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This has been a fluid year for Jamaica when it comes to resorts closing and then reopening, reflagged and under new management. One thing we haven’t seen up to now is a company’s reversal of its decision to close a resort. Last summer, Sandals Resorts International announced that they would be closing Grand Pineapple Beach Negril in August. As word spread, the feedback from former guests, travel agents and tour operators was immediate: They didn’t want to see the closing of Grand Pineapple Beach Negril and implored Sandals to re-evaluate its decision. Sandals turned on a dime and announced that the resort would re-open for business and accept reservations as of Oct. 16.
“This charming resort has a passionate fan base that truly loves its simple tradition of warm Caribbean hospitality and it seems nothing else will do,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “Since we announced the closure of the resort this summer, we’ve received countless calls to reconsider. We’ve heard the calls loud and clear and I’m happy to say that we are acting upon them.”
Grand Pineapple Beach Negril is set on 250 feet of Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach within walking distance of Negril’s shopping district and craft markets. The all-inclusive resort features 65 cottages and manor rooms. TravelAge West reached out to Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, for some background on the company’s decision to reopen Grand Pineapple Beach Negril.
TAW: Jamaica has many all-inclusive resorts in a wide variety of price ranges. Why were guests unwilling to shift their vacation plans to another resort? What makes past guests of Grand Pineapple Beach Negril so loyal?
Stewart: Guests love the intimate and personalized experience of staying at Grand Pineapple Beach Negril, from getting to know the staff from the time they greet you upon arrival with pineapple drinks, to forming friendships with other guests as you lounge by the stunning Seven-Mile Beach. While the resort is moderately priced, guests are offered excellent amenities for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation with access to Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach, tropical decor accommodations, exciting watersports, delectable meals, unlimited drinks, lively entertainment and gratuities included. This all-inclusive resort caters to everyone — singles, couples, families and groups.
TAW: What was behind the decision to close Grand Pineapple Beach Negril in the first place?
Stewart: The reasoning behind the decision was that we felt it was beginning to move away from the model of the company’s resort portfolio, but the decision to reopen is due to an overwhelming guest response to its closing.
TAW: Did travel agents and tour operators also protest the closing of the resort? If so, what was the substance of their requests that the resort stay open?
Stewart: Guests shared their feelings with travel agents and tour operators that they were upset about the closing, so agents and operators voiced opinions on behalf of their consumers.
TAW: Will the re-opening include any renovation efforts or new amenities?
Stewart: There are no new renovations – it is the same charming property guests have known and loved.
TAW: What were the logistical challenges in re-opening Grand Pineapple Beach Negril?
Stewart: There were no logistical issues. We are always ready to greet our guests, and nothing has changed since its closing in August. We fully appreciate that the original team members contributed greatly to the charm of the resort and every effort is being made to ensure as many of the previous staff return to the resort as possible. New or old, our team members will deliver the warm and personalized services our guests expect.