Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman

Just returned from a marvelous family vacation at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman and was moved to write about it because the resort is awesome.

Completed in 2006 and sitting on 144 beautifully landscaped acres, this is THE premier luxury resort on Grand Cayman.

The hotel "welcome" on arrival ( my 4 year-old Emma loves the hotel "welcome" ) was everything we expected with porters, door men & even management greeting - just over the top.

The resort's interiors contain elegantly appointed furnishings, spectacular tropical floral arrangements, as well as rich wall coverings and chandeliers. And since the resort has a rear facing side over a wonderful golf course & a forward facing side over the spectacular 7 Mile Beach, there is an elevated, air conditioned walkway across the road from the beach that makes seaside access a breeze and interesting because one actually walks thru an art gallery too. Some may not like this layout but it worked for most of us. My 16 month old who just discovered walking enjoyed this corridor more than anyone.

The property features seven restaurants and bars, including alfresco service, casual snack spots and fine dining. Blue by Eric Ripert, is an elegant venue and recipient of three Michelin stars which we did not have a chance to dine at with two kids and an extended family with too many individual tastes.

This property is known for its 7 Wonders on 7 Mile Beach experience. The seven wonders include :

1. Golf- there is a 9-hole golf course-the only course on Grand Cayman.

2. Tennis - The tennis center was designed by renowned coach Nick Bolletteri and boasts three red-clay courts and one grass court. Lessons, workshops and a full tennis program are available for guests (surcharge).

3. Ambassador of the Environment - children's program designed and sponsored by Jean Michel Cousteau. Children learn through excursions, activities and programs about the Caymans and the Caribbean's natural environment.

4. Watersports - The Ritz offers all sorts of watersports rentals and will book diving, snorkeling, and fishing trips. For those who prefer pools, there are two outdoor pools (one beachfront and the other a quieter option close to the lagoon) and whirlpools. .

5. Spa - The full-service spa specializes in many types of treatments and pampering. Options include a la carte treatments, as well as complete pampering packages to address any beauty, health or relaxation need. The steam rooms and sauna are open to all resort guests free of charge.

6. Fitness - A very adequate gym on-site provides complimentary group classes, personal training, and the latest in muscle-pounding technogadgetry.

7. Beach - It's really about (5 1/2 miles) long, but who's counting? The translucent aquamarine waters are very inviting. Australian pines dot the background (except where there is a huge resort like the er.. Ritz of course), and the average winter temperature of the water is a perfect 80°. Wait staff parades around the beach front taking food & drink orders & delivers them to your chaise lounger or even into the water where one can sit on these floating table & chairs and enjoy lunch. There are cabanas available for rental, and there are plenty of free cushioned beach chairs with their own sun shades for guest use.

There are several categories of rooms, suites and even multi-room residences. The Standard Resort View and Ocean Front rooms are well-appointed but a bit small for my taste. Nevertheless, the top-end mattress are covered with feather duvets, down pillows and 400-thread-count designer Italian sheets that make these smaller rooms very accommodating! If you can splurge, go for the Blue Tip Suites which are 960 sq ft and include two 75-sq-ft private terraces. They do however need flat-screen TV's instead of those TV/Armoires that are just outdated. There is also wireless internet access in the rooms & all common areas of the resort so one can stay in touch all the while.

The staff, as always at a Ritz, couldn't do enough for you, all very friendly and helpful.

This is the absolute best property on 7 Mile Beach for luxury guests. It is an all encompassing resort chosen by high-end clients who do not mind the lofty prices. This is why there is a Tiffany Retail shop on premises! It is the top of the line in Grand Cayman and is a sure bet for those who expect the best.


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