Westin to dump ‘Beach Closed’ signs

| 04/05/2022 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service
The beach at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa

(CNS): The manager of the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa has said that the facility will no longer be deploying its “Beach Closed” signs after pictures of them circulated on social media on Wednesday, stirring up significant public controversy.

Although the hotel has used the signs for years during private functions or when cleaning areas of its enviable stretch of Seven Mile Beach, Jim Mauer told CNS the signs would be replaced by ones that better reflect what is going on, as he repeated his position that local customers are always welcome at his hotel and the beach.

Mauer said he understands that the signs are polarising, given the current issues surrounding beach access, but that they were not meant literally because, of course, the beach cannot be closed. He said the hotel uses the signs for weddings or other functions as a way of alerting beachgoers that the spot is being reserved for a specific event for a given period.

He said the signs are used when the beach is being cleaned or when there is a need to cordon off an area for any reason in relation to what’s happening at the hotel. He said that the signs are used quite often and he believes the hotel has been using them for at least ten years.

“But I couldn’t believe it when I realised they were trending on social media this morning and causing such a stir,” he said.

The hotel is currently averaging above 50% occupancy, increasing each week as tourism rebounds, and was booked by a group this week, which means there are various private events going on where the guests will be using the beach. Mauer said he understands that does not exclude other beachgoers from access and the signs are meant to show that there will be things happening in the spot that could disturb them.

“As of today, we will no longer use these signs,” he said, adding that they are getting different signs made that indicate more clearly what is going on. This is so that other beachgoers can be more aware that if they sit on the beach in that area they might find themselves unwittingly in the middle of a stranger’s wedding.

“We do not wish to deter our local customers at all. We still welcome everyone to the bar and restaurants and the beach is as always open to all,” he said.


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Category: Business, Local News, Tourism

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to buy beach on the other side of the island and allow people to rent or build concessions. We could have a wonderful bar, restaurants, swimming pools and other sports like volley ball, race wave runners with bleachers, a family side and adult sides. Everyone would have something they would like. Maybe a package deal for individuals or families to include a day on the beach that would include food and drink. Run by government. Special events could be had such as weddings or concerts. Your imagination awaits you. Stop giving away money that doesn’t enhance our country.

  2. Used to love it there says:

    I’ve spent hundreds of thousands staying on cayman…used to be my favorite place. With the attitude of and the government restrictions they don’t seem to get that the people able to afford and spend excessive amounts on a vacation generally do not like to be told what they can and can’t do and specifically related to personal Healthcare. I may never go back. BTW if anyone thinks this is a quick recovery you will be sadly mistaken as there a a lot of options without the restrictions and a government telling me what’s best for me. Cayman government gets an “epic fail” grade.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t need people who think they can do whatever they want, take you hundreds of thousands (sic) elsewhere.

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  3. Anon says:

    As a long time visitor to Cayman I applaud the beaches being open to all. If people want a private beach for their wedding, book somewhere else.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Also time to reclaim the Free public open space lots of land. Not only beach access.
    There are lots all over the islands unused.
    On Batabano to Morgan’s Harbor there are 4 prime lots.
    Mr. Loxley development has 2 large lots.
    Also behind Wesleyan church there is a nice empty lot behind Ms Elisabeth house.
    None of the lots are marked by Planning Dept maps show where they are.
    Let’s put parks there so kids don’t have to all go Camana Bay for fun.
    And don’t allow developers to leave overgrown bush or ponds as their Public Open Space lots.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Selectively strong opinions on high water line rights and prescriptive rights law….fine. What is anyone doing about DART’s cottage seawall and personal beach gazebo, whose stilts are not only well below the high water line, but going right into the standing sea water? When was that approved, and who signed off on it? …and are they still in the CIG? Why hasn’t that obstruction been torn down? Use a tenth of your energy asking those questions please.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    You all are such whiners.

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  7. Ironside says:

    I saw the signs on Saturday morning, over the Easter Weekend. I figured the Westin manager, let’s call him “Jack”, was new here and wanted to try and discourage the common folk from bathing on his beach. 🤣 (see The Mighty Gabby song “Jack” for reference).

