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 vacation 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.
Gordon “Butch” Stewart Founder
and Chairman, Sandals Resorts
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.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on July 6, 1941, he grew up along Jamaica's north coast, a tropical paradise boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, now home to seven Sandals Resorts, three Beaches Resorts. But the origin of Stewart's business career as the leading entrepreneur in the Caribbean had nothing to do with the hotel or resort industries; rather it had everything to do with salesmanship and Stewart soon proved himself to be a master of the craft.
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 spirits, 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.
Deputy Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Sandals Resorts
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.
Born in 1981, the same year his father Gordon 'Butch' Stewart purchased his first hotel and launched the Sandals Resorts chain, Adam Stewart was raised in Jamaica and later graduated from Florida International University's (FIU) acclaimed Hospitality Management Programme in Miami. After graduation, Stewart underwent a fast track immersion course through the company's Caribbean-wide resort operations which today comprises 19 resorts across three brands and seven islands.
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.
Gordon "Butch" Stewart opens Sandals Montego Bay, the flagship resort, and begins the Sandals Resorts legacy.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals opens Carlyle on the Bay in Montego Bay, a small hideaway with a lot of charm now called Sandals Inn.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Royal Caribbean opens becoming the only resort in Jamaica with its own private island.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Negril opens its doors on Jamaica's largest stretch of the famous Seven-Mile Beach.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Ocho Rios, now Sandals Ochi makes its debut in "Butch" Stewart's hometown showing another side of Jamaica.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Antigua becomes the first destination outside of Jamaica to have a Sandals presence as the chain welcomes Sandals Antigua.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals adds golf to its game by acquiring Upton Golf Course in Ocho Rios, later renamed the Sandals Golf & Country Club.LEARN MORE
Sandals Regency La Toc debuts becoming the first Sandals resort on this simply beautiful island, bringing glamour and luxury to Saint Lucia.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals introduces Sandals Halcyon, a charming beach resort providing guests an intimate hideaway in Castries, Saint Lucia.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Royal Bahamian opens in Nassau, Bahamas bringing European grandeur and royal elegance to its guests as well as a second private island.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals branches out into a natural extension and introduces its first family resort in its hometown of Jamaica as Beaches Negril opens its doors.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Beaches Turks & Caicos opens in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos becoming the second family resort and a premier destination in "the last of the true exotics."VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Royal Plantation opens in Ocho Rios. Formerly the famous Plantation Inn, this intimate boutique property boasts all-butler, all-oceanfront suites.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Beaches Ocho Rios opens, becoming Jamaica's newest destination for family fun and adventure.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Grande St. Lucian opens. This resort is set on its own peninsula and offers breathtaking views of Rodney bay. It is the third Sandals resort in Saint Lucia.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals South Coast European Village & Spa opens becoming the first resort development on the unchartered south coast region of Jamaica.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Fowl Cay Resort in the Exumas, Bahamas is added to the portfolio as a private island resort with six villas, a true escape.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Grande Pineapple Beach Negril opens providing guests an authentic Caribbean vacation on Jamaica's famed seven mile beach.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Your Jamaican Villas are added to the portfolio. A collection of the Stewart family's stunning private homes that offers an exclusive vacation experience in Jamaica.VISIT VILLAS HOMEPAGE
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
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas opens, bringing the Luxury Included® vacation concept to the Out Islands of the Bahamas.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa brings a new standard of luxury and amenities to this exotic, unspoiled hideaway.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and has been re-opened as Sandals Ochi Beach Resort. The largest property in the Sandals chain sits on 100 acres overlooking the Caribbean Sea.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Barbados Resort opens in an island that is home to exotic locales, a rich history, and an extensive variety of sports and activities.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa is relaunched as the totally reimagined Sandals South Coast, a multi-million dollar renovation including 12 over-the-water bungalows, an over-the-water bar and wedding chapel.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Royal Caribbean debuts the Caribbean's first Over-The-Water Villas including a private infinity pool, over-the-water hammock, glass floor panels and exclusive amenities and services.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals Royal Caribbean debuts 12 *Over-The-Water Bungalows* built along a heart-shaped boardwalk, and 9 Over-The-Water Bungalows at Sandals Grande St. LucianVISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
Sandals announces second Barbados resort, the all-new, all-suite Sandals Royal Barbados*, which will feature only concierge and butler-level suites.VISIT RESORT HOMEPAGE
"Our family of Sandals resorts offers the absolute perfect way for each and every person to enjoy the unique and magical warmth of the Caribbean. From Sandals trademark romantic luxury-for-two to Beaches amazing fun for the whole family and from the Royal Plantation's world-class perfection to Unique Villas' down-home sumptuousness-whatever your pleasure, our incredible family of resorts is sure to satisfy!"LEARN MORE