Dart reveals plans for hotel off Seven Mile Beach

| 01/12/2020 | 166 Comments
Cayman News Service
Location of proposed Hotel Indigo

(CNS): The Dart Group has unveiled proposed plans for the group’s latest hotel project. The development will be sandwiched between the Esterley Tibbetts bypass and the Seven Mile Public Beach, with beach access for guests in the area by the once popular now closed bar, Calico Jacks. In a press release issued Monday, the islands’ biggest landowner said it would take three years to build and create hundreds of jobs.

Dart is partnering with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, which also owns the Kimpton brand, to build, once plans are approved, a 282-room upscale, “lifestyle hotel” with multiple restaurants, an expansive pool deck and a rooftop bar, under the boutique Hotel Indigo label. Officials have also confirmed that the planning proposal is for a 10-storey building.

The new project is just south of Dart’s existing beachfront hotel, the Kimpton Seafire Resort. Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde said that since that hotel opened, Dart had seen a growing market interest in “an off-beach, boutique hotel”.

“Although COVID-19 has disrupted global travel this year, we are confident that the Cayman Islands’ natural beauty, warm hospitality and convenient location will continue to make it a sought-after destination for discerning travellers in the future,” he said.

“Dart is committed to progressing projects that provide an economic stimulus during the coming years, while economies around the world adjust to the impact of COVID-19. This project alone will create hundreds of jobs and the three-year construction window means we will be ready for better days ahead,” VanDevelde added.

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said it would be a wonderful addition to the tourism product, attracting visitors from new market sectors.

“The continued development of tourism properties despite the current slow-down in tourist visitation speaks volumes about the strength of our economy and is reflective of the Cayman Islands established reputation as a world-class tourism destination,” he said. “Investment on this scale is also encouraging because it promises to deliver an extensive multiplier effect as its impact ripples through the community benefitting our economic, cultural and social sectors.”

Julienne Smith, Senior Vice President of Development, Americas for IHG, said that some travellers to Cayman are looking for more than a beach. “They’re seeking an authentic experience with style that reflects the rich, local culture of the island itself,” she said.

Architects for the project are Atlanta-based BLUR Workshop, working with interior designers Farouki Farouki, landscape architects Hoet and Dart’s in-house design professionals.


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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (166)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Y’all untill COMPLAINTS come from National Concrete, Supermix, and Flowers Block.

    We are doing fine.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wait till you see what happens to Barkers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly, can’t wait for the National Park to finally come to fruition.

      • Anonymous says:

        A bunch of man made crap is not a park. Just stay home and get drunk in front of your large TV and leave nature alone.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Looks like a swamped beach. No more privacy for locals anymore 🙂

    • #Danger says:

      10 story??? They must be trying to sink our little island, then they say lots of jobs!!! They mean to say for the foreigners. Poor us Caymanians don’t stand a chance in that department. Us Caymanians don’t even have any say in our own island anymore isn’t that sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      When did we have privacy on public beach? Clue is in the word public?

  4. Anonymous says:

    i left Cayman 10 years ago and honestly i have to say it´s a shame what happend to the old West Bay road, Calico´s etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in West Bay, and I don’t miss the traffic jams on the old West Bay Road one little bit. 15 minutes into town instead of over an hour, then back again, 5 days a week. but I guess nostalgia tends to remember only the good side.

    • Anonymous says:

      I miss Calicos but who cares about the road. The bypass is great and at least that derelict hotel is also gone.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We are all poorer for having let Dart/PPM move the road that has now given them exclusive access to the public beach which they are going to use for their new hotel.

    But we thought the wall built by the main road was to protect pedestrians… Really.

    We as a people will be fighting this developer for many years to come after the PPM soldout the island to them.

    Our beaches are littered with styrofoam material which is the foundation from which Dart’s money was born from.

    Dart gets to destroy the world’s environment with a material he created while sitting on a beach which he also destroyed because our government is stupid.

    There are not enough trees DART can replant in cayman to make up for the atrocities this organization has committed all around the world not just in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was the UDP actually who were the main beneficiaries of their generosity to the Darts..

