Just Back from Grand Cayman

Sep 30th, 2003, 06:35 AM
  #1  
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Just Back from Grand Cayman

My boyfriend and I just returned from Grand Cayman last night and I have to say.... it was THE BEST vacation we've ever experienced. We've travelled to many, places - have stayed at the most beautiful and exclusive hotels all over, but we were completely blown away by our stay in Grand Cayman.

Upon our arrival at the airport, we were greeted by a Reggae band at the airport. This suttle gesture gets the traveller in the island mood right away and ready to relax and have fun!

After reading so many negative posts here on this website, I was very nervous about my selection of the Westin prior to going. However, I am sooo glad we stayed there. The Westin IS the most beautiful hotel on the island!! The service was outstanding, the room was wonderful, the food at Ferdinand's was delicious, and the drinks (most important!) at the swim up bar were "da bomb"! Sandro the bartender had "Cayman Mamas" flowing for us constantly!!

The weather, although not so perfect for some people, was perfect for us. The first couple of days were sunny, hot, and dry. But, as the week progressed, the clouds rolled in and stayed. This was just fine for us and was a welcome reprieve from the heat. We layed out on the beach and lounged at the pool and we still achieved our goal of a "healthy glow". We were told by the locals that although it's technically hurricane season in the area, hurricanes rarely hit the island. And because it's hurricane season, it's off-season for the area as well. This translates into lower hotel rates, less people (crowds), and a quieter atmosphere.

Some dining recommendations: Ferdinand's at the Westin; The Lone Star Bar for a Tex Mex casual meal and sports bar atmosphere; Hemingway's at the Hyatt; and last but certainly not least - The Wharf for outstanding food and a relaxing atmosphere. The Surf and Turf at The Wharf is the best around! It also features a 9pm Tarpon feeding where the staff invites the patrons to feed the tarpon at their regularly scheduled feeding time. Lots of fun!!

Since we're not adventurous drivers (driving in the Caymans is on the left side of the road), we decided to use cabs everywhere we went. This worked out perfectly for us because it was less than it would've cost us to rent a car.

So, my rating for our vacation was a definite 10+ and we're already looking at going back this time next year!
citygirlmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Hi Citygirlmk! I'm glad to hear you had a great time!! We are going in December for our wedding/honeymoon. We opted for a condo since we will have family/friends down and will need a place with a living area/patio. We are staying at Villas of the Galleon right next door to the Westin (had gone the hotel route we would have stayed there!). Did you happen to see VOG? How did it look? And how was the beach? Incredible I bet!
Kristen is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Kristen,

First off, congratulations on your engagement and upcoming nuptuals! I should give a fair warning to all those unmarried couples out there who read this and who plan on vacationing on Grand Cayman - the whole island has an air of romance to it (and jewelry stores are a-plenty!), so if you're just about on the edge of either getting engaged or getting married, then wait till you get to the Caymans to do it! During our trip, my boyfriend and I seriously talked about getting engaged, so thanks to the Caymans, it will happen sooner than if we had not visited! lol

In any case, I did indeed notice the Villas of Galleon during one of our strolls and it looks beautiful from the outside. The beach along that entire stretch is just outstanding!!
citygirlmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 08:01 AM
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Thanks!! One last question for you...we are between having our ceremony on a private beach on North 7MB or on the beach in fron of VOG. From what you saw do you think their beach would be a good place for it? I know it would probaly be busier (with paswrby and whatnot) bu I also think the beach would prettier there.
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Sep 30th, 2003, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the report and update.
Sounds like you had a great time all the way around.
How would you compare the Westin with some of the other nicer places you've stayed on vacation? Had you been to the Caribbean previously?
travleis is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 09:36 AM
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Hello citygirl. Glad you had a great time. Just curious about one thing at the Wharf. We ate there and 2 dinners, 2 appetizers and 1 dessert and a beer cost $100.00-in 1991! What does it go for now? Thanks!
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 09:57 AM
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travleis:

i'm fairly new to caribbean travel but have stayed at the wyndham el san juan in puerto rico and have cruised to bermuda on the zenith. in vegas, i recently stayed at the bellagio. in florida, i've stayed at the breakers in west palm and at the boca resort in boca raton. in spain, i've stayed at the plaza hotel in madrid. so, suffice to say that i've stayed at some very beautiful and desirable hotels.

i would compare my stay at the westin as the best out of them all!
citygirlmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 10:05 AM
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jacketwatch:

i never said the caymans was inexpensive! lol it is expensive but that shouldn't be a turn-off. it's all relative to what you expect or desire in a vacation.

as for the wharf, we had two appetizers, two main dishes, one bottle of merlot, two desserts (his was complimentary since it was his birthday - a very nice surprise from the wait staff), coffee, espresso and a shot of sambuca. the bill came out to around $220.

let me just say this... i have two full time careers, two teenage sons, two homes, a boyfriend (i stop at 1 boyfriend, thank you!), family, and a whole lotta stuff going on in my life! when i vacation, i vacation!
citygirlmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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kristen:

DEFINITELY have your wedding on 7mb!!! and make sure you have pictures taken at sunset. the sun sets directly on the water on vog's beach!!
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Sep 30th, 2003, 10:25 AM
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Hey CG I am glad you had a great time. I too found GC expensive but also very beautiful! Here's a wild thought. Ever consider Fiji? Yes, it is a long way (10 hrs. from LA) but reasonable deals can be found for less than you think and the dollar goes along way there. In 2001 dinner for 3 at a good restaurant in Nadi was $50.00 total. Not pp. And it is a beautiful island but very friendly people. Parasailing was $22.00, just to give an idea of how it compares to the carib. Cheers, Larry.
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 06:47 PM
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citygirl I think the reason you got the negative vibes about the Westin (the reason you've read many negative comments st this website) is that compared to the best places in the Caribbean, the Westin doesn't measure up all that well. Not that the Westin's a poor hotel at all. It has a lot of positive attributes--mostly location, location, location.
But for the rates at the Westin, you can stay at many nicer hotels with better rooms and amenities in the Caribbean.
It's all a relative thing.
If Cayman were the only island in the Caribbean, the Westin would be king.
TedTurner is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 07:21 PM
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One of the things that we wrestle with in marketing the Cayman Islands is that people are pretty much guaranteed a good time, our tourism product is consistently good.

Yes, there may be places where you may get an equal or better mix of the things that matter to you in your vacation, but many other destinations are much more hit and miss.

citygirlmk strikes me as someone who positively enjoys spending money to truly be sure she enjoys her vacation time....one of the growing group of people who are "time impoverished"...ie time is a more limited commodity to them than money may be.....

Cayman does have some excellent value resorts, condos, hotels etc (not to plug one in particular ...but to many people there is an increasing amount of value to being able to book somewhere where you "can't go wrong" and the Westin Casuarina in Cayman, whilst pricey, definitely is a "can't go wrong" kind of place.

Sorry to veer off topic, I'm a marketing guy...I just get to thinking about this kind of stuff.

Now, if someone can tell me a way to market the fact that Cayman is such a safe destination.....
TomCayman is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 08:08 PM
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Hey Tom. How about relative high income there and low crime rate/
jacketwatch is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 03:17 PM
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I'm not sure anymore about the low crime rate - all the armed robberies could make a person nervous!!!
Dee2 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 04:08 PM
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jacketwatch : not sure what you are driving at, but yes, we have a very high relative income level here, and yes, we have a low crime rate.

Dee2 : we have an exceedingly low crime rate in Cayman, that just makes the odd anomalous occurence stand out in the media...

In the "police report" column in the local newspaper, over the years the most common reported crime has been visitors having their wallet stolen off their beach chair (or similar)....and funnily enough they always seem to have had remarkably high amounts of cash in their wallets when they were lost....hmm

Personally I think people relax so much that they don't always take care of their valuables so much as they might do on other islands....did I mention that Cayman banknotes are waterproof to help visitors who leave them in their shorts when they go snorkelling
TomCayman is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 05:13 PM
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To Tom: You had mentioned how to get across the safety issue. That is where I was coming from. That is decent income=lower robberies, thefts, etc. which is statistically correlative, I believe. Just trying to help. Cheers, Larry. BTW is DJ's still there? That place is where we saw our beloved Chicago Bulls win the 1st of 6 championships. Great night!
jacketwatch is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 06:04 PM
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One of the primary reasons I am going to the Caymans is safety as well. I checked with our security people at work and they said it is one of the (if not "the") safest destinations to visit in the Caribbean. The unemployment rate is extremely low which is one of the reasons.

While no place is crime free, there are certainly differences from island to island. To some extent it comes down to the amount of risk an individual is willing to accept. People not traveling with families (for example) might be willing to accept more risk.
mstaud is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 06:17 PM
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Jacketwatch : DJs is still there... Your beloved Bulls ? Mine to....geez, my eldest son has the middle name "Jordan" and I went through my basketball career wearing #23

You are absolutely right about high income and low crime having a high level of correlation.

Two safety analogies I've used in the past to describe how it is here :

1) When the average taxi driver makes more than most CPAs, is this a country where they would bother robbing a tourist

of

2) Cayman is the sort of place where you would give your 12 year old kid a few bucks after dinner at your condo and send them to walk down the street to the Gelateria (it makes astonishingly good Italian ice cream!) and not worry about them...

Of course the flip side for us Cayman residents is that we get pretty nervous about our kids whenever we travel with them anywhere outside Cayman...oh well
TomCayman is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:04 AM
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That last comment may be the most convincing statement about safety! As for the Bulls, lets hope this latest addition can begin to climb the ladder, so to speak. Just maybe! Cheers, Larry
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Oct 3rd, 2003, 06:12 AM
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My boyfriend and I love to talk to people wherever we go and we especially love to find out how they live and what they feel about where they live. We noted that every person we spoke to would tell us that the island is very safe. This, of course, is not to say that one should ever let their guard down (btw, we're from New York, so we're well-trained in keeping our guard up! lol). But this type of feedback from the locals (wherever one may travel) does make you feel better about the place you've chosen for a little r&r.

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