TORONTO — Sandals Resorts International is marking the 40th anniversary of its flagship brand for couples-only, Sandals Resorts, with resort-wide festivities and surprises throughout the year, plus dozens of Caribbean community tourism projects, and a brand new school of hospitality honouring the legacy of Sandals Resorts founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who passed away in January 2021 at the age of 79.
“This year marks an incredible milestone for Sandals Resorts, and it’s especially meaningful as we take this moment to honour what my father created and carry on his revered legacy across the Caribbean,” said SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.
“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.”
Here’s a look at the highlights …
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 has announced 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.
The cutting-edge, research-led facility will offer students meaningful educational opportunities beyond the classroom. “My father believed in learning by experience – ‘on-the-job training,’ as he often put it,” said Stewart. “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.
40 FOR 40 INITIATIVE
40 for 40 Initiative: Projects Benefitting Caribbean Communities
Stewart notes that the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) — although not a common phrase when Sandals was established 40 years ago — has been part of the fabric of the company since its founding.
“The link between tourism and the wellbeing of the local Caribbean communities where we operate is undeniable,” says Stewart.
He adds that in honour of the company’s 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts International, together with the Sandals Foundation, is identifying 40 projects that best showcase the 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 and certification, preserving natural resources, harnessing unique artisan crafts and 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, says Stewart.
Sandals Resorts’ first-ever podcast, ‘Sandals PalmCast’, gives 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.
On-property, guests can join in 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
Sandals not only invented the swim-up bar, it perfected it. 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
Special weekly poolside celebrations will commemorate 40 years of fun, and 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 10 nostalgic and vibrant designs that pay homage to Sandals’ founding era style, available for purchase beginning in November.
And something for CSS travel advisors too …
In addition to on-property plans, Sandals Select Rewards members and long-time Certified Sandals Specialist travel advisor partners will be invited to attend the weekly returning guest dinners / parties while staying at the resorts.
More details about Sandals Resorts’ 40th Anniversary celebrations can be found at: https://www.sandals.com/celebrating-40-years/.