OCHO RIOS — Sandals Resorts International threw a massive party to celebrate the grand opening of the all-new, 260-room Sandals Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Originally built in 1957 as the Arawak Hotel, the all-inclusive resort brought out an impressive lineup of dignitaries, distinguished guests and renowned Jamaica performers for its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 19. These include Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts, Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness of Jamaica and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica Edmund Bartlett, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) CEO Gebhard Rainer, Grammy-award winning artist Shaggy, and ‘The Voice’ winner Tessanne Chin.
In his main address, Prime Minister Holness recalled a conversation he had with the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, SRI’s founder and former Chairman, about purchasing the property.
“It is such an impressive thing to see a dream come to reality and if there is one thing you could say about Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, it’s that he was a dreamer. He was also a doer that will bring the dream to fruition, a man who will always get the job done. We are standing here literally living in ‘Butch’ Stewart’s dream,” said the Minister.
Adam Stewart, who said the property is where everything began for Sandals Resorts, added: “Sandals Dunn’s River is the continuation of my father’s journey to better. It is a hero’s tale about an ambitious boy who began selling fish to local resorts and how he went on to change how people prefer to vacation, making Jamaica and the Caribbean the centerpiece of his efforts.”
Guests were met with cocktails crafted with local ingredients and paired with an array of cuisines from the resort’s restaurants, including concepts entirely new to the Sandals brand. The resort’s outdoor spaces were transformed into a retro supper club, complete with lounge music, gold accents and SWAG servers, a new take on the ‘cigarette servers’ from decades past. A 40-member choir from the University of the West Indies, the Edna Manley College and the Ashe Company also performed a touching tribute to the late Stewart.
Like the resort itself, whose design inspiration is pulled from nearby Dunn’s River Falls, the event celebrate Jamaica culture from start to finish. Guests were treated to a nighttime spectacle complete with a steel-drum band, ribbon dancers, aerial performances, local musicians, a state-of-the-art video mapping of the Falls and a rousing performance from the cast of STOMP, fresh off their Broadway run. Entertainers also performed in the pool floating on original bamboo rafts custom made by Jamaican artisans. The celebration culminated with an epic performance from Shaggy and an impressive fireworks display.
“Now, with the future before us, we stand on solid ground, committed as ever to celebrating our Caribbean heritage and delivering to the next generations of Sandals customers the unsurpassed level of innovation, excitement and unparalleled service they have come to expect and that they so well deserve,” Stewart concluded.
For more information about the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River, go to https://www.sandals.com/dunns-river/.