New hotel brings room stock up to record high

| 14/05/2024 | 95 Comments
Hotel Indigo (Photo credit: Dart Group)

(CNS): With the completion of the Dart Group’s latest resort, the Cayman Islands now has a record number of rooms available for visitors in hotels, condos, apartments and Airbnb-type units. Hotel Indigo Grand Cayman is expected to welcome its first guests in the coming weeks, bringing the room stock across all three islands to 8,022, according to the Department of Tourism.

The Cayman Islands Hotel Licensing Board, chaired by Tourism Director Rosa Harris, recently approved the licensing of Hotel Indigo, adding 282 rooms to the total available. Three more hotels under construction will add another 600 over the next few years.

Harris said it was a significant moment for the tourism sector as demand for the destination grows. “Hotel Indigo Grand Cayman is a stunning property with unique attributes that will appeal to visitors and is an excellent complement to our diverse accommodations portfolio, which includes hotels, villas, condos and guesthouses,” she said.

Dart Executive Vice President Enrique Tasende said plans for the hotel started following the record visitors in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought doubts about whether to proceed with the project. “However, despite those initial difficult months for the world and with a high degree of uncertainty about the future of the travel industry, we had the determination to forge ahead with this idea,” he said.

In the coming years, between in-progress and committed developments in George Town, including ONE GT, Grand Hyatt, and Kailani, as well as a steady increase of Airbnb properties, more rooms will be added to the total, even though Cayman did not reach the record-breaking 2019 numbers last year and continues to track behind that year on the monthly figures so far in 2024.

According to the DoT, there are now 646 properties available as Airbnb listings, many of which were once part of the long-term rental market. As more landlords turn to the more lucrative tourism market, there is an increasing shortage of long-term rentals, which is leading to a rise in rent costs. This development in the tourism market is actually presenting a problem for the sector as low-paid overseas workers struggle to find anywhere to live, which makes recruiting and retaining staff difficult.

The increase in the number of beds available for visitors is also being used as justification for the controversial redevelopment of the airports, including a proposal to extend the runway at ORIA into the North Sound to accommodate flights from long-haul destinations.

“The increased capacity of our room stock supports our drive for more airlift into the destination as we
now have the ability to accommodate more visitors,” said Harris.

“The opening of Hotel Indigo Grand Cayman is the start of an exciting few years for the Cayman Islands tourism industry as we anticipate more hotel developments to be completed and open their doors in 2025. Our goal is to develop new markets and flatten our seasonality, while maintaining quality experiences for visitors and residents. Increased accommodation and airlift are crucial to achieving this goal,” she added.

However, there are a number of controversies relating to the tourism sector, including that it adds to the stresses on the local infrastructure, from beach access to traffic congestion.

In addition, despite the commitments from successive governments to get more Caymanians to work in tourism and hospitality, the proportion of locals employed in the sector remains in decline and new hotels are simply adding to the record-breaking number of work permits, according to people in the industry.


    Share your vote!


    How do you feel after reading this?
    • Fascinated
    • Happy
    • Sad
    • Angry
    • Bored
    • Afraid
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    Tags: , , ,

    Category: Business, Tourism

    Comments (95)

    Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

    1. Anonymous says:

      While we (mostly all) can agree that we DONT need any more concrete and Cayman is becoming less and less Caymanian I do want to shed a POSITIVE light on all the artwork by locals in the building. They said they have some 80% or more Caymanian artists work displayed in the building, amazing paintings and crafts, and also on the building in the form of artwork murals. I walked through and to see all the Caymanian names on the placards and the Caymanian faces on the wall is quite soothing amongst the noise.

      
I just dont want the anti-dart train and the concrete jungle woes to take away from their hard work and a place to have our local talent displayed to such a high traffic area. Of course they got paid for their work as well so we should at least be happy for our fellow Caymanians there 🙂

      5
      3
    2. Anonymous says:

      One of the top compliments tourists from the USA give is that we are built up a they like it. They don’t want to go so far off the grid. Gone are the days of vacationing for relaxation and feeling “away from the city” ppl are traveling to places where they can continue with there daily routines, fitness mental and physical, with a mix of spa, beach an maybe a boat trip. Let’s not forget a lot of the high net worth persons who come here on vacations usually do some work while here. If we want to be competitive as a destination we have to keep adapting. My new favorite vacation trend is sleeping vacations, persons pay to travel to places and spend most of the time just in the room in bed.

      4
      5
      • Anonymous says:

        That’s a trend? I’ve always travelled that way. I love to get to a destination, then just take in the vibe from my hotel room. I only leave to shop and eat.

        1
        1
    3. Anonymous says:

      We’re done for. An endless cycle of building concrete boxes on the back of imported labor. This labor forces up rent for locals, but construction companies and hotel operators are winning, so yay for them. Roads are clogged every day but Sunday. Tourist can now be literally anywhere when visiting…a hot, flat place with mostly American chain fast food options, oh and there used to be a nice beach, but that’s either disappeared or ruined by higglers.

      25
      2
    4. Anonymous says:

      Another ugly cement tower to help destroy the beauty of Cayman- above and below the waves.
      Disgusting

      19
      1
    5. Anonymous says:

      One only has to look at what’s being built in Saudi and what’s going up here is Lego like trash. Absolutely no imagination or originality went into the design whatsoever. Parts of Camana Bay, Kimpton and now this monstrosity are a eyesores on the Cayman landscape. And countless acres of protective barrier mangrove was sacrificed, for what, this new urban trashytechture?
      Take a look at the projects of NEOM and see for yourself what additive and landscape complimentary architecture looks like.

      https://www.neom.com/en-us

      Who would want to come here and spend good money staying in these contrived, concrete cookie-cutter landscrapers when they can have a real out of this world experience in the Middle East?

      11
      7
      • Anonymous says:

        Neom? The Middle East? Are you breathing oil fumes or something?

        8
        5
        • Anonymous says:

          Yes maybe because I’m downwind of CUC’s diesel tanks. But if you’ve been driving gasoline powered vehicles and chilling in the AC provided by power from CUC and using plastic consumer items chances are your hard earned dollars are building this spectacular project. You should open your Western mind and travel to one of the safest countries in the Middle East. It’s also in a country many Western allies have been friends with for a very long time. But I’m sure you know all this right?

          4
          6
          • Anonymous says:

            Nobody wants to go to Saudi Arabia and they don’t want any one to come. It’s one of the most dismal visitor experiences on earth. Matched for sheer dreariness only by that golfers paradise called North Korea.

            And BTW your glass block in the sand project has been scaled back drastically because it isn’t going anywhere.

            6
            4
      • Anonymous says:

        Who rattled your cage?

        2
        4
      • Anonymous says:

        Who would want to come here is a good question. The answer to that is simple: Americans…
        Resorts like the new hotel featured here are the same as what you see in Hawaii or anywhere on the U.S. east or west coast.It feels the same , food is similar. Beach & hotel service is similar. The Staff are similar.
        In essence, devoid of any character whatsoever, that could make you feel like you’re someplace else.
        Kimpton next door , CaYmana Bay [ by & large] all follow the DART robot architect formula . “Ding..Ding” Look at the new residential block at CaYmana Bay to see another eyesore. The Realtors love it though ” Stunning..un-paralleled” …

        7
        2
    6. Anonymous says:

      Great more people, more traffic, more sewage, more garbage, more strain at sting ray city and what we got, less trees, less tranquility, less peace of mind and less Cayman kind.

      Our politicians lost the plot on what made cayman unique and the gem of the Caribbean.

      18
      1
    7. Anonymous says:

      How many Caymanians got jobs there I wonder..

      34
      7
      • Anonymous says:

        How many employable ones went to the multiple job fairs I wonder..

        12
        10
      • Anonymous says:

        It wouldn’t be a five star Cayman hotel without Bobo calling in sick twice a week and showing up at 10am for the 8am shift. I don’t see any reason none I tell you why these hotels hire expats instead of Bobo. Ridiculous, preposterous, inconceivable!

        12
        10
      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        3:05, How many Caymanians applied for jobs there is the real question.

        9
        7
        • Anonymous says:

          Why should they bother? Could you live and feed your family on $6.50 an hour? Really?

          Expats survive by sacrifice, and the conversion factor of our money into theirs; they sacrifice for four years, sending money home, and go home a build a life. Caymanians have to stay here in this economy.

          6
          3
    8. Anonymous says:

      Well you know quite frankly and been saying for years that there should be a glamorous 7 star 🌟 hotel in Grand Cayman called The McKeeva with flutes and trumpets and statutes and waterfalls and slides and a KFC for all to dance the night away. Oh The McKeeva hotel will be a glorious sight to see!

      22
      3
    9. Anonymous says:

      Is it finally enough? Do we finally have enough concrete monstrosities? Will it be enough when the roads are so choked up that those yielding at the roundabout are stuck there forever?

      We have allowed the systematic destruction of nearly everything that was good in Grand Cayman. Stick a fork in it. How long will it take to ruin the Brac?

      40
      1
    10. Anonymous says:

      Would be nice if Dart and Co would help restore the south end of SMB by removing the seawalls in the West Indian Club, Coral Caymanian, Royal Palms area. You would think that would be in the best interests of both Dart and Cayman.

      29
      3
      • Anonymous says:

        Why is that Dart’s responsibility? CIG set us down this path when they allowed the Marriott pool deck and the Marnie Turner sea wall, once that precedent was set it was just a matter of time. You reap what you sow.

        9
        18
        • Anonymous says:

          And the TI groyne

          10
          1
        • Anonymous says:

          Because he only cares about one thing: profits. Look at all these hideous tower blocks he keeps building. Greed knows no end. Look at the britannia case! Roads are a mess as a result.

          17
          3
        • Anonymous says:

          Sure those owners are also liable for the disaster. But the three properties I listed are owned by you know who.

          18
        • Sir Humphrey says:

          1:16, very simple, it is Dart’s responsibility because they own the properties in front of the beaches and have a long term interest in seeing the beaches survive with sand, as tourism is one of the cornerstones of Darts long term development strategy here.

          We did not fully understand in the time of Marnie Turner and the days of the Radisson now the Marriott, what the full implications were on beach erosion in those days.

          10
          2
    11. Anonymous says:

      yawn..all the anti-dart nonsense. this is private money …if you don’t like it don’t go. the place doesn’t want your need type anyway.
      where is the outrage of cig blowing a billion every year with nothing to show for it.

      14
      34
      • Anonymous says:

        private money that severely adversely impacts environment, already frail and failed road infrastructure in the direct vicinity and therefore also impacting all residents east of Hurley’s roundabout (as if they hadn’t suffered ridiculously long commute for decades already). What an eyesore and a hot mess.

        18
        11
    12. Anonymous says:

      Is this the ugliest hotel on the island? For a while FIN and its awful Vegas lighting was my #1, but this one is ugly day *and* night, so I think it takes the cake. Thoughts?

      40
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        Who designed this ugly piece of “architecture”? Even pinkish colors remind you know what. How much did they get paid?

        19
        1
    13. Anonymous says:

      So many rooms and yet no where to live

      28
      2
    14. Anonymous says:

      All built duty free courtesy of Big Mac. No wonder Dart keeps building as fast as he can. Nobody can compete with that. Looks like Dart’s goal is to run everybody else out of business and Mac gave him the advantage he needed to do just that.

      41
      6
      • Anonymous says:

        yawn…you would not want to see cayman without dart….

