My family and I just returned from our first trip to the Cayman Islands. We had a great time, in large part to our stay at GCBS. I can see why reviews are mixed. This hotel really is a "boutique hotel" - only ~50 suites, smaller pool, very small lobby, very understated. So, if you like the glitz and glamour of the larger Ritz or Marriott, GCBS would not compare.
Location: I liked that the property was in the middle of Seven mile beach, with a market and restaurants within walking distance, but away from the crowds near the Marriott and Westin, and cruise ship docks further south. The best part of the hotel was the beachfront, with enough chairs out without being crowded. Our boys especially liked the large trampoline anchored a short swim away where you could see lots of colorful fish. There was also still lots of sand to play in and not so many people in the water to make it look like an amusement park wave pool, which is how I felt the beach in front of the Marriott and Ritz appeared. At the Marriott, there were so many beach chairs crammed in such a small space, some of the chairs were in the water. The Ritz, also, had a small section of ocean roped off, in which there were 4 plastic cheesy-looking floating drink tables and 4 floating trampolines which really took away from the view of the water.
Room: The other main appeal of GCBS to me was the size of the rooms and that there are 2 separate rooms. I have 2 big boys, who had plenty of space in the large living area. We had a rollaway bed which was complementary. There was a nice-sized refrigerator, microwave, toaster, plates, and utensils so we could eat small meals. The rooms seemed very clean and updated. There were also 2 sinks in the bathroom, a nice large tub/shower and separate toilet. The bathroom separated the living room from the bedroom, which again is great if you have big (or little kids) that need a separate quiet space. I was especially impressed with the solid core doors between the rooms. We were on the 5th floor next to a corner suite, and heard 0 noise from any neighbor.
I would actually rate this proper 4.5 stars, with a half star off because of the construction noise next door. A large condo complex is being built, and our bedroom windows faced the construction. The construction started on the dot at 7:00am every day, including weekends, and ended before 5pm. There is no drilling or jackhammering, but a large crane that has a motor running, and small tractors pulling and dumping supplies around the sight which make noise. The noise was definitely less audible in the living room area, especially with the air conditioning on, but definitely heard in the bedroom.
Service and amenities: The cleaning service was excellent, our cleaning person came consistently every morning and early evening to turn down the beds. The last day, we were left small rum cakes instead of the usual chocolates on the beds which was a nice touch. The front staff in the small lobby was also very helpful. I never had to wait long for their help. Hemingways had a good breakfast buffet for $17 Cayman dollars on Saturday with omelette bar, fruit, pastries, french toast, waffles and pancakes. My husband especially enjoyed the BBQ lunch at the pool bar/ restaurant for $13 Cayman dollars you could pick 2 meats that were grilled on the spot and multiple salads. We ate at several restaurants near the property, and none were much less expensive or much better in quality.
There were 2 pools, both on the smaller side, but seemed to fit the size of the property and were not very crowded.
Parking was free, which was a nice plus and offset the cost of the internet, which was a little flaky.
Overall, I would recommend this property, especially for families needing more space, or those who do not want the spring break/party feel at the Ritz/Marriott/Westin.