by Sophie Gayot
When Gordon “Butch” Stewart purchased his first hotel in Montego Bay in Jamaica in 1981, I am not sure he knew what he was about to start. He sure knew what he wanted to do, but did he envision how successful he would be thirty years later? Stewart is now the chairman and founder of Sandals Resorts International, the privately-owned Jamaican-based parent company to Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, totaling 23 Caribbean properties. Sandals caters exclusively to couples while the others are for families as well.
Stewart, who was born and raised in Jamaica, knows the Caribbean by heart. He only chooses wide, white sandy beaches, crystalline waters and plenty of space for his properties. Spread over five islands — Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos — they are all-inclusive resorts where the prices cover gourmet dining options, beverages and drinks, all land and water sports activities, airport transfers and even taxes and gratuities.
Stewart does not claim he invented the all-inclusive concept; he just made it better, as he likes to say. Innovations are the key: on-property specialty restaurants, some with white glove service; Jacuzzis; satellite television; swim-up pool bars; a king size bed and hair dryer in every room; the Red Lane ® Spa; even butler service for guests in top-category suites and Martha Stewart Wedding packages. Stewart puts the focus on service and luxury.
To get a taste of what to expect at his resorts, watch my exclusive video interview above with Gordon “Butch” Stewart, whose motto is “Exceed people’s expectations.”
You can click the photo to enlarge.