Sandals is building its first-everEP hotel, but the Kingston, Jamaica property will not carry the Sandals or Beaches brand. Instead, it will fly the AC by Marriott lifestyle brand flag.
Ground was broken yesterday for a US$50-million complex in Kingston that will house the 220-room hotel, six restaurants, 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a BMW/MINI international showroom and service centre.
The project is being made possible through a partnership between Sandals Resorts International; ATL Automotive, the official importer of BMW and MINI in the Caribbean (also a Stewart family company); and Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world with just over 6,000 properties.
Marriott acquired a stake in Madrid-based AC Hotels in 2010 and introduced the AC by Marriott brand a year later. The brand has almost 90 hotels worldwide.
“This continues to be a signal from our group as to how much confidence we have in this country and where this country is going overall,” ATL Group Deputy Chairman and CEO (and Sandals CEO) Adam Stewart told guests at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Stewart says the hotel will operate on an EP basis. Noting that Jamaica is heavily skewed to all-inclusive resorts, Stewart said that Sandals, as the largest AI chain in the country, had decided to contribute to providing a balance in the accommodation subsector with more EP properties.
“So this hotel will be EP,” Stewart told the Jamaica Observer (of which he is also deputy chairman and CEO). “It will be our 11th hotel in Jamaica, plus three villas that we operate. This will be the first time for us building a hotel in the non-all-inclusive segment.”
Stewart says the two hotel companies have had “an amazing relationship for years,” and had been speaking for some time about building a hotel together in Jamaica that is “a little different.”
The BMW/MINI facility is scheduled to open in time for Christmas this year, while the target date for the hotel debut is the end of November 2018, in time for the start of the winter tourist season.
“The impetus is for visitors to come, do their business and stay for another three, four days and go to our UNESCO World Heritage site in the Blue Mountains, go to Dunn’s River Falls, go see Port Royal, the oldest Jewish synagogue in the western hemisphere, whatever it may be,” Stewart said.
“In addition, we’ll be building 10,000 square feet of conference facility with break-out rooms; so this will be a multi-use complex. We’re trying to put these five acres to great use and to build the new, hottest destination in Kingston,” he added.