Representatives of government, private business and interested stakeholders gathered to celebrate the $9 million renovation of the Westin Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman.
A special party was held at the property on Wednesday, 20 February, where General Manager Morty Valldejuli thanked all concerned in the refurbishment.
He also thanked water sports partners Red Sail, welcomed new chef Michael Farrell and extended his pride that the hotel could boast 65 per cent Caymanian staff.
“I always say that it is a great beach that happens to have a great hotel attached to it,” he said. “We genuinely want to be part of the community and to be great ambassadors for the Cayman Islands.”
Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor quipped that for a change it was not far for him to travel as the resort is next door to Government House, his residence.
“It is fantastic to see investment put into one of our hotels … the employment that the hotels bring in is the lifeblood of the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Taylor said.
He added that as well as the tourism industry, visiting friends and family of lawyers and bankers who worked here would also stay at hotels, use restaurants and enjoy activities and attractions.
“This renovation shows a real commitment to the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Taylor said.
Cayman Islands Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly praised the Caymanian staff member which assisted her on her own tour of the property.
“[It was] a refreshing moment to have that human interaction and contact,” she noted. “You could feel the warmth and that is what Caymanians and human beings have genetically encoded in us.”
She called on locals to also benefit from the hotels of the island, noting that staycations were always possible.
“We are no longer the ‘best kept secret,’ so share it with the world,” Ms O’Connor-Connolly said. “Tourism is everybody’s business.”
A silent auction was also held, with all proceeds being donated to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, in particular the chemotherapy unit.