We recently stayed at the Marriott Grand Cayman for a week's vacation. The hotel was very nice, clean, and the staff was extremely nice, helpful, and accommodating. Actually, all of the Cayman natives were very nice; one of the friendliest islands I've been too. There is a very low crime rate on the island and we felt very safe walking around at night to go to restaurants and shopping.
The turquoise water was awesome, but we were less then impressed with the beach off the back of this hotel. For one, the first 3 feet of the water was covered in broken shells and coral pieces of varying size. So, you had to either wear water shoes going in or "dive" over them to get in, or there was a risk of twisting your ankle or falling on the way in (as I saw several people do). The other issue was the size of the beach; the sand was all of about 10 feet wide from the outside wall of the pool/bar area to the water. There was basically enough room to put a lounge chair up against the wall and have about 3 -5 feet in front of you to the water. Most days the water washed up under our chairs. Not a big deal, but different than expected from the pictures and we were told that is common for this time of the year. As you went north up the length of seven-mile beach; it did get wider and less shells/coral.
For most of our stay the water was calm and clear. Snorkeling right off the beach was amazing. There was a man-made reef about 20 yards out in pretty shallow water that had lots of beautiful tropical fish. I bought a pretty good snorkel and mask set in the gift shop and used it all week; well worth ~$35 I spent. I also bought a decent underwater camera and took lots of great underwater photos around that reef.
As with any hotel eating in the restaurants was much more expensive than going offsite to eat; so we ventured out most nights to local places. Two of our favorites were CIMBOCOS and Coconut Joes; within a short walk from the hotel. One particular pet-peeve of mine is that they wanted $15 per day for internet access. I wasn't willing to pay that; especially since many of the local places we ate at had it for free.
During our stay, the exchange rate was $1.25 US to $1.00 CI (cayman island currency). Most prices were in $CI, so when paying with US currency, you had to multiple by 1.25. Also, when using a credit card, the cc company tacks on a small fee to each currency exchange transaction :) So, everyone gets a little more of your money. Just something to plan for; maybe bring more cash to avoid this.
Overall, I enjoyed staying at the Marriot and had no major complaints with it. I would consider staying there again, but would also look into hotels further up the beach.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for your posting your review. I appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments about the staff. I am truly happy to have a team that sincerely cares about our valued guests and strives to deliver exceptional service. They embody Marriott Spirit to Serve. We appreciate you being understanding with the situation with the beach. As you know, Mother Nature is less than favorable but it’s a matter of time for it to be restored as we are going into the winter months. Thanks again for sharing your comments and we look forward to serving you again.
Director of Rooms Operations
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.