Officials mum on Courtyard Marriott

Management responsible for the Courtyard Marriott Hotel are remaining tight-lipped on progress and plans for the hotel despite it being five months since it closed.

Last November after Hurricane Paloma, management of the West Bay Road hotel announced it was closing ‘for an extended period’ due to extensive water damage caused by Paloma.

They had called in construction experts and insurance adjusters to evaluate the extent of the damage, the hotel’s general manager Dan Waters said at the time.

Since then, attempts to get an update on what is happening with the hotel by the Caymanian Compass have been unsuccessful.

On 1 April, in an emailed response to queries from this newspaper, Kevin Case, Senior Vice President Development with Thomas Enterprises, the US-based company that owns the property, apologised for not getting back to telephone and email messages and said he would be happy to speak on the issues the next day.

However, Mr. Case never responded further to any emails or voice messages left on his phone.

Hotel manager Mr. Waters could not be reached at the hotel last week and did return phone calls.

The Ministry of Tourism, when contacted on the issue on 1 April, said they had received indications that an update was imminent (within a couple of weeks) when individuals involved with the hotel returned to the island.

However, the Ministry had not responded last week to a request for a further update on the status of the hotel.

Back in November Mr. Waters said the hotel had taken in a lot of water through its roof, and hotel guest rooms and common areas had been affected.

He said that until the assessment of the damage was completed, no timeline for re-opening the hotel could be given.

The Caymanian Compass reported last year that the hotel planned to close for major renovations this year and its online reservation system was not allowing any bookings with a check-out date later than 28 June 2009.

But Mr. Waters said that report was speculation and arrangements for any renovation of the hotel had not been finalised.

The five-storey, 204-room hotel was bought in 2007 by Atlanta-based real estate development company Thomas Enterprises from the previous owners Columbia Sussex Corporation in Kentucky. It had operated in Cayman for seven years, first as a Holiday Inn and then as a Courtyard Marriott.

Thomas Enterprises, on its website, features a retail project consisting of 400,000 square feet on Seven Mile Beach. It states the site will offer an ‘excellent consumer draw.’