|By Kevin Shereves, Cayman Net News, Grand
Cayman, Cayman IslandsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 16, 2009--Two Wyndham Worldwide affiliated resorts will soon be operating in the Cayman Islands. The 170-room Ramada Grand Caymanian Beach Club and Resort is currently at 80 percent occupancy and ground has been broken for the 130-room Wyndham Grand Bay Waterford Cayman Islands.
Wyndham Worldwide is one of the world's largest hospitality companies and encompasses both the Wyndham and Ramada brand names, in addition to nine others.
Both resorts are located in Crystal Harbour Safe Haven, overlooking the North Sound.
GKF Group, a local property development and management firm owns both properties.
The Ramada Grand Caymanian Beach Club is a pre-existing resort that comprises both timeshare and daily rental units. It was re-branded with the Ramada name in January of this year.
The first phase of the property is complete, with the construction of a second phase planned.
"The Ramada Grand Caymanian Beach Club is located in Crystal Harbour Safe Haven, overlooking the North Sound and Sting Ray City, and sits next to the beautiful North Sound golf course. The resort will be comprised of 48 units in phase one and 44 units in phase two with two and three bedroom oceanfront villas and luxury penthouses," said Theresa Foster, Managing Director of GKF Group.
"As developers, GKF Group are managing the units and 30 units have been developed in to time-shares. Eighteen units have been taken from time-shares and are now being rented as daily rentals.
"The Wyndham brand is firmly in place and we are 80 percent occupied this week and, overall, our occupancy rate is much better than in years past. In the Caribbean occupancy is up overall because of the cancellations due in part to the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico but the Wyndham brand is certainly helping to boost occupancy rates."
In response to challenging market conditions, Mrs Foster said: "We have modified our product subject to market conditions and have been very successful. On average, we have had a couple sales per month over the past few months in our Ramada Grand Caymanian phase 1, and we are already 50 percent sold out of phase 2."
Mrs Foster said the focus now for GKF is on the growth and further development of the Ramada Grand Caymanian Beach Club, before work continues on the Wyndham Grand Bay Waterford Cayman Islands.
"We have broken ground on the first building of Wyndham Grand Bay Waterford but need to complete the first development -- that being the Grand Caymanian Beach Club and Resort. The current state of the economy is such that you don't want to bite off more that you can chew and we do not want to compete with ourselves at the same time," she said.
"The Wyndham brand is luxury at its best but we are nowhere near completion. The Grand Caymanian Beach Club and Resort is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. We have gone back to the drawing board with the Wyndham Waterford property and are doing a bit of redesign work with our architects and we currently do not have an exact date when the development will be fully complete."
Mrs Foster described plans for the new luxury property.
"The Wyndham Grand Bay Waterford is a private resort comprised of luxurious villas, grand penthouses and an elegant Great House. The Waterford is a private residence club and is a new feature. Guests can purchase whole units or half units or even one eighth of a unit. It is branded with Wyndham Grand Bay and it is at the top of the branding tier and is among the higher end around the world. The resort will be built in the British colonial style and the amenities and service reflect that," she said.
Mrs Foster explained that the resort will be based on the highest levels of service. "You will receive white glove service and a butler or chef will come into your private suite to prepare meals if you wish," she said.
With regard to the resort design and specific amenities, Mrs Foster said, "The Wyndham Grand Bay Waterford phase one will be comprised of 47 units and is located in Crystal Harbour. It is very high end and features crystal chandeliers and electronics in each room. "It will feature a 5,000 square foot spa. The resort also features a business centre, on-site restaurant, lighted tennis court, beach volleyball court, freshwater pool, multiple hot tubs, a kids club and a variety of water activities including scuba diving, snorkeling and deep sea fishing. There will also be a dock and we will have a fleet of boats available for use by owners with a captain available for each boat. We will also feature a luxury car service offering a Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes or Audi for owners and guests."
To see more of the Cayman Net News or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.caymannetnews.com/.
Copyright (c) 2009, Cayman Net News, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. NYSE:WYN, XETRA:BMW, XETRA:NSU,