(CNS) Residents of Grand Cayman have expressed their frustration on social media in recent weeks because some high-profile hotels, particularly in Dart’s stable of tourist properties, have begun to refuse service at bars. of beach, restaurants and other amenities to people who are not guests.
Even though locals have kept the hotel industry above water with stays and steady footfall during the lockdown, getting a table at select Seven Mile Beach Hotel restaurants or a weekend resident rate for a room now becomes very difficult.
Responding to questions from CNS, the Kimpton Seafire management team, who said the resort was still welcoming staycationers, explained that their reduced service to residents in restaurants and other amenities was mainly due to staff shortages and the “quick return of foreign customers”.
“After the announcement of reduced Covid travel restrictions, effective February 18 this year, we have seen a rapid return from overseas guests as well as continued demand from our local guests for weekend stays” , Kimpton management told CNS.
“We are currently operating with approximately 170 fewer employees than in March 2020. Although we would like to welcome more guests, we are at capacity with visitors and staycationers, and our goal is to provide them with exceptional experiences.
“As we continue to recruit for vacancies within our team, we look forward to welcoming more guests as the season continues and tourism rebounds. Some hotels are also refusing residence rate stays. and require locals to pay tourist rates, while others simply don’t let anyone but foreign guests on the premises,” the hotel said.
Tillie’s, a well-known beach restaurant at the Palm Heights Hotel, another Dart Group property, was the main target on social media after several people posted on various social media platforms that they had been denied reservations.
The former Beach Suites restaurant in the heart of Seven Mile Beach has been a very popular spot for residents for the past two years, but now they’re turning locals away.
Some people on social media expressed great disappointment that it happened so quickly, while others described it as blatant discrimination against Caymanians. However, the messages indicate that it is residents in general, not just Caymanians, who are being denied service and reservations, and staff are telling people that only those staying at the hotel are being served.
CNS has requested a comment from Tillie’s management, and we are awaiting a response.
Some social media posters also claimed they were denied service at the Westin’s beach bar. However, hotel manager Jim Mauer said all locals are more than welcome at all of the hotel’s bars and restaurants, as well as the spa, pool, and beach bars.
He asked anyone who had been denied service to contact hotel management and insisted on inviting everyone. He noted that most of the hotel’s longtime Sunday brunch patrons are residents.
He said that while beach chairs were no longer available for daily rental to non-guests, residents were more than welcome to bring their own chairs and enjoy the beach and the bars and restaurants. .
Tourists are slowly starting to return but there are still far fewer customers than in March 2020 when the borders were closed due to the COVID pandemic. Even then, most hotels would find room for all customers in their restaurants, residents and visitors.
As hotels hope for a busy spring break, the numbers are expected to drop when hurricane season begins in June.