If you’re planning to Jamaica, the Appleton Estate Rum Tour is probably one of the attractions you’ve been told to visit.
The bad news? It’s temporarily closed for extensive upgrades and renovations. The good news? It will reopen in November bigger and better. In fact, the aim is to transform the facility into Jamaica’s number one attraction.
The design for the popular Appleton Estate Rum Tour, which won the Jamaican Institute of Architects Governor-General Award in 1989 for Best Commercial Project was created some 28 years ago, by famed local architect Clifton Yap.
He has been brought back by owners, J. Wray & Nephew Limited, to oversee the J$1 billion (US$7.8 million) renovation and upgrade of the facility’s visitor centre.
Once completed, it is expected to bring in in excess of 100,000 visitors annually.
It is also central to the Ministry of Tourism’s plan to tap into the US$23.7 billion that American travellers alone spend on gastro-tourism annually.
“The Appleton Estate Rum Tour is going to be the biggest part of our gastronomy arrangement for the south coast,” says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
For J. Wray & Nephew Limited Chairman Clement Lawrence, the investment is very significant for Jamaica. He says visitors will be pleased with the enhanced experience and will also appreciate that the heritage and spirit of the tour is still intact.
For his part, Yap said he had every confidence that the finished product would not only be well received, but would also be the centrepiece of tourism-related activities on the island’s southern coast.
The work, he said, includes the renovation of the existing property and surrounding landscape; the addition of modern rooms to facilitate the tasting of rum; an expansive retail store; and a restaurant and lounge, offering Appleton-infused Jamaican cuisine.
“The centerpieces of the restaurant will be an authentic Jamaican jerk pit,” Yap says, adding that “there will also be an impressive state-of-the-art bar, featuring both classic and modern rum cocktails.”