Margaritaville creates ‘all inclusive’ option

| 15/01/2020 | 82 Comments
Cayman News Service
Margaritaville Resort, Seven Mile Beach

(CNS): With all-inclusive resorts often seen as undermining the benefits that tourism offers the wider community and economy, news that the Margaritaville resort on Seven Mile Beach is adding an all-inclusive option to their product offering is raising some concerns of a slippery slope. CNS spoke to a number of people in the tourism sector, who warn that Cayman should avoid moving toward this model as it will eat into the pie that those who depend on visitors for their livelihoods currently share.

However, their concerns may not be shared by either government or other members of the private sector.

CNS reached out to the Department of Tourism about the negative impact all-inclusive resorts can have on the wider tourism product, with more of the tourism dollar going directly to hotel owners and a limited number of importers rather than being spread more widely. But they have offered no comment about where the department stands on the expansion of such all- inclusive options.

Meanwhile, the president of the private sector organisation representing the tourism industry, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, does not see any cause for alarm. Theresa Leacock-Broderick welcomed the move by Margaritaville to expand what it can offer visitors to Cayman.

“The Cayman Islands prides itself on the diversity of its tourism product, from the five-star luxury resorts and villas to modest local home-sharing options available,” she said. “An all-inclusive resort package is not new to Cayman and this type of vacation offering to our market will appeal to certain visitors while growing and diversifying our destination.”

She said there are hundreds of fabulous restaurants where visitors can enjoy diverse culinary experiences, ranging from fine-dining to casual and beachside eateries.

“With a growing number of personal chefs and remarkable grocery stores combined with well-equipped condos and villas, our visitors also enjoy dining-in and self-catering options,” she added. “Whatever the price point, as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, we know our standards and our visitors’ expectations are high. We applaud the management of the Margaritaville Resort for taking on this venture and contributing another offering to the Cayman Islands tourism product.”   

However, some bar and restaurant owners are concerned that all-inclusive packages often see visitors limit the amount of time they spend outside the hotel or resort, if they venture out at all. Having already paid for their food, drinks and even entertainment and trip packages up front with the price of their vacation, they miss out on the full Cayman experience and local business owners miss out on the tourist dollar.

While Margaritaville’s all-inclusive package is still one of only a few such offerings, what worries some in the business is that such a high-profile resort may trigger more of the same.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (82)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Rat bats are in the roof, Stand in sunset coves parking lot at sunset and look up at margaritas roof.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Little known fact: The sign out front was designed by world renowned French architect, Phillippe Phillop

  3. Debbi Ann says:

    Margaritaville has for the last two years offered an all-inclusive plan and it does very well for the hotel so why is this news now? The hotel simply added another element to their rooms only concept.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now they have a wholesaler involved, so I guess it wasn’t as good as some may have thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      $4,200 air/ hotel for Margaritaville in April- no thanks. Stayed at Treasure Island once before for $89. a night. Walked thru the property last year, and it looks the same with some painted parrots on the wall. Even with the AI option, this property is way overpriced!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Department of Tourism better not take this lightly! AI is a credible and serious threat, not only to Caymanians but to all humans on Earth. Once computers become sentient and quickly evolve godlike powers we could be doomed. They may exterminate us as rivals for resources or simply view us a nuisance not worth keeping around.


  5. Anonymous says:

    As a resident, I was on the way to Little Cayman and our flight was cancelled.
    There were many tourists in the group and we were all offered a night at Margaritaville.
    It was really crap. Nasty rooms. I would never pay for that.
    Jimmy Buffet needs to take a look. His name is being sullied by the crap in Cayman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It looks like alI inclusive is simply moving cruisers from ship (water based) to shore based accommodation.Guess some of CPR can’t be happy since some of them don’t want cheap cruisers.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That place still open? Lol.

  8. Anonymous says:

    As long as there’s a choice — AI or not AI — then I don’t see a problem. Margaritaville is my choice of hotel in Grand Cayman. Friendly staff, good location but I would not choose AI.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Some people just want to kick it in the carib and aren’t interested in exploring the island or leaving resort for dining.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wait a minute – will I be able to eat all-inclusive at Eating House 1503. If so, I see a staycation in my future. Yummmm.

