Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Butch Stewart's private paradise

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Founder and chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart.

On Sandals Resorts International's website, the hotel group touts five brands, two of which relate to at least nine villa holdings, at least three of which are the private property of the company's founder and chairman that have been opened up to guests at rates ranging up to US$6,430.

Alongside, the offering of hotel stays at properties in seven markets, Sandals offers use of nine privately owned villas on two islands - six on Exuma in the Bahamas and at least three in Jamaica - to guests who prefer their own bit of paradise over the all-inclusive where they might encounter hundreds of vacationers.

Only the Jamaican homes, marketed as Your Jamaican Villas, are said to be privately owned by hotel mogul Gordon 'Butch' Stewart and used by him and his family as "their own personal oases from their busy lives". The villas are periodically available for rental.

The villas are promoted at yourjamaican villas.com and www.fowlcay.com as well as on SRI's main website, but Stephen Hector, Global PR Director at Sandals Resort International, said Friday that the hotel group would rather not discuss the properties at this time when Sunday Business reached out for comment on the level of business they generate.

Your Jamaican Villas and Fowl Cay Resorts are featured online as tropical getaways for the discerning. Among Stewart's private properties in Jamaica is Lime Acre Villa on the south coast, which is described as a plantation house with its own doting villa staff.

The four-acre property features mango, guava, plantain, fig and lime trees and a stone footpath leading to private beach, and coral reef. The villa can host a maximum 10 guests at rates of US$860 per night.

Rio Chico

Another property, Rio Chico, located just outside of Ocho Rios, is promoted as big enough for large gatherings of family and friends. The 14-acre estate feature lily ponds and ivy covered stone bridges, manicured lawns, lush tropical and heavily fruited gardens. Rio Chico can host a maximum 18 to 20 guests and rates start at US$6,430 per night.

Nearby in Discovery Bay is Sundown Villa which is described as a place for family holidays and social gatherings and a "spectacularly comfortable sanctuary by the sea." The 5,500 square foot property sits on its own private 125-foot white sand beach. This villa can host a maximum 14 adults and six children. Rates start at US$1,360 per night.

The main Sandals Resorts website itself names a fourth Jamaican villa belonging to Stewart - called the Plantana.

The other six villas at Fowl Cay on Exuma feature one, two and three-bedroom villas.

"All have ocean views and are lined with French or sliding glass doors that open to beautiful patios overlooking the breath-

taking water below," the website states.

A minimum of one week stay is recommended. Rates range from US$10,600 weekly in the low season to US$13,300 weekly during holiday periods. High season rates are US$11,350 per week.

Each villa comes with its own motor boat, a golf cart and use of all the equipment on the island. A centralised Hill House facilitates cocktail hour and a gourmet dinner of local seafood.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com