The Evolution of Rosalie from Bananas to Hospitality

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Rosalie Bay Resort

Villa Apartments at the Rosalie Bay Resort

Changes from one industry or from one economy to another happen all the time around the world. For us in Dominica, many people still see us as a purely agricultural economy and do not think we have really tapped into the service sectors. The Rosalie Estate story is a perfect example of how simple village folks transitioned from growing, carrying and selling bananas to serving exotic dishes on banana leaves to celebrities at a luxurious hotel.

As way back as some of us can remember, the Rosalie Boxing Plant was the centre of activity in the South East of Dominica. The Plant provided a reception depot for banana farmers, a distribution point for fertilizer and supplies and an overall trading spot for farmers. This was where “living the life” began in the South East. The Rosalie Estate and neighbouring estates/plantations employed hundreds of villagers from the surrounding villages and the Plant itself provided employment to many more. To many, these were the dream jobs which sent their children to school and paid mortgages, vehicles and general livelihood. Many workers on the estate subsequently owned portions of land at Rosalie and used it for both farming and residency.

rosalie boxing plant

The Rosalie Boxing Plant a Few Years Ago

A few years ago, several acres of the Rosalie Estate were sold by the then managing principal of the estate, Mr. Conrad Cyrus. Mr. Cyrus, who has since passed on, will never know the magnitude of investment which was made in the current Rosalie Bay Hotel, which opened just over a year ago. Many Dominicans have benefited from various work contracts prior to the beginning of operations and many more are still contracted as horticulturists to provide local produce, for hunting marine or wild life, management of a turtle conservation program and of course the many full time employees at the hotel. The twenty-eight room hotel is supported by a modern gym, swimming pool, restaurant and conference centre.

The Rosalie Bay is filled with history, culture and productivity. All of these come together and is presented in a story to the guests who have come from all over the world to this unique Island sometimes described as being untouched. The hotel has hosted and been the location for Chef Nathan Lyon and his team who filmed portions of their new season television cooking show. More recently, an entire crew of AVON Cosmetics was hosted with their models to prepare and photo shoot the launch of their new product “Nature”. In November 2011, Sir Richard Branson, of Virgin Atlantic posted a blog about his visit to Dominica. That same week, a photo was posted on Facebook by Rosalie Bay Hotel asking fans to guess the name of the guest who was hosted at the hotel – a resounding number of responses identified the guest as Sir Richard Branson. While some farmers in the Rosalie area are still focused on bananas or agriculture, the new conference centre of the hotel stands majestically on the original foundation of the boxing plant to provide excellent service to the next group meeting.

2 Responses to The Evolution of Rosalie from Bananas to Hospitality
  1. Intersting article but the following sentence may not been seen by some as positive evolution and may be a little patronising to the villagers.
    “simple village folks transitioned from growing, carrying and selling bananas to serving exotic dishes on banana leaves to celebrities at a luxurious hotel.”
    A transition from running your own farming business and supporting your family from the land to serving celebrities.

    • Many thanks Celia for this great comment. One of the good things about the change is not only that many people are now employed in the area but several others are suppliers to the hotel from thier farms, fishing and hunting. There are still farmers in the area growing bananas for a living and selling directly to the trade entities on the island.


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