When the beloved Hemingway’s Restaurant recently closed its doors after years of service on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, one could reasonably take this as the final nail in the coffin of the Beach Suites property. Not so fast…
The DART group of companies (who acquired the Beach Suites Seven Mile Beach property along with the former Hyatt Hotel parcel back in 2015) announced recently that it plans to resurrect the Beach Suites as an unbranded boutique-style hotel before the end of 2018. Though the finer details and long-term plans of just what this new hotel will look like are still yet to emerge, there has been word that a planning application has been submitted by DART that outlines a one million dollar renovation before the new property re-opens. If this planning application is approved, the new boutique could be ready for guests arriving to attend the first KAABOO music festival (slated for early 2019).
The application submitted to the Cayman Islands Central Planning Authority has indicated that the Hemingway’s Restaurant location and the smallerSIDEbar business will remain part of the new boutique’s overallfootprint. The plans, however, do not specify if these amenities will be opened when the new property rolls out at the end of the year. The SIDEbar location will see modifications such as the removal of the bar at the pool and the installation of a new location to the west of the pool area. There will also be greater retail space adjacent to the main thoroughfare out front and changes to the administrative and staff areas of the property are defined. The planning application also spells out that all of the changes requested will be within the current footprint of the building and that most of the features of the current property will remain intact as they currently are. They will have to work fast. The application spells out that they will complete the renovations and changes for a proposed reopening in late 2018; the latest early 2019.
The overall future of the property is still unclear. Representatives from DART have stated that they are working with experts to redefine what the property is and will be in the future. An overarching goal of “attract[ing] a new generation of customers to the Cayman Islands, diversifying the tourism product and growing market share among the region” was shared with local news outlets. What does this mean for Hemingway’s or the complex in general? We’re not sure. It could be that there is a need for affordable lodgings that remains unfilled in the short-term rental inventory or it could mean that this boutique is meant to be temporary to fulfill the needs of concertgoers, workers and festival staff for the KAABOO event. Does this mean that the hotel will be rebranded to appeal to a younger crowd of travelers that may not have been able to afford to visit the Cayman Islands in the past? We’re still not sure. The resurrection of the Beach Suites is happening. What the new property is going to be for the years to come still remains a mystery.