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“Wish I could say 5 stars” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Turtle Nest Inn

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Turtle Nest Inn
166 Bodden Town Road, Grand Cayman   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Package Deal
Ranked #2 of 17 hotels in Grand Cayman
Evanston, Illinois
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Wish I could say 5 stars”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

My husband and I stayed at The Turtle Nest Inn in January (2013) and although we were VERY happy with our stay and would definitely stay there again if we were in Grand Cayman, there is one thing that I feel was deceptive. We booked an Ocean View Apartment and that is not what we got. I had read before we booked that there was only going to be an ocean view from the balcony, but this room didn't have that either. We were on the ground floor in room 3 and although the balcony was very spacious and surrounded by foilage, I do not see how the owners can claim that it had a view of the ocean. Having to walk out on the balcony, look to the right, look past trees and around our building to see a little bit of the ocean does not equal an ocean view from your balcony. Come on!

I don't like being deceived and I feel like I was deceived. Donna, Marleine, Duane, Alain - you are very nice people and you have a wonderful place. Please don't advertise these rooms as having an Ocean View. That is deceptive advertising and you don't need to do that to get people to come to the TNI. You have an amazingly beautiful Inn. Advertise it for exactly what it is. Be honest and people will still come.

Lesli

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (184)
Date | Rating
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English first
OOB
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach ranks among the Caribbean’s most expansive – and expensive. But, as always, we thrifty Mainers left the strand’s inflated prices, high-rise hotels and crowds behind and stayed on the island’s eastern side in laid-back Bodden Town, where free-range roosters and chickens easily outnumber tourists.

We knew that we had chosen wisely when, on the first morning of our vacation, a TV reporter and cameraman materialized on the property to document the Turtle Nest Inn winning a 2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Indeed, the setting alone deserves an award. The eight-unit two-story inn faces east, with a pool and terrace overlooking a deserted beach. Waves break on the offshore reef, which forms a natural lagoon and deters boat traffic. Coconut palms sway in the constant breeze, and sun-bleached queen conch shells line the patio’s perimeter.

The inn promises “intimacy and elegance at the beach” and delivers beautifully. Our apartment on the top floor was spacious, spotless, comfortable, airy and bright: white tile floors; high ceilings with fans in the full kitchen, bedroom and living room; plenty of windows; and a balcony. Paintings by local artists dot the white walls. The room rate includes a week’s rental of a Hyundai i10 (for those brave enough to drive on the left).

An ice machine, a water cooler and a selection of books, newspapers and brochures are located in the downstairs lobby. The Turtle Nest also provides: beach towels, snorkel gear, a kayak, beach shoes, a gas grill, a library of movies on DVD, coolers and even a plastic bucket for beachcombing. (Our needs were met before we knew we had them.)

Late January’s warm, dry weather enabled us to fill much of each day strolling around Bodden Town, which evokes an earlier West Indies era; sunbathing in comfortable lounge chairs poolside, a stone’s throw from the sea; collecting sea glass and worn shards of pottery and pieces of china that wash up; and snorkeling in incredibly clear water amid a spectacular, diverse coral garden where numerous types and hues of fish congregate.

Known for its rich underwater life, Grand Cayman is the only place in the world where humans are welcome to interact with stingrays. Thus, the highlight of our trip was an afternoon catamaran cruise with Capt. Dexter to Stingray Sandbar, where we frolicked in about 4 feet of water with the docile, velvety-skinned creatures. With Simon, the first mate, guiding us, we each held one in our arms, its prehistoric eyes meeting ours, as its giant wings flapped.

We returned the several miles to port under sail, then drove to the delightful Bodden Town Art Shop, where we bought an original painting of, you guessed it, a stingray.

Another must on Grand Cayman is a brief visit to Hell, a town named for its quarter-acre of blackened calciferous rock, where souvenir shops sell postcards to send from the post office next door. So, yes, we’ve been to hell and back.

George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands and a busy cruise-ship and duty-free port, also merits a few hours for sightseeing and browsing in such upscale shops as Guy Harvey’s, Cathy Church’s Underwater Photo Gallery and Pure Art.

More our style was the gift shop at the kitschy Pirate Caves back in Bodden Town, where the owner traded us a frame-able print of the historic pink Rankin House for a stack of magazines that we had finished reading.

