The sight of these majestic creatures, soaring high in the Cayman Islands sky — heralds of new developments and greater economic growth and job opportunities — should be of great reassurance to residents of all stripes and statuses, as well as to potential investors looking to sow their capital into a fertile economy.
Last week, just in time for the start of Cayman’s high tourism season, the Dart group confirmed to the Cayman Compass that the company has set plans into motion to build a new five-star hotel that, when complete, will tie Dart’s Camana Bay development into Seven Mile Beach.
The future luxury resort, next to Royal Palms, is a distinct project from the four-star Kimpton Hotel that Dart is currently building up the road near Public Beach. Comprising two 10-story towers with a completion date of 2016, Dart’s Kimpton resort will include 263 hotel rooms and five restaurants and lounges.
With the Kimpton under way, the new hotel being planned, and even more development ongoing within Camana Bay, the Dart group continues to account for an outsize share of Cayman’s construction industry — as it did before the global recession slowed our country down, but especially since.
Dart’s grand foray into the stay-over tourism market is to be welcomed.
The Ernst & Young slogan — “Quality in Everything We Do” — could as accurately describe Dart’s manifold local projects. We have no doubt that in future decades Caymanians will view Dart’s current hotel ventures as watershed moments in Cayman’s development history, in the vein of the arrival of the Holiday Inn (Cayman’s first “branded” hotel), the establishment of the Hyatt Regency (Cayman’s first luxury hotel) and The Ritz-Carlton (which brought a new standard of style and grandeur to the Cayman Islands).
With the Hyatt in mind, the news seems to have taken a definitive turn for the better in recent months, as the oceanside component of the former resort, Grand Cayman Beach Suites, has gotten planning approval to expand vertically, turning the five-story hotel into a seven-story hotel.
On the inland side, the former Hyatt building (which has lain dormant in the 10 years since Hurricane Ivan) is poised to be revived, and re-invented, as a new 224-room resort and conference center, provisionally named the Britannia Hotel. We can only hope that the new Britannia Hotel, which could open as soon as 2017, will be able to approach the splendor of the old Hyatt in its former heyday.
That’s not all. Out in the Beach Bay area, developers are pursuing a five-star resort, the construction of which could positively transform the Bodden Town district.
Combine the four major new luxury tourism projects — Dart’s Kimpton, Dart’s second hotel, the Britannia hotel and the Beach Bay hotel — with other hotel projects — for example, the continuing Morritt’s Resort expansion and the new partnership between The Reef Resort and the Wyndham Hotel group in East End, and the future of tourism in Cayman seems as rosy as a sunset over a Seven Mile Beach construction site.