Although the once grand Hyatt Regency hotel is now literally a shell of its former glory, many who have lived on the island over the past 30 years will remember the brunches they enjoyed there, or weddings on its pristine lawns.
There were the lions standing sentinel at the infinity pool behind the main lobby, and James “Sunny Jim” White could often be found strumming his guitar and singing outside the Garden Loggia restaurant, or across the road in Hemingways.
“The Firm,” starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman and Jeanne Tripplehorn, was partially filmed at the Hyatt, with none other than legendary producer Jerry Weintraub ordering a drink in a scene from one of the resident extras who featured in the blockbuster movie.
Some may even remember sightings of the curly-haired Brian May of Queen fame, as he casually enjoyed breakfast one Sunday.
Now, 30 years on, the building may be all but gone, but the memories live on in the people who used to work there. They are gathering for a staff reunion from July 23-29, with activities and dinners planned by the organizers for everyone attending.
Some of the staff, such as Alvin Sluchinski, decided to remain on the island and seek different careers, yet the majority flew off to parts known and unknown after their stints at the Hyatt. A number are returning for the reunion, including the general manager from 1995-2001, Doug Sears.
Organizer Rhonda Wolfe has been thrilled and overwhelmed with the response from past staff members living in the furthest corners of the globe, who have booked their tickets to return. “It was just a great time at the Hyatt back in those days,” she said. “And then [Hurricane] Ivan happened and people were scattered to the four winds, but they still stayed in touch. When I saw that it would have been the 30 year anniversary of the resort this year, I figured that was a good excuse to see if people were interested in a reunion.
“The response was instant and amazing, and we’ve now got about 100 people flying in for it!”
Anyone who was friends with Hyatt staff members, has great memories of the resort, or used to work there, is welcome to join in any of the activities scheduled for that week. Don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces around the island at the end of the month.
For more information, contact Rhonda Wolfe at [email protected]