Gordon "Butch" Stewart opens Sandals Montego Bay, the flagship resort, and begins the Sandals Resorts legacy.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Family-owned Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has transformed itself from one brand and one resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica to become one of the most well-known and award-winning hospitality companies in the world. With five brands and 24 properties in seven countries including Antigua, The Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Turks and Caicos, Sandals Resorts International is the undisputed leader of Caribbean holiday experiences and remains fiercely committed to the region, dedicating itself to innovative resort development that in the words of Chairman and Founder Gordon "Butch" Stewart, "exceed expectations" for guests, associates and the people who call the Caribbean home.
He's been called the "King of All-Inclusive Resorts," the "Cupid of the Caribbean," and the "Master of Marketing." While all descriptions are appropriate, none of them quite capture the full measure of Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, chairman and founder of Sandals Resorts International, parent company to Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.
How could a simple phrase define a man who today controls what analysts estimate to be a billion dollar, privately-owned Jamaican-based Empire that includes 24 Caribbean resorts, Appliance Traders Ltd., and The Observer newspaper. All told, Butch Stewart spearheads two-dozen diverse companies that are collectively Jamaica's largest private sector group, the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, and its largest non-government employer.
After rising to the position of sales manager for the renowned Dutch-owned Curacoa Trading Company, Stewart left in 1968 to start Appliance Traders, Ltd. (ATL). Founded as an air-conditioner service and distribution company, ATL soon grew meteorically, adding refrigerators, freezers and other appliances. When the Jamaican government turned socialist in 1970 and demanded a limit on imports, Stewart met what at the time was the greatest challenge to his business savvy and resourcefulness by expanding into manufacturing. Today, ATL makes or sells everything from water pumps and electrical generators to cars and auto parts.
By 1980, the government returned to a more centrist approach to politics and business began to emphasize tourism. The first government-owned, "all-inclusive" resort opened in Ocho Rios and ATL was contracted to supply kitchen appliances and air conditioners. Stewart's unofficial motto, "We can do better," kicked into gear and led to his purchase of an old hotel on one of Montego Bay's largest beaches. Despite no hotel experience, Stewart approached this business with a simple philosophy he articulated many times: "The winning formula is to find out what people want, give it to them and, in doing so, exceed their expectations."
Seven months and $4 million in renovations later, Sandals Montego Bay opened, the flagship of the most popular award-winning, Luxury Included® resort chain in the world. Stewart has never laid claim to starting the all-inclusive concept, couples-only format; he has captured the title of "King of All-Inclusives" by continuously innovating and by steadfastly adhering to the "We can do it better" principle of pleasing his guests.
Where other so-called "all-inclusives" offered meals and rooms at a set rate, Sandals Resorts' prices covered gourmet dining options, premium brand drinks, gratuities, airport transfers, taxes and all land and watersport activities. The competition meals were buffet-style, so Stewart created the on-property specialty restaurants with high culinary standards and white-glove service. Sandals Resorts also was the first Caribbean hotel to offer Jacuzzis and satellite television service, the first with swim-up pool bars and the first to guarantee that every room is fitted with a king-size bed and a hair dryer.
Stewart's innovations changed the face of the all-inclusive format and established Sandals Resorts, and now Beaches Resorts, as the most successful brands in the category. His continued expansion has brought a total of nine resorts in Jamaica, three in Saint Lucia, three in The Bahamas, two in Antigua, one in The Turks & Caicos Islands and soon one in Grenada.
Stewart's successes have garnered hundreds of personal and industry awards, which have been publicized. Perhaps less well-known is the extent of his considerable philanthropy. Sandals Resorts International currently gives active support to more than 150 major projects in its host communities, through the company's philanthropic arm, The Sandals Foundation. This support ranges from the building of schools to the paying of teachers, to providing hospitals with linens, to bringing healthcare to the doorsteps of those who cannot afford it.
So what's next for this restless entrepreneur the New York Times declared "...exerts huge political influence in Jamaica, where he is considered by some to be even more powerful than the Prime Minister"? No one can answer that conclusively, not even Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, but if his history is any indication, whatever he applies his skill to will change an industry...or a nation.
