Stewart Wins Travvy Award

Gordon “Butch” Stewart
Gordon “Butch” Stewart

IT would be a stretch to describe Gordon “Butch” Stewart’s winning of the Travvy Award for “Most Innovative All-Inclusive Resorts Executive” as the culmination of a 30-plus year career in hospitality. Still Stewart himself views such recognition as a watershed in his experience.

That’s because from the very beginning Stewart worked religiously to separate his properties from their all-inclusive resort competition through hard work and an all-encompassing zeal to surpass what others thought was possible.

“Exceeding expectations has been my philosophy since I was a very young man and it is more than just an idea, it is my way of life,” said Stewart recently. “Working hard and delivering more than the customer expects is the essence of delight. It ensures a happy client and fosters a culture within the company that is contagious.

“Ultimately, that’s at the heart of innovation; always being on the search for new ways to exceed expectations, to delight and is why I am so especially honoured by this inaugural Travvy Award recognizing innovation. Agents know this best. When you exceed the client’s expectations, they will return. And our guests do.”

Today, Stewart’s empire encompasses 15 Sandals Resorts, three Beaches Resorts, two Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, Fowl Cay Resort and three Your Jamaican Villas on seven Caribbean islands. His companies collectively comprise the largest employer in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and he has helped to transform the all-inclusive category through an emphasis on high-quality amenities and facilities, premium cuisine and a strong emphasis on attentive personal service.

Together with a core of seasoned executives led by his second youngest son and protégé Adam, who is the company’s chief executive, SRI may be just beginning to exhibit its potential, as the company continues to expand its properties through the Caribbean. In recent years the company has established resorts on more Caribbean countries beyond Stewart’s home island of Jamaica, including Barbados and Grenada.

It would have been difficult to imagine Stewart’s fate to mirror today’s reality when the Jamaican native was growing up in a working-class family in Ocho Rios more than 50 years ago. Yet as the ultimate self-made man, Stewart’s entire professional experience is an exercise in finding innovative paths to success.

In his youth Stewart quickly displayed the qualities of rugged charm and dogged determination that were to distinguish his career. One apocryphal story had the young Stewart borrowing his father’s fishing boat to sell freshly-caught fish to a film crew shooting a James Bond movie.

He soon expanded the operation, using his innate people skills to arrange an ersatz ferry to transport the rich and famous between their anchored yachts and the harbour front.

Never one to shy away from taking risks, he undertook his biggest gamble in 1981, buying two non-descript Montego Bay hotels, Carlyle on the Bay and Bay Roc.

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