Following a momentous grand opening celebration on May 19, the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River opens today as the 17th resort in the award-winning Sandals Resorts portfolio.
Located on a stunning stretch of white sand beach – a site originally handpicked by legendary hotelier and Sandals Resorts International founder the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart when the first Sandals Dunn’s River debuted over 30 years ago, today’s Sandals Dunn’s River is a completely new and utterly transformed hotel and experience. Featuring new culinary concepts and elevated suite designs, the 260-room luxury all-inclusive resort offers a deeply personal 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 Chair of Sandals Resorts International (SRI).
“Today, we celebrate innovation and a commitment to excellence as we unveil the next generation of Sandals Resorts in our home country of Jamaica. I cannot think of a better way to honour his legacy and acknowledge the incredible future of our brand than to welcome our very first guests to Sandals Dunn’s River.” Sandals Dunn’s River infuses its Jamaican roots into every sense, designed to embrace the essence of the destination’s rivers, lush forests, and majestic banyan trees.
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 colours – from white florals and fruits to notes of sandalwood and musk in the background – and greets guests upon arrival to the open-air lobby.
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 thoughtfully reimagined with vast open-air rooftops from where to 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. Beautifully appointed rooms and a luxurious resort requires team members outfitted in similar style and they are, thanks to a special partnership with legendary fashion designer Stan Herman who collaborated with resort staff to develop a collection fit for the Caribbean.
The connection to Jamaica continues at Blūm, one of 12 new culinary concepts. 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, guests can travel throughout the Caribbean via the region’s signature libation. 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 architect who designed the site’s first resort – the Arawak Hotel, and whose joyful designs epitomized 1960s Caribbean chic. This is the place to admire the bevy of 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 bubble up and gently spill to the sea. For an authentic taste of Jamaica, the Jerk Shack is as traditional as it is delicious, offering 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 libations and coffee creations, guests can also savour a number of new culinary feats including Hamani, an izakaya-inspired sushi restaurant that brings the elegance of traditional Japan to the Caribbean; Edessa, where the Caribbean and Aegean seas meet; an Asian-fusion menu at Banyu, which offers a blend of cultures all in a single dining experience; Central and South American flavours at Zuka; Italian at Cascata; a taste of France at L’Amande; grilled delights and island staples at Galene; or the eatery Saltaire, offering live-action breakfast and lunch selections.
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 with world-class partners at PADI 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 quintessential Luxury Included offerings.
Stewart said: “Building extraordinary resorts that make it easy for our guests to authentically experience our home countries and the people that bring these incredible places to life, is the work of Sandals Resorts. The Caribbean is wide and diverse and brimming with flavour, and fun. There is so much to discover here and we want to bring our guests closer to it all.”