Thursday 26 November, 2020

Barbadians told expect more from Sandals chain

Barbara Thomas (left) receives the MVP of the Year Award from Sandals General Manager Ramel Sobrino.

Barbara Thomas (left) receives the MVP of the Year Award from Sandals General Manager Ramel Sobrino.

The head of Sandals’ operations in Barbados, Ramel Sobrina is telling Barbadians in and out of the hospitality sector expect more from Sandals Resort International.

But he has remained tight-lip about the Caribbean hotel chain’s plan for a Beaches property which was first announced in 2013.  The multimillion-dollar resort would join three similar properties in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos and two other Sandals resort already operating in Barbados, Sandals Barbados, which opened in 2015 and the adjacent Sandals Royal Barbados, which opened in 2017.

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“Right now as everybody knows we are exploring . . . there are many things that have been said in the media but as a company, we are just [hopeful about] the new developments that are going to come and be announced, because we cannot announce or make official any comments at this point . . . but expect a lot because it is obvious. 

“We have to offer more because of the demand... .our demand is higher than the inventory that we are running right now and this is self-explanatory,” Sobrino told reporters recently.

The two properties in Barbados boasts of nearly 1,400 staff in Barbados, and between them, there are 552 rooms, 50 of them which were recently put into use.

“We are extremely happy with the fact that when we see the forecast of our occupancy, it is showing incredible numbers.  Both[hotels] . . . we are running at almost 100 per cent actually.  This week we are having our reunion week which is something which we have every year [where] returning clients who are a part of our loyalty programme, come specifically for Easter week and we celebrate with various activities.

“The hotel is full and almost all of the occupancy is [made up of] returning clients.  What you see of Sandal Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados . . . We have 1 000 plus guests inside and half of them have been returning and coming back.,” he revealed, suggesting that constant innovation across the chain has been a critical part of their success with occupancy standing in the region of between 95 to 98 per cent.

“Sandals Resort International, almost 40 years ago when they opened their first hotel in Montego Bay it was the first hotel in the Caribbean with a swim-up bar.  Today everybody has a swim up bar.  We were the first company putting a hair dryer inside of a room, today everybody has a hairdryer. 

“Today we are talking about things like infinity suites and bowling alleys  . . .  food and beverage . . .  where do you find a hotel with 552 rooms with 17 restaurants, 24 hours room service, 13 plus bars?  When you look at hotels, they normally have five, maybe six restaurants,  A La Carte dining, and then you have a big buffet.  We have  . . . the list goes on.”



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