Since opening its doors in Montego Bay on November 27, 1981, Sandals Resorts has employed thousands of Caribbean nationals, delighted guests, partnered with travel advisors, and played a significant role in the development of Caribbean tourism.
This year, as the company marks its 40th anniversary, a year-long celebration, beginning today, will honour the legacy of the company’s Founder the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD, celebrate the company’s successes and look forward to Sandals of the future and the exciting developments to be executed under the leadership of the Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, CD.
“This year marks an incredible milestone for Sandals Resorts, and it’s especially meaningful as we take this moment to honour what my father created and carry on his revered legacy across the Caribbean,” said SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart. “Since the flagship opening in 1981 at Sandals Montego Bay, we have continued to elevate and lead the all-inclusive resort space. More than that, we have demonstrated that some of the industry’s most exciting and lasting hospitality innovation is created in the Caribbean. I’m proud to celebrate this milestone for our company alongside our Sandals family as we look to the next 40 years of inspired Caribbean vision and innovation.”
In honour of its 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts is proud to announce a raft of groundbreaking initiatives and programmes targeting Caribbean communities, our valued team members, loyal guests and stakeholders in the local, regional and global travel trade. Among the company’s year-long celebratory programmes and initiatives are:
The Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism
In honour of Sandals’ late founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and his legendary entrepreneurial spirit and lifelong belief in the power of education, Sandals Resorts International announces the construction of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and in conjunction with Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Both leaders in tourism education, FIU in partnership with The UWI, will develop the next generation of international tourism and hospitality leadership, through fully accredited undergraduate and graduate programming. The new school will be located on the Western Campus of The University of the West Indies, Mona in the Caribbean’s tourism capital of Montego Bay.
A cutting-edge, research-led facility, the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism will offer students meaningful educational opportunities beyond the classroom. “My father believed in learning by experience – ‘on-the-job training,’ as he often put it,” said Stewart. “As a consummate entrepreneur and a lifelong dreamer, he knew success was born beyond the boardroom; found instead in the moments of exploration and discovery. It’s this drive that will inspire the world-class curriculum, putting students in real-world experiences as part of their development.”
Investment in education has long been a priority of SRI, and the new school will complement the Sandals Corporate University, which was established to provide Caribbean-based Sandals team members with opportunities to improve and develop occupational skills and earn undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. “When we invest in Caribbean people, we invest in the future of the region,” said Stewart.
40 for 40 Initiative: Projects Benefitting Caribbean Communities
Although not a term when Sandals was founded four decades ago, the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been part of the fabric of the company since its founding. “The link between tourism and the wellbeing of the local Caribbean communities where we operate is undeniable,” said Adam Stewart. In honour of the company’s 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts International, together with the Sandals Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation launched in 2009 to help SRI make a difference in the lives of Caribbean people, is identifying forty projects that best showcase the incredible link between tourism – the region’s most influential industry – and its power to transform Caribbean communities and improve lives.
Projects will be selected across five main areas: supporting local farmers, hospitality training & certification, preserving natural resources, harnessing unique artisan crafts and community outreach. From ecological conservation efforts at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains and improving the capacity of farmers to increase their efforts toward sustainable food production, to working closely with local artisans to maximize on their talents, Sandals team members will be rolling up their sleeves to bring these projects to life and are inviting guests to join in.
Always on Island Time – Introducing the Sandals PalmCast
Sandals Resorts is kicking off the conversation and keeping the Caribbean at the forefront with its first-ever podcast, “Sandals PalmCast,” giving listeners the inside scoop on all the latest happenings across the resorts with 13- to 20-minute-long episodes featuring expert insights, resort overviews, and special interviews with surprises along the way. With an average repeat guest rate nearing 50%, Sandals’ guests are immensely loyal and eager to learn about the latest happenings on resort and throughout the Caribbean from Sandals Resorts, a valued Caribbean brand ambassador.
Sandals team members across the region will also join in the celebrations through a range of activities and employee-focused initiatives including:
Long-Service Awards Ceremony
With over 15,000 team members across the region, Sandals remains a top employer in the Caribbean, with a large number of employees enjoying extended years of tenure. This initiative will recognise and reward longstanding team members for their years of excellent service and continued dedication.
40th Anniversary Ultimate Award
Each year, the company selects one team member from the Group of companies as the Ultimate Team Member of the Year. Each resort and sister company identifies its Diamond Team Member of the Year at its own Prestige Awards and these top nominees all come together for a week of celebration and festivities to vie for the Ultimate title. In the company’s 40th year, the Ultimate Award Ceremony will be even more spectacular than years past with a bigger cash prize and additional prizes.
Legendary Team Members Forum
This initiative will tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience held by many longstanding team members especially those who were by the Founder’s side 40 years ago and have witnessed the growth of the company from one small hotel to an international Superbrand. Through an interactive forum to be streamed across the region, team members will hear stories of the early years and the unique experiences that have shaped the Sandals brand.
Bartenders’ 40th Anniversary Welcome Cocktail Competition
Sandals Resorts is blessed with a number of exceptionally talented bartenders. This competition will put their creativity to the test, challenging them to create a signature 40th anniversary welcome cocktail that will be served to all arriving guests throughout the anniversary year. Each resort will have its own cocktail, unique to its personality and je ne sais quoi. Winning bartenders will receive prizes including weekend stays at Sandals Resorts and a cash award.
At Sandals Resorts across the region, guests can join in the celebration with a nod to nostalgia including:
From the OG to the Extraordinary – Then & Now Custom Cocktails & New Poolside Service
As the inventors of the swim-up bar, Sandals knows a thing or two about pouring the perfect poolside cocktails. The brand is celebrating by creating some new favorites and bringing back some originals. Guests can take a sip down memory lane while perusing the side-by-side 1981/2021 cocktail menu to switch between tastes without having to use time machine to get there. All Sandals Resorts will also debut new poolside service serving up a Caribbean-inspired snack & cocktail menu so guests can lounge poolside for longer. Additionally, bars and restaurants throughout the brand will debut a new hand-crafted cocktail experience consisting of eight new curated cocktails using distinctive flavor blends, premium liquor, fresh ingredients, and hand-picked herbs from local farms.
Sandals Rewind Events
Sandals guests can party like it’s 1981 with special weekly poolside celebrations to commemorate 40 years of fun. Guests can soak up the sun while the past meets the future brought to life by live DJs spinning inspired music and bartenders serving up classic craft cocktails.
Vintage Retail Collection in Beach House Resort Shops
Sandals Resorts is launching an EST. 1981-inspired vintage t-shirt and retail collection available in all Beach House resort shops. Guests can choose from ten nostalgic and vibrant designs that pay homage to Sandals’ founding era style, available for purchase beginning in November.
In addition to on-property plans, lucky Sandals Select Rewards members and long-time Certified Sandals Specialist travel advisor partners will also be treated to returning guests dinners and may also be invited to join a 40th Anniversary commemorative sail onboard The Lady Sandals, Sandals Resorts’ signature yacht that is on a celebratory sailing tour along the Eastern seaboard throughout the year.
To learn more about how Sandals Resorts is celebrating its 40th Anniversary and to stay up to date with additional surprises to come, make sure to visit https://www.sandals.com/celebrating-40-years/.