Caribbean hospitality giant Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart has died. The Jamaican-born hotelier, founder of Sandals Resorts International, passed away in the United States earlier after a short illness. He was 79 years-of-age.
Stewart was born in 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica.
He grew up along the north coast of the country, where he adopted his nickname, given to him by an American sailor.
Stewart was the founder of Sandals Resorts, the leading hotel chain in the Caribbean, Beaches Resorts, and their parent company Sandals Resorts International.
He also led the ATL Group and the Jamaica Observer.
He was known as one of the most successful Jamaican businessmen ever, with a fortune running to hundreds of millions of dollars.
His son, Adam Stewart, said on the death of his father: “It is with great sadness that I share with you today the passing of my father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
“This news seems almost unbelievable since he was as involved and forward-thinking as ever.
“He chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private and we respected that wish.”
Sandals Resorts famously offered two people in love the most romantic, Luxury-Included holiday experience in the Caribbean.
With 16 stunning beachfront settings in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada, Sandals Resorts offers more quality inclusions than any other resort company on the planet.
Sandals Resorts is part of family-owned Sandals Resorts International, which includes Beaches Resorts and is the Caribbean’s leading all-inclusive resort company.
The company recently announced plans to expand into Curaçao.
The brand has been recognised on numerous occasions as the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company by voters at the World Travel Awards.
Butch Stewart was honoured with a trophy for Outstanding Leadership in Social Responsibility by the World Travel Awards
In a letter, Adam Stewart added: “The Hon Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart OJ, a distinction he was so proud of, was a gifted entrepreneur.
“He was a marketing genius and talented showman, but those who knew him best recognised that he was a dreamer who could dream bigger and better than anyone.
“It was often said, “the best thing for people around him to do is be dream catchers”.
“That’s why he always credited his success to the incredible team around him, why he listened intently when it came to creating innovative things that would excite and delight our guests, and why it is so important that I remind you today of all days, that we will all continue to be his dream catchers.
“Together, we have all been part of something bigger than ourselves, led by a man who believed in us and who gave us opportunities to learn, grow and the tools to make dreams real.
“For him, and because of him, we will continue to dream big and deliver on his certainty that true luxury is always best enjoyed by the sea.
“My dad lived a big life – husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather entrepreneur, statesman, dreamer.
“A singular personality and an unstoppable force who revelled in defying the odds, exceeding expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champion.
“There will never be another quite like him and we will miss him forever.”
Butch Stewart is survived by his wife, Cheryl, children Brian, Bobby, Adam, Jaime, Sabrina, Gordon, and Kelly; grandchildren Aston, Sloane, Camden, Penelope-Sky, Isla, Finley, Max, Ben, Zak, Sophie, Annie and Emma; and great grandchildren Jackson, Riley, Emmy and Willow.
Karl Thompson, managing director of Unique Vacations, an affiliate of the exclusive worldwide sales and marketing representative for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, added: “On behalf of myself and my team in the UK and Europe, some of whom have worked for him for more than 25 years, we are deeply saddened by the death of our chairman and founder, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
“Not only was Stewart a true visionary for the travel industry but he was also like family to many of us.
“He had a fabulous sense of humour, was constantly there for support and always encouraged us to strive for excellence.”
He added: “Those who knew him well will know him for his larger-than-life personality and his pioneering ideas.
“Nothing was ever impossible.
“His determination knew no bounds and he was always striving for bigger and better things.
“Echoing the sentiments of his son, Adam Stewart, he was an inspiration to all of us and I can say with certainty that there will never be anyone else like him.”
A private funeral service will be held.
Those wishing to share memories, condolences or personal stories may do so here.
For more on the life of Butch Stewart take a look at the Breaking Travel News obituary here.