From new luxury hotels to new flights and infrastructure, visitors to Grand Cayman can expect to see significant changes in the coming years.
"The Cayman Islands as a destination is evolving, which can be seen through our infrastructure updates, new accommodations, tourism offerings and legendary Caymankind service," Oneisha Richards, deputy director of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, told me.
Earlier this year, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group said that it would manage a luxury resort and residences in the Caymans, currently scheduled to open in 2021. Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman will be a 100-room beachfront resort with 89 residences on 67 acres at St. James Point on the southern shore of the island.
Hyatt has also announced a partnership with Pageant Beach Hotel to open the 351-room Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel & Residences. The hotel will be located on a 7.1-acre site on Seven Mile Beach, which is less than a mile from George Town's city center. This resort is expected to open at the end of 2020.
Cayman-based residential and commercial developers NCB Group are planning a 60-unit boutique hotel on the George Town waterfront, Richards said. NCB purchased the land and has submitted plans to build a five-story hotel with a farm-to-table restaurant, juice bar, fitness center and cafe with a pool and swim-up bar.
Richards also spoke about the former Grand Cayman Hyatt Britannia Resort, which was purchased in 2017 by Dart Realty and will reopen in early 2019 as the Britannia Golf Course and Beach Suites. The newly named resort will maintain the same 52 suites but with a soft renovation and a new restaurant.
As for 2018 projects, The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa put the finishing touches on its two-phase, $50 million renovation. The complete renewal includes a new lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views over the pool and sea, a fresh, airy design palette with light blues and purples, and an expanded freshwater pool with swim-up bar.
On sister island Cayman Brac, The Cayman Brac Beach Resort completed its beachfront renovation which includes a two-story bar and freeform pool.
The Owen Roberts International Airport will have completed its $67 million expansion project by the end of the year. According to Richards, the project will triple the size of the airport facilities, enabling the island to accommodate close to 2.5 million passengers and international travelers.
Cayman Airways by 2020 will fully retire and replace its current fleet of 122-seat, Boeing 737-300s with new Boeing 737-8 Max aircrafts. It will also add seasonal nonstop flights between Grand Cayman and Denver starting in March.
This October JetBlue Airways launched daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale.