New designs have been unveiled for the Mandarin Oriental resort approved last week for the Beach Bay area of Bodden Town.

Work on the two, nine-storey buildings, which will comprise the resort and residences, is scheduled to begin next year, with a 2022 opening date set for the hotel.

The project is the first of its type in the eastern districts.

Architect’s impressions shared with the Cayman Compass show a tiered, multi-level building surrounded by a lagoon-style swimming pool and dotted with beachfront cottages and restaurants.

Despite some objections from residents on the scale and size of the resort, developer Ryan Melkonian said he believed it would be a great addition to the Cayman Islands tourism product.

“We are confident that the Mandarin Oriental Grand Cayman will be an exciting and welcomed addition to the already bustling and historic Bodden Town,” he said.

Outdoor pool area rendering

“We look forward to continuing our work with the local government and community in making this remarkable project a reality.”

The plans were modified to deal with community concerns about beach access and to relocate the “back of house” facilities away from neighbouring residences, before they were approved by the Central Planning Authority.

While some residents remain concerned about the size and scale of the development, Spencer Levine of RAL Development Services, which is partnering with Melkonian on the project, said he believed the developer had done its best to compromise and come up with a project that would enhance the area.

For Cayman’s tourism product, he said it was a new direction and the first five-star offering outside the Seven Mile Beach corridor.

“I think it presents a really different experience than what you have on Seven Mile Beach, especially at the luxury level. With an operator like Mandarin Oriental we will be able to offer an experience that doesn’t exist on island right now.”

He added, “Our revised plans, now approved, were the direct result of the inclusive planning process, incorporating public comments from other property owners. We appreciated the thoughtful feedback we received from the CPA and we look forward to continuing to work with the community as we build and operate this one-of-a-kind resort.”

He said the revisions included improved beach access through both new and expanded pathways and a reorganised and more comprehensive parking design.