How do you retell a tale that started several hundred years ago, draws together the best of this island, and that’s also a story of success today and a vision for tomorrow? And how do you do this at every scale, ranging from developing new services and amenities (and renaming several of them); building a new website that better reflects the breadth of what we have to offer; to creating a new logo, typeface and colour scheme?
That was the the size of the challenge facing us as a few months ago as we set out to rebrand Dominica’s best known heritage hotel. It’s been quite a journey, and one that has reminded us how proud we are of the Fort Young’s key place on this island. And this is why today, as we officially launch our new brand, we’d like to share a few of the highlights with you.
Building on our unique heritage
To start with, we’ve always been lucky enough to have a restaurant and bar with the best sunset views of the ocean from their terraces. At the heart of this relaunch was a commitment to protect these wonderful treasures, while also making the most of them so that our friends and guests could really appreciate what they have to offer. Because as well as the food and the views, these two establishments embody our history, built into the very walls that once protected the fort, its inhabitants and the island from invasion.
We have renamed the Waterfront restaurant the Palisades – the old French word for the original wooden fortifications that stood where our walls now do. And downstairs, the Boardwalk bar is now Warners – named in honour of Thomas ‘Indian’ Warner, the son of an English colonialist and a Carib woman; and who as governor of Dominica from 1664 defended our island against the French and English throughout his time in charge.
We’ve done much more than just change their names. We’ve kept all that everyone loves about these terraces, while bringing them both right up to date by completely refreshing the decor throughout. We’ve enhanced the menus upstairs and downstairs with new mouthwatering dishes. And we’ve launched some weekly events so everyone can share in what these two places have to offer – on Mondays we’ve now a Caribbean buffet, we chill it down on with Unwine Wednesday for a grill and mellow entertainment, while Friday is all about Cocktails and Conversations.
Unfolding extraordinary paths
Furthermore, if you wander up and around the fort’s passages through the hotel, you’ll keep on discovering the many ways our new brand reflects our island’s story. You can ease your cares away at the waterfront spa, now named Zemi – after the nature spirits and idols that were worshipped by the pre-Colombian peoples of Dominica. The gym is now The Compass – because so many guests tell us how they love working out while fixing their gaze on the vast sea view from its windows. And if you’re with us for business, you might consider the significance of gathering company and clients in our main meeting room – which also happens to be the largest on the island. It’s now called the Vault – not only because of its exclusivity and privacy, but also because this is the room where the Fort’s gunpowder was once stored.
Throughout the process of rebranding, we have endeavoured to reflect how the Fort Young has always been at the centre of island life for business, leisure and adventure. It’s a tradition that continues thrilling our guests today, whether they are dropping by for a cocktail after work; flying in family and friends for a wedding overlooking the ocean; making the most of our unparalleled access to both the reefs and the rainforest; or simply escaping the rat race for a few days of pampering by the sea.
After all, where can you dive or whale watch from the hotel’s own jetty in the morning; take a drive into the rainforest with the in-house activity team after lunch; and still be back in time to watch the sun set with a cocktail at the bar?
The answer is right here. At the Fort Young. ‘The Key to Dominica’.