“One of the biggest misconceptions is that we don’t do groups,” Grant Lawlor, national groups manager at Unique Vacations Canada, the marketing arm of Sandals Resorts, told PAX in a recent interview.
According to Lawlor, one of the biggest growth patterns for Sandals' sales in Canada, especially over the past five years, has been in group business, from wedding parties to all areas of the MICE market.
“We’re not only about weddings and romantic getaways anymore,” Lawlor told PAX on a FAM last month to Sandals South Coast, one of the brand’s leading properties for group bookings in Jamaica. “There’s so much more to Sandals.”
Sandals' commitment to hosting incentive trips, conferences and corporate retreats is evident in some of its latest upgrades and refurbishments.
Last year, Sandals Montego Bay, the brand’s flagship resort, opened a stand-alone conference centre while Sandals Grenada, in a similar vein, recently expanded its conference and meeting amenities.
But not all Sandals were built the same way and not all properties are intended for group bookings (Sandals is, after all, primarily geared towards couples).
Here, we list 12 Sandals properties across the Caribbean that were built with the MICE market in mind:
Sandals Montego Bay (flagship resort): 264 rooms; 2,380 sq. ft of meeting space; five min. from Sangster (MBJ) airport; 9 dining options; 4 bars, 6 pools; Sandals Golf and Country Club (90 min. away). Notes: was recently updated, conference centre is brand new.
Sandals South Coast: 372 rooms; more than 14,000 sq. ft. of convention space; 90 min. from MBJ; nine dining options; seven bars, four pools; Ranks number one for groups in Jamaica. Notes: Rooms are all ocean view; over-the-water bungalows available; property includes a ballroom and three level theatre; home to Latitudes, a new over-the-water bar.
Sandals Ochi: 519 rooms; 13,484 sq. ft. of meeting space; 90 min from MBJ; 16 dining options; Sandals Golf and Country Club (90 min away); 11 bars, seven main pools and 98 villa pools; Notes: Rooms refurbished approx. four years ago. Situated on 100 acres of hillside gardens. However, resort isn’t known for beaches due to geography.
Sandals Royal Plantation: 74 rooms; 3,752 sq. ft. of meeting space; 90 min. from MBJ; five dining options; two bars, one pool; Sandals Golf and Country Club (10 minutes away). Notes: an all-butler boutique resort; guests have access to Ochi, which is next door.
Sandals Emerald Bay: 249 rooms; 6,700 sq. ft. of meeting space; 15 min. from Georgetown airport (GGT); 11 dining options; six bars, three pools; Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course (on site). Notes: known for its incredible beachfront.
Sandals Royal Bahamian: 404 rooms; 7,047 sq. ft. of meeting space; 10 min. from Nassau airport (NAS); 10 dining options; eight bars, six pools. Notes: has its own offshore island, suitable for group events; once hosted a function for Prince Harry.
Sandals Barbados: 280 rooms; 2,000 sq. ft of meeting space; 15 min. from Grantley Adams airport (BGI); 11 dining options; seven bars, three pools. Notes: located five min. away from St. Lawrence Gap area; Barbados is Sandals’ number one destination for groups.
Sandals Royal Barbados: 222 rooms; 5,080 sq. ft. of meeting space; 15 min. from BGI; nine dining options; four bars, 31 pools. Notes: home to many “Sandals firsts,” such as rooftop pool and restaurant, bowling alley, craft beer bar and gourmet donut shop.
Sandals Grande Antigua: 373 rooms; 3,716 sq. feet of meeting space; 15 min. from VC Bird airport (ANU); 11 dining options; seven bars, six pools. Notes: situated along Dickenson Bay, famous for its beaches.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: 311 rooms; 6,964 sq. ft of meeting space; 90 min. from Hewanorra airport (UVF); 12 dining options; eight bars, five pools; St. Lucia Golf and Country Club at Cap Estate or Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Club (30 min away). Notes: A MICE-focused hotel, guests can access other Sandals resorts in St. Lucia if they wish.
Sandals Grenada: 257 rooms; 1,880 sq. ft. of meeting space; five min. from Maurice Bishop (GND); 10 dining options; six bars, five pools. Notes: first resort to introduce sky-pool suites, infinite pools in rooms.
Turks & Caicos
Beaches Turks and Caicos: 758 rooms; 6,926 sq. ft. of meeting space; 15 min. from Providenciales airport (PLS); 21 dining options; 15 bars, 10 pools. Notes: part of the Sandals brand, Beaches is a family-friendly resort. Features five distinct villages with kids camps, water slides (of all the spaces, Key West village has a more adult feel).
All resorts above are adults-only (with exception to Beaches Turks and Caicos) and include various spa treatment and fitness facilities.
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