Since very little food is grown or produced on the island, dining out tends to be expensive. That said, we ate with the locals under the stars at several affordable and authentic Caymanian restaurants near Turtle Nest: grilled mahi mahi at Southcoast; steamed snapper “island-style” with sautéed onions and peppers at Seaside Paradise; fried grouper and chips at Chester’s; jerk chicken with beans and rice at Rankins Jerk Center; and fried wahoo, plantains, cassava and corn bread at Grape Tree Fish Fry. Desserts brought coconut tarts and rum raisin ice cream.

In George Town, the island’s British heritage showed in the form of a curried vegetable roti from Singh’s Roti Shop and Island Taste’s “patties,” turnovers filled with meat or veggies.

We concluded our culinary adventure with scrambled eggs (from all those chickens!), English toasting bread (from Foster’s IGA) and homemade guava jelly (from the Saturday morning farmer’s market) as we watched the year’s first full moon rise over the Caribbean.

Room Tip: Get the ocean-view apartment with a car.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

This was a perfect getaway. (You do need a car.) The location on Grand Cayman was excelent (20-25 minutes from anywhere on the island) and it was close to a shopping center for those of us who perfer a mix of condos, cooking and restaurants. The staff was extremely helpful with many good suggestions. The Turtle Nest provides fins, sunblock and many other amenities. The apartments and condos have white walls and blue tile floors, great relaxing decor. We were there over New Years and enjoyed a bonfire on the beach. You cannot beat the location and the view, condos with porches that overlook pools, a beach and the carribean. There is also fun snorkeling in just 3 feet of water for some distance from the beach with rays, lion fish, and a variety of other interesting creatures for those who like snorkeling.

Room Tip: We stayed at the Apartments near the office overlooking a pool and the beach. It was great. They...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vonore, Tennessee
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Bottom-line--fantastic view, right on the ocean (1st floor), poorly outfitted for cooking, strange lay-out, maintenance issues. We booked late and the condo at Moon Bay, about 2 miles down the road from the TNI was the only available property. It is a 3 BR/2BA, but has a strange layout.

Dislikes-there were really no good pyrex dishes for cooking in the oven or microwave. There was a tiny dishwasher, inappropriate for a 3BR place. We were only provided one kitchen trash bag. It smelled mildewy and musty. And our clothes retained the smell when we got home. One of the patio doors wouldn't open and the other had a screen that didn't work. There are mosquitoes, bugs so you need the screen. I couldn't open the window in the Master Bathroom (my husband could muscle it open but anyone shorter would have a problem) and there is no vent for A/C so you need to be able to open the window. The A/C didn't work. We didn't call since it was the weekend, but apparently we should have. Donna said they have someone on call all the time for A/C, so I didn't factor that in the rating too much. The housekeeper should have noticed since she was cleaning it when we arrived and it was 86' inside. They need lamps in the bedrooms. The MBR had 2 tiny ones, but they were pretty dim. They also need a more comfortable bed if they're using this as a rental. The headboard wasn't attached, it was just leaning against the wall. There aren't too many nice restaurants close-by, other than The Lighthouse. Unfortunately we can't afford to eat there every night! Rankin's Jerk Pit was okay for take-out and the South Coast Bar was okay.

Likes-the view is fantastic. We didn't swim in the ocean but there is an area inside the reef that probably isn't too rough, although the neighbor said there's current. The pool was nice. It was cold in January but bearable. They have a little beach area and it is well-maintained with lots of beach chairs/chaise lounges. Donna, at the front desk, is super nice, and documented the problems we identified. Also, when booking the reservation, they were incredibly responsive. We were only at the condo for 3 nights but we booked our car through them for our 2 1/2 week stay. It was cheaper than what we found with Avis directly.

