Anyone who knows me, knows that direct flights and turquoise water drive my decision making process. So when I realized we could be on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman for the long Easter weekend, there were no other questions asked.
I received 2 pre-arrival emails from the concierge team, welcoming D and I and letting us know of the room availability, activities, transportation, etc. We opted for a private car service from the airport; about a 15 minute drive, for around $100 US dollars. While a taxi is only $30, I have found that upon arrival to a foreign country, nothing is more welcoming than a familiar name, a smiling driver and a cold bottle of water in a prearranged car.
As we arrived at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman and throughout our stay, the service was wonderful. We had a quick reminiscent feeling for the Four Seasons Maldives, as everyone smiled, greeted you and you we felt welcomed. After downing the welcome rum punch and Easter rabbit cookie, a lovely employee escorted us to our room. The staff asked prior to arrival if we were celebrating anything during our stay. I informed them of my upcoming 30th birthday, and they certainly made notes. Upon check-in the front desk all wished me happy birthday, and our room had a birthday cake and balloons– such a nice gesture!
The property was always impeccably clean, well air-conditioned and never once smelled of a stale-beach-air resort. Amenities like water bottles, paddle boards, snorkels, morning coffee, etc were included in the rate and were always readily available.
Know there are two buildings–one on the ocean and one across the street and on the golf course side. If you book Garden View, you will undoubtedly be in the across the street building. While it’s perfectly beautiful, well appointed and has great amenities, it is quite a hike to the main pool and beach front.
Dining— there are many great options on the resort. Don’t miss the W.O.C. Salad with Jerk chicken at lunch and the Cayman Tea cocktail. The best thing you can do is venture out a bit to truly get a taste of the local flavor. Restaurants like Deckers, Peppers, and breakfast at The Sunshine Grill cannot be missed! All are casual, walking distance and we ate breakfast at Sunshine Grill every morning. Dinner at The Lobster Pot is also not to be missed. They feed the Tarpons around 7pm every evening and it’s quite a spectacle. We had a later reservation, but arrived early and the wonderful staff rearranged a bit to get us a patio spot to watch the sunset.
KIDS! Who knew there could be so many?! In fact, I would almost bet that there was some kind of deal with a Disney cruise with overnight stays. Every WASPY rich brat from Texas to Florida and up to NJ and NY was there. I felt invaded. They monopolized the water sports, the lounge chairs and even the bar– yes, bar. Ordering mojitos for themselves at the ripe age of 10, while sometimes being corrected by the bartenders for a “virgin mojito” with a lingering question mark. If any little brat challenged them, the server would surely falter and then fill a cup with Rum for a whopping $20. Hey, I’m all for that if the bartenders can get those kids passed out on the beach before lunch!
We knew the Ritz would have a family atmosphere, but I could never FATHOM the amount of children. It’s at least a 1 to 1 ratio for kids and adults (and that includes adult staff). I was so excited to head out last night for a cocktail and a fire show on the beach at 8pm, only to find Elsa and Olaf ( I think that’s their names) conducting a limbo contest while pelting unsuspecting DINKs in the face with an incessant bubble machine. If you’re looking for a romantic vacation, this is likely NOT the place. It’s truly sad, because the property, rooms, service and amenities are top notch! But the kids are like cockroaches; pests which cannot be ignored, even upon your best attempts. At the end of the day, some of them just deserve a spanking.
I truly believe Ritz Carlton should let their guests know just how kid-friendly this place is, as once you’re submerged and your AMEX charged, you’re stuck! Where are the “Adults Only” pools and beach areas like their caribbean counterparts offer? I pay good money to enjoy my expensive cocktail in peace! The screaming little Harlows and Sloans are infringing upon my serenity
When confronted, THEY CONTINUED. Out of 5, they made it through 2.5 without ever being challenged. These kids were downright destructive, while their lovely parents were either not there or just didn’t give a crap. Either way, shame on them, as those kids will certainly be the next Lindsey Lohans/Justin Beibers of the world. The jokes on you, bad parents, let’s just see what those kids will be into during the next 10 years. These parents left all the dirty work to the Ritz Carlton staff to handle their little heathens.
If you’re trying to decide between the Westin or the Ritz, definitely the Ritz. For the small amount of monetary difference, the property is much better! Between the actual facilities, beach chairs, and pool cleanliness, the Ritz is definitely the better option. Both are family oriented and both have a fantastic beach. They are also about 100 yards from each other. You can’t go wrong with either, but it’s a pure instance of quality over quantity. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for.
Either way, if you’re a beach aficionado , Seven Mile at the Ritz can’t be beat. Just expect to have someone go sequester your beach chairs by 7am, otherwise you’ll be on the sand or poolside all day.
Overall, it was a great, easy and beautiful vacation.