By Melanie Reffes
Special To NAN

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Nov. 20, 2013: It’s been a banner year for the popular Caribbean-owned Sandals and Beaches Resorts. With three new properties opening on two other Caribbean islands and renovations underway at existing resorts region-wide, 2014 is looking even brighter.

Enjoying breakfast with reporters at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City, Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart and his son CEO Adam Stewart were ecstatic as they shared details of the expansion of the resorts portfolio in the Caribbean.

Sandals CEO Adam Stewart and Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart at the NYC press conference. (Photo credit: G. Myers)
“We are delighted to announce the opening of, not one, but two of our first-ever resorts in the wonderful country of Barbados,” said “Butch” Stewart, the pioneer of the all-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean.

The former Couples Resort in St. Lawrence, Barbados recently re-opened as a Sandals Resort and the former Almond Beach Resort in St Peter, Barbados will re-open as a new Beaches Resort.

“We have been in discussions to bring our award-winning brands to this country for some time and are thrilled that negotiations have now been successfully concluded,” he added.

Beachfront with 280 rooms and suites, Sandals Barbados is open and undergoing enhancements to further ‘Sandalize’ the property including changes to the design, resort-wide Wi-Fi and the addition of seven restaurants, including an Indian restaurant, which will be a Sandals first.

To sweeten the pot, weddings are free when honeymoon stays are booked and round-trip airport transfers are included.

“It is an exciting time for Barbados and its people not to mention those looking for the best vacation experience imaginable,” added Adam Stewart, CEO. “The best days of Barbadian tourism lie ahead.”

With resorts in Antigua, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia and soon in Grenada, the largest resort company in the Caribbean prefers to keep it in the family.
“We could get bought out tomorrow or get listed on the stock exchange but we’ve decided to remain a private company that dreams big and continues to be the innovators and pioneers of the all-inclusive business,” Chairman Stewart added.

Predicting double-digit growth next year with an added spike in weddings and honeymoons, “Butch” Stewart remains faithful to travel agents, adding: “They are our core business partners, always have been and on my watch they always will be.”
Sandals in the Spice Isle

Sandals Grenada plunge pool.
And Barbados is not alone. Sandals LaSource Grenada is slated to open on December 12th. It sits pretty on seventeen acres along Pink Gin Beach, close to the Maurice Bishop International Airport.

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser , the swishy resort comes with eight restaurants including ‘Butch’s’ Chophouse; the brand’s first steakhouse, modern fitness center, Japanese soaking tubs in every room, swim-up suites on the first floor, spectacular sea views from the center of the resort and a divine menu of massages at the Red Lane Spa.

Built in three themed villages, the resort is offering 225 rooms and suites including 125 brand new ones.

“Every bedroom was gutted , modernized and elevators were installed for those who staying on the upper floors,” revealed “Butch” Stewart. “We have never seen a hotel pre-opening sell the way the resort in Grenada has and so far, the month of February is nearly sold out.”

From New York’s JFK airport, Delta and MLT Vacations added weekly non-stop flights starting on January 4 with packages that include resort stays and car rentals.

More Milestones

Meanwhile, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Key West Village at Beaches is the newest addition to the flagship resort and includes the opening of the Southern Comfort restaurant; one of nineteen spread across the beachfront property.

Also new are the SkySlide at Pirates Island Waterpark, butler cabanas circling the pool of the French Village, golf cart transfer service and the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch.

In Jamaica, Sandals Negril will get a facelift for newer contemporary design, roomy patios to the walkout rooms on the ground floor and French balconies on the second and third floors.

At Beaches Ocho Rios, $30 million dollar renovation bought upgrades to the four Villages as well as additional restaurants and an enhanced program for kids.
In Nassau, Sandals Royal Bahamian is in the midst of multi-million dollar renovation of the Windsor building with completion slated for January. Swim-up suites, Zen Garden and a river pool on the ground floor will be added.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Melanie Reffes is an award-winning travel journalist based in Montreal, Canada who specializes in sunnier climes. Her Caribbean coverage has appeared in newspapers and magazines including Dreamscapes, Miami Herald, Caribbean Connection and Canadian Traveller. She is a contributing writer for many island-based magazines including Experience St. Maarten, Experience Bermuda, Nights St. Maarten, Nights Aruba, Nights Curacao, Destination St. Maarten and Destination St. Kitts/Nevis. She can be reached at me***********@ja****.com.

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