Kirkconnell: Hotel closure won’t impact room stock

When Grand Cayman Beach Suites on Seven Mile Beach closes in September, it likely will not have a long-term impact on tourism accommodations on island, according to Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell.

“The loss of 53 rooms occurs in September during the typically slower shoulder season,” Mr. Kirkconnell said. “While this is unfortunate, the room stock will quickly be supplemented by 266 guest rooms and 62 rental apartments when the Kimpton Seafire [resort] opens its doors two months later.”

Mr. Kirkconnell added that the government’s top priority at present is ensuring that Beach Suites staff are being supported and treated justly throughout the transition.

It was announced this week that, after years of discussion with property owner Embassy Investments, Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. has acquired Grand Cayman Beach Suites, as well as Britannia golf course and the old Hyatt building.

Mr. Kirkconnell said Dart’s management team had confirmed that all staff impacted by the closure of Beach Suites “will have the opportunity for employment either within the Kimpton hotel [scheduled to open in November] or Dart’s wider group of companies.”

Mr. Kirkconnell confirmed that employees will be offered severance packages and optional retirement packages for those of retirement age.

“Maintaining employment is certainly positive news, especially on long-standing and experienced Caymanian staff,” he said.

“Dart’s proven track record of real estate development promises several years of economic stimulus, including work for local companies and employment opportunities,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

Tourism Councilor Joseph Hew said, over the past year in particular, there had been “strong interest” in tourism properties from new entrants and existing developers in the Cayman Islands.

“The sheer number of projects that are either in the planning stages for development, or have transferred ownership, speaks to the strength of our economy and reflects our record-breaking air arrivals over the past three years in particular,” Mr. Hew said. “This translates into more Caymanian jobs now and in the future.”