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.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Turtle Nest Hotel Grand Cayman
- Turtle Nest Grand Cayman
- Turtle Nest Inn Grand Cayman/Bodden Town, Cayman Islands