November 15th was a day of important firsts:
- The first new luxury hotel to open on Grand Cayman Island in more than a decade.
- Kimpton’s first luxury beach resort.
- The first Kimpton property in the Caribbean—or, in fact, anywhere outside the United States. Expect more international Kimptons, with hotels scheduled for Amsterdam (this spring), Paris, and… stay tuned.
The opening of Seafire is such an important event for the Cayman Islands that GM Steven Andre’s list of speakers included the Cayman Islands premier, the tourism minister, both the CEO and the president of developer Dart Realty Enterprises, and the CEO of Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. Even the Government opposition leader took the mic, and he proudly noted that he had backed the project from the start.
The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa they’d come to celebrate has 266 rooms—almost all waterview—and a design sensibility that incorporates American-style comfort with Cayman history and art. The ambiance is one of luxury-meets-informality. Amenities include three restaurants supervised by chef Massimo de Francisca, a spa, a kids club, a pool, cabanas and seating nooks, and frontage on Seven Mile Beach, one of the finest swaths of sand in the Caribbean. In the spring a second building with residences will open, but it won’t be run by Kimpton. Meanwhile, the hotel’s combination of water/energy/recycling efficiency and beauty have earned it LEEDS Silver status.
Director of marketing and strategy for Florida and the Caribbean Eric C. Jellson told this reporter that Kimpton Seafire can give travel industry discounts to travel professionals and added value to clients of high-producing advisors. These might include late checkout times, room upgrades, resort credits, etc.
In an exclusive interview after the ribbon cutting, Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels, described Seafire as having “easy to digest design” and high-quality materials, personable staffers, and gastronomy. “The result is that you can spend a lot of time at this resort without feeling you have to roam off the property, and Seafire will never feel like one of those giant resorts where you have to wake up early to put your towel on a beach chair.”
Above all, he added, “Seafire will bring a different clientele to the Cayman Islands: a younger crowd that apreciates true casual elegance.”