Update, April 21, 2021: Sandals said in 2021 that it would return the Dunn's River property to its portfolio.
Update, July 6, 2022: Reservations opened July 2022 for Sandal's Dunn's River, which is being reconceptualized and will reopen to guests in May 2023.
Sandals will terminate its lease at the Dunn’s River Villaggio Golf Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, effective May 31.
Sandals will operate the 250-room resort through July in order to accommodate existing bookings. Guests with reservations after July can switch to similar accommodations at other Sandals resorts without penalties or change fees.
This marks the first time that Sandals has dropped a property from its inventory. Sandals and property owner Sagicor Life Jamaica emphasized that the decision to part ways was amicable and agreed upon by both parties. Sagicor CEO Richard Byles told the Jamaica Gleaner that “we are looking for another operator and are inviting other persons to look at the property.”
Sandals leased the property in 1999 and renewed it twice in five-year increments. The lease is up for renewal on May 31, but Sandals informed Sagicor in October that it would not exercise its option to renew.
"We choose an ownership strategy as a whole," said Sandals chairman Butch Stewart. "As such, the Sandals Dunn’s River lease no longer fits our current business model."
Sandals owns most of the resorts it operates. Owning and operating gives Sandals "flexibility to implement changes without restrictions and to improve, upgrade and maintain the resorts on an ongoing basis," Stewart said.
Sandals said it did not have such flexibility at the Dunn’s River Villaggio.
The resort has all the bells and whistles associated with a Sandals resort: personal butler service in the top tier of guest rooms; 22 dining options, including a dine-around program at Ocho Rios restaurants; a nine-hole pitch and putt course and full golf privileges at the nearby Sandals Golf & Country Club; a Red Lane Spa; two pools with swim-up bars; and six bars and lounges.
This article has been updated to add that Sagicor is in the process of looking for a new operator for the resort.