The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced Wednesday that it will manage the long-planned luxury resort and residences at Beach Bay, Grand Cayman.
The Hong Kong-based group has agreed on a deal with New York-based Melkonian Capital Management, which has been planning a major project at the site in Bodden Town since 2014.
The Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman, will be a 100-room beachfront resort with 89 branded residences, opening in 2021, according to the hotel chain.
The resort will feature five restaurants and bars, and the 67-acre site will also include its own farm, which aims to provide a “farm to table” dining experience.
Plans for a luxury resort at the site have been discussed for several years. Government agreed on a $25 million concessions package with the developer in 2015 and conceptual designs were released. But the project stalled with little information emerging until Wednesday’s announcement. Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell welcomed the news, saying the project was exciting news for the eastern districts.
Ryan Melkonian, managing partner of Melkonian Capital Management said Wednesday, “We are pleased to partner with Mandarin Oriental to bring the most exclusive resort and branded residences to the Cayman Islands. We are creating a very special destination that we expect will be among the best in the Caribbean.”
James Riley, group chief executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said the Grand Cayman development would be the group’s second project in the Caribbean and a “fitting extension to our growing global resort portfolio.”
He added: “The owner has assembled a spectacular site and has the long-term vision to create a unique resort experience that, together with Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service, will ensure an exceptional offering in Grand Cayman.”
New York-based RAL Development Services will be the “development partner” on the project.
According to Mandarin Oriental, the resort will also feature a spa, fitness center, several outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts, as well as banqueting facilities and space for weddings and business events. Landscaped walking and cycling trails will traverse the site and a beach club will offer a variety of leisure and water sports activities.
Mr. Kirkconnell discussed the planned development during Wednesday’s Legislative Assembly meeting stating: “It’s very exciting for Bodden Town,” and indicating this project would be the first five-star hotel built away from Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach.
The hotel project at the southern end of Beach Bay Road in Bodden Town has been discussed in various iterations since at least 2012, but Mr. Kirkconnell told the Cayman Compass that the Mandarin Hotel deal now being proposed looked solid.
“All indications given to us, with the Melkonian group behind it, we feel confident that it is going forward,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.
“This is good news,” said Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush, who began talks about the development as early as 2012 when he was premier.
Opposition lawmakers raised some questions about the project, including East End MLA Arden McLean, who asked whether the Mandarin Hotel group was the same one that started a project in East End nearly two decades ago that was not finished.
Mr. McLean also asked whether the project’s former frontman, New York investment manager John Layton, was still involved. Mr. Kirkconnell replied that he was not and that the development was being led by Mr. Melkonian.
Newlands MLA Alva Suckoo also asked whether road extensions connecting Manse Road in central Bodden Town with Beach Bay Road were still planned to be completed.
Mr. Kirkconnell said he had not been briefed on all the project details as of Wednesday.
Additional reporting by Brent Fuller