Dart Real Estate to Reopen, Expand Cayman Brac Luxury Resort
By Joe Pike, Special Contributor
Shuttered for close to two years, five-star luxury resort Le Soleil d’Or on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands was acquired by Dart Real Estate in the spring of 2019 and was set to reopen this past March.
Then the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck and those plans were put on – and remain on – hold with no new reopening date set as of yet, Melissa Ladley, vice president of hospitality for Dart, told Caribbean Journal Invest (CJI).
Le Soleil d’Or had closed down in October 2017 after only a few years in operation.
Ladley said, although reopening the resort and its famed farm, which produces fresh, organic produce, to international tourists remains top priority, an expansion is also in the property’s future.
The plan was to reopen with five rooms, said Ladley, and then eventually add new accommodations on Cayman Brac’s bluff, where Dart owns land. Ladley told CJI that the farm was still meticulously maintained during the closure and right up to the originally planned opening date.
“We will be working on expansion opportunities, but since the farm has been producing, it’s really been central to the experience, so creating a farm-driven, food-and-beverage experience will be something we want to stay focused on first.”
Cayman Brac, in general, is expected to be a popular draw for wealthy honeymooners and other couples when travel fully returns.
And with accommodations on the bluff, whenever they may come, the hotel will provide perhaps one of the best proposal spots in all of the Cayman Islands.
And with many experts predicting that seclusion will be a top demand from vacationers when travel opens again, Le Soleil d’Or and the mostly uninhabited island it sits on are in a great position to see instant growth once reservations open.
“We definitely have a lot of opportunities with this property,” said Ladley. “There is a different kind of traveler that comes to Cayman Brac. It’s the honeymooners and the romance market, but it’s also more active. There are hikes, you can go walking on the bluff, you can go hours without seeing another soul, and cycling is also incredible.”
Snorkeling and diving are also among the top sports activities on Cayman Brac. With so many activities offered on a secluded island, Sue Nickason, vice president of real estate marketing and sales for Dart, also thinks Le Soleil d’Or has tremendous potential for the family market.
“Whilst these styles of boutique resorts often attract couples, there is growing demand from discerning families looking to off-grid vacations for their families, where they focus on quality time together and enjoying outdoor recreational activities,” she said.
It’s a potential boost for the future of Cayman Brac, which has long had a relatively small hotel stock but also boasts a full-fledged international airport.
As far as Cayman Islands tourism in general goes, Tom Ludington, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s U.S. general manager, said international tourism will hopefully reopen by September.
Staycations for those already in the destination, however, are now allowed, said Ladley.