Sandals facelift Jamaican style

For the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios,
Beach and Villa Golf Resort, a twin property that features a luxurious
beachfront view on one side at the Riviera and a well tended golf course on the
other side at the Manor, perfection is a moving target.

The Sandals resort, which is owned
by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who is also chairman of the Jamaica Observer, is
undergoing major refurbishing to maintain its ‘luxury included’ image and operating
philosophy.

Brian Roper, general manager of the
Ocho Rios property said all 525 bedrooms are currently being refurbished while
six new dining options, or restaurants, will be created to add to the 10 that
already exist.

“We in the hospitality
industry need to ensure that we have a product that is easy to sell and for a
product that needs to be easy to sell you have to be modern,” said Roper.
Despite the rough economic seas that have affected businesses, it is critical
that a resort like Sandals maintains its product at a high standard, Roper argues.

“Otherwise you are going to be
just like everybody else and you are fighting after the bottom feeders of the
sea and we are not going to go at that market here at Sandals Grande Ocho
Rios,” said Roper.

The refurbishing exercise will
encompass all the ‘public areas’ at the resort including the lobbies, restaurants,
beach areas and fire pits. The property will also look cooler and more airy
with a change of colours from bold to a more ‘comfortable’ palatte. The
bedrooms will also be redone and the general energy efficiency of the hotel
will be improved.

“We are redoing a lot of our
rooms. Right now as we speak there are 72 rooms that are out being completely
refurbished. That is going to be an ongoing process,” Roper added.

At the end of the renovation, which
should be within another five to six months, according to Roper’s estimates,
there will also be a plethora of restaurants on the property from the Manor,
the Riviera and the Beach club for guests to dine. The restaurant selections
range from a pizzeria to oriental fare.

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