By Harvey Chipkin
When Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa opened on Grand Cayman last fall it marked a big step for Kimpton––the brand’s first international property in a long time (a Canadian location closed years ago), and its first true luxury property, according to general manager Steven André.
“Kimpton was looking for the right development partner and the right market for its first international location,” said André. “It’s part of the evolution of the brand.”
A second international Kimpton recently opened in Amsterdam, and there are deals in the works for Paris, Mexico and on Grenada in the Caribbean.
Kimpton, which was bought three years ago by IHG Hotels, increasingly will aim at the top of the market. The difference between it and other luxury brands, André said, is that Kimpton will maintain its unique culture and character developed over 35 years. There will, for instance, still be complimentary afternoon wine tastings and “a more sassy attitude.”
On Grand Cayman, A Sense of Place
Kimpton’s Seafire Resort + Spa on Grand Cayman offers “true luxury with every finish and every design detail screaming luxury,” André said.
“The sense of place is over the top. Our designers spent a lot of time on the island getting a feel for it. Even the bed board cutouts are reflective of Grand Cayman, as are photos in the lobby and other elements. The hotel’s lobby is elevated 24 feet above sea level so the sea is never out of sight.”
The 266-room hotel, the first new hotel on Grand Cayman in 11 years, sits on 500 feet of Seven Mile Beach. In high season, a guestroom in the main building will be priced at about $800. There are also three separate bungalows with a total of nine units; they are available at the high end of the resort’s rates.
The resort offers several dining options, including: Ave, serving Mediterranean cuisine; Avecita, a restaurant within a restaurant that allows nine guests to sit at a counter as the chef cooks, with 30 additional seats at communal tables behind the bar; and Coccoloba, a Caribbean beach bar.
Other resort amenities and services include: Camp Seafire, a “tech-free” kids’ program that invites children to explore Cayman culture; two pools, one adults-only; an 8,500-square-foot spa, including a Turkish Hammam (steam room); and 20,000-square-feet of social and event space.
Kimpton Seafire already has the highest redemption rate for Kimpton’s Karma loyalty program, which will eventually be merged with IHG Rewards.
Kimpton’s Agent Outreach
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa on Grand Cayman, is the latest hotel to reflect the Kimpton move toward luxury. Others include the Kimpton Gray in Chicago and the Epic in Miami. As a result, André said, Kimpton is establishing relationships with travel agencies and agent groups like Virtuoso and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. (Epic was the first Kimpton to be a member of the American Express program.)
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa recently hosted Engage!, an event for luxury wedding planners and other wedding professionals.
André said the process of educating the trade about Kimpton’s new direction will be ongoing.
“We offer luxury without the attitude, with many personal touches. There’s a heartfelt connection with guests. You can feel that when you walk into the hotel.”