The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa is situated on eight acres along Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. The resort, which was originally built in 1995, is currently managed by the Boston-based, Pyramid Hotel Group, one of the predominant hotel management companies in the U.S., managing and asset managing a diverse portfolio of more than 100 hotels and resorts in destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
The Westin Grand Cayman is home to the island’s largest fresh water swimming pool and has more than 9,000 square feet of indoor, and 40,000 square feet of outdoor event space for weddings and corporate incentive programs. Its dining opportunities include the Beach House, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant; Ferdinand’s for traditional and inventive Caribbean dishes; Tortuga Beach Grill and Bar for lighter fare, beach and poolside; Catboat Bar for cozy drinks with an ocean view; and Cayman Coffee Exchange for specialty and creative coffee drinks, ice cream, and snacks; in addition to 24-hour in-room dining.
Recently, the hotel initiated a $50 million program aimed at redesigning and renovating the entire property. According to Vice President and Managing Director Morty Valldejuli, the project has two phases. “Phase One completely demolished and re-imagined our lobby,” he says. “The objective was to give a view of the water as soon as a guest walks into the lobby. We were able to accomplish that by removing all the obstacles between the point where you drive up to the hotel, to the edge of the ocean. To increase the height of the lobby, we moved all of the administrative offices, which were on the second floor, into a new building. In addition, we completely redesigned the pool facilities, the pool bar, and added outdoor restrooms and Sol Caribe, where the resort stages its pool and beach concierges, as well as towel services. We added lanai patios to any rooms on the first floor facing the pool or the ocean. We also renovated our hot tubs, and all furniture and equipment was completely replaced. In Phase Two, in 2017, we will renovate all the guest rooms – all 343 of them.”
According to Valldejuli, about 80 percent of the hotel’s guests come from the United States, while the other 20 percent come from Europe, Canada, and elsewhere. It stays open all year, and all seasons. “What makes this hotel very popular is that it happens to be on the best stretch of beach of the Seven Mile Beach,” Valldejuli states, “and Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman is one of the top beaches in the world. That’s how we sell the property and that’s how we garner our reputation. It’s our biggest and most precious advantage against our competitors, other than our incredible associates.”
Regarding the competition, Valldejuli admits that in terms of product and services, most nearby hotels are, in fact, similar. “You get a room, you get food, you get beverages, you have retail, and you have merchandising,” he avers. “They all have great rooms and a great product, but we have the greatest people and that’s our differentiator. So, what we try to do here is create an experience that goes with the product we serve; we strive to take advantage of the beach by providing services that no other hotel does. For example, we have beach ambassadors at your beck and call on the beach; we have cocktail servers that will take your beverage into the water if that’s where you’re hanging out. There are call buttons on the beach chairs. Those are things that make this hotel slightly different. Those are the details that we try to sell. That’s how we get them. And once we get them, we have them forever.”
Indeed, the Westin Grand Cayman does have many ways in which it gets those guests to come and stay. “We have a sales team – three are based in the U.S. in the markets that give us the most business: the Midwest, the East coast, the West coast,” Valldejuli explains. “We have one salesperson dedicated to wholesale; we have a Director of Revenue Management that manages the transient business; we have an e-commerce director that manages everything e-commerce; we have a social media manager; we have banners; we have e-commerce promotions; we partner in packages with airlines. We have so many point-of-sale channels – there’s nothing that we don’t do.”
For its environmentally-conscious guests, the hotel also offers its ‘Make your Green Choice’ program. “It asks our guests if they do not want their sheets and terries washed every day, we will give them a five dollar voucher to spend anywhere they want in our food and beverage outlets. It’s an incentive for them to be a little bit more ‘green conscious,” says Valldejuli.
“The ‘Make your Green Choice’ is a brand standard for Westin; everything else is property-related,” he adds. “For example, we do the best that we can to recycle on a property level. That’s Cayman-driven and property-driven. It’s not something that all hotels practice, currently on the island. All of our laundry equipment, our food and beverage equipment have energy efficient equipment – brand new washers, brand new dryers with highly efficient, energy-saving components. All of our lighting fixtures are LED bulbs – in public spaces and the guestrooms. All the chemicals that we use in the laundry and our cleaning supplies we try to be green, as well – nothing that’s harmful to the environment.”
Valldejuli gives due credit for the hotel’s success to its staff of 270, most of whom are locals, and who excel at customer service. “We have very little turnover, less than two percent,” he says. “Once we hire them, they love it here, and that’s why our company is called Pyramid; it’s a core philosophy of our organization, ‘The Balanced Triangle,’ where the employees are at the center of the triangle surrounded by all three pyramid points (Guests, Owners, and Community). Everyone has to win. If any of these points doesn’t win then the pyramid is off-balance.”
With its outstanding service, coupled with its recent and ongoing renovations, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa will, no doubt, continue to remain the preferred destination that travelers have come to expect over the past twenty years, as well as for those new ones looking for a blissful, beachfront retreat.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: The Westin Grand Cayman Resort and Spa
WHAT: Resort hotel managed by the Pyramid Hotel Group
WHERE: Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
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