At Plantana, we are family. Whether you choose to spend some downtime in our section of paradise or show up each day to ensure others are comfortably settling in at the condo of their choice, there’s an undeniable sense of togetherness at Plantana.

One person who epitomizes this is Janine Walton.  Guests will tell you that she has been their ray of sunshine at Plantana since 2011, many of them so loyal that they cannot imagine anyone else handling their reservation.

Her journey in the tourism and hospitality field began around 45 years ago when she quit her job at a bank and embraced her true calling with the Jamaica Tourist Board.  She felt something was missing in her daily routine and headed off to do something that would make her smile every day up to nearly a half century later.

“Tourism is my life,” she says, recalling how her desire to bring joy to others saw her move to the Cayman Islands in 1986. That’s back when reservations were done by marking tape to a board without the technological advances of today’s world. She’s seen the industry grow over the years and fate brought her to Plantana.

“The only other thing I’d do is if I won the lotto, I’d tour the world,” she says smiling. “If you are doing this for all this time, you can’t do anything else. I’ve spent more than half my life working in the industry. I could not do anything else.”

Many guests at Plantana can fondly remember Janine’s warm welcome to their beach home away from home. Greeting them and having a casual chat is part of what makes each day special for her.

“Meeting people every day. Interacting with the guests and talking about everything. I will have guests who will come and sit with me in the office and they tell me every story in the world concerning them, and I’m happy to listen,” she says. “These guests have become my friends.”

It’s that down to earth personality that led the Cayman Islands Tourism Association to select Janine as one of its finalists for its Long Service Award at its recent 15th Annual Stingray Tourism Awards. “It was an honor and privilege to be recognized and considered for that,” she says.

Walking through the property’s lush gardens, Janine also pays tribute to her colleagues. “It’s wonderful to be at Plantana with amazing people. It is a fantastic team of people to work with,” she says, adding that she’s been blessed to have had the support of a “fantastic set” of owners.

There’s the old saying that all good things must come to an end and that’s true for Janine. She is set to retire in 2019. “I will miss it, but I will always be available to my Plantana family. I would never tell them no,” she says. “It’s been an awesome, satisfying career [where] you can meet people from different walks of life and different cultures.”

But then she also needs to dedicate some time to her other family – her son and grandchildren half a world away in Abu Dhabi. Plus, there’s that one calling other than greeting guests daily that will soak up some of her time. “If this is the chance in my lifetime to tour the world, I’m going to do just that.”

We aren’t quite ready to say farewell to Janine so we’re going to enjoy her presence and amiable personality in the months ahead. To Janine, we say thank you for brightening up our days with your sense of humor and genuine care and concern for others.   So, stop by the front office and say hi. We’re sure that would make her day.

 

LOCAL TIME