As Maureen Barnes-Smith puts it, “the best time to fish is during the storm.”
In spite of a turbulent time for the travel industry, the Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Canada for Unique Vacations Inc., says Sandals Resorts International is on a growth trajectory having acquired several new properties while moving forward with upgrades and enhancements across a number of resorts.
“We have three new resorts coming in Jamaica, we have Curaçao, which is a brand-new destination for us, we have St. Vincent, that’s a brand-new destination for us as well,” Barnes-Smith tells Travel Courier. “We acquired even in spite of all the personal loss and challenges. We still grew. We took the time while we were kind of shut down on the resort level to do so much that made our product so much better.”
Here’s an overview of what’s new and what’s in the pipeline:
Sandals Resorts is transforming two all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica — the former Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort & Waterpark and Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios — plus a prime parcel of adjacent beachfront land into three distinct resorts.
The new Sandals Dunn’s River is targeted to be complete in late 2022 after a top-to-bottom renovation. The new-build Sandals Royal Dunn’s River is slated for completion in 2023 and will feature 250 rooms and suites.
Meanwhile, the new Beaches Runaway Bay, located midway between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, will mark the third family-friendly Beaches Resort in Jamaica. At its completion, the hotel will feature an estimated 400 expansive one, two, three and four-bedroom suites, designed with extended families in mind.
The new developments follow recent expansions in the destination, including the reimagined 112-room Dutch Village at Sandals South Coast with the first-ever Swim-up Rondoval Suites, positioned on a 17,040 sq. ft. pool., which opened back in December.
Another expansion is also underway at Sandals Royal Caribbean, with a new Chequers building housing two new room categories: 12 new Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Swim-up Club Level Jr. Suites with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tubs and 36 new Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Jr. Suites with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tubs. The new rooms are available to book now for arrivals beginning Dec. 15.
Spanning 3,000 acres along the Spanish Water Bay, Sandals Curaçao will be the first Sandals Resort in the destination. Renovation plans include 350 luxurious rooms and suites. The property on the dutch-inspired island is slated to welcome guests in 2022, marking the 16th Sandals Resort.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is another new destination for SRI with plans underway to transform the former Buccament Bay Spa and Resort into a family-friendly Beaches Resort. The resort will undergo an extensive renovation for a complete transformation. No opening date has been announced yet.
Barbados and beyond
Also new is the South Seas Village at Sandals Royal Barbados, home to 66 fresh suites, bringing the total room count to 338. There are two new freshwater swimming pools in a tranquil section of the village. One pool will have a full-service pool bar offering newly curated low-calorie cocktails. With various flavours to choose from like the Ginger Mule, Brûléed Lemon Sour, Green Gin and Cucumber Slush.
SRI also announced an expansion of the existing multi-million-dollar renovation of Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas, with plans to reopen January 27, 2022. In addition to the already-announced iconic river suites and refurbishment of over 200 rooms and suites, Sandals Royal Bahamian will see an expansive lounge area that extends the beach vibes to the centre of the resort called Coconut Grove. Its famed private island, Sandals Cay, will also be reimagined with updated lounge settings and a new gastronomic experience.