  11. Goose feathers says:

    Maybe if CI gov reduced import duties, restaurants could make food at a reasonable price and locals and tourists would eat out more often. As usual greedy government killing the golden goose.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What’s the problem? Should we also ban all inclusive brunch that is loved by all? Same same.

  13. Anonymous says:

    All inclusive resorts are driven by the need for personal security in high crime destinations like Jamaica and D.R. When guests coming here figure out what Cayman is all about they won’t be happy about having pre-paid all of their meals at a Resort not known for great food.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly. AI resorts in Turkey are popular and make sense because the local food is cheap there. Not because visitors have safety issues.
      My wife just came back and she loved vacationing in Turkey.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Strictly speaking this isn’t AI in the accepted sense. True AI includes all meals, drinks, flights and airport transfers, that’s what tourists from the UK and Europe expect. This is just a hyped-up meal plan.

    To answer some of the previous comments – AI is not ‘low end’ tourism. That’s the myth DOT like to peddle and why they’ve always opposed the creation of AI resorts here. I’ve had AI holidays at a number of places around the world and it is definitely not a low end option. Many of the resorts I stayed at made most of the accommodation available in the Cayman Islands look positively Third World, certainly a lot better that they can offer in the re-vamped TI resort. The reason AI is so popular, particularly in the UK and Europe, is because it offers top quality holidays at sensible prices.

    Current room rates at Margaritaville Resort start at about $550 a night plus taxes and fees. To me that’s not exactly a bargain and a quick check on the booking sites shows plenty of availability so people aren’t exactly falling over themselves to take advantage of this are they? In fact they’re already doing some heavy discounting (about 50%) for dates in February and March.

    Is this really a new business initiative or just another attempt to prop up what many people still regard as an ill-advised venture?

    • Anonymous says:

      LoL, TI Resort? I rented a room there for a year in 2007/8. It was $1300 a month, which for two was good value, but it was a dump and the problems seemed to be integral in the design of the property. I’d be very interested to hear how they cured the black mold and damp problems many of the rooms had because they were a serious health hazard, it was so bad I had to be moved. The other problem there (or least it was in the two rooms I used) was you could hear everything going on in the room above you. $550+ a night! Surely, that’s a joke.

      • Anonymous says:

        They did renovate. I personally like looking at margaritaville over the drug den TI.

        • Anonymous says:

          7:49 Old saying, ‘Beauty is only skin deep.’ Admittedly it does look nice now but how long will that last? That was the problem with TI, they’d fix one issue then another would arise and another, and another….

  15. Anonymous says:

    yawn…as usual ..local cartels are afraid of real competition.
    bring in uber now!

  16. Anonymous says:

    We are so used to ripping off tourists now! There is nowhere locals can enjoy a cheap meal out with family as all the restaurants are only interested in visitors and how much money they can make!

  17. TikTok says:

    The ghetto, ra ta ta ta, the ghetto!

  18. Anonymous says:

    All other establishments should then offer all inclusive packages from Airbnb to time share resorts. I hope it is not the government’s intentions to allow certain establishments to do so. However there will be some smaller businesses that will be forced to close but that the price of doing business today! Only the strong and those with deep pockets will survive. Why do you think Magaritaville has come up with this plan?

  19. Concerned Diver says:

    We have had “all inclusive” before. Spanish Reef in West Bay. Look what happened there. It will all come out in the wash. 😜

    • Anonymous says:

      Beach Club. How’s that going these days?

      • Anonymous says:

        You 2 not from around here? Or merely the last 10-15 years? Neither of those 2 properties stopped doing business because they were all inclusive…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is so small that I don’t see this being a problem. I think most people have an innate desire for exploration and no one wants to be confined to a hotel room or hotel property for their entire trip. I’m sure people will venture out to see the sights!

  21. Anonymous says:

    They’re likely offering this as a last ditch to save themselves, that place has been doomed since the start…the broken flip flop was a sign unheeded

    • Anonymous says:

      It does not worry me whether it is all inclusive or not but they will soon see that they cannot afford the huge food and drink bills and revert. They don’t realise how expensive those things are here? However I wish them well.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hi welcome to Cayman.
    You can open a business but you have to run it the way we say.
    What a joke

  23. Anonymous says:

    The type of people that want to go all inclusive deserve it. Spare the rest of us. It is unsustainable.

