Sandals Resorts International is expanding in Barbados.
The company has officially broken ground on a multimillion-dollar expansion of its Sandals Barbados resort on the island’s Dover Beach.
The expansion will see the construction of an additional 222 rooms and suites, according to the company.
Dubbed Sandals Barbados “Phase II,” the expansion is slated for completion in November of 2017.
It will add to the existing room count of 280 rooms and will make the property the largest Sandals-branded resort in the Eastern Caribbean.
“Our organization is really three things. It is an organization that has the ability to take a tourism product and market it globally across the world and make it a household name,” said Sandals CEO Adam Stewart. “Our second aspect is the projects and development team that thinks bigger and better with every new project. So for us our biggest competition is always our last project.
“Our third pillar, Stewart said, “is the people.”
It will also add five new restaurants, a new spa and wellness sanctuary, three new swimming pools and an entertainment pavilion with a bowling alley; the latter will be a first for the company.
The expansion will also add a 10,500-square-foot conference facility with capacity for 550 people.
That will mean an additional 520 new jobs, according to the company, bringing the total direct employment of the resort to more than 1,100.
Sandals Resorts International Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who was on hand for the groundbreaking this week, said he was grateful for the “Bajan support and hospitality” extended to the company.
The expansion comes as Barbados is undergoing something of a tourism renaissance, with strong arrival growth this year.
According the island’s most recent data, stay over arrivals to Barbados were up 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016.
At least 20,000 of the 591,000 visitors to Barbados last year were Sandals guests, according to Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy.
There are 15 Sandals-branded resorts in the Caribbean.