Cayman Islands Travel Guide
We already told you about the hip new look down at the Grand Cayman Marriott, and gave you a preview of what to expect at the resort's new-and-improved F&B outlets. But the Brooklyn-goes-to-the-beach vibe of the hotel's new Beach House Experience goes even further, down to some of the amenities they're offering guests.
Hotel bicycles are nothing new, of course, but at the Grand Cayman Marriott, that chariot is an uber-cool Linus Bike, and the rental is included in the daily resort fee. We love the French globetrotter style of these bikes and the idea of riding one around the island is more than a little seductive. Whether you're looking to take in some history, hit the boutiques or simply ride and feel the Caribbean breeze in your hair, the hotel will steer you in the right direction and provide a map so you can find your way home again.
Hotel Restaurant Openings / Marriott Hotels / Cayman Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
It's not often that you hear of a Marriott Hotel being design-forward. Unless, perhaps the word EDITION is attached. Which is why the recent $16-million renovation of the Grand Cayman Marriott is such a breath of fresh (seabreeze) air.
Just look at how welcoming that new entrance is. And doesn't it feel like it's a portal to a lifestyle or boutique hotel? Some beach-chic, independent, pretty young thing? We haven't seen the results of the overhaul in person but the photos and the accompanying brochures have a fresh, modern look that we have not typically associated with Marriott's main brand.
That's because the team at Grand Cayman have created their own concept, The Beach House Experience, complete with its own branding from the typography all the way to the tacos.
Kimpton Hotels have long been open in the big cities--San Fran, NYC, Miami, Chicago, DC, etc--but the friendly boutique brand is getting serious about its resort offerings now that they've just announced their first-ever Caribbean property in the Cayman Islands.
Set to open in 2016, the 263-room hotel will sit on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman and will feature a whopping five restaurants and lounges, a cascading oceanfront pool, a destination spa, six beachfront bungalows and 56 residences. Dart Realty (Cayman), Ltd., a subsidiary of Dart Enterprises, is the developer behind the project with SB Architects, Powerstrip Studio and Mark Zeff Design handling the architecture and interior design.
While Kimpton will have some serious competition from the nearby Ritz-Carlton, Marriott and Westin, they will have an advantage if they continue to offer up free WiFi for their Kimpton InTouch members. The other hotels currently charge for internet through resort fees. We're not sure if Kimpton plans to charge one of those pesky fees but this will be a resort and it is the Caribbean and hey, someone's gotta pay for that cascading oceanfront pool. We just hope the rates stay "friendly" as well, like $200 a night.
Who's thirsty? It's time for another installment of our Summer Cocktails series. All summer long we'll profile fun new summer drinks served at hotels around the world. Got one we should know about? Send us the recipe with a photo of the drink. Otherwise, enjoy and @reply us when you're wasted!
One of our favorite things about reading cocktail lists and descriptions is when the bar or hotel in question tries to sell us on a booze-laden concoction by telling us it’s good for us. And so it is with today’s Summer Cocktail, a “delicious tropical cocktail chock full of Vitamin C served at Cotton Tree in the Cayman Islands. Here’s how to make the feel-good beverage.
The Beach'in Suite Deal might have a bit of a try-hard name, but the value is there. From 5pm (EDT) this Wednesday, May 13, The Reef is having a 79-hour sale with suites going for $79 a night. That means you have until midnight on Saturday to book, and although "79" seems like a pretty obscure number for them to pick, we're not complaining; regular rates start from $230 a night so it's a huge break.
As far as we can figure, there aren't too many hidden nasties here, although there is a 10% room tax added. You have to pay in full prior to your stay, too, and the cancellation conditions are understandably not too flexible. But the rate is available for stays from now right through December 20, so you've got some time to weigh your options.
The stretch of islands most famous for being a tax haven for banks, big money investors and hedge fundy type transactions has some impressively low resort rates this summer.
Starting June 1 through September 6, 2009, the The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa Grand Cayman located along eight acres of Seven Mile Beach has slashed prices more than 40 percent for their Summer Spectacular. Nightly rates in the 343-room hotel start at $159 for an Island View room and $259 for an Ocean Front room.
With prices this cheap could Grand Cayman be the new West Palm Beach? Victims of Ponzi schemes may have lost millions but they haven't lost their taste for luxury. Hopefully this means the Westin is also dropping the reported (according to Travelocity readers) extra $20 a day resort fee for beach towels and chairs. But we doubt it.