        11
        38
        • Anonymous says:

          I would sincerely like to see Cayman without Dart. The ugly development, spiralling population, scandalous concessions and a large proportion of construction workers of a certain nationality start and end with him. It’s the financial services sector not Dart, that keeps this island afloat.

          36
          7
        • Anonymous says:

          Cayman was doing just fine before Dart showed up. Caymanians could afford to buy land and homes here. Unlimited investment of Foreign made money has warped our economy to the point of pricing Caymanians out of the paradise we once had.

          16
          1
        • Anonymous says:

          You keep drinking that kool-aid. Probably working for Dart, paying him rent, and shopping in his urban America style developments.

          10
          1
      • Anonymous says:

        Kurt was the NRA man.

        4
        1
    15. Anonymous says:

      No it’s not. Times are moving on and people don’t want to pay exorbitant rates for cramped hotel rooms when they can pay less and have this:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1STa1vWPCmo

      7
      17
    16. Anonymous says:

      They call that hotel architecture? Looks like something out of a throwback 60’s TV series like the Thunderbirds. Certainly it’s not additive to our island’s ambiance. Who designs these multi-storey retro rabbit hutches?

      33
      4
    17. Anonymous says:

      I don’t see growth in hotel room stock as a positive thing for the prosperity of the country of the whole.

      This is going to have barely any positive effect on the wider economy. Apart from a few wealthy individuals who own the hotel, this isn’t going to benefit any Caymanians or residents.

      Other than the hotel owners the only people who will benefit are those who didn’t even live here before the hotel was built: constructions workers and hotel staff.

      Even with room tax, work permit fees, and overnight visitors spending money, I don’t think the positives of growth in room stock outweigh the negatives. At least not in the long term.

      51
      7
      • Anonymous says:

        Doubt most staying at the Indigo hotel will be spending money in the local restaurants and shops. They will most likely stay right at the hotel and eat at the restaurants on site.
        I can imagine the prices at the hotel restaurants and rooftop bar. $$$$

        34
        1
        • Anonymous says:

          As well as enjoy the Public beach on their doorstep for free..they at least bought the other beachfront land they built on.

          5
          2
      • Anonymous says:

        The hotel owners? Care to rephrase? Who are “they”?

        8
        0
    18. Anonymous says:

      Wonder when public beach will finally be fenced off to non Dart guests.

      44
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        They need to sell it to him – gov has allowed it to turn into a mess with the drug sales, fighting an harassment common place. Tear the old termit ridden governor mansion and make that the new public beach. Also instead of life guards put officers there to stop the lewd staring and cat calling to women sunbathing. Big sign at airport to respect women but no enforcement

        13
        25
        • Anonymous says:

          How wil making governor s beach public beach – of course, it’s public already so….- make any difference? You think they will enforce no higgling there when they don’t do it it in public beach? And where would anyone park? . Just need CIG to do its damn job and enforce the rules on public beach and RCIPS to clamp down on the drugs and anti social behaviour. Not rocket science and can’t see why it’s so difficult.

          19
          1
    19. LEF says:

      Stop building these concrete jungles. The world is heating up real fast and these buildings are adding to it. Don’t destroy the mangroves, etc, we need them.

      52
      6
      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman used to be so quaint. Every hotel, road, restaurant and bar made you feel like you were on an island oasis. Now, when you land you see high rise cement buildings, construction and congestion, highways and you no longer feel like you have escaped the city to an island retreat.

        52
        2
        • Anonymous says:

          That’s what most of the overnight tourists are saying too, many now choosing to go elsewhere.

          23
          12
          • Anonymous says:

            stats prove you 100% wrong.

            16
            11
            • Anonymous says:

              Bullshit. Don’t believe the stats when I hear it time and again from tourists mouths and see it plastered all over TripAdvisor and social media. I’m part-retired now but have witnessed real change in opinion over decades, not talking out my ass based on dodgy stats.

