We returned to The Anchorage in December 2010 after suffering 5 long months without a dive trip (what can we say, we like to dive ... a lot). We've been to Grand Cayman several times, and this was our second stay at The Anchorage. You can see our other review is in here somewhere. I write this one to give families with young kids some extra info on the cabana/shade/beach situation.
Another reviewer had some issues with the cabana saving and the beach entry. As the reviewer pointed out, a bunch of that has to do with weather patterns, and there were several weeks of rough water in West Bay that affected the beach in front of The Anchorage. When we were there in July, it was all sand, all calm, and a lot more sand real estate between the condos and the water. In December, we were there when there was rough water on West Bay and there were some crazy waves (in our several trips, I've never seen waves like this on 7 mile beach; the water at Georgetown was cresting almost on the road, and it was wave action of which any surfer would be enviable). ** Here's an aside for divers, go with Indepth Watersports, and you'll always be able to dive; Nat's boat is fast and he can get to stuff that's far away. On those days, we went to the South Sound. We never missed a day of diving for rough conditions. **
During the week, much of the beach eroded. It went from a smooth entry one day to one-half foot drop ledge the next; this was the week right before Christmas. Since my kids are maniacs, it was actually very fun for them. They made a slide, they hurled themselves off it it, and they generally made a thing of running into and up on it. I can see how this would not be great for a 2 year old.
However, the beach will be different when you are there. It might be worse, it might be better, but it will definitely be different. And it's a crapshoot for any beach property on the island. When we used to stay in Villas Pappagallos, the beach was different each time we came. It just depends on what kind of surf they've had and what time of year you go. Also, it changes pretty quickly. And, if the beach in front of the Anchorage isn't great, you can walk anywhere on 7 mile beach and find a great spot. Any part of the beach is up for grabs.
My kids never sit, so the cabana has never been an issue for us. When I want them to get some shade, I drag them over to the vacant lot to play in front of the trees. With a kid who will sit and dig, you will probably be pretty happy to sit under the cabanas. In our two trips there, the cabanas have never been fully occupied, so I've never experienced wanting a cabana and not getting one. We've never seen people saving cabanas like the other reviewer experienced, but it's probably an issue sometimes, and, if it's an issue, Judi in the office could help.
As for the pool/sand toys, there've always been some to use. We don't bring our own, but we ask Judi if there are any before we check in, and there have always been some waiting for us at the condo. Some people might bring there own, but there are surely communal toys (and noodles and floats) around for the using. If you don't know if it's the Anchorage's, you can just ask Patrick (the grounds guy). He'd know.
In December, we stayed in the 3rd floor 3 bedroom unit. It was great. Plenty big, as nice as the 2BR one we stayed in in July. I think it's the same one the other reviewer (with the cabana issue) stayed in, and that reviewer gave it a good description.
Overall, the thing you need to know is that this place is a bang for the buck, it's clean, and it's pretty darn good for kids. It's excellently located to catch a dive boat leaving from Morgan's Harbor or West Bay dock, and it's easy to get to the South Sound from there. It's not as crowded as being close to the resorts on 7 mile beach. It's far away from the cruise shippers.
If you haven't spent much time there or if you haven't been in a while, you can look for a book with pictures taken after Hurricane Ivan. We've been going since about 2002, and, post Ivan, the beaches changed a ton. In fact, they had to remove the beach from the main road, and, 6+ years later, you can still see piles of sand leftover from when the beach washed ashore. A year later, the beaches were back to how we remembered, and now they've changed again. But, it's always amazing.
- Also Known As:
- The Anchorage Condominiums Hotel Seven Mile Beach
- The Anchorage Condominiums Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands