Sandals Resorts International (SRI) affirmed its commitment to Jamaica during a special groundbreaking ceremony yesterday (May 26) attended by dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
The event celebrated the first phase of a US$230 million project, that will include Sandals Dunn’s River followed by Phase II of transforming the adjacent oceanfront land into Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, a commitment to the organization’s wider expansion plans in its home country.
Executive Chairman Adam Stewart told gathered officials that it was a “poignant and tremendously significant time” for Sandals Resorts.
Said Stewart: “This is an extraordinary day for Sandals Resorts and a moment of deep meaning for my family. We stand today nearby where my father grew up, a place that was close to his heart. As we embark on our strategic growth plans, we are proud to bring to life his vision through this incredible property. There will simply be nothing like it.”
Yesterday’s event follows last month’s announcement that SRI will transform two properties acquired last year plus a prime parcel of beachfront land into three distinct resorts in Ocho Rios.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett said: “As one of the most trusted hospitality brands in the world, Sandals has been one of the key players in Jamaica’s tourism sector for many years, and we are pleased they will be expanding their presence in the destination.”
The Minister of Tourism continued: “The acquisition and development of three new Sandals [Resorts International] properties in Ocho Rios is yet another example of the significant investments we are seeing in Jamaica that will enhance our tourism infrastructure, increase our offerings and ultimately job opportunities for our workers.”
Phase I development plans begin with the total transformation of Sandals Dunn’s River – which returns to the Sandals family under the same moniker as when it was originally added to the Sandals Resorts portfolio in 1990. SRI has targeted completion of the new Sandals Dunn’s River for fourth quarter 2022.
Phase II is the creation of sister-property Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, which will be adjacent and offer generous exchange privileges with a slated completion in 2023.
Stewart says the new Sandals Dunn’s River was the last project he and his late father collaborated on and is an homage to the natural beauty of their beloved Jamaica, with water pulled and circulated from natural reserves and the brand’s signature suites being a prominent feature.
He observes: “Jamaica means land of wood and water and in Ocho Rios, the sound of moving water from Dunn’s River and Roaring Waters River is part of the experience, an ethereal backdrop that is ever present and calming. This is the sound that will greet guests upon arrival.”
In addition to cascading waterfalls at the entrance, Sandals Dunn’s River will offer a total of 260 rooms including 48 signature SkyPool Suites, a first for Jamaica, which will feature a private cantilevered, solar-heated plunge pool with infinity edge. 12 Swim-up Rondoval™ Suites with many featuring a “Rooftop Terrace” will also grace the property – both signature Love Nest Butler Suites® for the ultimate in privacy and service; 10 restaurants including a specialty rum bar inside the brand’s newest Latin Fusion restaurant concept Azuka and 9 bars; 7 pools including 2 river pools and Red Lane® Spa.
Stewart explains: “When this resort became available, my father and I jumped at the chance to reclaim it and bring it back into the fold where it belongs. Although he cannot be with us to see its ultimate transformation, he always will be a part of everything we do. His fingerprints are on this project and he fully embraced our plans to set a new standard of luxury in Jamaica. “All that will come next on our incredible slices of Jamaica beachfronts, will be in tribute to him and because of him.” I cannot fully express how sincerely thrilled we are to begin this work here at home.”
In addition to the US$230 million development of Sandals Dunn’s River and Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, the resort company is also planning an over $250 USD million renovation of its third new location in Ocho Rios, Beaches Runaway Bay Resort, the third family-friendly Beaches Resort in Jamaica.
At its completion, the hotel will feature an estimated 400 expansive one, two, three and four-bedroom suites, designed with extended families in mind. Guests of Beaches Runaway Bay also have access to Runaway Bay Golf Club and its par-72, 18-hole championship golf course.
In the photos
1 – Sandals Resorts International’s Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, CD, and Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP, surveying plans for the future Sandals Dunn’s River and Sandals Royal Dunn’s River resorts.
2 – Pictured from left to right: SRI Chief Executive Officer, Gebhard Rainer; SRI Chief Operations Officer, Shawn DaCosta; SRI Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, CD; Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP; Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, CD, MP; Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Public Service, and Member of Parliament for North East, St Ann, Hon. Marsha Smith; Minister of Labour & Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, CD, MP.
3 – Aerial views of the future Sandals Dunn’s River featuring 48 signature SkyPool Suites, a first for Jamaica, and adjacent sister property, Sandals Royal Dunn’s River.
4 – A peek inside the cutting-edge design at Sandals Dunn’s River, which will boast 12 Swim-up Rondoval Suites with many featuring luxurious rooftop terraces – the first of their kind
5 – The arrival lobby of Beaches Runaway Bay, where the magic of the wood and water will transport families into a new standard of luxury in Jamaica.