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Island Resort and Residences

Creating a high-end resort is not just about beautifully appointed rooms, lavish pools and ocean views. According to Michael Beggs, the brains behind the soon to be developed Island Resort and Residences in Grand Cayman’s East End, it is about creating a unique and memorable experience. To do this, developers must offer their future guests so much more than luxury accommodation as Beggs acknowledges: “You need to create luxury services and facilities that combine to create vacation experiences that are unforgettable.”

With this in mind, Michael has focused an enormous amount of attention on the facilities at the Island Resort and Residences; however the pièce de résistance will be the spa. Regardless of which high-end brand comes on board, Beggs has gone out of his way to create a facility that he believes will be winning international awards on a regular basis.


Shrewd enough to recognise that spas are fast becoming one of the most important vacation draws, as well as one of the most profitable elements within a resort (especially in the luxury market), Beggs has invested not only time and money, but a whole lot of love into the project in his quest for perfection. ­­

“Some of the world’s leading resorts have got the spa wrong because they have created facilities that are based around European or North American models designed around cold climates,” he explains. “A resort spa in the Caribbean must be appropriate for the tropical climate and overall experience of a Caribbean retreat, allowing guests to appreciate the natural environment of their vacation destination. More importantly, why would somebody travel all the way to the Caribbean to get a spa experience that they could get at any luxury hotel in their home city? This resort is on a Caribbean island in a tropical zone, so I want to create a spa that embraces that. I want to create harmony and balance.”

With this in mind, Beggs has chosen an Indonesian theme with influences from Java and Bali. “When people see the spa from the outside they will see an old plantation-style building, but behind the façade we will be giving our guests an Asian experience,” he says. “Natural materials such as soap stone, bamboo, slate, tropical hard woods, travertine and glass are all set against a lush tropical back drop... The spa has been purposely designed as an indoor-outdoor experience; guests will come through a serene reception area complete with retail displays, allowing tempting glimpses of the divine oriental garden in the background. Upon leaving the reception guests will enter the spacious and luxurious changing rooms, complete with showers (indoor and outdoor), Turkish steam baths, saunas, bathrooms and private lockers. Guests will then be led to one of the many treatment rooms outside or in, upstairs or down – depending on their mood and treatment selection. I believe that those coming on vacation to the Caribbean from colder climates, really enjoy the idea of being able to do everything al fresco – so why not their spa treatments as well?”

This showstopper of a spa is centred around a natural garden with water features and decking, and is a resort almost unto itself. “Nestled in its own private enclave, the spa overlooks the wilderness and is oriented towards the sunset,” says Beggs. “People can customise their treatments and each of the rooms can offer virtually any experience; it has been important to create not just a beautiful space, but a flexible adaptable space.”

Set over two floors, the spa has been designed to accommodate almost every possible pampering wish. Downstairs, guests can choose to take their treatment either inside or in the great outdoors, while the upstairs rooms all offer an outside balcony area. With outdoor showers in bamboo cubicles, the ambience, Beggs believes, will be all about the ultimate in relaxation in balance with Cayman’s exotic and unique natural environment.

The spa will also incorporate Turkish baths, traditional saunas, private rock-sculpted Jacuzzi’s, a salt water mineral treatment pool, in addition to a beauty salon – oh, and a special place for guys looking to connect with their inner David Beckham. Says Beggs: “The facilities have been designed with separate areas for men and women to allow for privacy, but they can also come together to enjoy and share their experiences.” Such experiences will include facials, scrubs, wraps, massages and more.

When complete, the spa will give guests a tranquil and harmonious feeling of truly getting back to nature. Wanting to avoid the stark clinical appearance of some spas, Beggs has created a light and airy ambience using natural colours and fabrics, with clean lines, but he has set it all in place within a lush and warm tropical environment. As Beggs says “it is important to be true to the location of the resort.” Water features, the use of bamboo and the infusion of different colours and materials, will combine to create a truly unique ambience that offers an Asian experience whilst simultaneously remaining true to the Caribbean.


But the spa is not the only show in town. The resort is set to offer an array of amenities, which – like the spa – will be open to hotel guests and local residents alike. The Colonial lobby bar, in particular, looks likely to attract people from all over the island. Beggs has combined leather bar pads, brass rails and mahogany stools to create the perfect retreat for anyone who has had enough of the beach and wants to wind down in a cool, sophisticated venue and enjoy a sundowner before dinner.

Then there is the Tuscan courtyard and deli, which Beggs believes will become the hub of the resort. Heavily influenced by the courtyards that are commonplace in Mediterranean countries (and which act as the centre of the community), the Tuscan courtyard and deli will be an ideal place in which to take breakfast or lunch, or simply to enjoy a coffee and catch up with friends.

For fine dining, look no further than Isola, which will be the resort’s flagship restaurant. A crucial element in a luxury destination, this high-end eatery aims to offer guests no fewer than five different dining experiences including the private chef’s dining room and the restaurant garden. Regardless of where you choose to sit, Begg guarantees exquisite food and five-star service, as well as an awe-inspiring collection of international wines. “Isola is the Italian word for island and it will be an incredible sexy experience for guests. This has been designed as a top-quality restaurant and it will boast a brand chef. In short, it will become something of a showpiece.”


Beggs describes the facilities and amenities at Island Resort and Residences – the extra things – as a smorgasbord of experiences. He says that the resort will be successful because of how the guests feel about the experiences they enjoy there, the special moments they remember. “You need to create a potentially unique experience for everyone no matter where they come from,” he notes. “Whether they come from Italy or America, you have to create an array of services and experiences to keep everyone happy and keep your guests coming back for more.”

They say of course, that you cannot please all of the people all of the time but if Beggs has his way, Island Resort and Residences will prove otherwise.


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