We'll give the TNI another try, and hopefully stay at the Inn next time. We met a fellow diver from Ocean Frontiers who stays there every year with his wife and other friends. It's a 20 minute drive to Ocean Frontiers from the Inn so he must really love it.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Just returned from a lovely long weekend stay at TNI. Had been to Grand Cayman once before and stayed on Seven Mile Beach, nice, but crowded and touristy. We stayed in one of the very clean and spacious condo's and enjoyed the patio, the pool, and the beach; all just steps away. How nice to enjoy morning coffee while sitting under a palm tree on the secluded and peaceful private beach! And how awful to return home to snow and ice! Oh well, we will be back!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Just returned from our third stay at TNI all rested and ready to return to the grind. We were there just a few months ago, but left hubby at work this time, vacationed with my 2 teens and loved it – again. We booked late and the only opening was in a partial view apartment, #5, on the upper floor. This was a 1 bedroom unit, tastefully decorated, with kitchen, queen bed in the bedroom and sofa-bed in the living room and every imaginable amenity. It was perfect and always a joy to come “home” after a day on the beach or cruising around the island. If we had been 4 though, a 2 bedroom condo would have been better. TNI staff was as always knowledgeable and courteous but never in our face, and a rental car was included in the package. The car allowed us to explore the island and do grocery shopping and we ate breakfast and lunch at “home”. For dinner we either ate out at one of the island’s many good restaurants, or cooked on the inn’s terrific poolside grill. When we checked out, Donna and Duane encouraged us to post a review here which we’re happy to do. They both seemed sincerely concerned that TNI lived up to our expectations. It did as it did in the past and we look forward to coming back next year to escape the Canadian winter (and 45cm of snow) again. For us TNI is the perfect vacation spot - comfortable, friendly and laid back!

Sue

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

Five stars, absolutely, but not for you if five stars means a place like The Ritz Carlton on Seven Mile Beach. This felt more like a lovely, simple, European inn. My husband and I stayed in Apartment #5 at the Inn rather than the condo building. It was private, immaculate (and I am very particular about cleanliness), and cheery. Yes, there was some street noise, but it was not a bother to us. You could avoid that by staying in one of the apartments that face the ocean or, as we did, turning on the air conditioner at night. From our private balcony off the kitchen we could see and hear the ocean. In fact, we were supposed to upgrade to a condo unit mid-way through our stay, but we opted to stay in our apartment. We liked the location of the room, the view, and the daily maid service which was excellent. We used our well-equipped kitchen and the great outdoor grill to fix some meals that we often ate on the ocean-facing terrace, and we often dined with other guests who were doing the same thing. There was plenty of room to chat with other guests or have your own, intimate table.

It was such a treat to have included in the price snorkel equipment, chairs, an umbrella and a cooler that we could take with us anywhere on the island. While we snorkeled at many of the island's beaches, the coral reef was close to the beach at the TNI and we saw the most fish right there on the days when it wasn't too windy. (Our visit was in January when the winds come from the east.) We also enjoyed using the sea kayak that was available. The pool was immaculate, and they cleaned the beach in front of the property daily. The adjacent beaches were not as clean, so bring something to wear on your feet for beach walks. There was a fair amount of washed up glass, seaweed, and trash on those beaches. Bodden Town is not 7-Mile Beach with its long stretch of white sand and fancy resorts, but it has far more character and the feel of real island life. You might see some of the local people playing dominoes by The Grape Tree fish fry place near the inn. Don't hesitate to chat with them. They play lively games and might invite you to join in. In our opinion, the people all over the island and at the inn couldn't have been kinder or more helpful, from Donna and Duane at the front desk, to the Marleine and Alaine the owners, to Paulette who did mountains of laundry every day but still found time to chat with me about gardening and living on the island. Donna has the best personality ever and is a real asset to the TNI.

Take Donna's suggestion about going to the lobster fest on Thursday night at the South Coast Bar & Grill. The food was delicious! And try one of her famous pina coladas, too. She claims she taught Duane, so I'm sure his are great as well. Also, the inn has excellent Cuban coffee that you can purchase to brew in your kitchen. Enjoy it there, because you can't bring any Cuban products back to the US.

Hope this is helpful to prospective visitors who enjoy going off the beaten track. We travel frequently, but this is my first review because this place had such a special feel to it.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Turtle Nest Inn

Address: 166 Bodden Town Road, Grand Cayman
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Cayman Islands > Grand Cayman
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Grand Cayman
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Grand Cayman
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cayman hotels' exotic beachfront lodging offers Caribbean elegance, pool, superb snorkelling, and full luxury apartments costing less than most Grand Cayman hotel rooms. Located on its own sandy beach, only ten miles from George Town and the airport, the Inn is away from the tourist crowds, in a genuine island setting. Cayman's only Travel Holiday Magazine's Editors' Choice Award winner for 2003. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Turtle Nest Hotel Grand Cayman
Turtle Nest Grand Cayman
Turtle Nest Inn Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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