    I said to my wife, just wait until he’s called out for it. The signs were placed at the ends of the Westin Beach corners, where none of their guests would most likely sit and where no Westin beach loungers are ever placed.

    I’m very happy my prediction came true.

    🎶 “I grew up bathing in sea water…Jack tell them to keep me outta reach…” 🎶

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  8. Anonymous says:

    One of the reasons why I did not support the local staycation promotions the Westin and other hotels were promoting when the borders were closed – they discriminated against locals for years! Of course locals were welcome when the borders were closed but now that borders are open, “keep those pesky Caymanians off our white sands.”

    I should get a bunch of my friends together for a beach cooler fete right below the water mark when a wedding is going on there – just to be spiteful. LOL

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  9. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    …..”they may find themselves unwittingly in the middle of a strangers wedding”…….
    Mauer and ALL his management team need to understand that anyone can sit wherever they want in front of his hotel or any other once we are below the high water line.
    Of course Mauer knows this already but still wishes locals never darken his doorstep.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Water line has nothing to do with it. The right to use and peaceably enjoy extends from water to natural vegetation line.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    they put up a sign for thier own guests on their own land.
    where is the story/drama here?
    were they preventing people using the public area(below high water mark)????…..no.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Plenty of years ago caymanians gave away beach lands to family members they did not like and kept the inland piece for themselves because, beach front property was seen as something bad to have especially in the hurricane season. These family members then sold the beachfront lots for foreigners. Today everyone wants a beach front and those without it fighting for beach access. Blame unna foreparents for this mess!!!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The hotels really have done us dirty for some time now. And I was just telling a friend we should go on a staycation at a condo some time in the summer, but we may have to use aliases because as soon as they hear our Caymanian last names, we may not get a place! I refuse to feel like a 2nd class citizen in my own country!

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    • Greed at the expense of the people says:

      Sadly, it’s atrocious but true. They accepted us at their facilities with open arms when the Islands were closed to tourists …( and us being Caymanians and residents alike). The Kimpton refused my cabana booking as I was “not a guest”.

      The many $$s spent during “Islands closed” times by we the people clearly went unappreciated.

      Predictable I guess……..

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      • Anonymous says:

        What are they supposed to do, turn down a guest payong $1,000 a night who wants a cabana because you want to rebt it for a couple hundred bucks a day? Look at it from the hotel’s perspective.

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    • Cheese Face says:

      I love the smell of bullsh*t in the morning!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The ‘Staycation’ fad is over. You can travel overseas…. if you are vaccinated , with minimal restriction & no quarantine.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you even want to go to one of those condos after all this? You (and other Caymanians like you) are the problem! You make a rod for your own back by continuing to support them with your dollars.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m a tourist and have seen these signs for years at different hotels when they are getting ready or setting up for events. Why wouldn’t the locals who have lived there forever know what these signs were about?
    On a side note, I have walked up and down 7mb for many years and on many side streets thru GC and have met the most wonderful people thru the years. I have found that if you are pleasant, no one bothers you and the locals let you take pictures of beautiful spots along the way, sit on a “private” lounge chair at a hotel for a quick minute to take a breather or to take a picture. I also feel “live and let live” and smile and be polite and enjoy the beautiful Cayman Islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a kid we used to spend the whole day at the Westin and the Hyatt (now Palm Heights). At the Hyatt, we would pull up and park, all get out and start having our various kinds of fun. Kids in the pool or at the beach, adults would rub shoulders, drink, eat, etc. I made massive forts with my brother out of loungers – you could take 10 of them and make a construction on the beach. 20 years later, with the hotel under different ownership, I took a date there once. We got chairs, expecting someone to come and ask if we wanted to order anything – because that used to be enough to get you use of chairs. But instead we were told, you’re not hotel guests, you need to leave. Can’t we buy something? We’re trying to have a date here – we came for food, drink, etc. No, just leave, thank you.

