Grand Cayman has added back 120 rooms to its hotel inventory this month with the reopening of the all-suites Hampton by Hilton hotel.
Formerly the Comfort Suites, Dart purchased the property in July 2019 after it was successfully operated by the previous owners for 20 years.
At the time of purchase, Dart Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde said that the acquisition demonstrated Dart’s confidence in the strength of the Cayman Islands tourism product and helped ensure a range of accommodation offerings for a variety of visitor demographics.
The hotel closed to visitors in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 restrictions, but then provided government quarantine accommodations for a period of 10 weeks before closing for the US$14 million renovation in June of last year.
Although the renovations were extensive, they kept some of what made Comfort Suites so attractive to guests, which included tourists, those visiting on business and newly arrived residents.
"The property is completely transformed inside and out," said General Manager Lee Parry. "But we've retained affordability and the warm service the Comfort Suites was known for."
Part of the renovation gave the hotel, which becomes the first Hilton to open in the Cayman Islands, a new look.
"The design is bright, modern and fun," said Parry, noting that pastel colours used match those found in the Cayman landscape.
"Our aesthetic is inspired by whimsical and minimal design that looks good from every angle.”
The breakfast nook, which previously was more about function rather than form, now looks similar to a conservatory — an airy, light-filled space with an adjacent terrace. Room stays include a complimentary hot breakfast featuring fresh-baked waffles and oats with toppings.
Other hotel amenities include a well-equipped fitness room, guest laundry facilities, a meeting room and outdoor gathering spaces. There's also a lush garden area that encircles the pool and the restaurant, Ms. Piper's Kitchen + Garden.
The suites range in size from studios to two-bedrooms. All rooms feature a 55-inch smart TV and a dedicated seating area for working or relaxing, and the majority feature a kitchenette with mini refrigerator, sink and microwave
"The room and hotel amenities, along with its location being only minutes away from central George Town and Camana Bay, make Hampton by Hilton perfect for extended stays for business travellers and new staff for local firms," said Parry. "The hotel is also an attractive alternative to condominiums for families."
Parry said having the Hampton by Hilton brand will help the Cayman Islands with the recovery of the tourism industry after COVID-19.
"Hampton and the Hilton brand separately are both among the most famous and popular hotel brands with Americans, who comprise more than 80% of Cayman's stay-over tourists," he said. "The opening of this hotel will place Cayman in front of 82 million Hilton Honors members, adding to more destination awareness."
Once the Cayman Islands reopens for tourism, Hampton by Hilton will begin welcoming visitors, but in the meantime, it will serve a different clientele.
"We're opening to welcome the local market and those visiting on essential travel," Parry said. "However, we're not using Hampton by Hilton for quarantine stays."
The hotel opened with a reduced number of staff, which included several of the former Comfort Suites employees. When the Cayman Islands opens back up to tourists, Hampton by Hilton will increase the size of its staff.
Parry previously served as the food and beverage director at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and oversaw the transformation of its restaurant experiences starting in 2014.
Other members of the leadership team include Director of Operations Carlos Arpal, Director of Sales Donnette Hoilett and Director of Finance Dennis Caum, the last of whom also served in the same role at Comfort Suites.
To reserve a room, call 945-7300 or email email@example.com
This article appears in print in the September 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Alan Markoff.