Visitors to Cayman Brac will soon have more choice.
Ground was broken Wednesday on a new hotel, slated to open early 2009.
The hotel – at Foster’s Plaza – is being built by Bracker Cleveland Dilbert, owner of Big Daddy’s liquor stores.
‘We hope to give visitors a true Caymanian welcome,’ Mr. Dilbert said. ‘This will be a luxury-style hotel without the price tag.’
Designed by local architect Justin Bodden, the hotel will span 20,000 square feet.
Planned are 31 bedrooms and two luxury suites. Accommodation will be self-catering, each with fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom. A restaurant is also in the offing, as well as a tiki bar. In addition, the two-storey hotel will include a 60-seat conference room, souvenir shop and freshwater swimming pool.
The concrete-construction building will face onto a picturesque pond, which will get an overhaul as part of the new development.
‘We are working with Government to help clean up the pond and make it more appealing,’ Mr. Dilbert said. ‘For years, mud and dirt has been collecting in the pond. It’s time to turn it into a beauty spot for all to enjoy.’
The project will include a fountain, which will not only serve as an attractive focal point, but also an irrigation system. Locals are coming to the fore to help clean up the pond, and Mr. Dilbert plans to stock it with a variety of fish.
‘Once the pond is cleaned, I hope a lot more wildlife will be attracted. Hopefully it will become a great spot for bird watching and those interested in learning more about the Brac’s wildlife. Kayaks are going to be available for guests who wish to explore it further.’
To further help the environment, Mr. Dilbert is hoping to make the hotel as environmentally-friendly as possible. He is looking into the possibility of a wind-generator, as well as electricity-saving devices in the all the rooms.
‘We want to be socially responsible,’ Mr. Dilbert said. ‘The Brac is such a beautiful place. What more motivation do we need than to help preserve it for future generations to enjoy.’
Attending the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday were three generations of Dilberts. Cleveland’s sons, Damien, Nelson and Timothy, and grandson Donovan. Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell and members of the planning department were also present, as well as locals who came to learn more.
‘I really feel it’s time to help get the economy moving on the Brac,’ Mr. Dilbert said. ‘I want to help get the island on track. For young people, there are few opportunities. I hope this hotel will help give young Brackers interested in entering the tourism industry an additional option as well as creating more jobs.’
Cayman Brac has one hotel, the Cayman Brac Reef Resort. However, Mr. Dilbert said that he is not in competition.
‘Cayman Brac needs another hotel. More and more flights are coming into the Brac all the time. A new hotel is very much needed, for the workforce, tourists and the economy,’ he said.
Mr. Dilbert bought Foster’s Plaza about six months ago. The plaza consists of four stores, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Brac Suds and the newly opened Big Daddy’s liquor store.
‘When I bought the plaza I was offered the land adjacent and came up with the idea of opening a hotel. As a Bracker it’s really important to me that I help the Brac’s economy.’
The business venture is full circle for Mr. Dilbert, who grew up on the Brac’s north side. He left the island in his early 20s, and began a career in construction in New York. He returned to Grand Cayman a few years later, where he has since built up an impressive business portfolio.
‘Returning to the Brac feels good. It’s exciting, and whatever I can do to help the island I will.’