June 29, 2004 Rik Blyth is new to Caneel Bay Resort's top job, but not to the Virgin Islands. He served two stints at the Wyndham Resort in St. Thomas before taking over as Caneel's general manager from Brian Young last week.
Blyth said his Virgin Islands time helps him better understand the culture.
"I have an overall love of the Virgin Islands," he said.
Blyth, 46, was born in Lake Geneva, Wis. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin's hotel and restaurant school, he started his career with the Hyatt chain in Seattle. Ten years later, he joined Wyndham, working in Jamaica, St. Thomas and San Juan. After his last stint with Wyndham, which ended in 2003, he opened a spa business in St. Thomas.
The Blyth family will live at Caneel Bay. His wife, Shelley, and two sons will make the move in August. Chris, 15, will attend The Coral Bay School, and Alex, 12, will remain at Antilles School.
Blyth said this was a great time to join Caneel.
He cited an upswing in tourism, Caneel's new ownership and Young moving up the Rosewood Resort's corporate ladder as reasons he will enjoy his new job.
"He'll be an advocate for Caneel," Blyth said of Young.
CBI Acquisitions bought the 166-room hotel from Deutsche Bank in mid-May. The price was not disclosed. Rosewood continues as the management company.
No major changes are planned for the first year, but Young said the property will get a general sprucing up.
Young will now serve as Rosewood's operations vice president. He'll be based at the corporate headquarters in Dallas.
He started his career with Rosewood five years ago when he took over from Luis Argote as Caneel's manager.
Young, 49, spoke about the friends he's made while in St. John.
"We've been part of the larger St. John family," he said of his wife and two children.
He may be best known in the community for expanding the annual Sprauve School Gala fundraisers.
The Youngs own land in Bordeaux, where they plan to build a house.
He said he'd make frequent trips back to St. John as part of his new job.
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