Sandals Opens its Newest Resort with the 1st SkyPool Suites in Jamaica and a Return to its Roots

Posted on 01/21/2024

A completely transformed and all-new Sandals Dunn’s River has opened on a stunning stretch of white sand beach in Jamaica: the site originally handpicked by Sandals’ founder, the late “Butch” Stewart over three decades ago when he began what became a world-famous and award-winning collection of adults-only Caribbean resorts. 
 
Featuring a design Inspired by Dunn’s River Falls, new culinary concepts and the introduction of Jamaica’s first “SkyPool Suites,” the 260-room luxury all-inclusive resort represents a deeply personal and family connection to its alluring setting on Jamaica’s north coast. 
 
“Ocho Rios has been the backdrop of some of my family’s most pivotal moments, including along this very beach where my father grew up and turned a perhaps once unimaginable dream into one of the world’s most well-known hotel brands,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, at the star-studded launch party.
 
“This is the place where everything began for Sandals Resorts,” Stewart explained.
 
“It is a hero's tale about an ambitious boy who began selling fish to local resorts and how he went on to change how people prefer to vacation, making Jamaica and the Caribbean the centerpiece of his efforts. It is an epic story about an incredible person who continues to inspire us to dream bigger, do more, be better. It is the stuff of legends and that is what this evening is all about,” said Stewart of his father.
 
“Today, we celebrate innovation and a commitment to excellence as we unveil the next generation of Sandals Resorts in our home country ofJamaica. I cannot think of a better way to honour his legacy.”
 
Butch Stewart passed away in 2021, and the transformation of the property into Sandals Dunn’s River was the last project he and his son worked on. 
 
 
The new chapter in the life of Sandals Dunn’s River celebrates its Jamaican roots and its riverside namesake.
 
The source of the water that flows through Sandals Dunn's River is from the natural reserves of the Dunn's River Falls, from the lobby waterfalls to the cascading pools of the Red Lane Spa. Guests at Sandals Dunn’s River will also experience the debut of the brand’s first-ever signature fragrance. Designed to evoke the romance of the Caribbean and encapsulate the brilliant flora and fauna surrounding the resort, the scent is an explosion of colors - from white florals and fruits to notes of sandalwood and musk in the background - and greets guests upon arrival to the open-air lobby. 
 

Sweet Suites

Sandals “Firsts” on resort include Tufa Terrace SkyPool Butler Suites, a first in Jamaica with glass panel edge infinity pools spanning the length of balconies flanked by views of the Caribbean Sea.
 
Guests checking in to Coyaba Sky Swim-up Rondoval Butler Suites with Private Pools will find Sandals’ iconic standalone circular villas have been reimagined with vast open-air rooftops where you and your partner can bask under the Ocho Rios sun and stars.
 
Luxurious Mammee Bay Beachfront Butler Suites feature expansive balconies that overlook the sea with privileged sunset views, and Travertine Beachfront Club Level Rooms are named after the well-known Dunn’s River Falls’ giant, natural limestone steps.
 

A New Era in Resort Cuisine

The connection to Jamaica continues at BLŪM, one of 12 new culinary concepts to debut at Sandals Dunn’s River. An ode to the island’s majestic Blue Mountains, the quaint coffee outpost offers a first-of-its-kind coffee drinking experience with 25-cup cold drip towers, nitro cold brew on tap and Modbar pour-over units reaping the very best out of Jamaica’s coveted bean - all best enjoyed paired with delectable pastries and treats.
 
At Dunn’s Rum Club (pictured below), guests can travel throughout the Caribbean via the region’s signature spirit. Featuring the largest selection of rum on the island of Jamaica and any other Sandals Resort, Dunn’s Rum Club celebrates the quintessential spirit by merging together storytelling with curated, cleverly named rum flights.
 
 
Evenings were made for lingering at the swank Lapidus Lounge, an homage to Morris Lapidus, the famed mid-century architect who designed the site’s first resort - the Arawak Hotel, and whose joyful designs epitomized 1960's tropical chic. This is the place to admire the architectural references and raise a toast to the visionary himself with a Morris Manhattan.
 
Seaside, guests can sink their toes into the sand while enjoying libations at Laughing Waters Beach Bar, named after the nearby fresh water falls that gently spill to the sea.
 
For an authentic taste of Jamaica, the Jerk Shack offers crispy festival - fried sweet corn cakes, alongside spicy “jerked” meats and seafood infused with local allspice and scotch bonnet pepper. 
 
In addition to the local flavors, guests can also savour a number of new culinary venues including:
  • Hamani, an izakaya-inspired sushi restaurant;
  • Edessa, where the Caribbean and Aegean seas meet;
  • Asian-fusion Banyu;
  • Central and South American flavors at Zuka;
  • Italian at Cascata;
  • a taste of France atL’Amande;
  • grilled delights and island staples at Galene;
  • or the eatery Saltaire for breakfast and lunch selections. 
 

Immersing Yourself in the Soul of Ocho Rios 

From teeing off with complimentary green fees at the nearby and newly refurbished Sandals Upton Estate Golf & Country Club and diving the depths of the ocean and exploring marine sanctuaries, to rafting the Martha Brae River on a 30-foot, artisan-crafted bamboo raft, Sandals Dunn’s River puts Ocho Rios’ natural treasures at guests’ fingertips with its included experiences.
 
 

Star-Studded Celebrations

Sandals Dunn's River's opening gala event brought together leaders in the Caribbean, members of the Sandals Resorts family, and Jamaican performers – including Grammy-Award winning artist Shaggy and The Voice winner Tessanne Chin – to commemorate the next chapter in the new resort’s storied history.