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900 get jobs as Sandals reopens

Cable Beach property underwent $55 mil. upgrade

Roughly 900 people returned to work as Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort opened its doors for the first time in nearly two years.

The iconic Cable Beach resort underwent roughly $55 million in renovations during the months it closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Since their arrival in 1996, the Stewart family’s self-declared love affair with The Bahamas lives on,” Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said during a ceremony for the reopening of the resort.

“From that faithful beginning, this Jamaican-born brand has expanded its one-of-a-kind offering and brought many benefits to The Bahamas. Following on from this multi-million-dollar renovation, many well-trained Bahamians will make up the full complement of 900 employees.

“And Sandals Royal Bahamian will go on championing not only innovation but the people and tourism product of this country. Along with the commercial ties, the presence of the Sandals properties also symbolizes the continued flourishing of the close and warm relationship that exists between Jamaica and The Bahamas.”

He said it was “a delight” to attend the reopening.

Davis noted that tourist-dependent economies in the Caribbean were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said yesterday was “a landmark moment [and] another important signal that The Bahamas is open for business”.

“We want to encourage the industry to employ more of our Bahamian artists, buy more Bahamian products, and have our Bahamian culture sit even more prominently at the heart of the visitor experience,” Davis said.

“But we cannot do it alone, and I am confident that Sandals [is] well-placed to partner with us in this effort. Over the years, I have been very impressed with the team here. There is a clear penchant for innovation, nestled at the heart of all you do, and a steadfast dedication to the highest standards of hospitality.”

Sandals Resort International said in a press release yesterday the 404-room Sandals Royal Bahamian “embraces the easy-going spirit of The Bahamas to thoughtfully entwine all experiential touch points — from the pastel pink of the flamingo to the vibes of traditional Junkanoo”.

“The new Sandals Royal Bahamian encompasses a new era in travel, inviting our guests in love to connect with the vibrant culture, natural wonders, and authentic traditions of the beautiful Bahamas — and in turn reconnect with each other,” said Sandals Resorts Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.

“We have a long history in the beloved Bahamas and it’s simply one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth. It’s what lured our founder and my father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, to this illustrious setting over 26 years ago.

“We’ve added special elements throughout the resort to impart his legacy to the setting we’ve created here. Our new Butch’s Island Chop House restaurant and adjacent Mr. B’s bar, for example, both give a nautical nod to his love for the sea, and even his iconic blue and white striped shirts served as the aesthetic inspiration. At Sandals Royal Bahamian, we honor our celebrated past, while surprising our guests in entirely new ways.”

Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper described the reopening of the resort as “a significant day for tourism”. 

“This is a significant day for Bahamian workers, business people, the Cable Beach strip…,” Cooper said.

“It’s a great day for tourism. We congratulated Sandals here today for this initiative. They have done magnificent work here today for this resort and it’s good for the product. We need even more room capacity in The Bahamas, so it’s good that this has come back on stream.”

Cooper said the property was transformed during its closure and has received “excellent reviews already”.

“This resort is going to be at full capacity over the next few days, I understand, so this is a great day for tourism as a whole,” Cooper said.

“We continue to encourage such investments, not only in Sandals’ products but in all of our resorts across the country.”

During the renovations, the resort added new river suites and refurbished more than 200 rooms and suites. 

It also introduced a new concept called Coconut Grove, “an expansive lounge area that extends the beach vibes to the center of the resort”.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness was among those who attended the reopening ceremony yesterday. 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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