Sandals Marks 40th With Major Investments, New Initiatives

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its flagship brand for couples-only, Sandals Resorts.

Since it opened its doors in Montego Bay on Nov. 27, 1981, Sandals Resorts has delighted its guests, partnered with travel advisors, and helped build tourism throughout the Caribbean, where it is committed to developing hospitality excellence across the region, one of the most beloved and resilient tourism destinations in the world.

The luxury all-inclusive resort company is celebrating Sandals’ milestone anniversary by honoring the legacy of its founder, the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, shining a light on the impact of tourism on local Caribbean communities, turning the clock back with nostalgic fun planned across all Sandals all-inclusive resorts, and will continue with additional surprises to be unveiled throughout the year.

SRI Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart observed that: “This year marks an incredible milestone for Sandals Resorts, and it’s especially meaningful as we take this moment to honor what my father created and carry on his revered legacy across the Caribbean.”

Stewart continued: “Since the flagship opening in 1981 at Sandals Montego Bay, we have continued to elevate and lead the all-inclusive resort space.  More than that, we have demonstrated that some of the industry’s most exciting and lasting hospitality innovation is created in the Caribbean.  I’m proud to celebrate this milestone for our company alongside our Sandals family as we look to the next 40 years of inspired Caribbean vision and innovation.”

In honour of its 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts is proud to announce:

The Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism 

In honour of Sandals’ late founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and his legendary entrepreneurial spirit and lifelong belief in the power of education, Sandals Resorts International announces the construction of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and in conjunction with Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Both leaders in tourism education, FIU in partnership with The UWI, will develop the next generation of international tourism and hospitality leadership, through fully accredited undergraduate and graduate programming.  The new school will be located on the Western Campus of The University of the West Indies, Mona in the Caribbean’s tourism capital of Montego Bay.

A cutting-edge, research-led facility, the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism will offer students meaningful educational opportunities beyond the classroom.

Said Stewart: “My father believed in learning by experience – ‘on-the-job training,’ as he often put it. As a consummate entrepreneur and a lifelong dreamer, he knew success was born beyond the boardroom; found instead in the moments of exploration and discovery.  It’s this drive that will inspire the world-class curriculum, putting students in real-world experiences as part of their development.”

Investment in education has long been a priority of SRI, and the new school will complement the Sandals Corporate University, which was established to provide Caribbean-based Sandals team members with opportunities to improve and develop occupational skills and earn undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

“When we invest in Caribbean people, we invest in the future of the region,” said Stewart.

Although not a term when Sandals was founded four decades ago, the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been part of the fabric of the company since its founding.  

Stewart said that: “The link between tourism and the wellbeing of the local Caribbean communities where we operate is undeniable.”

And in honour of the company’s 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts International, together with the Sandals Foundation, the not-for-profit organization launched in 2009 to help SRI make a difference in the lives of Caribbean people, is identifying forty projects that best showcase the incredible link between tourism – the region’s most influential industry – and its power to transform Caribbean communities and improve lives.

Projects will be selected across five main areas:

  • Supporting local farmers
  • Hospitality training & certification
  • Preserving natural resources
  • Harnessing unique artisan crafts
  • Community outreach

From ecological conservation efforts at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains and improving the capacity of farmers to increase their efforts toward sustainable food production, to working closely with local artisans to maximize on their talents, Sandals team members will be rolling up their sleeves to bring these projects to life and are inviting guests to join in.

Sandals Resorts is also kicking off the conversation and keeping the Caribbean at the forefront with its first-ever podcast,

“Sandals PalmCast” will give listeners the inside scoop on all the latest happenings across the resorts with 13- to 20-minute-long episodes featuring expert insights, resort overviews, and special interviews with surprises along the way.

With an average repeat guest rate nearing 50%, Sandals’ guests are immensely loyal and eager to learn about the latest happenings on resort and throughout the Caribbean from Sandals Resorts, a valued Caribbean brand ambassador.

And for those on-property, they’ll be able to join the celebration at all Sandals Resorts with a nod to nostalgia including:

From the OG to the Extraordinary – Then & Now Custom Cocktails & New Poolside Service

As the inventors of the swim-up bar, Sandals knows a thing or two about pouring the perfect poolside cocktails. The brand is celebrating by creating some new favourites and bringing back some originals. Guests can take a sip down memory lane while perusing the side-by-side 1981/2021 cocktail menu to switch between tastes without having to use time machine to get there.

All Sandals Resorts will also debut new poolside service serving up a Caribbean-inspired snack & cocktail menu so guests can lounge poolside for longer.  Additionally, bars and restaurants throughout the brand will debut a new hand-crafted cocktail experience consisting of eight new curated cocktails using distinctive flavour blends, premium liquor, fresh ingredients, and hand-picked herbs from local farms.

Sandals Rewind Events

Sandals guests can party like it’s 1981 with special weekly poolside celebrations to commemorate 40 years of fun. Guests can soak up the sun while the past meets the future brought to life by live DJs spinning inspired music and bartenders serving up classic craft cocktails.

Vintage Retail Collection in Beach House Resort Shops

Sandals Resorts is launching an EST. 1981-inspired vintage t-shirt and retail collection available in all Beach House resort shops. Guests can choose from ten nostalgic and vibrant designs that pay homage to Sandals’ founding era style, available for purchase beginning in November.

In addition to on-property plans, lucky Sandals Select Rewards members and long-time Certified Sandals Specialist travel advisor partners will also be treated to returning guests dinners whilst staying at the resorts.

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