EDITORIAL – Morritt’s Tortuga: Here’s to the next 30 years

David Morritt certainly knows how to celebrate an anniversary.

As Morritt’s Tortuga resort turns 30, the irrepressible developer is doubling down on his original vision for the landmark East End property – planning a new 40-unit main building that he says will help the resort accommodate 30,000 families per year.

He told the Compass he intends for this new building to rival some of the 10-story hotels on Seven Mile Beach – an “upgrade” from his original plan, 30 years ago, to build a centerpiece five-story building at the resort.

That five-story building was put on hold because of limited finances. Now, Mr. Morritt said, he wants to carry out his original plan. Already, Morritt’s Tortuga’s 15,000 members make it Cayman’s largest time-share club.

Not content with only that, he is planting a new flag in Canada, in the form of a 15-room resort in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

It is Mr. Morritt’s intention to expand that 15-room resort into a $25-million, 130-unit property that will be known as Château Morritt. Mr. Morritt believes that expanding his brand to North America will create valuable new synergies – introducing a new pool of customers to the Cayman resort and encouraging longtime visitors of his East End property to patronize Château Morritt. It is a shrewd idea from a key figure in Cayman’s stayover tourism sector. There is little reason to doubt that the Cayman stalwart – as energetic, effervescent and forward-looking as ever – will find as much success “up North” as he has “out East.”

Readers will recall that Mr. Morritt ventured out to East End long before the idea became popular. Built on the foundations of James and Suzy Bergstrom’s (later Suzy Soto) Tortuga Club, the resort has been an anchor for economic development in the area, including the Morritt’s shopping center, and served as a base of operations for dive and water-sports operators. It is a beloved dining and entertainment venue where everyone can feel “at home.”

His significant investment in that area has been instrumental in the lives and livelihoods of countless Caymanians and other residents who have been employed by Morritt’s or reaped indirect benefits from its considerable presence.

Last year, when Mr. Morritt was granted Caymanian status by Cabinet (many felt, quite belatedly), political leaders rushed to heap praises upon the man who has done so much as an employer and philanthropist.

“We were convinced that Mr. Morritt deserves the highest status we can award to non-nationals,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin at that time.

“It is undeniable that this man has contributed significantly to this country,” said East End MLA Arden McLean. “He has been invaluable to the employment situation in East End.”

It is wonderful to know that even as he sets his sights on Canada, Mr. Morritt will continue deepening his investment in Cayman. As he told a Compass reporter, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Congratulations again to Mr. Morritt and his team on achieving this 30-year milestone. We look forward to many more prosperous years to come.

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  1. How is this going to be financed? Current members of the Tortuga Club may not want the big 10 story high rise. Expressly the ones whom have been members since the early 90’s when it was sold as a 3 story high only resort. The 4 story Grand went in and the 5 story Londoner after many units were sold. How about completing the sales of the current units before pulling more money out of our fees to build more units that we pay for if they are full or not?