March 18 2011
Gordon Campbell Gray
My Scottish presbyterian blood makes me feel better today because I have worked quite hard. After my early morning swim and usual super-healthy breakfast, I forsook the temptation to go sailing or sit under a palm tree and read my book, and set off on a day of meetings.
First, a tour of the gardens of Carlisle Bay with the head gardener, and I must say this is always magical because I remember when the containers of plants and trees arrived from Florida and the excitement of planning the landscaping. We had the best time picking everything in the nurseries near Palm Beach, and to think of how the gardens look now, the magic formula of tropical sun and water – such a contrast to creating a garden in England or Scotland.
I then had a meeting with the head chef, who used to be at One Aldwych and has really settled into life on the island. We work with a lot of local farmers who grow especially for us, which is very much part of our sense of working with the community.
Next on the schedule was a tour of the property with the general manager Jonathan Reynolds who has also settled well on the island with his wife and young children. One of the main reasons for coming down on this trip was to check the position of the new swimming pool which we want to be for adults only. I am totally into swimming pools – the purple glass one on the roof at Le Gray in Beirut being quite dramatic and sexy. I think at Carlisle Bay I see the pool in crushed wild raspberry right by the beach – we shall see.
My assistant Oliver Naufal is travelling with me on this trip. Emails keep flying in and sometimes I feel as though I am a reservations office. With communication being as immediate as it is, it would be impossible for me to handle all of this on my own.
Tomorrow will be another exciting day because we are off to Grenada to look at the site for our new hotel there.