings. Everything here is made from scratch, including the pastries and desserts, and we use most of the farm ingredients. Almost 100%, well 97%, of our total staff, are vaccinated against Covid and we have outdoor and socially distant meals under the stars of Negril.

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