Hotel openings delayed

Major hotels on Grand Cayman are running into delays with re-opening up to tourists because of insurance and construction headaches.

Three of the island’s major hotels, the Marriott Resort, the Hyatt Regency Resort and Treasure Island Resort are experiencing delays of many months to their earlier planned opening timelines following Hurricane Ivan.

Treasure Island Manager Luke McCoy said the original expectation for stay-over tourists to be accommodated at the 278-room resort has now been put back.

‘Our plans are now delayed and we won’t meet our March or April deadline,’ he said.

‘That’s unless nothing short of a miracle happens,’ he said.

Mr. McCoy said progress is being hampered by insurance and contractor issues and there is no immediate timeline on an official re-opening at the moment, but it is looking like some months down the line.

Initial plans for the Marriott Resort’s soft opening in January and full opening in March have also been delayed some five months.

Managing Director of the 309-room Marriott Resort Chris Sariego said plans are now changed, with a soft opening scheduled for 1 June and a full opening 1 August.

Mr. Sariego agreed that the hotel’s progress is also suffering from insurance and construction issues.

‘We’re all suffering from the same challenges but hopefully we can deal with this as quickly as possible and move on,’ he said.

Although there was no-one available for comment from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, it is also believed that the resort’s main side (239 rooms) will not be ready for stay-over tourists for a full year (February 2006) because of insurance and reconstruction issues. Initially following the hurricane it was hoped that this side of the hotel could be open as early as June 2005. This was then re-estimated at September 2005, but now it appears there is a further delay of five months on that date.

The 53 beach suites have been open to tourists since December, however.

Despite the delay with getting hotels back in full working order for tourists, they are concentrating on bringing their products up to even higher standards for when they do re-open.

Mr. Scott said the Marriott Resort is to return as a much better hotel.

‘We’re brining back a beautiful product and spending lots of money on getting it right’.

He described the hotel as being a ‘much, much better product than before – ultra modern, chic with a Caribbean flavour’.

The hotel is accommodating staff of various companies in 50 of its rooms.

‘We’re helping as much as we can to house work permit holders and to host different companies,’ he said.

Mr. McCoy also echoed these sentiments that the new Treasure Island will be better than ever. Work being done at the moment includes part of the roof, air conditioning, the hot water system and elevators. It is housing staff and many workers from various companies, with 150 rooms full.

It is understood that the Hyatt Hotel is to return as a top quality product.

The Courtyard Marriott Resort and the Westin Casuarina Resort are both open to stay-over tourists and for the Christmas tourist season they had 170 and 271 licensed rooms respectively open for business. There was no-one available for comment from these premises at the time of going to press.

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