Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Scotch & Byron
Scotch and Byron are the owners of the new bed & breakfast that has opened, Casa New Yorker. They have been here several months getting things together. Now that they are officially opened I thought it would be great for the community to get to know them better. Check out the interview below:
Monaga: First, tell me a little about yourselves?
Scotch: I am originally from Orlando, FL, but have lived in 10 states throughout my life. The last eight years in the New York City area. I have always been a travel lover, having visited more than 25 countries around the world (still many more to go!!!). My mom calls me the "Happy Wanderer". It seemed that I was finally settling down in NY, having worked the last 5 years at American Express and buying an apartment. But you never know... and here I am in Santo Domingo!
Byron: I'm originally from South Carolina. I graduated the University of South Carolina with a degree in Political Science. After moving to New York, I graduated the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. I worked in the public relations divisions at OUT Magazine and Hugo Boss for a few years. As a freelance writer, I have covered Fashion Week, the Academy Awards, and various other events. Most recently I was the Senior Account Executive for a PR firm in Midtown.
Monaga: How long have you been together?
Scotch: Just under a year and a half. I met him at the Eagle, which is funny, because I hardly ever went there. Didn't like the kind of guys that went there. Ha!!!
Byron: We met Labor Day Weekend 2004 at The Eagle in NYC. I was with a guy and Scotch gave me his number. We met for dinner the next day and I moved in a month later.
Monaga: What made you decide at this point in your life you wanted to open a B&B?
Scotch: I have always thought about doing this. But I always figured that it would be later in my life, like after I retire. But a friend of mine gave us some good advice about opening a B&B while we were on vacation in Costa Rica (he used to manage one there). We came back, did alot of research, and here we are!
Byron: I was over New York and the cold weather. I have always wanted to have a job in the Caribbean.
Monaga: Why did you choose the Dominican Republic?
Scotch: Neither Byron nor I had ever been here. But after coming back from Costa Rica, we thought that it would be a good idea to compare different countries. The DR had great weather, fairly low expenses and somewhat openminded society toward being gay.
Byron: The people and the weather are warm and inviting
Monaga: Tell me about Casa New Yorker?
Scotch: It's an art deco hotel right on the edge of the Colonial Zone (walking distance to everything in "the Zone"). At the present time, we have 6 rooms that are rentable and we are living in two additional rooms. Eventually, we plan on taking an apartment freeing up the other two rooms. There is one more small room that may be eventually rentable and the possibility of enclosing part of what is now our living room to make another room. We also have a cozy courtyard for eating our continental breakfast and a rooftop sundeck garden for taking in the rays.
Byron: Casual elegance has a new address in Santo Domingo. It's not the New York W Hotel... but we'll give you first class service. It's more like staying at a friends house than staying in a hotel. Comfortable and intimate.
Monaga: What do you think sets Casa New Yorker apart from other places to stay?
Scotch: Customer service. We noticed imediately that customer service was severely lacking in the Dominican Republic. We aim to do everything possible to make our guests stay a pleasant one.
Byron: I treat each guest as if they were a houseguest. It is my goal to make each guest as comfortable as possible. I want to make their DR experience as trouble free as possible.
Monaga: What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Scotch: There was alot of work to do with very little time to do it when we arrived here. We had to use alot of outside contractors and there timeframe was never as urgent. It drove me crazy!!! My patience was tested to the maximum.
Byron: I don't speak Spanish, so the language has been my greatest challenge. I start Spanish classes in a few weeks.
Monaga: Guys, thank you so much for your time and best of luck to you.
Scotch: And thank you, Anthony. We really appreciate all of the positive things that you have written and said in your blog and conversations. And good luck to you in your new endeavors.
Byron: Anthony, thank you so much. Your advice and knowledge about living here has been invaluable.