New Resort, Hotel and Airport Renovations Top Cayman Islands Travel News

A newly renovated Resort View Guest Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
A newly renovated Resort View Guest Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

There are some major developments coming out of the Cayman Islands, from the first new resort coming to Seven Mile Beach in nearly a decade to hotel makeovers to an airport renovation plan that could result in scores of additional arrivals to the islands. Travel Agent brings you the skinny on those items and more.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is a year away from opening on Seven Mile Beach.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is a year away from opening on Seven Mile Beach.

Hotels: New and Improved

Kimpton Hotels recently introduced Seafire Resort + Spa, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, beginning the one-year countdown to the official opening in November next year. Seafire reflects Kimpton’s first new build venture in a dedicated resort market and will be the first property outside the continental U.S. within the brand’s current portfolio. It also holds the honor of being the first new development along Seven Mile Beach in more than a decade.

Seafire, which first broke ground in 2012 and is now a year away from opening, recently celebrated the topping off of its main building, home to the resort’s 266 guest rooms and suites.

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These will include a penthouse Presidential Suite, 16 oceanfront suites, nine beachfront bungalows, 18 oceanview suites, 118 oceanview guest rooms and eight family suites, along with a mix of features such as spa bathrooms, wide orientations to maximize ocean views and convenient kitchenettes.

Howard Hospitality Group recently announced the acquisition of Grand Cayman’s Treasure Island Resort. A major redesign and renovation of the property is planned. The property, which is slated to become a Margarita-ville Beach Resort when it debuts in December 2016, will include 280 guest rooms, several bars and restaurants, meeting space, a spa, two pools, kid zones and a two-story water slide.

Cottage unit at spruced-up Le Soleil d’Or on Cayman Brac.
Cottage unit at spruced-up Le Soleil d’Or on Cayman Brac.

Brac Reef Beach Resort is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen on January 15 as the Cayman Brac Beach Resort. The venue will now include a “free form” pool, multi-level bar and upgraded accommodations.

The luxurious property of Le Soleil d’Or on Cayman Brac is currently undergoing a renovation. The property has already received a new beach club and beach studio accommodation, two farm-to-table restaurants, a full-service spa and a new fitness facility. The resort’s operators will also add a small boutique hotel to the property’s upscale cottage accommodations in early 2016.

Clients can now enjoy enhanced and refreshed resort experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, with a series of renovations to the guest rooms, suites, restaurants and Club Lounge, all designed to heighten the exclusive collection of luxury travel offerings for guests. The new, restyled island design aims to capture a distinct sense of place, including redesigned guest rooms and suites, enhanced dining experiences and a revamped club lounge.

Airport Renovation

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority has reportedly signed a deal with U.S. design and cost consulting firm RS&H Consultants to prepare plans for the expansion of a terminal at Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) in Grand Cayman. Aimed to more than double the capacity of the building, construction under the $55 million project is set to kick off in September, following a tender process, and will take around four years to complete, reports Cayman Compass. The government is also said to commit $15 million to the project. Once complete, it can accommodate close to 2.5 million passengers.

Flight News

Ease of travel and accessibility to the Cayman Islands continues to improve, as United Airlines recently announced a new nonstop service from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Grand Cayman beginning December 19. For added convenience, this inaugural Saturday-only service will continue through April 30.

United also announced new expanded service from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). From December 19 through May 4, 2016, the airline will offer four nonstop flights a week on this route.

In keeping with an old aviation tradition, Cayman Airways’ new Saab 340B+ aircraft was formally christened on November 13 at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA) in Cayman Brac. The 34-seat Saab aircraft was phased into service between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac last month as it replaced the existing 30-seat Embraer E120, which has operated under a temporary wet-lease arrangement with InterCaribbean Airlines.

The latest model of the Saab 340 series, the B+ model features a more modern interior with larger overhead bins, comfortable leather seats and wider aisles. The active noise and vibration control system promises enhanced noise reduction for the quick inter-island flight. Customers will also be pleased to know that with greater cargo capacity, the Saab 340B+ will be able to carry more cargo and baggage.

For Foodies

Tickets are still available for most events of the “Cayman Cookout,” led by popular Chef Eric Ripert from January 14-17. To purchase tickets or select packages, visit www.caymancookout.com. Hosted by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Food & Wine magazine, the eighth annual celebration features a roster of acclaimed chefs, sommeliers and mixologists. Attendees this year can look forward to the return of cookout veterans, Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres, along with a number of expert newcomers, including Tom Colicchio, Florian Bellanger, Dean Fearing, Hubert Keller, Cindy Hutson, Ludo Lefebre, Dean Max and Michael Mina. Alongside Ripert, each of these chefs will introduce all that the Cayman Islands has to offer.

Kicking off the weekend is Chef Andres with a lesson in paella making, during which he will also indulge guests with his own tips and spirited stories of the trade. Attendees can choose from a diverse lineup of events, from “The Rundown with Anthony Bourdain” in which he will sample and discuss local flavors with the best of Cayman’s own chefs, restaurateurs and local artisans, to “An Afternoon at Blue with Tom Colicchio,” featuring an unforgettable lunch at Ripert’s premier Grand Cayman restaurant.

Back by popular demand is the “Barefoot BBQ Presented by Certified Angus Beef,” a grilling session led by Ripert, Bourdain, Andres, Hutson, Max and more. Wine and cocktail aficionados can also raise a glass to paradise at a reserve wine tasting with star winemaker and top French producer, Jean Luc Colombo, or watch a skilled mixologist prepare new and classic cocktails with Caymanian flair.

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