As the president of a firm that has developed more than $1.3 billion of property on the Cayman Islands, Jackie Doak has been instrumental in the region’s progress.
By Kelly Potts
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 master-planned New Urbanist town — and has helped the company break barriers on the island ever since.
What are some major developments you’ve worked on with Dart Real Estate?
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.
What was the design process like for Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa?
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.
What do you hope that guests or residents of your developments will experience during their stay?
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.
Location photos courtesy Camana Bay
Can you tell me about the placemaking approach used in your projects?
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.
Does Dart Real Estate have any exciting plans or projects coming up?
We recently completed a three-day workshop for Camana Bay in regards to a new commercial office 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.
What is your favorite aspect of being President of Dart Real Estate?
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.
Photo courtesy the Residences at Seafire/Dart Real Estate
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa located on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman will welcome permanent residents at its new Residences at Seafire, set to open in November 2017.
Upon entering the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, I immediately noticed the rolling blue waves. Those waves, however, were not the crystal clear water of the ocean right outside the resort, but the details of the lobby ceiling, which was inspired by the island and its culture.
“It was important to us for Kimpton to have a personality and have attributes of the island,” says Jackie Doak, president of Dart Real Estate. “There are bespoke and subtle touches of Cayman culture throughout the resort.” From the homey library featuring a traditional Caymanian catboat suspended from the ceiling, to the seafarer-inspired ropes and knots throughout the resort, I found myself discovering new island-themed details at seemingly every turn.
I was greeted each morning with views of the ocean through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in my room, one of 266 guest rooms and suites all with ocean or North Sound views and private balconies. The endless amenities include a family pool, an adults-only pool, an oceanfront kids facility, a public multi-use trail and a luxurious spa and fitness facility with seven treatment rooms, a Hammam and a relaxing garden soaking pool.
Three diverse restaurants can be found on site: the open and beachy Coccoloba where Mexican street food meets Caribbean sea food; Ave, a chic atmosphere offering fresh seafood and produce infused into coastal Mediterranean dishes; and Avecita, offering an intimate, exclusive culinary experience at the chef’s table. For a quick smoothie, coffee or sandwich to-go before heading to the beach, the hotel is also home to The Pantry at Seafire.
The 12-acre site will soon welcome permanent occupants at its newest development, The Residences at Seafire. Offering 62 high-end Caribbean-style living spaces ranging from studios to four-bedrooms, the residences will range from $1 million to $8 million.
The Residences’ 3,500-square-foot rooftop lounge, “The Nest,” is just one of the public spaces in the development designed by renowned Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, featuring shaded lounging pits and cocktail areas. “The Nest is the highest man-made point on the island and the best place to watch the sunsets that inspired Seafire’s name,” says David Seerman, vice president of sales for Provenance Properties of Cayman.
“I foresee decades of new development and prosperity for the island that will not only benefit vacation home buyers, but also the people who live and work in the Cayman Islands,” Seerman says of the island’s real estate market.
The Residences are a standalone structure elevated to 24 feet, creating a sloped effect leading from the building to the adults-only pool and the beach beyond. “The pool and landscaping cascades down creating beautiful views even from just the ground floor,” says Doak.
The views weren’t the only thing they had in mind when developing Seafire and the Residences, however. “We take into consideration where the breeze comes from, how the sun moves over the property, how landscaping and water and shading can cool an area,” says Doak, “You’re developing for people to become attached to what you develop and to develop a really strong reputation for meaningful placemaking.”
Whether it’s a subtle, unique piece of décor or a gorgeous, hidden garden, you’ll constantly discover new things to enjoy at this luxury resort. Doak says, “We hope to make our locations desirable and make you want to come back and experience it again.” And Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa does just that.
Photos ©Don Riddle, courtesy Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa