Go! Destination Marketing Caribbean Connection
Butch Stewart (right) talks with Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism and Carole Guntley, director general in the Ministry of Tourism (middle) at the JAPEX party at Sandals Montego Bay.

Sandals Out to Impress with Extensive Resort Renovations

By Mark Rogers

One of the highlights of the 21st annual Jamaica Product Exchange, held last month in Montego Bay, was the party held at Sandals Montego Bay. Travel agents, wholesalers, hoteliers and Jamaica’s major tourism players were all in attendance. In the midst of the festivities – which included live music and performances and an incredible array of food – agents split their time between talking shop and letting their hair down on the dance floor.

"We book Sandals a lot," said Rageshree Inkoo Mehta, travel consultant with Windsor Travel in Framingham , MA. "The service and food is very good and within the last ten years they have really stepped it up with their renovations. Sandals treats agents the way they should be treated - they treat us good so we in turn do a good job selling Sandals."

Rageshree Inkoo Mehta, travel consultant, Windsor Travel

Jeanette Hein of Miami-based America’s Vacation Center Avoya Travel, is a big fan of the company (she’s in the running to get a Sandals-wrapped vehicle). "Sandals has unique properties - not just in Jamaica - but throughout the Caribbean," said Hein. "Sandals has a lot to offer, such as the Martha Stewart weddings, which are very popular. I also like the fact that they still include the excursions. The brand is a good match for the young professional client." Tom Varghese of AMT – American Express Travel has had a long relationship with Sandals. "They’re doing a great job renovating their properties," said Varghese. "They’re really moving in the right direction, and are adding a luxury feel to their rooms."

As noted by the agents above, Sandals Resorts International has impressed with its commitment to refreshing and reinvigorating its resorts. In order to stay ahead of the curve, Sandals has undertaken large scale renovation projects at a number of its resorts in the Caribbean. It’s all part of the company’s $500 million plan to expand and enhance its offerings in the Caribbean over the coming decade.

Here’s a look at some of the changes agents can expect to see at the company’s Jamaica resorts.

Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort

Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort

Sandals Grande Riviera features three distinct resort areas – the Riviera Seaside, Riviera Great House and Riviera Villas – each with a different ambiance and personality. After completing nearly $60 million in renovations, the resort now offers the all-new Riviera Beach Club, featuring chic, lounge-like amenities at both the beach and pool areas. Additional enhancements include the Riviera Villas, offering romantic accommodations; a refurbishment of the resort’s Red Lane Spa, and new culinary experiences. Travelers can also receive spa credits, free night sales and up to 65 percent off rates for select bookings made at Sandals Grande Riviera for travel during select dates through 2012.

Sandals Montego Bay

The first Sandals Resort has upgraded its common areas and enhanced dining outlets. Among the new features are a new beach bar featuring a contemporary Jamaican look; a new Pizzeria and grill constructed of local woods, glass tiles, and natural stones; and a new cut stone deck with fire pit, resin wicker lounge furniture and oversized chaise lounges. Guests will soon have another lounge area set on the beach next to the Piano Bar, and an additional lounge deck will be added on the beach in front of the Almond Building. Eleven Deluxe Oceanside rooms will be upgraded with soft furnishings featuring light aqua and beige upholstery, white draperies and white mat lasse bedding.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island

The resort’s Royal Beachfront suites in the Balmoral building will soon have upgraded bathrooms, with new marble walls, floors, and counter tops, stained mahogany vanities, and backlit mirrors. On the offshore Sandals Island, guests will soon be able to enjoy a new lounge and fire pit area on the beach facing the resort.

Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa

Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa will soon unveil three new outdoor lounge areas. The first, located on the resort’s deck outside of Bayside restaurant, will include several sectional lounges and vertical fire pits, while the second area will feature three decks set over the sand with individual fire pits. The third lounge area will be built near Neptune’s. Eleanor’s restaurant will receive a new look, with upgraded upholstery and draperies with deep royal blues and copper accents, and oversized historical photographs of Jamaica on the walls. Giuseppe’s will also be upgraded, with new fabrics for the restaurant’s banquets, chair covers and draperies, and will feature large tapestries on the walls. Café de Paris will add a new outdoors lounge area with loveseats, Carrera marble-topped bistro tables, and cantilevered Tucci umbrellas. The resort’s accommodations are also seeing upgrades, as the top two categories of suites – the One Bedroom Penthouse Honeymoon Beachfront Suite and the One Bedroom Walkout Honeymoon Beachfront Suite – will see new soft furnishings, an upgraded entertainment unit in the suite’s parlors that includes a 42 inch plasma television and bar area, new draperies in the bedrooms and fresh paint. Couples can expect to enjoy these new features by the end of 2011.

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

Guests will experience upgrades resort-wide, including an enhanced Red Lane Spa fitness center with all new Life Fitness aerobic equipment, upgraded locker rooms and new whirlpool. 225 rooms at the resort will receive all new soft furnishings and furniture, full bath renovations including new soaking tubs, natural-colored marble vanities and upgraded tiling, plus a new armoire for 42 inch plasma televisions. The resort’s poolside and seaside restrooms will soon have a natural contemporary look, with wood paneling, individual basins and oversize tiles. New furniture and awnings throughout the resort’s public spaces will offer families additional areas to relax together, while the pool bar will feature new stone countertop. These enhancements will be complete by November 2011.



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