Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua loungeAt first glance, the Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts brand, launched by Sandals Resorts International in April 2008 for the budget market, might seem at odds with the all-inclusive, high-end resort firm whose moniker is "Luxury Included."

Not so. The Grand Pineapple brand fits into a carefully crafted, companywide business model whose overall portfolio now includes the destination wedding program recently launched with Martha Stewart; the 500-acre Emerald Bay acquisition in Exuma in the Bahamas; the first city hotel aimed at the corporate market; and 13 other properties with partners and products targeting couples and families in five Caribbean destinations.

Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts joins the company's Sandals, Beaches and Royal Plantation product lines. Adam Stewart, Sandals CEO, described the Pineapple brand as "the authentic Caribbean experience without all the bells and whistles."

The brand's concept evolved over a two-year period before its official launch 18 months ago.

"There's a market out there that we hadn't tapped into, and we didn't want anyone left out," said Stewart. "Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts fills that need."

Two resorts were reflagged with the new brand in June 2008. The 180-room former Grand Pineapple Beach Resort on Antigua's northeast coast became the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua, and the 65-room former Negril Gardens in Jamaica morphed into the Grand Pineapple Beach Negril.

No additional Grand Pineapple resorts are planned at this time, although Stewart did not rule out a brand expansion, either at an existing property or as a newbuild, "wherever we find an incredible beach in a great location," Stewart said.

The resorts' rates range from 35% to 55% lower than the rates at the 12 Sandals, four Beaches and two Royal Plantation Collection properties and cover just about everything the other rates cover: meals, snacks, drinks, watersports and entertainment. Through the end of the year, double-occupancy rates per person per night begin at $224 for a beachside cottage at Negril, $355 for a standard room at Antigua.

The target market for the Pineapple properties is broad. "We see a lot of interest from singles, couples, families and groups for resorts that offer affordable rates, coupled with value and high service standards," Stewart said.



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