MONTEGO BAY—Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announced a new partnership with Marriott International, Inc. to bring AC Hotels by Marriott to the Caribbean. This is the first partnership between the hospitality companies and the first time SRI will manage a brand it did not create. Construction for the new AC Hotel in Kingston, the partnership’s debut project, gets underway this month and is slated to open winter 2019.
According to SRI CEO and Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart, the AC Kingston will offer 220 rooms, a 10,000-square-foot conference center, and full service restaurant. Parking, often a challenge in Jamaica’s capital, will be plentiful with both valet and self-serve options. Plans call for the AC Kingston to be the centerpiece of an expansive, mixed-use development, located on the last five acres of prime Kingston real estate in the Jamaica House neighborhood, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Jamaica. It has been designed to attract both a local and international audience.
“There is a renewed energy in Kingston and everywhere the city trembles with purpose and productivity,” said Stewart. “We plan to capture this vitality, to create a destination within a destination, a place where world-class meetings and events happen alongside everyday occasions – from shopping and dining to salon services and cocktails with friends. With its emphasis on design and locally inspired experiences that elevate the guest’s stay, AC Hotels by Marriott is the right brand to bring our vision to life.”
In addition to the new AC Kingston, development plans call for a BMW showroom, beauty and wellness salon, car rental facility and “The Avenue,” a promenade of indoor and outdoor event space and retail and dining outlets including a fine-dining sushi and seafood restaurant and well-known coffee bar. “The Avenue” will begin at the entrance and carry straight through to the conference center with staging areas along the way to accommodate planned and impromptu concerts, taking advantage of one of Jamaica’s most influential exports– music.
“Kingston is quickly becoming a starting point for visitors who want to discover Jamaica beyond its beaches. From our rich musical tradition that begins here to the wonders of the Blue Mountains– a UNESCO world heritage site that just happens to produce the world’s best coffee, travelers will find much to capture their imagination here,” said Stewart.
To help visitors explore Kingston and its surroundings, an outpost of Island Routes Caribbean Adventures, the Caribbean tour company Stewart founded will be installed at the new development.
“We are creating an experience that celebrates its location in style and that offers thoughtful, customer-driven service—so whether our guest spends time with us for business or pleasure or both, they will want to return,” said Stewart.
Speaking on the partnership, VP of development, Marriott International Caribbean and Latin America, Alejandro Acevedo commented, “Marriott International is excited to partner with Sandals Resorts International on bringing the AC Hotels by Marriott brand to Jamaica. Because of solid partners, like Sandals, we are able to continue to expand our presence in the Caribbean and Latin America where we currently operate over 200 hotels across 30 brands. The AC Hotels brand will be an excellent addition to our existing portfolio in Jamaica, as we strive to become the world’s most favorite travel company.”