      • Anonymous says:

        All the dame people really, different party name same Bull S%*t

      • Anonymous says:

        McKeeva Bush and Kurt Tibbetts were the NRA Agreement back room wheeler-dealers….spanning four documents from 2010-2016.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course he doesnt have exclusive access to public beach. In fact the access is massively improved – remember how hard it was to find a parking space there at weekends? And the wall is nowhere near the new hotel. And its highly unlikely his guests in an upscale hotel will be using public beach covered in its rusty deckchairs and vendor and ganga hustlers imported by Mac when they have plenty of private beach front North of Calicos which they can access without going near public beach and get served hand and foot. And Ken Dart didn’t invent Styrofoam, although his father may have, and his money has been made from secondary debt trading rather than the container business. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant. Plenty of other stuff you could have a pop at in relation to Mr Dart and his development approach without just making stuff up.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:03 am Truer words were never spoken.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exclusive access to the beach? What nonsense. You sound like someone who’s never been!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Did Vandevelde really say that his group has seen a need for “an off-beach, boutique hotel” in the Cayman Islands? The Caribbean?

    I dont care how many hotels they build, but truly, where else can you get such comedy gold as this…i know, let’s build a hotel off-beach for all those that look to the caribbean and think i dont want to stay on the beach…did they also say instead of ‘off beach’, we;d like an ‘on freeway style 4 road bypass’ experience?

    Seriously, i know Dart fell into construction and development XXXX, but this kinda sums up 2020…let’s do an ‘off beach’ hotel, about 10 yards off the beach

    are they high? (pun intended)

    • Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile Dart making bank and you driving a Civic

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      These are life jokes that write themselves aren’t they?

      There is no denying that Dart has been a benefit to Grand Cayman and has built wonderful things, and it is equally true a precious thing dear to all of us has been lost in all that shuffle. We have but ourselves to blame; nobody was forced to sell to a person who could afford anything.

      I wonder what we will call Seven Mile Beach in the future, and I wonder who will be allowed to use it. 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      They’re seeking an authentic experience!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just about where the old/new Holiday Inn was before Westbay Road was rerouted. You can’t make this stuff up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clever mr dart buying 5-10 of time against rising sea levels. He’ll have 5-10 extra years to enjoy his money.

  7. Anonymous says:

    They’re seeking an authentic experience with style that reflects the rich, local culture of the island itself,” What part of the Cayman culture is reflected in STOP, NOIW

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dart must be laughing his butt off at how easy it is to manipulate these sorry excuses we have for politicians. Everyone a sellout. Alden, Austin you there?

    • Anonymous says:

      10 story??? you must be trying to sink our lil island, you talk about lots of jobs. for foreigners you mean us poor caymanians don’t stand a chance there. after all caymanians don’t even have any rights in here own island any more. how sad is that.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you even talking about? These are your crooked sellout politicians – all multi-generational CAYMANIAN, and that’s explicitly by design! It’s bogus Cayman-logic to conclude trustworthiness is conferred by bloodline! Change the Elections Law if you don’t like it that way! These are YOUR laws.

        • Anonymous says:

          10.17 They don’t like to admit that their forefathers have been the architects of their downfall. Easier to blame expats for THEIR ills.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jokey laughing all the way to the bank.

  9. Anonymous says:

    despite the anti-dart sentiment by cns….cayman look forward to another world class sustainable development built to the best environmental standards….
    where is the outrage concerning the 2# scam-hotel projects in town oposite kirks?

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you seen the disrepair Kimpton is fallihng into?

      Use the spa facility and spot the rotting infrastructure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you really sure you want to sing that song? Have a look at the old Hyatt, or the tunnels to nowhere, approved without a design or plan…we’ll wait.

      • Anonymous says:

        No plan? They were showing the plan for the tunnels a few years back in the Cinema. It looked pretty good to be honest.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are clearly NOT in the construction or development industry to have a clue about the competence of Dart》Decco》Dart and make such a ridiculous statement. Lipstick on a pig and they cant even get the lipstick right.

