Sandals Resorts International (SRI) management is not resting on its sandy shores. The all-inclusive resort company announced June 1 that it is acquiring the Saint Lucia Golf Club, an 18-hole course in the northern part of the island. The revamped complex will be renamed the Sandals St. Lucia Golf & Country Club at Cap Estate and will feature a family entertainment complex, swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, new restaurants and renovated meetings and conference amenities.
This is part of a regional growth strategy that blurs the lines between business and leisure travel. The focus on the Caribbean island started in 1993 when SRI opened its first hotel there. Also in the works is a fourth resort, Sandals LaSource St. Lucia, planned to break ground later this year. It will join the island’s first over-the-water bungalows and serenity chapel at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, one of three existing Sandals Resorts in the destination.
The company already owns 15 Sandals Resorts and three Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Turks & Caicos, Grenada, Barbados and The Bahamas. All Sandals and Beaches resorts offer dedicated meeting space, but Sandals Royal Barbados, which will debut by end of year as a second property in Barbados, will feature an expansive 10,500-square-foot conference facility capable of seating 550 people. Plans for new properties are in in motion for Barbados and Jamaica, as well, says Tammy Gonzalez, CEO of Unique Vacations, the representative of Sandals Resorts International. “We are focused on driving innovation in the industry and throughout the region,” she says.
Gonzalez sees the lines between business and leisure travel blurring so that “merging the two in one location is no longer an option–it’s an expectation.”