Courtyard Marriott to revamp

The Courtyard Marriott hotel will close next year to undergo a major revamp.

The five-storey, 204-room hotel will close temporarily from the end of next year’s tourist season while the expansive facelift takes place. The hotel’s online reservation system is not allowing any booking with a check-out date later than 28 June 2009.

In the meantime, the hotel remains open for business, offering residents’ and business rates.

‘We’re still open, we’re still here,’ said sales and marketing manager J. Aliya Dunstan.

The multi-million revamp of the hotel, which was sold last year with little fanfare to Atlanta-based real estate development company Thomas Enterprises, is expected to take at least a year.

Ms. Dunstan said one of the many planned changes to the hotel was the possible creation of a walkway from the hotel to the beach across the road to ensure guests could safely cross the busy West Bay Road that separates the hotel from Seven Mile Beach.

The hotel has been operating in Cayman for seven years, first as a Holiday Inn and then as a Courtyard Marriott.

The revamp is expected to push the hotel into the higher end of Cayman’s tourism market, to compete with the Ritz-Carlton and Westin Casaurina. ‘It will be something different and fresh for the island,’ Ms. Dunstan said.

Last year, Atlanta-based Thomas Enterprises Inc. bought the Courtyard Marriott from the previous owners Columbia Sussex Corporation in Kentucky, which also owns the Westin Casuarina.

‘Right now, we are more focussed on getting business for the upcoming months. Season 2009 will be fine. We’re already back on track,’ said Ms. Dunstan who admitted that booking fell in the run-up and immediately after the sale of the hotel last year.

To help attract guests and corporate functions during Cayman’s slow season, the hotel is offering a residents’ rate of $99 a night, as well as a corporate rate for business clientele of $139.

‘This past long weekend, we were full. A lot of people are realising we have a good product,’ said Ms. Dunstan.