Southern Cross Club General Manager Jennifer Mills took home the Stingray Award for Accommodations Manager of the Year during a ceremony hosted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) at the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Ms. Mills was competing in a field that included the managers of the Kimpton Seafire, the Ritz Carlton and other large hotels in Grand Cayman.
“I was delighted to find out that I had been nominated for the award this year, but I was really thrilled when I found out I had actually won, it was a huge surprise!” she said. “CITA brings together a select group of very distinguished people from the industry so to be recognized in this way by one’s peers makes one feel very privileged.”
The annual Stingray Awards ceremony aims to recognize and reward the people who help make Cayman’s tourism product among the best in the Caribbean. Hand blown glass Stingrays are given to the winners in 12 categories from restaurant and hotel managers, to water sports employees and rising stars in the industry.
Jennifer Mills is one member of the Southern Cross Club’s award-winning management team. At last year’s Stingray Awards resort owner Peter Hillenbrand received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Cayman tourism, and in January, Administrations Manager Neil van Niekerk was named an “Emerging Hero in Tourism” by the Cayman Islands government. The resort’s Fernando Yorke won “Employee of the Year” at the Stingray Awards in 2015.
The resort is known for top-notch customer service, excellent cuisine and its “barefoot elegance” island experience, and it consistently racks up accolades. In its Traveler’s Choice Awards last year, TripAdvisor, the online travel site, named the Southern Cross Club to its top 25 in the Caribbean in two categories based on customer reviews: Best Hotel for Service and Best for Romance. The resort has also consistently earned TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence.” This recognition is a source of pride for those who are behind the Southern Cross Club’s success.
“I am very proud of what has been achieved at Southern Cross Club in the fourteen years I have been part of the Team and extremely proud of the accomplishments since I became the General Manager in 2009,” says Jennifer Mills. “The resort has matured and developed a great deal in the past eight years and we have managed to consistently upgrade and improve whilst maintaining the charm of the resort, which is no easy feat. We seem to go from strength to strength and this is down to the hard work and dedication of the whole Team at the resort. I am extremely gratified by the resort’s successes and with where we stand today in terms of the product we offer.”
Resort owner Peter Hillenbrand, who bought a run-down property 22 years ago and with a personal touch turned it into one of Cayman’s most popular small resorts, is pleased and confident with Jennifer Mills at the helm.
“There is little that makes one realize how far you have come in your profession than being recognized by your peers for your abilities and accomplishments,” he said. “Jennifer Mills being awarded the CITA Stingray Award for Manager of the Year in the Cayman Islands is exactly this kind of recognition. We are all incredibly honored to be working with an intellect and talent like Jen, and look forward to the many wonders she will conjure up at the Southern Cross Club in the future.”
About the Southern Cross Club
The casually sophisticated Southern Cross Club Fish & Dive Resort is Little Cayman’s original resort. It features 14 beachfront bungalows complete with a top-rated, professional in-house diving and fishing operation. A unique blend of rusticity and elegance the resort is often described as “Barefoot Luxury”. Little Cayman is renowned for its breath-taking coral reefs and pristine environment, and the Green Globe certified Southern Cross Club sets sustainability standards to protect it. The resort was awarded the 2013 Cayman Islands Tourism Association CEPTS Stingray Award for its exceptionally good stewardship of the environment and its ongoing commitment to preserving it. Guests to the Southern Cross Club can expect friendly and diligent service, delicious award-winning food, inviting rooms with breath-taking views and a comfortable dive boat ― a few of the things that bring them back year after year. The resort’s beach-based location also provides flats fisherman with access to Bonefish and Permit just minutes away.