      Westin, same thing. We would go down as a family of five, and spend the whole day there. We ordered whatever we wanted to have, kids played, adults socialised. You could move freely from hot tub to pool to table to lounger to sea, all day. We bought Red Sail services too – would usually rent a jet ski or two. You could get keys for lockers inside the hotel, use the bathrooms inside if you wanted to shower off there before going home, unlimited towels, etc. Those beach days probably cost my parents a few hundred bucks, and that’s 1990s money we’re talking about, more than the cost of a night’s stay back then. Now if you go to the Westin? The beach is accessible because it has to be by law, and sure you can get a drink and some food. But you cannot have chairs – those are for guests only. No amount of money spent on F&B will get you a chair. You can be obviously well-off, look identical to the hotel guests, clearly able to afford whatever you want, but will still be denied. I BELIEVE if you buy a membership to the spa, which cost $1000 or more per annum when they introduced it, that entitles you to limited use of the beach facilities. Can’t remember the details and I’m sure they’ve changed, but I remember thinking ‘wow, not even that’s enough to just get you a chair when you want one!’

      More recently I went with a friend to the Kimpton. We got chairs, again expecting that since there’s literally a restaurant down the beach that has servers who come out to you, we’re about to have a relaxing afternoon. We’re hungry, thirsty, and we’re ready. Most chairs are unoccupied. The server walks over to us: what can I get for you guys? We go through the whole process, then finally: “aaand what’s your room number?” “Oh we aren’t staying at the hotel, we’re locals here for lunch”. I kid you not – she turns heel immediately and walks away at pace and says as she’s turning “well then I can’t serve you”. And she just keeps on walking.

      Your experiences getting to use a chair for a minute by being nice (and clearly being a tourist) are not what we’re talking about here. And to your question ‘why wouldn’t we know what the signs mean?’ We do know what the signs mean. The beach is closed to us – but it’s open to these other people who buy something different. Their money is better. We want them, we don’t want you. It’s (pun intended) a ‘sand in your eyes’ move – meant to make even someone who knows exactly what their rights are as members of the public go, ‘oh screw you, you can’t close a beach – let’s go somewhere else’.

      These properties, their management and owners always say: the beach and the sea are open to all by law, and everyone is welcome to spend at our F&B facilities. But what good are either of those things, if you can’t put a chair between them where you can put your stuff, dry off, tan, eat your food, drink your drinks, read your book? It’s that in-between area and the chairs in it that they won’t let you have. This is to ensure they can charge guests the ‘facilities/resort fee’ – and more if they want a cabana, or other top-up options that never existed before. Guests in high season complain the beach is crowded – they’re being charged a fee to use chairs – so the chairs are off limits to non-guests, even in slow season, even when the beach is empty. It’s discrimination to justify a fee, and keep the whole beach area under the hotel’s control. Even these Westin signs and this guy’s explanation – hey I mean you can always use the beach, but you may be in the middle of someone’s wedding (for which they paid us a lot of money). In practice, you will be shooed off the beach. You’ll be told by a guard that you can use the beach – just not this part because we need it. It’s scheduled for cleaning (guests want shade from trees but nothing that falls from them on the sand), or we have a function that will start setting up soon. Move over there – some location too far from the restaurant and bar to really use them.

      In my short lifetime SMB beachside hotel facilities have gone from being open to all, no minimum spend, to being off-limits without a room number. That’s the problem – one of them, anyway (there are many others, which I’m sure others have addressed).

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      • Anonymous says:

        Kimpton don’t turn local away. My friend is one of the managers and he always welcome anyone to have fun there. I have no problem go there once or twice a week to drink or eat.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sorry if that is the case. Wouldn’t make any difference to me ( as a tourist) who was sitting beside me enjoying the pool, beach or bar.
        Have you ever tried not saying you’re local when they ask ( although it’s a small island) & when they ask for room number just say I’ll pay in cash? When I travel solo, I never give out my room number and always say that. Not a solution, but it may work at some places.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I have always been given 5-star service at the Westin, when I am staying there. But when I am not, well lets just say you can tell the staff relies on tips. But this brings up the argument -how much does a hotel have to cater to persons who are not paying to stay there? Should persons be allowed to come there and use amenities that guests are paying to use? Im afraid if we start to answer those questions the beach access will disappear faster

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    • Johnny the Wad says:

      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ? That’s a stretch. That’s an awfully big stretch. Go to Asia stay in a ⭐⭐⭐ then come back and tell me “The “Westin” is ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🤣

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    • Anonymous says:

      The hotels put private chairs and loungers on public beach areas, and while this continues, we the public will continue to regard those seats as public property. If you don’t want us locals to use them, take them off the beach and put them back on your patio.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Westins staff commenting all over this thread.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Westin has always been like this. They hate locals!

