Just returned from 5 nights during the middle of October and enjoyed unseasonably warm and very humid weather (89-91 day/79-81 night). We are off-season travelers and found it paid off again. Great weather, although it did sprinkle a few times, forcing us off the beach once. But they are brief and sort of refreshing showers.
The other off-season benefit was low occupancy (and a good room package). The assistant golf pro told us there were only 100 guests, although I'm not sure that was the case all five days as there was a BMW convention part of the time. Still, the Resort side pool was almost always completely empty, there was never a wait for elevators, and we got seated immediately at every restaurant almost every time, with the exception of once at BarJack and having to get an early seating (6pm) at Blue, but that was on a Saturday night and we waited until Friday to make the reservation. We also always got beachfront chaises or our pick of pool chaises at just about any time of day. On the other hand, the Periwinkle restaurant was closed and at one point they were renovating a fountain at the beachfront pool and one inside the hotel, but those weren't inconveniences. Also, there weren't any planned fitness/yoga classes or tennis clinics (except one cardio tennis class), which were a little disappointing.
In thinking about this hotel, I would ask yourself whether you're going to the Ritz Carlton or are you going to Grand Cayman? For my husband and I, this time it was the former. As a result, we never left the property except to snorkel. Next time would be different, but we enjoyed every second of the discreet luxury that this property provides.
Rooms: Exceptionally pretty, quite large, and very quiet. We stayed in Room 453 on the Resort side. None of the usually bummers like scuffs, stains, cracks, non-working or missing stuff - and all of the nice details like light dimmer switches everywhere and a clock (thankfully not digital) that glows when picked up. Beds, pillows, and linens were luscious. As for the debate about Resort vs. Ocean side. If you're traveling with a family, Ocean side is probably a must - you don't want to send kids or seniors on that long walk back and forth all the time. But for a romantic twosome, we didn't see the need to spend $100 per night extra to be on the ocean side. We liked being near the Silver Palm lounge, the Tiffany store, the fitness room, spa, lobby, and Blue. We actually liked making the walk in the Gallery to the beach front.
Staff: The most international of any I've encountered - Russian, Canadian, Romanian, Filipino, Nicaraguan, Irish, just to name a few! All were wonderful and very accomodating. Housekeeping staff were prompt (although we were missed during a turndown service on our final night - they apologized and offered to come do it, but we took a handful of chocolates instead :-) and generous with the Bulgari products. Store staffs at Cupboard and Waves could have been a little friendlier, but no big deal. It did seem that the pool/beach guys were stretched thin at times and the waitstaff at BarJack seemed miffed if you asked them for a towel or something. But, overall, the best hotel staff we've ever encountered - they seem to be well-paid and clearly well-trained. Although Grand Cayman is probably one of the safest places in the Caribbean, we felt well-cared for by the security presence at the hotel, some of whom were EMTs. We enjoyed the cordial formality and everyone's "hellos."
Food: As every review mentions, the prices are insane. We never ate off the property and it was a bit of a drag. Periwinkle was closed, so we never got to eat poolside near our room. If we wanted to do that, it was BarJack or nothing. And after a while, the burgers and wraps got a little boring. They weren't great, either, nor were the salads. And you can't get out of a light lunch for under $50. We hardly ever drank, as cocktails ran about $20 US. Nutty! Room service was very quick compared to other places I've stayed - and the mac & cheese with truffle oil was yummy! Silver Palm was a nice, cool escape but I'd only recommend it if there's a host or hostess there - the bartenders seemed a little put out to have stop polishing shelves to serve food. Terrific sandwiches, though, and the free snacks (we didn't always get them) of Terra chips, dried cherries, and nuts helped take the edge off the prices. Whatever you do, AVOID the "Latin" buffet on Thursday night at the restaurant 7. It's dreadful and scandalously priced at $75 pp. Everything is cooked to death (even before getting to the buffet) except for the ceviches, braised ribs, and desserts, which were the highlights. On the other hand, if you care about food at all, then Blue is a MUST. For only $6 more than we paid for the horrendous buffet, we got the most exquisite, lovely meal. Totally delicious and a very memorable experience. I recommend the lobster, cobia, and tuna, but I'm quite sure it's all amazing. We would've eaten there twice if we could have timed it better. The restaurant 7 is actually good when they're not hosting the awful buffet. Still insanely priced, but the food and presentation were delicious and well-portioned. It's also the location of the breakfast buffet. I don't know in what universe $75 a couple for a breakfast buffet makes sense, but since it was included in our rate, we enjoyed it everyday. Fantastic juices, bacon, breads, cooked-to-order eggs.
Recreation: We did Stingray City because other reviews said it was a must - and it was. We went with Red Sail, again, something recommended in other reviews and saved half of what it would cost to book the Ritz's boat. Red Sail was really top notch, prompt, professional, with new equipment/boats - we were lucky to only have 17 on our boat and had a Catamaran (not a dive boat) so were able to enjoy lying on the webbing on the front of the boat for the cruse home. Heaven! Highly recommended. Other than that, we checked out the golf and tennis (the golf pro let us take a cart for a spin!) but it was so oppressively hot you'd have to play at 7am or forget it. Gorgeous facilities, though. My husband raved about the fitness room and men's spa, which he used daily. I didn't do any of that, but I would've liked a spa treatment - I just couldn't justify the $200 and up prices. The beach was a lovely place to walk and the staff did a great job with setting up chaises (complete with little personal cabana-type covers, which were a must in the blazing sun) and bringing the occasional free little drink or heavenly cinnamon-scented cold towels. There were plenty of kayaks and things to use, except that anything motorized was $45 an hour and up - a little insane during off-season, I thought, so we passed. They do have these fantastic anchored floating rings right in front of the beach - there's netting attached so you can actually lie in them, in the water - they hold two or three adults. Fun! They also have beach "beds," but I suspect they charged for those because they were always empty. And the cabanas were $120 - which is ridiculous - I think I only saw one used at one point.
Pound for pound, this was one of the nicest properties I've ever seen. We were completely blown away by everything and can't wait to go back - when the price is right. If you truly want to be pampered and relax - it's worth it...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, a luxury two-tower resort on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Here, sparkling blue waters blend seamlessly with the sand and sky to create your perfect Caribbean oasis. Located on an archipelago of three picturesque islands, our Cayman Islands resort hotel offers a breathtaking location unlike anywhere else on earth. From the white sands of Seven Mile Beach to world-renowned restaurants including Blue, by renowned seafood chef Eric Ripert, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman luxury resort offers guests an unforgettable escape from the everyday. With a resort side including resort and garden view rooms and an ocean side for ocean view rooms the property runs from sound to sea. Residential towers are located on the ocean side. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Hotel Seven Mile Beach
- Grand Cayman Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Seven Mile Beach
- Seven Mile Beach Ritz-Carlton
- The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Cayman Islands