The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa

The Westin Grand Cayman 1

Grand Cayman Island is known for magical experiences, and the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa

honors that reputation with high-level service.

By Staci Davidson, Managing Editor at Knighthouse Media

When one arrives on Grand Cayman Island, it’s not hard to immediately adjust to island life. More than 2 million people visit the island country every year, and the attraction is obvious – who doesn’t want to spend some of their hard-earned vacation time on an island as beloved as Grand Cayman? From the crescent-shaped Seven Mile Island to Stingray City and shopping in George Town, the island has a lot to offer in terms of memorable experiences. And as the island’s premier resort, The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa offers a level of service that is not only accommodating to its guests, but respectful of their time and memories.

“The island is an amazing place,” General Manager Jim Mauer stresses. “Grand Cayman is an affluent, active, beach town and regarded as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands are an overseas British territory, which makes the resort a little exotic, while being safe and very authentic. We employ many locals – more than 45 percent of our staff is local – and that creates a fantastic partnership because everyone here is a true professional.”

“The resort has 343 rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and the best and most expansive piece of the best beach in the Caribbean,” Mauer adds. “But it’s more than that. This is a very active island with activities like diving and swimming with stingrays. People are up and out – boating, kite surfing, snorkeling – this is not a napping island. It also is the food – it’s not just Caribbean, everyone focuses on fresh ingredients from farms on the island, sources from Brazil and the chefs are world-class.”

The Westin Grand CaymanLocated in the heart of the island, the recently renovated Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa has a prime spot on Seven Mile Beach, and the hotel is U-shaped to maximize the ocean-front views. The location also makes it easy for guests to stay active – catamarans, diving boats and sail boats pull up to the resort’s beach to take guests out on the water. For those who prefer to stay on the beach, the resort offers a variety of luxurious private cabanas, as well as an extensive list of family and children’s activities each day. All of this is accented, Mauer says, by a world-class team of chefs and a welcoming staff that offer “hospitable and genuine” service.”

“We want guests to have a truly memorable vacation when they come to the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa,” he says. “Travelers are taking less vaction and are lucky to get in one trip a year and we want to honor it We understand our customers – these vacations are a time to unwind and make memories – and our services and bespoke programming caters to them.”

“The modern-day traveler often has lines that are blurred between business and pleasure, so we are intuitive with them,” he continues. “We are responsible for catering to all of their different needs so they can plug in and still revitalize themselves. The average stay is five to seven days, so with that you get past the point of service that is accommodating and get into the level of service that is a partnership and emotional.”

‘Human Care’

Last year, Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa completed $50 million in renovations to enhance its property even further. It redesigned its lobby to provide panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, redesigned its Catboat Lobby Bar with soothing colors of the Caribbean and expanded freshwater pool with swim-up bar. The second phase of the project involved transforming the guest rooms, suites and guest bathrooms. The resort also added a pool and beach concierge for guests to book daily activities from the pool deck, a call-waiting button to summon a server to the pool or beach, and an expanded live music offering.

“The hotel was built in 1994 and the physical plant had been updated before, but not to the extent that we did with this project,” Mauer says. “We upgraded every room, indoor and outdoor public spaces, and all the infrastructure. As a result, demand and occupancy is up by double digits this year. A renovation can take its toll on the staff, so we had to train and retrain and then shed the kind of service we gave while doing a renovation and go back to being the body reactive that we are.”

He notes the renovation was key to keeping the resort relevant in the market, but Westin Grand Cayman knows that unforgettable getaways are dependent on service level. Mauer says that he and the rest of the management continually teach and demonstrate that by walking the talk and living the resort’s service promise themselves.

The Westin Grand Cayman 2“With service, you have to be careful you don’t get mechanical on responses, even if it’s a question you’ve answered 50 times before,” Mauer says. “At this resort, we offer human care because coming here is an emotional buy for our guests. We take care of them when they are in need of pampering – it’s not just offering them a bed, we are feeding their soul.”

“Our service is always boiling down their requests to understand their core needs and taking care of them,” he adds. “Travelers are strangers in a strange land, and while they are in our land, we are ambassadors of the Cayman Islands, as well as running a world-class hotel.”

More than Motivation

Mauer describes last year’s renovation as making the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa “literally like a new hotel,” and guests are responding well. The resort has been very busy and set records for occupancy after coming out of the renovation. He notes that travel to the island is increased overall, but Westin Grand Cayman continues to enhance its services to offer guests even more.

The hotel renovated its health club and moved it to the first floor, while adding a beach boot camp program for additional fitness activities. Westin Grand Cayman also enhanced its spa with a nutritionist on staff to better cater to wellness travelers. Mauer says people were eagerly planning trips to Westin Grand Cayman once the renovation was complete.

“We advertised the renovation well, so the anticipation was there,” he explains. “We told all of our loyal customers about the updates, so many people were waiting for the completion date and people were eagerly planning trips. There are four primary hotels on the island, so we have many loyal guests who only come to the Cayman Islands and know our hotel very well.”

He notes that about 35 percent of its guests come as part of a group, and it’s common to see people for company retreats, fall in love with the hotel and island, and then bring their families back. When families are spending every vacation at the hotel, Mauer says there is no choice but to honor that and remain dedicated to service.

“Our staff is a blend of people from all over the world, so there is a melting pot of talent,” he explains. “Professionals come here to work – this is not their side job. That understanding of customers and complete engagement is taught from day one, and they start with a three-day orientation where they learn our culture and expectations. Every single person here has a voice and we clamor for their feedback and dialogue – what is right, what is wrong, successes they’ve had, and we value that.

“We inspire our people and it’s not just about motivation,” he continues. “Motivation is fleeting, so we inspire because that does not fade and the difference shows in their buy-in, they become invested. We want high integrity and a high level of caring for the guests who have checked into our rooms. They have given themselves to us, and if you don’t get dramatic, you lose the responsibility you have for them. It’s an awesome responsibility, and we take good care of people.”

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