As the dynamic Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International, the world's leading resort company, and The ATL Group, Jamaica's
longest standing automotive and appliance distributors with recently expanded
region-wide operations, Adam Stewart is one of the most successful and admired entrepreneurs of our time. A philanthropist at heart, Stewart also serves as the
President of the Sandals Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organisation aimed at fulfilling the promise of the Caribbean community by improving lives and preserving the natural surroundings, through investments in sustainable regional projects in
education, community and the environment.
A decade under Adam Stewart's stewardship, Sandals continues to follow a trajectory of exhilarating growth that has seen new resorts, new islands being explored and the introduction of industry-changing innovation and developments. Stewart's ambitious leadership has moved the brand well beyond the all-inclusive concept to its signature Luxury Included® resorts, offering guests unprecendented and unmatched vacation priviliges and experiences in the region's most sought-after locations. Stewart's leadership has earned the company international acclaim and has seen the brand being named the World Travel Awards' Leading Luxury All-Inclusive Company for 22 consecutive years.
With Stewart as the pioneer, the company expects even more growth and has plans to double size and triple revenue over the next decade through at least 10 new exciting developents, including the debut of the highly-anticipated over-the-water suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, the first of its kind for the Caribbean. This pioneering spirit has been recognised and awarded by many, resulting in Stewart receiving numerous accolades, among them, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's Hotelier of the Year 2015, World Travel Awards' Rising Star, Caribbean World's Travel and Tourism Personality of the Year, the Distinguished Alumni Torch Award from FIU and The Gleaner Company's Jamaica 50 under 50 Award. In October 2015, Stewart was named the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's Hotelier of the Year 2015.
A lover of the ocean and all things adventurous, Stewart was inspired by his passion for sharing the Caribbean with others, and launched the Caribbean's premier luxury tour company, Island Routes Adventure Tours, offering countless unique and exciting tour and adventure experiences throughout the region. Island Routes has since transformed from a small island outpost to a multiple World-Travel-Award-winning company employing 200 people and offering hundreds of adventures in 12 countries. In just seven years, Island Routes has earned the enviable title of the World Travel Awards' Leading Caribbean Tour Company for four consecutive years. Following significant investments in new assets such as its first-class fleet of luxury cars and buses, in 2014, the company expanded into destination management services and has since signed landmark partnerships with leading brands such as Air Canada Vacations and Hyatt.
Though he's had many successes in the field, his passion for hotels and tourism is but one chapter of Adam Stewart's story. In August 2009, Stewart was appointed CEO and Deputy Chairman of the family-owned ATL Group comprising the Jamaica Observer, the country's leading daily newspaper and ATL Appliance Traders, a chain of domestic and commercial appliance outlets combining exclusive distributorship of the world's top electronic brands and 'unbeatable' customer service throughout Jamaica.
Established in 1968, ATL Appliance Traders has been significantly modernized under Stewart's leadership. A re-energized company now encompasses a broad spectrum of new sectors with international aspirations while still remaining faithful to the philosophy of service that Stewart's father created many years ago. Now in 2016, celebrating its 48th year, the ATL Group is part of the largest private sector organisation in the country boasting over 750 employees nationwide.
In 2010, driven by his love for cars, Stewart changed the face of the automotive industry in Jamaica with the creation of ATL Automotive. With multi-million dollar distributorships and state-of-the-art service centres located in Kingston and Montego Bay, ATL Automotive boasted unrivalled sales and service of Audi, Volkswagen, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover automobiles. Jamaica embraced Stewart's vision and the revitalized Volkswagen and Audi brands enjoyed huge sales increases in their first years of business, 272% and 346% respectively, with each breaking sales records and making Audi the number one premium brand in Jamaica. The Honda brand, part of the ATL Group since 1997, also scored big with the Honda Automobile Customer Experience Award for two consecutive years and beating all 22 countries who carry the brand in the Latin America and Caribbean region, for market share.
After registering sales of 146%, ATL Automotive, in April 2015, announced the termination of its distributorship of the Land Rover and Jaguar brands in order to focus on new brands to better complement the company's growth strategy. Stewart further changed the game when he announced the introduction of ATL Autobahn, a new division under the ATL Automotive umbrella, through which the company would have sole rights to distribute and service Porsche, BMW and Mini throughout Jamaica. And that was not all. Stewart also revealed that ATL Autobahn would be the master dealer for BMW and Mini for the Caribbean region, with operations in nine other countries: Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, St Lucia, Suriname, and Antigua.
Despite being one of the most prominent young businessmen in the world, Stewart remains a proud Jamaican and citizen of the Caribbean dedicating much of his time to elevating the region he calls home.
In 2009, Stewart founded the Sandals Foundation with the aim of uniting the region under one common goal: to lift its people through education and protect its delicate ecosystem. The Sandals Foundation harnesses the resources, talents, partnerships and awareness behind the Sandals Resorts brand to tackle a myriad of issues affecting the Caribbean. In 2013, Stewart was named as an Ambassador of the Caribbean-SickKids Paediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Project. The not-for-profit collaboration between Canada's renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and various institutions across six Caribbean islands works to provide the best possible management for paediatric cancer and to improve outcomes for children affected by cancers and serious blood disorders in the region. Stewart also founded and sits as Chairman of We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital, a local non-profit organisation that brings together Montego Bay-based individuals to raise funds and improve the facilities of the nearby Cornwall Regional Hospital.
Underlining his reputation as a staunch advocate of education, Stewart established an internationally-accredited private sector educational institute, the Sandals Corporate University/ ATL Academy of Excellence. Launched in early 2012, the Sandals Corporate University pushes the boundaries of distance learning in the Caribbean with over 4,100 team members enrolling in the University to date, and the resorts themselves reaching new levels of excellence.
In 2016, Stewart received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for outstanding contribution to tourism and the hotel industry. The Order of Distinction is a national honour conferred by the Government of Jamaica upon citizens who render outstanding and important services to the country. Additionally, he was appointed a member of Jamaica’s Economic Growth Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of Jamaica by Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Andrew Holness. These appointments were shortly followed by another commendable accomplishment when he was asked by Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett, to lead the Tourism Linkages Committee in the capacity of Chairman. Stewart also currently holds the post of First Vice-President for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association. Stewart also received the award for 2016 Caribbean American Mover & Shaker – Humanitarian of the Year from the Caribbean Media Network.
Within the local community, Stewart continues to serve as ambassador to the University of the West Indies, helping to promote higher education in Western Jamaica and throughout the island and region at large.
Adam and his wife Jill are proud parents to son Aston and daughters Sloane and Camden.
Sandals Royal Plantation opens in Ocho Rios. Formerly the famous Plantation Inn, this intimate boutique property boasts all-butler, all-oceanfront suites.
The Sandals Foundation is announced, the Caribbean resort company's official philanthropic arm created to address issues affecting the Caribbean including community, education and the environment.LEARN MORE
For more than thirty years, Sandals has perfected the romantic resort experience for couples, earning a worldwide reputation as the place where "love is all you need" because everything else is taken care of.
There are 16 Luxury Included® Sandals Resorts located throughout the Caribbean including Jamaica, The Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua and Saint Lucia. Each offers stunning beachfront settings, luxurious accommodations and the many features that make the Sandals Luxury Included® experience. Having been named the Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand at the World Travel Awards for 22 years in a row, Sandals Resorts is the recognized standard of romantic beach holidays.
The first Beaches Resort opened in 1997 and was a brand born from the insistent requests of couples who loved Sandals Resorts and wanted a similar experience to share with their families.
Now a truly beloved brand in the densely-packed family holiday market, having been voted the World's Leading Family All-Inclusive Resort for 20 years in a row, Beaches Resorts has established itself as the ultimate family-friendly all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, offering an unforgettable holiday experience for guests of all ages.
Launched in 2008, the Grand Pineapple Beach Resort brand offers guests an inviting setting to affordably enjoy the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Currently offering locations in Antigua and Jamaica, Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts pair an all-inclusive resort experience with great beachfront locations and tremendous value, to provide guests with the best of what the Caribbean region has to offer - a warm, unpretentious welcome, friendly service and the pleasure of a wide and wonderful, white sand beach.
Located in the Exumas chain in the Bahamas, the Fowl Cay Resort offers six private one-, two- and three-bedroom villas outfitted with casually elegant furnishings to complement the stunning surroundings.
At Fowl Cay everything is included in the price of your Villa, and then some. From meals and drinks to a dedicated golf cart, beach cruisers and even a motorboat for fishing or to explore neighboring beaches and cays. All villas are also equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, modern electronics, Molton Brown amenities and all the details of a true holiday beach home.
The Private Villas of Sandals & Beaches are a collection of four spectacular beachfront homes that capture the very essence of fine Jamaican living.
Located across the island, the homes each have a personality of their own from the stunning beauty of the 14-acre Rio Chico, to the laid back easy-going charm of Sundown, and from the luxurious pampering at Villa Plantana to the quiet peacefulness of Lime Acre, there is something for everyone in this collection of very fine private homes in Jamaica.
When Gordon "Butch" Stewart opened his first resort, he had one very important mandate; the resort would be required to adopt a school in the community. Team members were to care for it and ensure that the facilities and students had what was needed to be successful. That was more than thirty years ago, and the beginning of a corporate commitment to community and a tradition of service that SRI has nurtured. "We have the resources, therefore the responsibility to act," says Stewart.
Today, every resort under the SRI banner is required to adopt schools and in some cases, entire communities to ensure that the messages of health, safety, environmental concern, community and opportunity are shared as much as possible. From helping to provide new computer labs and building additional classrooms to giving scholarships for academically bright but needy students and hosting career days - our resort teams continually provide mentorship and share their knowledge and resources with our Caribbean neighbors.
In 2007, Sandals Resorts earned the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Award for the Adopt-A-School program and the work in the Caribbean communities where Sandals Resorts International operates grows.
As an independent nonprofit organization, the Sandals Foundation has assumed the existing activities of Sandals Resorts International with the aim of expanding their reach to create a positive and sustainable impact on people's lives and the environment. Working with their neighbors, civic leaders, employees and partners, they have identified programs in the areas of education, environment and community to achieve their promise.
The power of the Sandals brand, the strength of Sandals partnerships, and the passion of our
people put them in a great position to have a lasting and meaningful effect on improving lives
in the Caribbean.
SRl is a leader within Caribbean hospitality, and through introducing new concepts such as the eco-village at Sandals Montego Bay, an exclusively solar-powered village continuing to set regional sustainability standards, the company is determined to lead the region in environmental stewardship; while encouraging other resorts and hotels to follow in its footsteps. The more hotels and resorts that practice sustainability initiatives, the better it is for the environment, the guests that visit and our family, friends and neighbors who call the Caribbean home.
From recycling to conserving, SRI is committed to providing quality holiday experiences for guests while working to minimize the environmental and social impacts associated with operations. The resort company was the first official hotel chain in the Caribbean to have a Group Director of Environmental Affairs whose sole responsibility is to lead the company's corporate environmental sustainability effort. Since 1997, the company has had a formal environmental policy for all of its resorts with dedicated Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Managers at each property to oversee and be accountable for environmental management performance indicators.
The first of its kind in the Caribbean, the SCU certifies staff members currently without formal academic qualifications and provides qualified team members with an avenue to advance their education. Through partnerships with internationally recognized universities, professional organizations and local education institutions, the SCU offers programs that range from basic hospitality-specific training to putting them on a learning pathway that can ultimately lead to a masters and/or doctoral degrees.
In addition to receiving practical training in specific disciplines, SCU also focuses on eight key learning objectives. Among these elements are the SCU competency assessment, examining the knowledge, skills and attitudes employees require to perform efficiently; the SCU cross training program, allowing team members to gain inter-departmental experience; SCU "volunteer" hours, which gives team members the opportunity to engage in philanthropy by volunteering through the Sandals Foundation and Sandals EarthGuard; and professional qualifications, providing team members with professional certifications at an international level.
Why are we voted World's best year after year? Sandals Resorts International didn't invent the all-inclusive concept, but over the years we've perfected it.
For a decade, we have earned every resort award and accolade in the industry, placing Sandals leagues above any other all-inclusive resort. But the greatest reward of all is the high level of guest satisfaction we enjoy, with more than half of our guests having stayed with us before. Sandals is not only the World's Best in the eyes of the travel industry, but the best all-inclusive resort in the hearts of couples around the world. View our Complete list of Awards