As if jinxed, the Treasure Island Resort has operated under a black cloud for more than 20 years.
During its construction as Paradise Manor in the early ’80s, the hotel ran out of money and sat as an uncompleted shell for several years before a group of country and western music stars bought the property, finished the construction, and opened its doors at the Treasure Island Resort
For a while, things looked like they would go well for the hotel, and it even became one of the centres of nightlife on Grand Cayman.
But the property was never able to make money.
As a lower scale hotel on an almost non-existent beach, Treasure Island was never able to charge the kind of room rates that would have made it profitable in Cayman, where the cost of doing business is higher than other places.
In addition, even though it offered rooms at lower rates than other hotels on Grand Cayman, Treasure Island could never get the occupancy rates of other hotels.
Treasure Island was constantly having trouble paying its bills, and went into receivership three times.
The problem was not unique to Treasure Island. Other lower-end hotels, like the old Sleep Inn, also went under, eventually being sold to be used as dormitories for St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine
Now, Treasure Island is in the final stages of being sold once again.
This time, the new owners have said they will renovate and convert the building into long-term and short-term apartments.
It’s a good move.
Some might complain about the loss of one of the few remaining lower-rate hotels, but it is time to try something different on the property.
There has been a serious shortage of affordable rental housing, especially for short-to-medium term work permit holders, for years.
The new Treasure Island will not only address that housing shortage, but will allow the other lower scale hotels and inns a better chance to succeed.
With the Department of Tourism encouraging Caymanians to open small inns or bed and breakfast properties, eliminating Treasure Island from the competition creates a perfect opportunity for new entrepreneurs.