  24. Anonymous says:

    What are you fold so worried about?? We’ve had 3 (possibly more) places that have offered this. It’s not like all of them are going this route. It is good to have variety and if this keeps a tourist budget in place I see nothing wrong with it.
    They will still book trips and spend money elsewhere.
    This is nothing new.

    In fact, setting up meal plans where you can visit other restaurants sounds like a brilliant idea! Someone should think about that.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Carnival cruise lines of local hotels.

  26. Anonymous says:

    All inclusive hotel, all inclusive cruise ships!,

  27. Anonymous says:

    Great news this hotel is keeping up regarding the all inclusive option like every country in the world has. Cayman has out priced itself and these hotels realise this. Well done

  28. Anonymous says:

    When countries use locally grown food, locally bottled water for their all inclusive buffets, it makes sense, because it is cheap.
    Everything is imported here. They might try, but will realize soon the need to raise prices significantly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you seen the prices!? They are astronomical. People are used to AIs being less expensive, party vibe places. This is more expensive and it is a flea dive motel that’s been refurbished more times that I have fingers.

      • Anonymous says:

        $259 is not expensive.

        “The “all-inclusive” option is absolutely NOT worth the added expense. There are severe restrictions (snacks are not included, limited menu at the Eating House restaurant, brunch costs extra).” January 2020

        ” Noise traveled between rooms, the door did not have a complete seal and the room shook from the running of the air conditioner. There was a smell to the room. The property itself is old and tattered. ”

        ” If you don’t take the all-inclusive option, which I would recommend not doing, food is ridiculously expensive.”

        So, indeed, appears they did no soundproofing and probably just “re-furbished” A/Cs since it has the same issues as in 2009 when I lived there. The smell and loudness were the main issue for me. I had to tape it over with duct tape, I remember.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Wait I can’t stop laughing, didn’t her brother say the cruise ships were a problem because they don’t share the pie because they could go back to the ships and eat and drink? Didn’t he say that the “stayover visitor” was the one that we make the most money from? The Cayman Islands prides itself on the diversity of its tourism product, from the five-star luxury resorts and villas to modest local home-sharing options available,” she said. “An all-inclusive resort package is not new to Cayman and this type of vacation offering to our market will appeal to certain visitors while growing and diversifying our destination.” Is’nt that the same as cruise ships?

  30. Anonymous says:

    The reef used to have an inclusive offering, not sure if they still do. I think the model to be concerned about but would be ones we see in Jamaica where tourists are encourage to stay on a large resort that has a private beach and everything all-in-one. I don’t see that happening with Margaritaville here, tourists are still going to want to walk up and down seven mile beach and all the other tourists will still be frequenting the bars and restaurants to they will see make plenty of money…

    • Anonymous says:

      What might happen here is what happens on cruise ships when they dock – people leave for a look round or to take an excursion then come back at meal times because the food and booze is already paid for. The key to a good AI resort is either to put it somewhere it doesn’t compete with local businesses or use local businesses to provide guest services. I’ve no idea how this will work on SMB.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, unfortunately, for them, SMB has quite a lot of food offerings and a lot of them are pretty good and they aren’t know for great food so there maybe a market for it but I think it would be a small percent of Cayman’s market.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Mass Tourism that is not what Cayman has ever been about but looks Luke that is the agenda the government are peddling.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Grand Cayman is beginning to go from high end tourism to low end tourism. We are following Jamaica and Cuba and cheap packages with people staying at Margaritaville will be offered on charters from Toronto starting next month. Certainly not smart. Next it will be casinos. Only a matter of time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sunwing from Toronto pollutes Jamaica with its minimum wage Canadians.Margaritaville next.

      • Anonymous says:

        Canada’s minimum wage is $14 per hour. What is the minimum wage in Cayman, again?

        • Anonymous says:

          Caymanians do not live in the real wage when it comes to minimum wage.

          The minimum wage here is a disgrace to all Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sunwing is great for Canadian university students and people just out of school. Great deals is one is young, just starting out and want to party for a week. The Canadians are not minimum wage but students.

  33. Anonymous says:

    All inclusive there was added from last year at least.

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