Reservations are open for Sandals Dunn's River

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Oceanfront glass balconies will be a feature of the Sandals Dunn’s River, slated to open next May.
Oceanfront glass balconies will be a feature of the Sandals Dunn’s River, slated to open next May. Photo Credit: Sandals Resorts International

Reservations are now open for the fully reconceptualized Sandals Dunn's River in Ocho Rios, slated to welcome guests starting May 24, 2023.

The resort had once been part of the Sandals brand, but had been operating as the Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa in recent years.

Sandals acquired it for $30 million as well as adjacent beachfront land in 2020. 

The 260-room property is undergoing a top-to-bottom restoration with new amenities, accommodations and culinary concepts. 

The project is the last that Adam Stewart, Sandals' executive chairman, and his late father, Sandals founder Butch Stewart, worked on together. Butch Stewart died in January 2021

"This is his final masterpiece. He handpicked this location more than three decades ago for its white-sand coastline, breezes, azure waters and proximity to the archetypical Dunn's River Falls. It will serve not only to breathe new excitement into a corner of Jamaica loved and cherished by so many, but also set a new standard of luxury for tourism right here in our own backyard with a next-generation resort worthy of its nostalgic past," said Adam Stewart.

Among the highlights: Tufa SkyPool Butler Suites, which will feature glass panels spanning the length of the oceanfront balconies; the stand-alone Coyaba Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites with private pools and open-air rooftops with soaking tubs; and the Mammee Bay Beachfront Butler Suites with balconies and a nature-meets-luxury concept.

New restaurant and bar concepts

The resort will feature 12 restaurants with 10 concepts new to Sandals, including L'Amande, fusing French and Jamaican fare; Edessa, a Greek venue; Banyu, with an Asian-fusion menu; Zuka, a mix of Central and South American flavors, which debuted at Sandals Royal Curacao last month; and the soulful Jerk Shack serving sweet and peppery delights.

There will be nine bars. The Dunn's Rum Club will feature Jamaican craft cocktails, a curated list of smooth rums and games of Jamaican-rules dominoes. The Laughing Waters beach bar will have bed-style seating right on the sand. 

The rooftop bar Ocarina, a Sandals first in Jamaica, will pair spirts with sea breezes. The Lapidus Lounge pays homage to architect Morris Lapidus, who designed the resort when it was first built as the Arawak Hotel in the 1950s.

The Blum Café will serve Jamaica's famed Blue Mountain coffee, along with nitro cold brew and island treats.

A cascading waterfall will greet guests upon arrival, with waters sourced from the natural reserves of the rivers throughout the resort. Jamaica's largest pool is designed to mimic the flow of the river. Featuring a glass-panel edge, the pool will be leveled to the sand and is one of five pools on site.

Adam Stewart said that Ocho Rios "is the place where my father grew up, where he first learned to fish and felt the breeze along the west-facing beach and where he first saw the joy of the island on the faces of visitors."

"Here along Jamaica's north coast, he witnessed a blossoming tourist industry and became aware of how to please and serve a new Caribbean customer. Every touchpoint at the new Sandals Dunn's River is designed to do that and more."

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