As a result of the Marriott/SPG merger, some high-level hotels are priced lower than they will be in the future. Taking advantage of this limited window, we tried the Ritz-Carlton Resort Grand Cayman and secured an Oceanview King.
The most iconic location in Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach and this is where you’ll find a row of premium hotels including the Ritz-Carlton Cayman Islands, Westin and Kimpton Seafire in a line up the beach. The property is three miles from the airport, a $30 fare and 12-drive.
Address: Seven Mile Beach, KY1-1209, Cayman Islands
Phone: +1 345-943-9000
We were looking forward to our stay following some of the Ritz Cayman Islands reviews we found prior to our stay. The grounds at the five-star property were stunning with one small exception. One of the hallways seemed to bake seawater (though being a long way from the sea) and produced an odor. If anything, it was too large and extensive to enjoy on our very, very short stay.
Inside the complex, luxury boutiques, high-end restaurants, and meeting facilities filled the hallways. Premium restaurants and facilities are expected at a Ritz-Carlton resort but the pool area does offer some affordable dining options.
Lucy loved the property and even staged this shot below herself. Yes, we know, we have our hands full. Did I mention her Instagram account? Also, get off the carpet, Lucy!
Due to my Platinum status with SPG (then matched to Marriott “Bonvoy”) I was welcomed at the front desk with an upgrade to an Oceanview King room. It’s important to note that there are both “resort side” and “ocean side” rooms and suites at the property. The view was stunning and the room was to a very high standard as expected. The space in the guest room was not remarkable but rather just adequate. I understand that rates on Grand Cayman are high, but for $900+ retail rate I would have expected a larger room.
Lucy loved the balcony and the view couldn’t be beaten. We spent a lot of our short stay on the balcony.
The sheets and comfort of the bed were perfect. Everything was to a very high standard. Even the nightstand and drawers were well built and felt premium. How do you make a nightstand drawer feel premium? The television (not pictured) included Netflix which makes our lives easier traveling with our daughter.
The entryway featured a nice mirror and a stand-in for a makeup desk. Lucy was also pleased with the Platinum welcome amenity, macarons.
Since we don’t really drink, we were glad the welcome amenity was not booze. But for those who are interested, I always think the liquor and wine splits are a better option than the mini bottles. The mini bar did not have much room to cool waters, though bottles were provided and refreshed and provided by the property.
The bathroom had both highlights and lowlights worth noting. The bathroom was fairly large, great for a family. The shower was stand-alone and opposite a large bathtub, and the toilet was inside a separate water closet for privacy. However, the shower was rather small and it begged the question, why not use more of the dead space in the bathroom for shower space?
Ritz-Carlton’s signature toiletries, Asprey, were in the shower. We find them to be just okay. Le Labo is the gold standard for premium toiletries but almost anything is better than KenetMD, right? Again, for almost $1,000/nt it seemed like there should be something a little more.
Resorts on Seven Mile Beach all benefit from beautiful blue waters, typically calm seas, and wonderful white sand. The Ritz-Carlton Resort Grand Cayman is no different. The beach is serviced by Ritz staff, well looked after and provided for an excellent experience.
We failed to take advantage of the beach amenities included in the $85/nt resort fee such as kayaks, paddleboards, glass-bottom boats, sand toys, snorkeling, one-on-one sailing lessons (worth it alone). There was a separate water park for kids, a more tranquil pool separated from the busy beachfront and an eco-park for families (Ambassadors of the Environment developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau.)
The primary pool features shallow areas (though not zero entry) for families and very deep (10 feet) and rows and rows of sun loungers. Service at the beach and pool was excellent (I will get into this more below). Our experience at the pool and beach was 10/10.
Unfortunately, we were not aware of the kid’s water park (Starfish Cay) until right before we left the property and that was heartbreaking as Lucy wanted to stay all day. The Rtiz was very thoughtful of families, separating this area from the rest of the pools and catering toward their audience with higher SPF sunscreen at the towel station and even lounge chairs with shades for kids.
At both pool towel stations, water diapers for kids were available – a nice touch courteous to all parties at this family-friendly resort.
Without question, the service at this Ritz-Carlton Resort is top-notch. One aspect of the service that was an unexpected treat was their clever “staff passport” book which rewards kids for getting a signature from more than 20 foreign nationals working at the property. In fact, more than 50 nations are represented among the staff, but each time Lucy achieved a signature a staff member would see another that could sign for a different country and make an introduction.
It was fun for Lucy, introduced us to the staff, and really found it to be a charming activity for all of us.
More than anything else about the resort, the service was the difference at the property. At the pools, the beach, walking through the halls – everyone was just excellent. We couldn’t step near the pool area without being met with towels. staff to help us secure three loungers together and a menu with service. We stayed at another property of the same star level on the same beach and the service at the Ritz was superior in nearly every way.
We were at the property before Christmas, luckily, Santa visited and had time for Lucy. The workshop in the photo below is 100% edible and made from chocolate or candy.
Beach bags were not available in the room (but should be). We called down asking if any could be sent up (for purchase or borrowing) and were told they didn’t have any on the property. I found the following examples in the gift shop.
In the Marriot “Bonvoy” program (cool name, bro) the property remains a good value at 60,000 points per night despite the $85/nt resort fee. Guests do receive value from the resort fee so I am ok with the cost, though it’s the very top of what I would pay anywhere in the world. For those paying cash a couple of weeks before Christmas, base rates started at $650/nt and just about $1,000 for the room we received (though we were upgraded) as stated.
Families will find extra value at meal times. Children under the age of five eat for free on the resort and the portions are rather generous. This added real value for money for us.It’s important to note that unlike other Marriott properties, higher levels of Bonvoy status do not entitle guests to a breakfast buffet.
Generally, we found it to be a good value for where it is located, the quality of service and the beach and facilities. That being said, the Caymans are very expensive and we will visit in a limited fashion given our other travel requirements, without status it would be tough to justify the expense for a resort view. We loved the hotel so much, that we tried to cancel another hotel stay on the island and return, but sadly they were sold out.
Have you stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Resort Grand Cayman? How was your experience? Do you have another preferred hotel in the area?