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Hotel Maven Jenn Merritt ponders a "He's Just Not That Into You" type of getaway. Enjoy.
I was just reading in some magazine some girl's account of how she got dumped by her boyfriend and so she decided it was the perfect time to quit her job and move to the Cayman Islands. While I haven't been dumped (not as of this posting, anyway), I sure would like to go to the Cayman Islands. And if getting dumped is what it takes—well, then… There's always other fish in the sea.
I bet there's plenty of fish off the Caribbean Sea-front property at Turtle Nest Inn in Grand Cayman, and from the looks of it, there's more fish than people at this small, eight-apartment resort, which is exactly the sort of thing you need once you've been dumped.
What makes this restaurant so good is that the hotel uses 20 local fisherman to catch its seafood. The chef, Eric Ripert, also handpicks the staff, who will cook any of your catches from your deep-sea fishing adventures.
The food is French Caribbean and T+L recommends the bouillabaise which "becomes rich lobster safron fumet lapping at an aioli crabcake. The hotel also has four other restaurants, including 7 which our tipster says has a Make-your-own caesar salad bar and a specialty pasta bar, but terrible service--"as though it was the waiters' first dsay which is unacceptable for those prices."
[Ed. Note: This pretty sun-soaked scene of the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa in the Grand Caymans isn't always guaranteed. A faithful Starwood Preferred Guest member headed there for some fun relaxation in the sun. However, the steady rain made that impossible and since the Westin didn't offer Pay-Per-View movies, our tipster was left with little to do.]
The beach was beautiful, crystal clear and calm, and the pool was nice, with two hot tubs. But, It rained almost the whole time we were there, so we were forced to find alternate forms of entertainment.
The lobby had some nice seating areas, and the pool bar and lobby bars were fun with great service.They have a business center, where they charge A dollar a minute for internet access.
They don't give you an actual paper, just a photocopy of headines. Plus, I asked for it to be delivered each day and it only came once.
Housekeeping is fine, they give you rum cakes on your pillow each night with turn down service. But our room was across the hall from the housekeeping maintenance room, and they were so loud singing and screaming/talking at each other each morning, that they woke us up.
Front desk was particularly unhelpful, while concierge was mediocre at best.
They don't have Pay-Per-View. So with all the rain we wanted to watch a movie. I had brought some dvds, and we wanted to watch one, and they had no suggestions on how we could watch it. I suggested attaching something in our room, or rolling in a TV they use for conferences, or even using a conference room, but the answer they have me was just "no". That's not ok when its rained 5 days in a row.
Rooms we're somewhat small, but nicely renovated from the hurricane 2 years ago. They didn't smell musty, like some other reviews I had read. The bathrooms were great, with french doors opening in, and a seperate room for the toilet. Bathrobes were nice to have since we were lounging in.
Overall a nice stay, but service was not to my Starwood standards.
· Westin Casaurina Resort & Spa [TripAdvisor]
Sunday's NY Times' featured hotel is new and not cheap.
The Grand Cayman's Ritz Carlton doesn't skimp. Firstly, there are cookies and punch upon arrival. We wonder if this happens everyday, or only when the NY Times travel writer is coming to visit.
Rooms come with all the Ritz classics-- 600 thread count sheets, views, and rattan. The bathrooms come with the usual amenities and a Siamese fighting fish. We like this aquarium touch. Apparently fish are the new leopard print.
A La Prairie spa graces the property, as does a golf course designed by Greg Norman, and a world-class tennis instructor Nick Bollettieri who coached Andre Agassi and Monica Seles. (Well, at least his name appears on the tennis program).
During high season, now through May, rooms will set you back $699 for the less amazing view, and $929 for the more amazing view. One can even drop as much as $5,000 for a suite that over looks the sea (2,400-square-foot total space ).
Needing a cost effective alternative? Check out the Westin, same beach, half the price.
Tony Bennett was giving a concert for the gala opening of the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman when a screaming baby (actually the daughter of model Kylie Bax) put him in a foul mood. But the diva 'tude didn't stop there.
The New York Post has the detes of Bennett's other behavior while at the hotel:
Hotel moles also report that Bennett, who loves to paint in his spare time, insisted that concert organizers indulge his favorite hobby. "He demanded a two-room suite - one room for him to sleep and another for him to paint," tattled our spy.
However the more pressing question is, what the heck was he painting?