The High End: Improving Paradise – An Interview with Jackie Doak

June 16, 2017Blog, President's Update
Jackie Doak

By Kelly Potts, The High End

Jackie Doak traveled what she calls a “very wandering path” that led to her becoming the President of Dart Real Estate, a Cayman Islands investment, development and management company. Doak has been with the company since its flagship development, Camana Bay — a 650-acre commercial and residential masterplanned New Urbanist town — and has helped the company break barriers on the island ever since.

Q: What are some major developments you’ve worked on with Dart Real Estate?

A: I worked on Camana Bay from its teaser, to announcing that it was open, to now celebrating our 10-year anniversary. Building a town in itself was a great experience, but hospitality and the way people feel is part of my DNA. I was part of the creative, collaborative design team of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, and I also had the benefit of working on the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, which we acquired in 2011.

Seafire Brand Launch Event

Jackie Doak, centre, at the Seafire brand launch event with Dart Enterprises CEO Mark VanDevelde and Kimpton Hotels CEO Mike DeFrino

Q: What was the design process like for Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa?

A: Kimpton was the first new resort in the Grand Cayman in 10 years; we’d been fairly static as a tourist destination since 2005. We acquired the land that Kimpton is on in 2011 and spent a year master-planning going up five additional stories on the existing structures and adding additional buildings on the site. Although there was value in building up, we realized that if we demolished the hotel and started fresh, we’d have a much better product. We’re very proud of the decisions we’ve made and innovation is one of our values. Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard has the perfect personality for the residences at Seafire, which will be finished later this year for occupancy.

Q: Can you tell me about the placemaking approach used in your projects? 

A: We really say that greater than the sum of our parts is our design excellence. If you don’t think about the experience of your customers or clients as they move through a property, as they park their car or as they walk around, you can be very functional, but not successful in making an impact. We focus on places that inspire you to live your best life. We take into consideration where the breeze comes from, how the sun moves over the property and how landscaping and water and shading will cool areas. We strive to make a place as inspiring as we can to promote health, activity and wellbeing.

Camana Bay

The Crescent, Camana Bay

Q: What do you hope that guests or residents of your developments will experience during their stay? 

A: When I travel with my family, I come back with moments that really resound with me. And that, to me, is what I would like our visitors or customers to take away — meaningful moments that impact their life. It’s great to come to Camana Bay and buy a beautiful dress, but it’s more impactful where you went in that dress and what you experienced. We also want to create and capitalize on the infrastructure of the Cayman Islands. We surprise and delight many who come here for business, and we want to supplement that.

Q: Does Dart Real Estate have any exciting plans or projects coming up?

A: We recently completed a three-day workshop for Camana Bay in regards to a new commercial offi ce building, a supermarket and doubling the capacity of the school. We’re going to have a very busy development cycle over the next few years, as we are also working on a 5-star resort in the Cayman Islands, where we have the opportunity to create multi-generational experiences including things like a lazy river and slide, kayaking, ziplining and a museum. We’re also talking about Phase Two of the Kimpton Residences, with 17 of 62 residences already pre-sold. The sales velocity has been very rapid, so we’re looking at creating an additional tower of residences at Kimpton Seafire.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being President of Dart Real Estate?

A: It’s great being president of an amazing company, but I was also the first female president of Dart. No day is the same and that’s what thrills me about working with this company. We have a very diverse group of individuals with many different life and education experiences, and we have a visionary and amazing shareholder in Mr. Dart. Being able to be a part of this company and inspire future generations is what makes it more than a job; every day I’m given the opportunity to leave an impact in the Cayman Islands.