Project managers at the Kimpton hotel on Seven Mile Beach say building work is on schedule and the hotel is poised to open on Nov. 1, 2016.
In July, the 10-story hotel building was topped out with its final level, and site managers say that work on placing the interior finishings could begin in April.
Representatives of Dart Realty’s construction management company DECCO said, to date, the project has employed 2,000 workers, with 500 currently working on the project. Of the total who have worked on the construction, 57 percent are Caymanians or permanent residents, they said.
Among some recent visitors to the site was Cayman Islands Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who took a tour of the hotel on Tuesday, his first visit since construction began in February 2014. Government members, including Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, toured the facility earlier this year.
An impressed Mr. Bush said Tuesday, “The idea of another first-class resort was what I wanted as minister of tourism and, of course, as premier of the country. My vision is nothing in comparison to what they have done and the plans that they have done.”
The hotel, which is being built on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott, was part of a redevelopment project facilitated by the National Roads Authority Agreement, which included the closure of a section of West Bay Road.
Mr. Bush said that despite criticism of the project, it is exactly the kind of investment that Cayman needs.
Once the hotel is completed, visitors and guests will have expansive views of the sea. The lobby is situated more than 24 feet above sea level and features tall glass windows front and back for an unencumbered view. A swimming pool and poolside bar will be behind the lobby but below the lobby’s level in what DECCO project manager Lee Hudson describes as a “valley of awesome.”
The hotel will feature a spa, coffee bar, poolside bar, beach bar, two restaurants, two pools and unfettered beach access.
DECCO Executive Manager Gary Gibbs said the public will be encouraged to visit the beach and use the biking and walking path.
“We encourage the public to traverse the beach, to utilize the facilities, to utilize the restaurants and the beach bars, and by design it’s very inclusive,” he said.
The hotel will have 266 rooms, including three detached bungalows which can be used as nine separate hotel rooms or booked individually for larger groups or families. The property will also feature 62 condominiums.
The design of the hotel will allow each of the rooms to have a sea view from glass-enclosed balconies. The average room will be 530 square feet, including the balcony, project managers said.
They noted that the hotel rooms have been designed to be especially soundproof so that guests will not be bothered by sounds of doors closing or people in the hallways.
The interior design will be contemporary but will also reflect Cayman’s culture and environment, incorporating motifs from local vegetation, sea life and such elements as thatch rope and even a catboat.
Following his visit, Mr. Bush said he was pleased with the efforts to incorporate Cayman into the design plan, but he was also keen to ensure that the hotel would be partnering with local businesses to offer various activities, and thinks it should not be tied to any one particular water sports company.
To date, the project has generated more than CI$90 million in construction and purchase orders to Caymanian businesses, according to Dart representatives. They said the company has spent more than US$100 million on development and construction costs for the Kimpton resort, with an investment total estimated at US$309 million by its November 2016 opening.