              17
              14
              • Anonymous says:

                There is none so blind as those who shall not see. The facts are there – trip advisor and social media are your basis?! Foolish.

                11
                6
                • Anonymous says:

                  No. I started out saying from the tourist mouths over the last 20 years. Long time visitors are saying the same as many others, even them from the cruise ships. If you had been around the world a bit you would also know how many rely on Trip Advisor and similar sites, and would be foolish to underestimate the power of social media. Back in the day everyone loved the quaintness, the beauty, the environment, friendliness and feeding of being safe. Nobody complained about miamification, spiralling development, high rise builds blocking the entire sea view along WBR, the ghost town that GT has become, the loss of pristine beach, mangroves and marine environment, how Cayman got so expensive and ugly. Not so much positive feedback now, and a lot of criticism. Still, if there are a lot of visitors now it has come at the expense of many repeat overnighters who loved the island and visited for decades.

                  5
                  4
                  • Anonymous says:

                    So how many tourists did you speak to over the past 20 years – 200? 2000? 20,000? No matter, it is a drop in the bucket with alomst 400,000 coming in the past year. Go ahead and add your trip advisor and facebook ‘research’. Your argument is flawed. Overnight guests are on the up and they’re paying and spending more money than ever before. As long as that continues, so too will development – it’s the simple economics of supply and demand. Like it or lump it.

                    4
                    4
            • Anonymous says:

              Exactly, stats publicised are subjective. But DoT are hand in hand with the developers of the urban sprawl which spreading over cayman like an aggressive cancer. So DoT are obliged to put their wonderful “beneficial to Cayman and Caymanians” BS spin on it.

              11
            • Anonymous says:

              As someone who understands stats and how they’re made up, and who is familiar with the methodology, your ‘stats’ are wholly unreliable.

              1
              1
        • Anonymous says:

          if that were true i wonder why people don’t go tot he brac that much??????

          1
          3
    20. Ban Air B&Bs says:

      According to the DoT, there are now 646 properties available as Airbnb listings, many of which were once part of the long-term rental market. As more landlords turn to the more lucrative tourism market, there is an increasing shortage of long-term rentals, which is leading to a rise in rent costs. This development in the tourism market is actually presenting a problem for the sector as low-paid overseas workers struggle to find anywhere to live, which makes recruiting and retaining staff difficult.

      Time to halt all Air B&B licenses! They are destroying the rental markets!!!!

      41
      14
    21. Anonymous says:

      How much more of this madness are we t to put up with. I never believed in conspiracy theories but the politicians must be getting paid off. Madam governor is there nothing you can do

      28
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        What can the governor do? Isnt she also paid from the same coffers as the politicians? If so, do you really think she doesn’t want to get paid?

        4
        7
        • Anonymous says:

          No, HMG pay the governor. However, HMG have no interest in preventing anything other than extremely overt CIG corruption. After the hassle with the Turks and Caicos Islands 2009-2012* and BVI in 2022**, there are no prospects of intervention.

          Cayman will be ruined at some point in the next few decades – it’s just a question of whether the current generation of Caymanian voters are dooming their children or their grandchildren.

          * http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8202339.stm – “The UK has imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands after an inquiry found evidence of government corruption and incompetence.” Sound familiar to what we get from CIG?!

          ** https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61736373

          1
          1
          • Anonymous says:

            HMG absolutely do not pay the Governor. Please see the Constitution:

            “Emoluments, personal staff and expenditure of the Governor

            37.—(1) The Governor shall receive such emoluments as may for the time being be fixed by a
            Secretary of State by directions in writing, and those emoluments are hereby charged on and shall
            be paid out of the revenues of the Cayman Islands.

            (2) A law enacted by the Legislature may prescribe the offices that are to constitute the personal
            staff of the Governor, the salaries and allowances that are to be paid to the members of that staff
            and the other sums that are to be paid in respect of the expenditure attaching to the office of
            Governor; but no such law shall apply to such members of the personal staff of the Governor as
            are recruited and paid under the authority of a Secretary of State.