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    • Anonymous says:

      hence why people love the westin!

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    • Anon says:

      I have spoken to this guy and as he said… ‘he isn’t leaving Cayman’ but I could not believe how out of touch he was with how terrible the Westin treats locals. He thinks because he has a few Caymanians employed he is ticking every box! His comment that he had no idea it was trending on social media sounds just like Jim!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    The beach is private property to the mean high water mark. The public have access where designated/registered as public access to the high water mark. Access means pass along….not stop, sit, use beach chairs etc

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where’s your Condo? I’m bringing a cooler and a towel. Looking forward to schooling you on Cayman Law, Prescription, and community.

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      • Anonymous says:

        But legally he/she is correct. Sit whether you like on the beach but the access points are for access.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Replying to 4:32 pm:

      “Not stop, sit” – really?
      Under which law is the public prohibited from stopping and sitting on the part of the beach that the public has a right to walk on?

      You’ve hit a raw nerve. Maybe you got carried away in your fantasy, hoping we’ll all just scurry quickly past your patch and disappear fast as if we’re a bunch of intimidated little undesirables who don’t belong in your eyesight. However, many of us know better and won’t be intimidated by your nonsense assertion.

      So, be careful what you wish for and mind your words. Your statement could possibly have the opposite effect to what you wished for: it might just motivate some of the public to deliberately “stop and sit” in front of “your” patch if beach, just to prove the point!

      It doesn’t have to be this antagonistic way, though. Caymanians by and large are polite, hospitable people and we “live and let live”. Certainly we have the good grace to respect other persons’ special moments on the beach like a wedding, or just a pose for a photo in the surf at sunset, or even a beach grooming operation: we can and we will give them a wide berth while we’re enjoying our beach time. But whether you’re a Caymanian or an expat, don’t misinterpret our politeness for cowardice and acquiescence when it comes to imposing more restrictions on something as precious and as generationally ingrained into our culture as our enjoyment of the beach whether we are running, walking, stopping, or sitting!
      Respect our culture, understand that we are going to enjoy the beach while you’re enjoying it too, “live and let live”, and have a good time in the Cayman Islands!

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      • A.J. says:

        Well said my friend. That one definitely hit a raw nerve. I have always respected & gave a wide berth to a wedding, or a tourist photo opp.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you read the comment it is correct. @4:32pm was saying there is access to get through to the public area of the beach.

        The mean high water mark is the average of high tide. There are many parts of the beach that are dry 99% of the time. That is private property. Not all of the beach is public, it really isn’t difficult to understand.

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        • They paved Paradise.... says:

          What happened to the ‘public up to the line of permanent vegetation’?

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        • Anonymous says:

          The tide in Cayman averages about a foot, and I would challenge anyone to draw a line in the sand where the mean high water mark is. Remember that storm surges will radically change the high water mark mean. This is why vegetation line is a better guide.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Stop spreading lies. We have a right through the Prescription Law to use the beach.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ummm, the public has an inalienable right to peaceably use all the beach. From water to natural vegetation line.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You are part of the problem perpetuating nonsense like this. Familiarise yourself with the prescription laws.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody owns the beach. I can stop & sit on my towel anywhere I want. So bite me.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Westin still has a beach ?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Wonder when the Filipinos living on Governors will be moved on?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    The sad thing is that for the past two years locals kept the industry afloat, including taking staycations and dining out as never before and as soon as the place is opening back up the industry kicks the locals in the stomach in this case off our beach. I even see the change in service and attitudes at restaurants and other establishments in the industry

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  20. Anonymous says:

    He would need planning permission to erect a sign would he not?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Unless you’ve only lived on the island for a few days, you should know the signs would be tone-deaf and offensive.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    “You can’t close the beach”…he needs to re-read his own ironic exclamation, as many times as may be required for his own comprehension. The latter being the crux of the issue.

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