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Thursday, February 22, 2024


July 24, 2001 – One of recently departed Ritz-Carlton general manager Carter Donovan's vivid memories of her tenure on St. Thomas is of an all-day power outage over the Memorial Day weekend in 1999 when Sinbad and his thousands of Soul Music Festival followers were on island.
Donovan recalls that incident in a story that dominates the front page of the features section of Sunday's Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, the daily print newspaper in the community that she will now be calling home as general manager of the new Ritz-Carlton hotel set to open there in November.
The power outage "had also knocked out the water supply at the resort," the story states. "There wouldn't be any showering, and primping would have to be minimal in a hotel without electricity in the sweltering tropics." (Sarasota, it should be noted, often has higher temperatures and invariably has higher humidity than St. Thomas at the end of May.)
According to the newspaper account, Donovan said that the hotel's response was to pass out bottles of water. "Now you can say you've washed your hair in Evian," she is quoted as having told guests.
And, the story states, she sent this memo to the Ritz-Carlton corporate office in Atlanta: "Just need to let you know, we have a little problem. Toto, we ain't in Kansas anymore. — Dorothy."
Despite the occasional day from Oz, however, Donovan's overall memories of St. Thomas are full of appreciation, the report states. She said that leaving her staff of 360 on the island was difficult because of professional and personal friendships, and that the employees there — like those at hotels she had served previously — "have given me great confidence and taught me to be a great leader. They developed me into who I am today so that I actually got this opportunity in Sarasota."
That opportunity is one that will grow and grow: She will oversee the opening of the new 18-story, 269-room, $130 million hotel with condominiums on its upper floors this fall. And then a new Ritz-Carlton beach club and spa which are to open in 2002. And after that, the all-condo Tower Residences high rise adjacent to the hotel, which is to open in 2003.
The article also noted that Donovan and her husband of five years, Kevin Donovan, recently returned to the Virgin Islands to renew their marriage vows aboard a 44-foot catamaran with friends and family members who had attended their wedding.

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