By Denise Mattia
On January 8, 2016 a handsome Skip Marley walked out on the stage of the Sandals Montego Bay Resort and sang a remix of his grandfather’s classic song ‘Three Little Birds’ to an exuberant audience who accompanied him singing, “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.” The crowd didn’t need prompting to join the “No Worry Movement,” the new slogan for the 2016 Sandals Resorts. They became members then and there.
Not only was the audience jubilant that evening but so was Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals Resorts International chairman and founder and his son, Adam, CEO of Sandals. Their creative team had been granted permission from the Marley Estate the use of the song, and for Skip Marley, a rising entertainer in his own right, to cut his refreshed version of the song.
For 35 years, Stewart’s innovations have constantly changed the face of the all-inclusive format. Adam, since his appointment to CEO of the company, has worked with his father to establish Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts as the most successful brands in their category.
Their continued expansion has brought a total of nine resorts in Jamaica. To date, $180 million has gone into renovations at Sandals Negril, Beaches and Montego Bay properties. An additional $1.6 million has been invested in over-the-water suites at Sandals, Royal Caribbean.
Outside Jamaica, the company has built three Sandals in Saint Lucia, three in The Bahamas, two in Antigua, one in The Turks & Caicos Islands and one in Grenada. In 2014, an opportunity arose to purchase a hotel, which according to the Stewarts when open in 2017 will become the “phenomenal” Beaches Barbados.
“It’s hard for other resorts to compete with the quality, services and the active playground of watersports we offer our guests,” admitted Butch Stewart during an interview. “From our Discover Cuisine that includes Indian, Caribbean, European and International fare, to the wine and shelf liquor, to the rooms that inspire reproduction, we cater to guests’ needs,” he said, “and in doing so, far exceed their expectations.” The founder added, “What matters is the freedom for our guests to enjoy the best of everything in a luxury Caribbean vacation – without worrying about anything.”
The “No Worry Movement” includes finding the perfect Sandals WeddingMoon, as certified Destination Wedding Specialists eliminate the stress of planning the event and honeymoon, all in one package. Unique to Sandals Montego Bay is the Frank Warren non-denomination chapel on the grounds for brides and grooms who want a traditional wedding replete with shoes! Many couples follow Warren’s wife’s charming tradition of lighting a candle during the ceremony to honor eternal love. In January 2016 the Sandals Resorts received top honors for Best Wedding Hotel/Resort Overall Winner.
The Stewarts’ success has garnered many awards over the years, including the “World’s Leading All Inclusive Company (20 consecutive years), the World’s Leading All Inclusive Family Resort Brand for 18 consecutive years (Beaches Resorts is a multi-generational brand for the traveler) and the World’s Leading All Inclusive Resort for Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort and Offshore Island (third consecutive year). In 2015 the 35-year old Adam Stewart was named the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Hotelier of the Year.
Recognizing that the Caribbean is a delicate and complex ecosystem, the policy of the Sandals Foundation, a non-profit arm of the Sandals Company founded by Adam Stewart, is to protect and nourish the Caribbean islands. Stewart has taken a leadership role working with dedicated partners, private donors, civic leaders and local activists to preserve the unique surroundings by raising environmental awareness, teaching future generations how to care for their home, and implementing effective conservation practices at all Sandals Resorts.
In 2012, the Stewarts launched the resort chain’s Corporate University at Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, which will prepare people in the hospitality industry and help them achieve a higher level of competence.
Years ago Gordon Butch Stewart’s unofficial motto was, “we can do better.” Today, he and his son have done that, enriching Jamaica and neighboring islands in addition to offering guests what they want, a “No Worry” vacation.
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.