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Sandals founder “Butch” Stewart dies

Sandals founder Gordon “Butch” Stewart has died in the United States at age 79.

The Jamaican hotelier passed away on Monday.

He was the founder, owner and chairman of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and their parent company Sandals Resorts International.

Sandals has two resorts in The Bahamas: Sandals Royal Bahamian on New Providence and Sandals Emerald Bay on Exuma.

In April 1981, Stewart bought two derelict hotels, the Bay Roc and the Carlisle in Montego Bay.

The Bay Roc had been abandoned for more than five years when Stewart hired architect Evan Williams to renovate the hotel for $4 million and reopen it the same year as the Sandals Resort Beach Club, later known as Sandals Montego Bay.

Stewart founded Sandals Resorts which was the first company to popularize the sale of all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean. Stewart is credited with several innovations in the hospitality industry, most notably building the Caribbean's first swim-up bar at Sandals Montego Bay Resort in Jamaica in 1984.

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