“We really didn’t know what we were buying except that there was a fantastic beach.”
That was in 1981, and the quote appears in the 2006 book, “It’s All Right: The Story of Butch Stewart, the Man Behind the Sandals Resorts”.
The quote refers to the purchase of the Bay Roc Hotel and its “fantastic beach” near the Montego Bay airport. Butch Stewart renovated, rebuilt and reopened the property in 1981 as Sandals Montego Bay, the first of the Sandals brand and the first all-inclusive resort for couples in Jamaica.
And with that, Sandals Resorts International was born.
Stewart, the founder of Sandals, learned at the time that a couples-only resort would only last two months.
This resort remains the flagship of a Sandals portfolio that includes 19 resorts across seven islands (15 Sandals resorts across six islands, three Beaches resorts across two islands, and Fowl Cay in the Bahamas). Others are in preparation.
“Our 40th anniversary this year is a milestone,” said Adam Stewart, son of Butch Stewart, who was named executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International after his father’s death on Jan. 4. “My dad had a vision for what he believed in. He put Sandals on the world stage. He took his idea and developed it, and it turned into hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the industry. understood.
“Dad has taught us a lot about finding the best real estate, how to build to the highest standards and customers will come.”
To mark this milestone anniversary, Sandals is launching a multi-level campaign for consumers, advisors and the travel industry.
Sandals celebrates its 40th anniversary
Butch Stewart Hotel School is coming
To honor the late founder of Sandals, Butch Stewart, and his long-standing belief in the power of education and the potential of the peoples of the Caribbean, Sandals announced the construction of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism on the West Campus of the University of the West Indies in Montego Bay in collaboration with the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Management at Florida International University in Miami.
The research-led facility will develop the next generation of Caribbean tourism and hospitality leaders and provide its students with educational opportunities beyond the classroom. “My dad believed in experiential learning, in ‘on-the-job training’ as he often said,” said Adam Stewart, executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International.
“As a successful entrepreneur and longtime dreamer, he knew that success springs beyond the boardroom and rather lies in the moments of exploration and discovery. It is this motivation that will inspire the program. world-class, putting students in real-world experiences as part of their development. “
The new school will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees and complement Sandals Corporate University, which provides members of the Caribbean-based Sandals team with opportunities to enhance and develop their professional skills and earn diplomas.
“When we invest in the people of the Caribbean, we are investing in the future of the region,” said Stewart.
Promotion for the benefit of Caribbean communities
Sandals is also launching a “40 for 40” promotion to benefit local communities.
Sandals Resorts International, in collaboration with the Sandals Foundation, the non-profit association launched in 2009, identifies 40 projects that highlight the link between tourism and its power to transform Caribbean communities and improve lives.
Stewart said the link between tourism and the well-being of the communities where Sandals operates was “undeniable”.
Other projects fill the calendar during the anniversary year.
“We are in the process of activating the juice. We now have our Lady Sandals yacht touring cities along the US coasts with receptions for our travel advisors. We will be hosting celebrations at the resort for our guests,” he said. said Stewart.
“The 40th anniversary is the celebration of a story of trust and love for this region, the communities, our guests, our staff, our people,” he said, citing the vacation insurance program as an example. from Sandals, which guarantees free replacement vacations. , including air travel, for customers impacted by travel disruptions linked to Covid-19.
A project covering not only the anniversary year, but the next three years, will involve all properties in the Sandals and Beaches portfolio.
“We are transforming our existing resorts, taking them each to the highest level one at a time, and our new Sandals Curacao, which will open next April, and Beaches St. Vincent in Q1 2023 will be on top with designs, restaurants, activities never seen before. Our guests will be blown away, ”said Stewart.
More than 500 St. Vincent nationals were sent to other Sandals and Beaches resorts to train and prepare for the opening. “They will come back qualified and ready to take on positions that will include leadership positions,” said Stewart.
Work continues on the multi-million dollar renovation of the Sandals Royal Bahamian, scheduled to open in January, and the three new resorts in Jamaica, slated for 2023.
“After 40 years, Sandals is a force to be reckoned with, and we will continue to surpass ourselves, with my father’s DNA in everything we touch.”