Sandals is a Caribbean resort company that has a large empire consisting of resorts and resorts within resorts. In the last few years, Sandals has added two more resorts to its portfolio, the sister resorts of Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Ocho Rios. Sandals has a total of 78 resorts in 12 countries and territories in the Caribbean, as well as in Mexico. In 2015, Sandals expanded to Jamaica with the opening of The Pigeon Hole, a small eco-friendly resort in Montego Bay. When the original Montego Bay resort opened in 2002, it joined a long list of Caribbean resorts owned by Sandals. In 2016, the resort was rebranded as Sandals Montego Bay East. It
Sandals Resorts has recently announced plans to create another 14 new resorts, which will bring the total number of resorts to 70, over the next five years. The announcement was made with the release of the Resort Performance Report 2016-2017. The report shows that Sandals Resorts is the largest resort operator in Jamaica in terms of total available rooms, with an occupancy rate in the first three quarters of 2017 of approximately 92%.
Sandals Resorts International’s (SRI) $230 million project to expand its major all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, announced on May 26 and made official with a ribbon cutting ceremony, is a strong signal of confidence in the country and in tourism in the Caribbean following the travel disruption caused by the pandemic. Adam Stewart, executive chairman of SRI, revealed details of the plan at a ceremony announcing the Sandals Dunn’s River project, which includes the redevelopment of the Sandals Dunn’s River resort and construction of the adjacent Sandals Royal Dunn’s River resort. ADVERTISEMENT Current trend Stewart said SRI is also working on a $250 million renovation of the new Beaches Runaway Bay resort in Ocho Rios. During the ceremony, he described the large-scale resort initiative as a commitment to his country’s broader expansion plans [SRI]. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, added that the SRI has been a major player in the tourism sector in Jamaica for many years and we are pleased that it is strengthening its presence there. Bartlett added: The purchase and development of three new [SRI] facilities in Ocho Rios is another example of the significant investments we are seeing in Jamaica that will improve our tourism infrastructure, expand our offerings and ultimately create jobs for our employees. Stewart said IRS officials are counting on the Caribbean’s natural beauty and attractive culture to attract visitors in the wake of the pandemic. He noted that SRI did not stop its national television advertising as the pandemic progressed. It illustrates the trust that we as a family have always had in the Caribbean, he said in an interview Wednesday. When Sandals shows such confidence, it sends a very strong signal to investors in the region. He said the Jamaica project will create 2,100 jobs for the construction of Sandals Dunn’s River and 1,300 permanent jobs at the hotel. Sandals was the first chain to reopen in Jamaica and the Caribbean on almost every island where we have hotels, with the exception of the Bahamas, Stewart says. We’ve gotten more employees back to work and brought more travelers to the Caribbean than any other travel company, he said. Sandals will spend $230 million to renovate the Sandals Dunn’s River resort. (Provided by Sandals Resorts International) We bought a hotel in Dunns River for $30 million, and a total of $230 million worth of facilities are being built there. That gives you an idea of the transformation we’re looking at, Stewart said. With Sandals Dunn River and Sandals Royal Dunn River nearby, there is nothing comparable in Jamaica. We’re back to take things to the next level. At the same time, SRI is expanding its presence in the Caribbean islands. We are in the midst of a $37 million renovation of the Sandals Royal Bahamian Hotel in Nassau, Stewart said. In two weeks we will begin construction on Curaçao, scheduled to open in 2022, and immediately after that we will begin construction on St. Vincent, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2023, Stewart said. With the three hotels in Jamaica, the Royal Bahamian, Curaçao and St. Vincent, the company is developing six hotels simultaneously. Stewart said future booking trends show that not only will 2022 be a strong year in terms of growth in Caribbean visitors, but that autumn bookings, traditionally weak for generations, will be stronger in 2021 than at any time in his company’s history. Beaches Runaway Bay hotel lobby. (Photo: Sandals Resorts) We grew up in a generation of people who liked to travel, Stewart said. There were many good and bad things about COVID, but one of the good things was that it reminded us of the importance of travel, especially leisure travel. The death of his pioneering father earlier this year did not end their shared vision, Stewart said. Even when my dad was with us, we were making decisions about how to proceed. Instead of closing, we used this time to rethink everything and think about what the next generation of Sandals resorts will look like. He added: My dad would smile today, because that was part of the time we worked together during the pandemic [and] thought about this station and what we were going to do.