  10. James says:

    Dart’s plans are a blessing. They are making Cayman a mini-Dubai and hopefully we can reach 85-90% international expat community within 3 years, and around 300,000 population (a number FCO was recommending in 2012 to ensure viability of the Island). Accept reality and progress or one will be bitterly disappointed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    i think caymanians should boycott dart properties….

  12. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the Marriott meant for tourists who don’t want a beach?

  13. dart sucks says:

    10 stories?? BARF. He should focus on creating sustainable products first. I don’t get why the island pretty much entirely hates his takeover of this island and yet his takeover still happens. Do we not have any power?? Does the government really not give a crud about our wishes?? What can we do to stop this Dartmania?

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop selling your land and businesses to him.

      • Anonymous says:

        He bought nearly all his land in the late 90’s (under various company names).

      • Anonymous says:

        These Soto Lands were part of the corrupt NRA Agreement land swap. DRCL was gifted 40 year duty waivers, plus >300 acres of prime SMB land, in exchange for $10mln and $5mln of “in kind” expertise. It may have seemed like a good deal to Kurt because the CIG was too broke at the time to pay it’s workforce, let alone build new arterial roads. Meanwhile, the old eyesore Hyatt, wrecked by Ivan 15 years ago, is allowed to quietly crumble, and periodically catch on fire, to this day. PLA should not approve any new projects for DRCL until they address the wide dereliction of their other property portfolio. All of DRCL’s affiliate companies should be treated as though they are the same company, with the same signatories, and beneficial ownership, because that’s precisely the case.

        • Anonymous says:

          There is a certain irony in a jurisdiction that made its money by preserving the secrecy offered by the use of corporate intermediaries and rigorously preserving the corporate veil now saying that the ultimate beneficial owner of a business should be identified and all his businesses treated as the same entity.

    • Discouraged Caymanian says:

      The first thing to do is get rid of the asskissing moneyloving politicians that embraced him….. and sold us out! VOTE THEM OUT!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know what Joey gave DART in concessions for this one? Is that private too, Joey?

    • Anonymous says:

      Duty free waivers until 2041 on construction materials, furniture, and gov’t room tax. Dart have their own imported labour force (the fluorescent yellow shirt brigade). Literally nothing in it for Cayman or CIG except maybe the outside dangling prospect of arrival fees.

      • Anonymous says:

        Also likely, millions of dollars in building permit, infrastructure and low cost housing fund fees, as is the standard these days with the multi million dollar developers who “wont build unless CIG gives them concessions”. Eyeroll. Honestly, people (CIG) who cant read a bluff should not be sitting at the poker table.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t think so.

          See “Concessions and Investment & Development Incentives” detailed in §87-92 of NRA Agreement.

          “89: Government hereby agrees and hereby grants DRCL and Affiliates the concessions, waivers and abatements in relation to Development Fees, Import Duties, DRCL Related Stamp Duty and other taxes and fees in accordance with the Investment and Development Incentives Schedule which shall not be subject to a time limit unless otherwise specified.”

          The low cost housing and adult learning areas were dangled and yanked away due to CIG’s delay in enacting legislation. That’s also part of the sneaky agreement that Norman Klein drafted.

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          Exactly right.

          They need US, so we give them concessions???? WTF??? Oh, and occasionally promise X% Caymanians employed during the construction? When did that become an option? I thought ALL projects had to have mostly Caymanians. This is the way it works: A Caymanian construction company gets the bid, and their workers are mostly expats. We blame the expats and we should not; they are just trying to make wages like people everywhere. We should blame the Caymanian owned construction companies that are exploiting the law and not hiring locals. Those that know how to game the law are sticking it in us all and breaking it off. They ARE us, and I’m sick of it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do the architects and others involved have Trade and Business Licenses? That your ministry responsible for enforcement Joey?

        • Anonymous says:

          All the design and engineering overseas gets funneled through Darts local architect who has a T+B. Im sure you dont need to ask who he is. No conflict of interest there within the Dart empire.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you got the direction of flow right?

  15. Anonymous says:

    1. A 282+ room hotel will lead to a dramatic increase in road traffic in the area.
    2. How are children to cross from the Governors Harbour area to public beach? Its already next to impossible.
    3. Will it take a child to be killed before a solution is found?
    4. Be responsible DART. Do your duty!
    5. Do your job CIG and Dept of Planning!
    6. CNS ask the tough questions.
    7. What is the solution?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sell and move East like we did a few years ago.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Yes. Until years later when the sickness flows that far. Then where will we go? Little Cayman? The Brac? Will Dart have purchased all of them by then? The answer is “yes, if we let him”.

      • Anonymous says:

        South Sound is Dart free..

    • Anonymous says:

      As for your points 2 onwards if you look at the picture you will see that the hotel is on Darts land on the sea side of the highway. They will have walking access to the beach without crossing any main roads.

    • Anonymous says:

      300 cars

  16. Anonymous says:

    Did Julienne say that with a straight face?

    • Anonymous says:

      “They’re seeking an authentic experience with style that reflects the rich, local culture of the island itself,” she said. Not authentic for real, but what Dart wants tourist to believe. When Dart has its way their will be no authentic Cayman left.

      • Anonymous says:

        8.50…They want all that yet they use foreign designers to give us another flat roof concrete box.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t that the lot Dart told us our campground,as part of Public Beach, was going to be? They (Dart), with Governments blessing, just keep chipping away in their quest to rebuild the Island in Dart’s image.

    Time to elect people who will work for the common people of our Country not the rich developers.

  18. Anonymous says:

    One step closer to the South Beach plan.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I swear every project keeps closing in on public beach. Soon it won’t be public, or you’ll have to pay to go on it like in Jamaica 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      yawn…give me evidence not soundbites.
      dart increased public beach space.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dart built a wall adjacent the public beach. They also built vendor huts for future hagglers. Dart was given over 300 acres of prime land in exchange for a public camp ground on the footprint earmarked now for a 10 story Indigo Hotel.

        • Anonymous says:

          There was the small matter of his building a 4 lane highway to West bay as well, I seem to recall.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many puerto ricans fly into Punta Cana in the DR because it’s cheaper for them than staying in their own hotels on the beach.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Grand Dartman. You can also visit Little CayDart and Cayman Dart. Generational Caymanians sold their soul and now whine about it. Suck it up buttercups. Yum yum!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not to stop what seams like inevitable. But to do so we need new leadership in government

      • Anonymous says:

        We aren’t going to get that until we change the Elections Law. We have a party system dominated by the same ilk.

  21. Anonymous says:

    it’s sad but at the same time amazing to see how DART slowly unveils their master plan, one development at a time. he offered the new west bay road to get Kimpton in that spot then also agreed to ‘beautify’ the existing public beach next door but all along they had in mind to put another hotel in that area. they kept a one time Kaboo party just so they could prep that land for the other development that will do there shortly. We might has well make this man the Premier, I’m sure he would be able to wine and dine UK better than any of these sorry politicians we have now.

  22. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    “They’re seeking an authentic experience with style that reflects the rich, local culture of the island itself.”

    No, they’re not. They’re seeking an exclusive experience rich with exotic epicurean delights thinly disguised as authentic Caymanian culture. Concessions granted to these and similar projects is money out of the pockets of the great unwashed masses — you and me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks like a crappy AI property where they charge too much and everything on property is glitz and a fake atmosphere. No thanks. I like the small, locally owned hotels and the local bar where the drinks are reasonable and the people are friendly(local).

    • Anonymous says:

      All DART is doing is knocking out the repeat tourist and their families who enjoyed the island the way it used to be and who used to be able to afford the island. These new “exclusive cement block hotels” that stay half filled for the “rich and famous” are not affordable for the guests of yesteryear. It is a sad scene for those who grew up in the old Holiday Inn era, the Royal Palm era to see this new development. The cement, the traffic and the lack of gathering spots for/w/ the locals…sad, sad, sad.

      • Anonymous says:

        To be fair, those of us who used to come, don’t come anymore. It’s not the same when it looks like Cement Town, USA.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was once reminded by a wise soul.
        Change is constant. We have all been told this.
        What is more important to remember is every destination changes as does the clientele. What we all hold on to as fond memories and romantic notions of days gone by, is unknown to the new fresh faced first time traveller. They may like Cayman and what it offers, never knowing what it used to be like. Or they may despise it and never return. The fact remains, there has always been enough tourists to go around.
        The biggest challenge is for the residents to accept and adapt to the changes- and mourn the loss of what was. Care for the residents and what you do have in your control (how you respond) and accept that the tourism mix is going to change- (out of your control at this stage).

  23. Anonymous says:

    When will this madness end?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Dont even think about giving duty concessions! and Dart should be made to give the old Victoria house site for a public beach

  25. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful plans Mr. Dart organization. CPA push this thru as it will create lots more jobs for us. Mr. Dart is a great blessing to our island; God Bless you sir!

  26. Anonymous says:

    So a downscale hotel is the next great thing?

  27. Anonymous says:

    282 rooms x 400SF per room (just rooms alone!) should be almost CI800K in permit fees. Double that if you add in restaurants, loby, corridors and all other common areas plus kitchens, laundry and administrative facilities…..

    PLUS 282 rooms x CI$3000 per hotel room should be another almost CI$900k in low cost housing fees….but we will undoubtedly see lots of concessions to defund the public revenue purse….wait for it.

    Hundreds of jobs for who?

    And lets not kid ourselves on what beach right in front of this proposed hotel will become private property if not already traded in the latest NRA agreement and timely set up “land acquisition fund”.

    Lastly, theyre not going to get any rich, local culture while dining at 5* hotel restaurants, being served non local food by a Hungarian waiter and lounging by a pool sipping $18 drinks.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Will this be the first private hotel beach in Cayman? As that is what the Compass appear to be saying

  29. Anonymous says:

    So much for the never-materialized Easter campsites, and dog park.

  30. Anonymous says:

    wasnt that land suppose to be used to create a camp ground as part of the deal for them closing west bay road in front of the kimpton?!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Ruins Cayman!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Dart should do something with that monstrosity of an old Hyatt before building shiny new hotels. Shouldn’t he be paying the Cayman Islands Government $25k a day for owning that derelict eyesore? I’m sure the good people of the Cayman Islands could use some of that back-pay he owes to help them live.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s off the beach so it should be used.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well looky what we got here! A $25k a day windfall! Any lawyers want to take it on a contingency fee arrangement. I’m sure the CJ will approve!

      Development and Planning Law (2017 Revision)

      (2) If any owner or occupier of the land or building on whom the notice was served fails to take steps required by the notice within the period specified in it for compliance with it, he commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of –

      (a) five thousand dollars per day from the date that the notice takes effect in accordance with section 29A(3) in relation to land or a building in a zone other than a Hotel/Tourism zone or a Commercial zone as defined in the Development and Planning Regulations (2017 Revision); or

      (b) twenty-five thousand dollars per day from the date that the notice takes effect in accordance with section 29A(3) in relation to land or a building in a Hotel/Tourism zone or a Commercial zone as so defined,
      and, in default of the payment of the fine, to imprisonment for a term of six months.

  33. Anonymous says:

    + Comfort Suites
    + Kaaboo site
    + Royal Palms site
    + ???
    = just give the man da whole island!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we already did. You know he owns the land already, right? Plus all the alongside the ETH from there all the way to West Bay. And according to the coverage of the proposed LNG side, big chunk out East too.

    • Anonymous says:

      i mean, they did pay for that land. so give is a strong word

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s safe to say that was done a few years ago. Wonder after a game of Caymanopoly in the board room what they’ll go after next.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think he put a gun to the Kirkconnell’s heads to sell Royal Palms. He always buys from willing Caymanian sellers and now you complain.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Bring back Calicos!

    • Anonymous says:

      They will. Except it it will be a bar for the hotel guests so they can enjoy “an authentic experience with style that reflects the rich, local culture of the island..” – except without the cheap prices and the locals lol.

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