Courtyard Marriott closed

| 14/11/2008

(CNS): Update 8pm Friday. According to a note on the door the Courtyard Marriott on Seven Mile Beach has been temporarily closed because of damage incurred during the passage of Hurricane Paloma. However, according to some staff members who have been told their employment has been terminated, it appears this could be more than a temporary closure for repairs.

CNS has attempted to contact Dan Waters, the Manager of the hotel but so far we have not been able to speak with him to find out the extent of the damage or to confirm opr deny the speculaiton  that there are other issues regarding the hotel’s sudden closure. However a staement was released on Friday afternoon (see below for detials.)

Yesterday, CNS spoke to some employees and learned that there was a small amount of flooding in both the restaurant dining area and the kitchen, but that the owner of the hotel was on island and they believed some people had lost their jobs.

The Gecko Beach Bar was still operational and some staff were working, albeit shorter hours they said, in that facility. However, some staff were reportedly let go earlier this week and speculation which has reached the Legge Report has suggested that the issue is more complex than flood water and may actually affect an existing plan to redevelop the entire hotel.

The Courtyard Marriott along with literally hundreds of acres in that area was purchased by Stan Thomas who had reportedly planed to redevelop a huge area of Seven Mile Beach on a similar scale to that of Dart at Camana Bay. However, owing to various issues concerning the movement of the road and other alleged difficulties there is some speculation that the Courtyard Marriott, at least, may no longer be part of the proposed future plans. Concerns are also being raised that given the situation with the former Hyatt which has remained derelict for four years since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the idea of a second hotel along the Seven Mile Beach area standing empty for any lengthy period could be potentially damaging to the overall tourist product.

There were guests in the hotel at the time of Paloma’s arrival who were, staff said, relocated to the Grand Cayman Marriott.

On Friday afternoon a joint release was issued from the Department of Tourism and the Courtyard Marriott which certainly gave the impression that while the closure was as aresult of Hurricane damage from Palom it seemed to be a long term closure.

What staff had described as a little water in the dinning area and kitchen was described in the release as, "extensive water damage to the interior of the hotel" and therefore the hotel would remain closed for an extended period.

The release stated that on Friday morning (November 14), the Minister of Tourism, Charles Clifford, representatives of the hotel’s owners and management, along with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism and Department of Employment Relations met with staff to brief them and answer questions. 

"The staff meeting focused on staff welfare which is the top priority and the Department of Employment Relations and the Ministry of Tourism will be continuously monitoring the situation," it stated  adding hotel is also collaborating with other properties on the island to relocate employees and accommodate guests previously booked.

The statement went on to say that teams of construction experts and insurance adjusters are currently evaluating the extent of the damage. Once the assessment is completed, the hotel will finalize a timeline for recovery the hotel said . "While the closure is regrettable, we recognize that the refurbishment of this property brings with it a real opportunity for a new and more competitive tourism product that will benefit employees and the destination in the long term."

Speculaiton that the closured owed more to a longer term failure regarding agreement on the wider development than the inch or so flood water was not addressed in the release.

 

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Comments (5)

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  1. Frank Essary says:

     

    I love the Cayman Islands and I hate to see any negative press about the Island.  I live in Texas and visit whenever I can.  I don’t see why Cayman tourism board can’t come up with vacation packages to induce tourists to visit.  I think I can, if they can’t.  The Caymans have everything a tourist to Islands would ever want.

  2. Safety first before profits will save lives in the long run. Imagine if a member of your family perished because the hotel failed to adhere to such policy. Perish the thought.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We have reservations for this hotels over the xmas period. After reading this on CNS i telephoned Marriott reservations in London and was then transferred to the main reservations in the US. The lady I spoke to re assured me that the hotel is NOT closed!

     

    Not sure what to do, but hoping they will move us to another hotel

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, yet another example of the steady collapse of Cayman’s tourism industry. The CM has been struggling for months with only partial occupancy and no real way to boost business. The fact that it has closed just as the islands move into high season speaks volumes for the problems the owners face.

    Cayman should look very hard at what is happening throughout the region, particularly Cuba where a two week all-inclusive holiday from the UK costs under £800 including flights, and realise they need to radically rethink (and that doesn’t mean trying to turn the islands into a ‘high end’ resort) the way they treat visitors.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    We can’t afford to have another large hotel be closed. The Hyatt situation is a very negative situation for our tourism and I’m afraid to say that it’ll be that way for awhile. I can’t understand why the Goverment still hasn’t sorted out this mess as the owner is not keen in solving it. The Courtyard Marriott didn’t suffer any real damage it’s just a good excuse to close it’s doors and maybe they’ll be renovating as a Renaissance but we don’t know. Right now we’ve allowed another rich developer to come in here and tell us what to do and that’s where we’ve gone wrong.