Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Adam Stewart says he is pleased with the progress of the multi-million dollar Sandals Beaches Resort currently under construction in Barbados.
“For us being in Barbados is an absolute honour and a privilege and we are incredibly proud of how we are built and having the Sandals brand there,” Stewart told Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of the 26th annual World Travel Awards.
That event formed part of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace being held in Jamaica this week.
“[Sandals Beaches Barbados] is coming on. In terms of design it is one of our finest masterpieces that we have ever done. It will be an incredible hotel. We are getting there slowly but surely. We spent an absolute fortune on the beach works making sure that it is prepared and the site is ready and it is stunning. West end Barbados it is as good as it gets,” said Stewart, as he commented on the progress of the US$400 million project.
After several setbacks, it was last year that officials officially started minor construction along the beach, at what was formerly the old Almond Beach Resort in St Peter.
The project is expected to last about 27 months and employ about 1,800 people throughout the process.
Earmarked to be Sandals’ most elaborate property, Beaches Barbados will consist of about 600 rooms, a number of unrivalled amenities including a six-lane bowling alley, water slides, an on-property train, a zip line and numerous global gourmet restaurants.
Between its two properties – Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados – the company currently employs over 1,200 Barbadians in full time positions.
Stewart said that number would easily double when the hotel is completed by the end of next year. He said he was especially proud of the company’s investment in Barbados’ struggling economy and its contribution to employment.
“We have our two Sandals properties – Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados – and if you think about it, in a space of seven years our company would have invested just shy of US$800 million and at that point will be employing permanently, somewhere in the order of 3,000 to 3,300 Bajans,” said Stewart.
“If you look all around the Caribbean there are very few companies that have invested that much money in a lifetime let alone in a seven-year period. So for us, we are very proud of that,” he said.
While stating that SRI was not yet up to speed with government’s proposed hotels development plan for Barbados’ southwest coast from the Savannah Hotel in Christ Church to the Paradise Beach in St Michael, Stewart said there were no immediate plans for future investments in the Barbados market from his company.
Sandals started its first operation in Barbados in 2013.