An Hotelier Mogul


Hadassah Griffin, Staff Writer

Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is a well-known Jamaican businessman who started Sandals Resorts in 1981 and then later Beaches Resort. He was born in July 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica and unfortunately passed away on January 4th, 2021 in Miami, Florida. His passing shocked the hotel sectors but that will never change his legacy.
Stewart is the owner and/or chairman of over two dozen companies throughout the Caribbean, North America and Great Britain. He owns and runs 20 resorts under the Sandals umbrella, including the original Sandals all-inclusive couples-only resort, the Beaches resorts for families, and four boutique hotels. Stewart was always known for his work ethic, at 12 years old he bought a canoe that he used to catch fish and sell to the local hotels, at age 17 he began working as a salesman and eventually rose to becoming the manager of the Curacao Trading company. After saving up money, he later found his own business, Appliance Traders, Ltd. which imported and sold air conditioning units, water coolers and stoves but grew to sell everything. The company also founded the Jamaican Observer newspaper. In 2012, Stewart founded Sandals Corporate University, an adult education program for Caribbean nationals employed by Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, provided by Ryerson University in Canada, Western Hospitality Institute of Jamaica and the Jamaica Foundation for Life Long Learning.
What made Stewart an inspiration to many is his resilience, which led to his recognition across the world. He received awards including Jamaica’s highest national distinctions: The Order of Jamaica and Commander of the Order of Distinction. In 1992, Stewart was presented with the Martin Luher King Jr. Humanitarian Award in recognition of his efforts to advance humanity. Stewart helped society in so many ways throughout his life, he always talked about his love for seeing the advancements of all. Unfortunately on January 4, 2021 we lost a pure soul, but he will forever be loved by the people of Jamaica and around the world. As his family retrieved his body from Miami, where he passed away, they flew one last time with him around the resorts as it was his custom when returning to the island to fly over each of the resorts.