Sandals 2.0 – Living the Caribbean Dream!

St. Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Executive Chairman Adam Stewart (2nd and 3rd from right, respectively) with other officials at the recent soft-opening of the first SRI property in SVG. (PHOTO: Courtesy SRI)
St. Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Executive Chairman Adam Stewart (2nd and 3rd from right, respectively) with other officials at the recent soft-opening of the first SRI property in SVG. (PHOTO: Courtesy SRI)

Wherever in his Paradise Unknown at the time, the legendary Caribbean pioneer in Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart must have choked on beaming pride at seeing his bloodline successor, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, unveiling yet-another Next Generation luxury-included property — a movement the family steward in Adam simply refers to as ‘Sandals 2.0’.

Indeed, when ‘Butch’ embarked on his personal journey of innovation, creativity and pushing-the-boundary (way-back in 1980), he never imagined the profound and far-reaching impact his fresh dive into tourism’s widening pool would have on the Caribbean region that he always proudly called ‘Home’.

With the Founding Chairman at its helm for four decades, SRI quietly developed a formidable reputation as the Caribbean’s top global brand, bar none.

The Jamaican in ‘Butch’ often quipped that, “When God created the world, he spent a little extra-time on the Caribbean.”

And he always advised anyone sleeping on an idea, “If you’re going to dream, then Dream Big!”

The Founding Chair’s never-ending dream has given new life to tourism across nine Caribbean islands – first in Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Turks & Caicos Islands – and now in Saint Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG).

Sandals SVG is SRI’s latest Dream-turned-Gem – an architectural wonder set among stunningly-natural and unique Caribbean landscapes.

The multi-island nation’s Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, naturally fawns over the investment coup his administration has pulled-off by attracting the world’s leading all-inclusive brand to St. Vincent and its pristine Grenadine island-chain.

Stewart reminded the SVG audience that the realization of SRI’s new modern marvel was “the end-product of the work of a team of outstanding Caribbean nationals –from Jamaica up-north, to Trinidad & Tobago down-south — many who’ve been with the company from Day One…”

Under Adam’s visionary stewardship, his dad’s undying Caribbean Dream continues to live-on — and thrive even more…

The Stewarts and SRI have repeatedly demonstrated a firm belief that Caribbean people have what it takes to be first in any line, anywhere and anytime.

As Adam explained: “My father was a most-extraordinary human being – a high-school drop-out with dyslexia, simply holding-on tightly to his eternal belief in the people he worked with, who he always saw as fellow Caribbean people…”

SRI has already given life to the dreams of over-500 Vincentians (and their families) – and at maximum capacity, it’ll employ close-to 900, adding to the over-20,000 already on SRI’s regional payroll.

The younger Stewart explained that this widening of dreams to include families of each employee was “The Sandals Effect”, which he defined as: “A confluence of things that happen when Sandals comes to town…”

The Executive Chair explained, “First, we market the destination – which, for us, is not just St. Vincent, but also includes the sparkling Grenadines.

“So, directly and indirectly for linkages to tour providers, taxi operators, restauranteurs, musicians, farmers, fishers, entrepreneurs, hardware store operators, the entire eco-system and connectivity, we plan ahead, then light it all afire…”

SRI’s partnerships with airlines serving the region – forged over four decades – also throttles airlift to wherever SRI properties land.

Describing airlines as “the lifeblood of the hospitality sector”, Stewart said flights to St. Vincent’s Argyle International Airport will also rise sky-high, “as many taking advantage of the new access routes won’t only go to Sandals, but also to other guest houses and hotels, both on the mainland and in the Grenadines.”

He added, “More guests will also mean better rates for the sector,” explaining, for example, that “American Airlines has already increased daily flights to SVG from two-weekly to four and it’s planning for six-weekly from November – and daily flights in December 2024.

JetBlue and United Airlines will soon start jetting visitors to SVG, Virgin has already increased its airlift and Air Canada plans to double its present load.
“All tides will rise in SVG with The Sandals Effect,” the SRI Executive Chairman said, adding:

“It will also give Vincentian and Grenadine nationals the opportunity to fly more conveniently to anywhere worldwide, while allowing visitors to access this amazing archipelago easier than ever…”

Over-500 Vincentian employees – and their families – now also know the benefits SRI offers to improve themselves educationally, through the Sandals Corporate University (SCU), at no cost.

They also know more today about the company’s philanthropic arm, Sandals Foundation, assisting Caribbean communities through education, environmental protection and other projects, to enhance surroundings.

The Foundation celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and the SRI Executive Chairman said: “Today, we can boast that we have put more than US $100 million into the Caribbean communities, by working with our team members, international partners and customers, to help better change the face of the Caribbean.”

‘The Sandals Effect’ is also an everlasting dream that follows team members everywhere, because, as Founding Chairman ‘Butch’ often confidently stated: “If they know you worked at Sandals, you can get a job at any hotel, anywhere on The Planet!”

If there was ever an example of the true power of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at work, it’s SRI, the region’s tourism and hospitality flagship.

Anyone entering any SRI property is instantly greeted with a mesmerizing mixture of Caribbean accents, as citizens from across the region join hands, under the Sandals banner and the Sandals brand, as if to declare to the world: ‘We are as good as anyone!’

Indeed, SRI is living-proof of that everlasting characteristic: the one Caribbean brand repeatedly capturing the coveted title of ‘World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company’ at the annual World Travel Awards (WTA) – and more than 26 times.

Sounds like a real dream?

Yes, because it is, a Caribbean Dream come true for tens of thousands – and still unfolding for more…
Indeed, anyone who’s seen ‘The Sandals Effect’ unfolding across the wider Caribbean region – like I have – will only advise Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and his crew at SRI to: ‘Keep Dreaming Big!’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend