We don’t usually like to toot our own horn here at Travel Agent, but with the recent news that Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is expanding to Barbados, we found it worthy to mention that Travel Agent has been predicting this move since the end of 2011.
Travel Agent first got word that Sandals was planning a move to Grenada in 2011 when we sat down with CEO Adam Stewart. Stewart told us back then that Sandals was considering expansions to both Barbados and Grenada. And with Grenada already confirmed last year, we spent most of 2013 urging agents to keep an eye on a possible Sandals expansion to Barbados.
“Whether this is two years from now or five years from now, these are two destinations we can definitely see ourselves in,” Stewart told us back in June of 2011. “When we looked at them, we looked at the usual things we look for in finding a great location for a resort, mainly a great beach."
In fact, in a January piece, Travel Agent went as far as to say, “As far as 2013 goes, in the words of rock legends, ‘The Who,’ Travel Agent ‘won't be fooled again.’ We anticipate another mega announcement from the all-inclusive giants. Our safe bet is on an expansion to Barbados, something Adam Stewart has hinted at for more than a year now.”
The prediction became reality last week when Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and the Government of Barbados reached an agreement following months of negotiations that will see the one of the Caribbean’s leading resort company open the former Couples Resort in St. Lawrence as a Sandals Resort as well as managing a new Beaches Resort set to be built on the site of the former Almond Beach Resort in St Peter.
According to Sandals Resorts Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the 10-acre former Couples property will open as a Sandals Luxury Included Resort and will honor all existing commitments with guests who had booked to stay at Couples up until November 6.
"We are delighted to announce the opening of, not one, but two of our first ever resorts in this wonderful country of Barbados," said Stewart in a written release. "Barbados and its people are so rich in culture, charm and personality and has been one of the leaders in Caribbean tourism for decades. We have been in discussions to bring our award-winning brands to this country for some time and are thrilled that negotiations have now been successfully concluded."
Upon opening as Sandals Barbados, the resort will offer a selection of 280 luxury accommodations that range from beachfront suites to exquisite rooms situated in the resort’s lush tropical garden. A program of enhancements will be launched in order to ‘Sandalize’ the property immediately.
In addition to the opening of Sandals Barbados, SRI also announced that an agreement has been reached with the Government of the Barbados regarding the building of a brand new Beaches Resort at the site of former Almond Beach Resort in St Peter, Barbados.
Sandals Resorts International’s arrival into Barbados marks another milestone of exciting expansion that has seen the recent opening of the Key West Village at their flagship Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos as well as the hugely anticipated opening of Sandals LaSource Grenada in December.