Mark Bastis has left the island.
Mr. Bastis has been general manager of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on West Bay Road for the last four and a half years. He left this past weekend to take up a similar position at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California.
He leaves the Cayman Hyatt as it is still trying to recuperate from devastation brought via Hurricane Ivan in September.
More than 300 rooms at the Hyatt are still out of action as the company awaits its insurance settlement before restoration work can be carried out.
‘Ivan taught us a lot of things,’ said Mr. Bastis, who started with the Hyatt in Maui as a management trainee out of college.
‘It brought us back to basics and taught us just how important the things we take for granted are like shelter, food and sanitation.
‘For the first week we had to sort ourselves out with those basic things and decide exactly how we were going to do things like prepare food and eat.
‘We gave people shelter; employees’ families and anybody else that we could in the best way we could.
‘We had to wash our hands in Clorox diluted with water for months.
‘It taught us a lot about adjusting and flexibility. It also taught us that water is more important than electricity, how to recognise the needs of others and to respond to those needs before actually being asked for help. We did all that here at the Hyatt.
‘It made us appreciate things a whole lot more when we were able to re-open and accept guests again.
‘It has led to higher standards of service as employees recognise the needs of guests far more now.
‘We are just waiting for the insurance settlement so that we can start to get things up and running again properly, but the beach side is open along with the pool, the Bamboo bar and restaurant and Hemingways restaurant, which has been totally revamped.
‘Our facility at Rum Point is also open and operating,’ he said.
Now he and his family are embarking on a whole new chapter in their lives.
‘I visited Monterey five or six years ago, but it will be the first time I have worked there.
‘The Hyatt there has the biggest conference facility in Monterey and the hotel is to undergo a $30 million renovation next year.
‘There is a magnificent aquarium in Monterey and the area has some of the best golf courses in America.
Mr. Bastis said he and his family, which includes wife Louella and seven-year-old daughter Courtney, will miss the Cayman Islands.
He has been with the Hyatt group for 23 years and had appointments in Maui, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington DC, the Virgin Islands and Kauai.