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Sandals Resorts International recently opened its second resort on Barbados: Sandals Royal Barbados. The 222-room, all-suite resort is showcasing a lot of firsts for Sandals. In an interview with TravelAge West, Gary Sadler, senior vice president of sales of Unique Vacations, Inc., affiliate of the worldwide representative of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, was eager to fill us in on why travel agents should be taking note of the new property.
Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International, has called Sandals Royal Barbados a “game-changer.” Can you elaborate on what sets this property apart from others within the Sandals brand?The excitement of our chairman is shared by the entire team. Sandals Royal Barbados is an extraordinary resort that introduces many firsts for our brand, including a gentlemen’s barbershop, a four-lane bowling alley and a rooftop infinity pool — a marvelous gathering space that is incredible day and night.
But what I think truly makes this resort a game-changer is the way it enhances Sandals Barbados, our first resort on this terrific island. It’s not simply about providing choice in dining, for example — although with six new restaurants it certainly does that. From its design and totally separate staff, to its new approach to entertainment, the experience at Sandals Royal Barbados is different from its sister property. They complement each other, raising the bar on our “stay at one, play at two” concept and presenting agents with a fantastic selling opportunity.
What else distinguishes the new Sandals Royal Barbados from Sandals Barbados?Sandals Royal Barbados is all-suite, ranging from concierge to some of our most luxurious butler-level accommodations. Guests in these select top category suites also receive private chauffeured Rolls-Royce airport transfers.
The resort also has two new restaurants: American Tavern, for casual dining in an industrial, modern setting; and Chi Asian Fusion, with design inspired by traditional tea rooms. New bars include Raising the Barbados; the cantilevered cocktail lounge; and the brand’s first beer garden, called Lover’s Lane Bar, which features a selection of international, local and craft beers.
Sandals Royal Barbados also debuts the brand’s first rooftop entertainment complex, with stunning 360-degree ocean views; an infinity edge pool with chaise lounge seating; live music; and great food and drink.
There’s an on-demand approach to entertainment with the introduction of an all-new entertainment pavilion, featuring a four-lane bowling alley, a living room and a game room. The resort also showcases the brand’s very first gentlemen’s only barber shop.
Can you comment about the shared privileges between both resorts? Is this a seamless and easy process?As I mentioned, the proximity of the resorts — they are connected by an adjacent walkway — make our “stay at one, play at two” concept on Barbados effortless. Guests booked at either property may enjoy the full amenities of both, which we think is a tremendous selling point for agents.
Consider this, for example: Sandals Royal Barbados offers six restaurants in total, including the two new concepts I mentioned — bringing the total number of unique dining options available for Sandals Resorts’ guests on Barbados to 17.
Has Barbados proved to be a popular destination for Sandals? What kind of feedback have you received from guests about the destination?Barbados is a tremendous destination with a long and storied tradition of hospitality, and we’re thrilled to be growing our brand with theirs. Our first foray here proved enormously successful, which is why we made plans to expand nearly immediately.
Bajans are warm and friendly, and the island is beautiful. So, as we do wherever we operate in the Caribbean, we certainly encourage our guests to get out and experience the people and places of this wonderful island.
How does Sandals encourage guests to go off-resort to explore the island?We make it easy to experience the destination, too. On Friday nights, we offer roundtrip transportation to the fish fry at Oistins, an active fishing town on the south coast that is a hub of activity on weekend nights. We also work hand in hand with our sister company, Island Routes; the operator offers visitors many ways to discover Barbados.