Tue | Apr 16, 2024

Sandals Dunn’s River – A celebration of legacy and luxury

Published:Sunday | May 21, 2023 | 6:56 AMJanet Silvera - Senior Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) shares lens with Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines (left), and Adam Stewart, executive chairman, Sandals Resorts International.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) shares lens with Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines (left), and Adam Stewart, executive chairman, Sandals Resorts International.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre); Opposition Leader Mark Golding (fourth left) and Adam Stewart (fifth right), executive chairman, Sandals Resorts International, during the Sandals Dunn’s River ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday in St Ann. Also in
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre); Opposition Leader Mark Golding (fourth left) and Adam Stewart (fifth right), executive chairman, Sandals Resorts International, during the Sandals Dunn’s River ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday in St Ann. Also in the photo (from left): Deryk Meany, general manager, Sandals Dunn’s River; Gebhard Rainer, group chief executive officer, Sandals Resorts; Nigel Clarke, minister of finance; Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines; Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism; Karl Samuda, minister of labour and social security, and Marsha Smith, state minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
Cathy Decker (left) shares lens with Amanda Vaz-Crooks.
Cathy Decker (left) shares lens with Amanda Vaz-Crooks.
From left: Shawn DaCosta, chief operating officer, Sandals Resorts International; Deryk Meany, general manager, Sandals Dunn’s River; Rachel McLarty, corporate director, Sandals Resorts International, and Jordan Samuda, chief administrative officer at Sa
From left: Shawn DaCosta, chief operating officer, Sandals Resorts International; Deryk Meany, general manager, Sandals Dunn’s River; Rachel McLarty, corporate director, Sandals Resorts International, and Jordan Samuda, chief administrative officer at Sandals Resorts International.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Sandals 2:0, the reimagined tropical paradise, has emerged as a testament to the late tourism magnate Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart’s deep connection to Jamaica.

With a unique blend of elements, including signature hand crafted bean-to-bar Jamaican artisan chocolate to legendary views, Sandals unveiled its latest resort Sandals Dunn’s River Ocho Rios on Friday in St Ann.

The resort pays homage to the vision and legacy of Butch Stewart.

In May 2020, Butch Stewart made the decision to repurchase Sandals Dunn’s River Ocho Rios and the former Jamaica Jamaica (now Jewel Runaway Bay), marking a significant milestone.

“This hotel was emotional to my father,” said Adam Stewart, as he reminisced on the man he described as more than an icon. In fact, when the property opened as Arawak Hotel in 1957, Butch Stewart as a young man used to catch fish nearby and sell them to the hotel. “That was his way to earn money on the side and skip school,” said his son, who is now executive chairman for the chain of hotels.

Having grown up in St Ann, Butch Stewart had a personal connection to the area and the hotel. His emotional attachment, Stewart said, shaped his mind and thoughts, making Sandals Dunn’s River a vital part of his journey in the tourism industry.

Contrary to popular belief, the story and love for the sector did not begin with Sandals Montego Bay, but rather with Sandal’s Dunn’s River, Stewart revealed.

Over the course of the two years, more than 1,500 dedicated workers transformed Butch Stewart’s vision into reality. The Sandals Resorts International (SRI) team, now spanning 11 islands across the Caribbean, comprises 18,500 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals.

The reimagined Dunn’s River proudly stands as a testament to Butch Stewart’s gamble on himself 42 years ago. The resort boasts a workforce of 720 members, with 250 of them entering the hospitality industry for the first time, while 75 were promoted from other Sandals resorts.

“Every team member received extensive training totalling over 650 hours, ensuring that guests are treated to an unforgettable experience,” said Stewart.

Sandals Dunn’s River was officially unveiled by two Caribbean prime ministers, Andrew Holness of Jamaica and Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines; Jamaica’s tourism minister Edmund Bartlett; St Ann North Eastern Member of Parliament Marsha Smith; general manager Deryk Meany; and other dignitaries.

Gary Sadler, executive vice president of the chain, who climbed ladders to reach these heights, did a fantastic job as master of ceremonies.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com