By Christopher Tobutt
After a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the slowdown in business, the Ritz-Carlton hotel officially re-opened on December 15, marking an anniversary exactly 16 years after first opening its doors here in Cayman.
Management of the 5-Star hotel used the Covid shutdown to extensively renovate and upgrade the already world-class facility to the tune of CI$50 million.
With funding from its operators, the Dart Group, the hotel’s lounge, lobby and beach-bar and other parts of the operation underwent an extensive overhaul in preparation for its next phase of welcoming guests.
Ritz-Carlton General Manager Marc Langevin said, “Sixteen years ago to the day, December 15, 2005, the Ritz-Carlton opened its doors. On that day, the hotel pushed the boundary of the Ritz-Carlton brand through its innovative partnership with leading luxury brands which since set the stage for the extraordinary Cayman Islands success as a world-renown luxury destination.”
He noted that over the last 16 years the yearly contribution to the local economy has been close to CI$100 million.
According to Mr Langevin, “Many businesses have benefitted directly, including the government, who have collected almost 15 million dollars yearly through contributions such as hotel tax.”
Referring to the difficult Covid no-travel period, Mr Langevin said, “While hotel owners across the globe decided to use their reserve funds to cover their loss, compromising their long-term investment, recovering ability, and even sacrificing guest-experience in the process, Dart showed its confidence in the strength of the Ritz Carlton brand, and the resilience of the Cayman Islands to come out of this period stronger than ever before.”
He said it is certain this renovation will allow the iconic resort to stay the leader in the Cayman market and the region.
Hon. Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan remarked that the reopening of the Ritz-Carlton has come at a perfect time.
“That was not an accident,” he said, “rather it was because the Dart Group appreciates the value of this resort and what it brings to the tourism product, and understands the contribution that it makes to our larger economy.”
Mr Bryan said that as the minister of tourism he was delighted that the Dart group continues to demonstrate confidence in Cayman and “the “the resurgence of our tourism product”.
“I applaud the Dart organization for being bold in seizing this opportunity to further invest in the Cayman Islands by undertaking this extensive renovation project at a time when the industry is emerging from the most disruptive public health crisis of our time.”
Further warming to his theme, Tourism Minister Bryan pointed out that, “Today in celebrating the next chapter of the Ritz-Carlton here in Grand Cayman, I am mindful that this reopening is much more than just what you see out here. It is the practical demonstration of hope for the future.”
The well-attended event celebrating the reopening of the world-class hotel was welcomed with patrons gushing over its splendour.
“It’s light, it’s airy and refreshing and has a very Cayman modern ‘breezy by the seaside’ feel,” said Jessica Mauer, one of the guests.
She also observed that “the rooms have been refurbished with a Classic Cayman theme too, and all along the corridors are splendid carpets fringed by a Silver thatch palm motif. What more can you ask for?”