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Wednesday,  May 22, 2024 4:30 AM 

Sandals offers agents a closer look

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  •   11-28-2014  10:55 am

Sandals offers agents a closer look

Sandals and Beaches Resorts wrapped up a series of international shows in Toronto last night, inviting agents to meet the executive team and learn more about the company’s numerous Caribbean resorts.

The final date in the series of shows – titled ‘The Closer You Look, The Better We Look’ – got off to a raucous start with the Toronto Raptors cheerleaders and mascot taking the stage with Sandals CEO Adam Stewart, the first of many presentations over the course of the evening. Prior to Toronto, the Sandals team made stops in Ottawa and Halifax, as well as locations across the U.S. and in the U.K.

In addition to Stewart, several Sandals representatives took to the stage over the course of the evening to update agents on their respective departments, including Marsha-Ann Donaldson Brown (Director of Sales and Brand Management, Weddings), Maureen Barnes Smith (Director of Sales and Marketing, Canada), Grant Lawlor (national groups manager), Patrick Huey (Director of Spa and Fitness), Heidi Clarke (Director of Sandals Foundation) and Gary Sadler (Senior VP, Sales). Several resort GMs also made the trip.

From the company’s beginning in 1981 - with the purchase of a hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica – to the modern day, the company has enjoyed its success through its work with travel agents, Stewart said, thanking the industry.

“It was that travel agent community that first made us a success,” Stewart said. “Our executive team at the time figured out there was this community of professionals who could advise travellers where to go.”

The big news of the night was a look at the company’s new Barbados property, an existing hotel currently undergoing a $65 million “Sandal-ization” as described by Stewart, with extensive renovations including the addition of six restaurants to the current three on the property. Describing the Barbados resort as “the Sandals of the future,” Stewart detailed such features as the Crystal Lagoon (set to become the largest swimming pool in the Caribbean, said the CEO), as well as the company’s first Indian restaurant, to be named The Bombay Club.

“It took us 20 years to get into Barbados,” Stewart said. “It’s one of the best destinations in the Caribbean.... The hotel (purchased by Sandals) was not built for success, so we took on a $65 million renovation – every room, every restaurant, every bit of plumbing and electrical.”

Stewart also provided glimpses of two new Beaches Destinations properties, located in Barbados and Antigua. Construction will begin on the Barbados property (which will be based on Beaches Turks and Caicos) early next year, Stewart said, featuring all the same amenities plus some new ones, such as a BMX track. Work on the Antigua property – a conversion of the Grand Pineapple Antigua – will begin in the spring, Stewart said.

"We don't know where we'll be in ten years, but we know where we are right now - and that's to build resorts that blow people's minds," Stewart said.

More from Sandals

- Five over-the-water suites will open in 2015 at Sandals Royal Caribbean, each boasting 1,600 square feet of space, a private Jacuzzi and personal butler.

- Sandals’ will be launching its own line of branded Red Lane skin care products based on indigenous Caribbean products, said Huey, with a launch date of Q3 2015.

- Over the last five years, the Sandals Foundation has raised more than $4.3 million U.S. for charitable projects around the Caribbean, said Clarke, including a partnership with Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital which allows Caribbean youth to access the facility’s healthcare expertise.