            (3) Any salaries, allowances or other sums prescribed under subsection (2) are hereby charged
            on and shall be paid out of the revenues of the Cayman Islands.”

            They decide what the bill is going to be, and we pay it.

    22. Anonymous says:

      This isn’t something to be proud of. We’ve become a more expensive Miami.

      40
      1
      • Anonymous says:

        Correct. Take a cold hard look at the new Cayman. Too expensive, not much to do, town overrun by cheap cruisers, roads jammed with tour buses, unreliable overpriced taxi service, Jamaican higglers on the beach, not a Caymanian in sight, rude Jamaicans , Indian jewelry sales pushers . After one visit why would they come back? We’ll only have condo owners paying repeat visits.

        As a tourist destination in the Caribbean. Cayman (sorry to say it) has very little to offer. We have one really nice beach… most island nations have countless really nice beaches. Corrupt MLAs have ruined even that beach with Jamaican higglers. We have no mountains or jungles or waterfalls or any of that stuff. We have very little truly local food or cultural experiences to speak of. We don’t have anything cheap/affordable.

        Tourism also does far more damage to Cayman than good. Covid was a blessing in showing how people should change to a different sector. It is insane to petulantly demand the destruction of Cayman for *everyone* merely to satiate the greed of a tiny minority of politicians taking kickbacks from developers (see Wendy’s superb September 2023 editorial: https://caymannewsservice.com/2023/09/donkeys-developers-and-deaf-ears), and a small number of Caymanians working in the sector. Most people in the sector are the ‘imported poverty’ of comments section fame: primarily Jamaicans.

        Cruise tourists are pests, who further clog up the island, and make life for residents a nightmare. The industry can’t collapse fast enough.

        There’s also no business case for long haul tourist flights from anywhere else to bring in more stay over tourists, because:

        1. Those flights will be more expensive than existing warm weather options, so tourists won’t be interested.

        2. Cayman is already too expensive for most tourists, in large part because a bloated, incompetent and corrupt CIG and civil service/de facto welfare scheme are funded by 20%/22% import taxes on everything entering.

        3. Cayman is now a [far] more expensive version of Miami. If tourists want that, they can go to Miami; if they want undeveloped islands, there are cheaper options. Cayman should forget tourism, and focus on increasing offshore work. The government hasn’t screwed that up yet (but with the increases in fees, beneficial ownership changes, and lack of competitiveness with Dubai, Singapore, etc. it’s on track to do so).

        What would be worthwhile, is reintroducing early and late flights to Miami, therefore enabling people to travel to different destinations in the US in a single day rather than forcing them into multiple days of travel. Obviously, this doesn’t pander to Kenny-the-Moron’s ego or inbred politicians’ desperate desire to buy wotes, and so will never be adopted. Plus ça change…

    23. Anonymous says:

      So ugly, so unCaribbean, so urban.

      55
      2
    24. Anonymous says:

      Fantastic views over the bypass. Now I don’t have to stay at the Ritz, even though it has added some lovely petrol station gazing from the balcony.

      Stay classy…Cay-Miami.

      68
      5
      • Anonymous says:

        Typical negative whiner that posts on this site. For the roadside rooms, how is that any different than other hotels on the island with some rooms that don’t face SMB? And on the roadside rooms have great views of the North Sound and some nice home and canals in Governors Harbour neighborhood.

        The hotel looks like it has several great unique restaurants including a restaurant and lounge on the top floor.

        But stay negative….Cay-Miami.

        10
        46
        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, they have great views but how about those homes looking back at an ugly hotel?

        • Anonymous says:

          Well said. Perhaps 10.40 would prefer hotels were built away from roads, right on top of the beaches or maybe in less populated areas where developers can build on untouched land?

          1
          5
      • Anonymous says:

        I have an idea, hear me out. If you don’t like it, don’t go there.

        8
        10

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.