Since the Comfort Suites hotel closed for renovation in June, Dart has been working with local charities and the Ministry of Community Affairs to donate furniture and appliances from the property’s 120 guest rooms to families in need.
More than 450 items, ranging from beds and sofas to fridges and microwaves have been collected by the Ministry, Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness and other individuals over the past week.
Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique said the Government welcomed the private sector donation in support of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to assist vulnerable members of the community impacted by COVID-19.
“Throughout the pandemic, the Government has worked diligently to provide for residents negatively affected by COVID-19. This donation will provide practical relief to local families whose lives and livelihoods continue to be impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic,” she said.
Pilar Bush, Dart executive with responsibility for community development, explained the donation.
“Recognising the need for Government-subsidised housing has been exacerbated by the economic fallout from COVID-19, we saw the planned renovations of Comfort Suites as a unique opportunity to repurpose these items to help address this acute issue. We are proud to partner with the Ministry to ensure the furniture and appliances are distributed to those most in need in our community," she said.
The property is undergoing extensive renovations to its restaurant, pool area and guest rooms ahead of a planned reopening in early 2021. The renovation programme had initially been scheduled to take place in the summer, but the hotel closed in March owing to lockdown measures introduced by the Cayman Islands Government in response to the pandemic. The property served as a government isolation facility for ten weeks before refurbishments began and was thoroughly sanitised afterwards.
With borders due to reopen in September, Dart’s hospitality team is preparing to reopen the hotel under a new brand. While plans remain fluid to adapt to regulation changes and the continued impact of COVID-19 on international travel, the intention is to open reservations and begin recruitment in the fall.