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Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman?

Old Aug 4th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman?

Hello to everyone and thank you so much for all of the wisdom you all have already provided me. This site is phenomenal and has probably saved me from making at least 3 bad choices on honeymoon locations!

I am getting married in June of 2006 and would like to get my honeymoon booked ASAP and just get the planning phase behind me.

What I want to know is if you all think Grand Cayman is a good place for a honeymoon? We have survived a long distance relationship for 3 years (my fiance is in his last year at the US Naval Academy) and we feel like we've waited FOREVER to be able to get married, so by the time we FINALLY say "I Do", we are ready to go somewhere and just be together. We like to snorkel and I would like to stay somewhere that also has a nice pool that I can float in.

Do any of you know anything about the new Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman? I saw that it is going to open in January of 2006. Has anyone seen it being built or do any of you have any input about the location or facilty in general?

I would be most grateful for any insight you seasoned travelers could give me. This will be the first trip to the Caribbean for both of us!

Thanks for everything!
Whitney
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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The Ritz is opening here in Cayman later this year and will certainly be ready for you in June 06.

Cayman is a great location for honeymoons (although I am biased, I run a resort in Cayman)... all I can advise is to check this and other boards (and review sites) to do your own research.

No all inclusives (which to me is a good thing), but lots and lots of great restaurants, and awesome snorkelling, diving and world class service (and you don't necessarily have to pay Ritz prices to get it, standards are consistently high in Cayman).

BTW, Congrats... !!
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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My husband, son and I just returned from a week in beautiful GC. We stayed at the Westin, which is practically next door to the new Ritz. It is huge -and brown - and looked a bit out of place on beautiful 7 MB with the lovely smaller, pastel hotels - but I am sure it will be first class. Snorkeling was the best I have ever experienced - the best site was just down from the Ritz by the Governor's mansion (right next to the Westin) - at the reef just 100-200 yards off shore. The most beautiful water, fish, lobsters, baby stingrays, etc. We loved everything about GC. Be sure to snorkel with the stingrays (we did the trip that took you to 12 feet of water to actually swim with the stingrays rather than the sandbar) - my son and I went scuba diving and the three of us went deep sea fishing (ask for Darren Asley - brand new, fabulous boat (called the hit and run) - and a wonderful captain - we caught several fish and it was one of the highlights of our trip!!)
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Old Aug 5th, 2005, 09:25 AM
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From what we saw and read when we were also at Westin in Jan 2005 is that the residences are beachfront. The hotel/resort is NOT on the beach. It is actually across the street from beach. It looks like there is a bridge across the street. But again the length of beachfront was all residences.
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Old Aug 5th, 2005, 08:06 PM
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Wow...that is great info. Thanks for filling me in! For the cost of the Ritz, I can't believe it isn't right on the beach. The description online certainly doesn't state that the hotel is across the street from the beach. That is good to know.

I am glad to hear that everyone thinks the snorkeling is good there, and one of the things I'm most excited about is getting to swim with the stingrays! That sounds like so much fun. I think I'll research resorts a little bit more before booking at the Ritz and paying such high prices.

Thanks again,
Whitney
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Old Aug 6th, 2005, 09:12 AM
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The Ritz Carlton is beachfront. It is a large U shaped building (like many beach front resorts) with each side of the U having condo units - some are residential and some are rented to tourists. The back of the U is the oceanfront hotel rooms. They face squarely to the beach and sea, though they do overlook the pool area (which is quite large) to the beach/sea beyond.

Across the street are the "waterway" rooms.

It's a very tasteful sandy brown colour as well, also a very "in" colour these days for resorts.

Here is a link for the condo portion of the resort:
http//www.residences-cayman.com/residences/

There are pics of the resort if you click the "construction update" link at the bottom of the above web page.

Regards,
John
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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We traveled to GC in July 2 years ago and absolutely loved it. We've been many places in the Caribbbean and think GC is fabulous. The water/snorkeling is better than anywhere we've ever been, including Turks and Caicos. It's definitely a good idea to find out if the Ritz rooms you're looking at are beach side. The Hyatt has this same sort of set-up: the residential units are beachfront and the room rentals across the street. I had never seen anything like this before on other islands and was quite surprised. We stayed at the Westin, which IMHO, is the best resort on the island and in a much better location than the Hyatt. The entire property sits beachfront, unlike the Hyatt and Ritz. The Ritz was still under construction when we were there. As stated in other posts, it's only 1 property away from the Westin on a fabulous stretch of beach on 7 Mile. The pool area at the Westin is absolutely wonderful right on the beach. Just one forwarning: as with many hotel rooms in the Caribbean, there can be a musty smell when you walk in your room. Just part of being on the islands. I like to say the Caribbean is understated elegance; it's all about relaxation, even when renting very pricey villas. If the Ritz doesn't work for you, definitely check out the Westin. It is much better than the Hyatt in my opinion, and a truly lovely property. Best of luck, and congrats!!
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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This is just my personal opinion, but I don't find huge hotels like the Ritz-Carlton very romantic. They're more suited for large events (such as conferences and even weddings) and less suited for a quiet, romantic trip with your spouse. There are a lot of great places for a honeymoon on Grand Cayman, but I'd choose a more intimate low-rise property if it were my choice. If you don't mind being in a quieter part of the island the Reef Resort is quite nice but on the far eastern end, about 40 minutes from Seven Mile Beach. However, I'm certain you can rest assured that the Ritz-Carlton will be nice.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Congratulations!

My input is that the Ritz will be beautiful. But I'm inclined to suggest the Westin over the Ritz for your honeymoon. It's a smaller(well, compared to the Ritz) hotel and you'd definately be 'beachfront'. While I can appreciate that some rooms ARE on the beach the majority will be across the street. May not make a difference to some but if I had booked it and was across the street, I'd be very unhappy. It'll be set up similar to the Hyatt's hotel section where you have access to a walkway. Think Las Vegas and the walkways in the air across the strip in some places. It's not a big deal unless you forget something and want to 'run' back to the room.

Do look over the Ritz' homesite to see the layout of the hotel. And keep in mind the opening date has been pushed back numerous times most recently due to a hurricane that occurred last Sept. They may still be working out glitches in June even if they're open.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 05:55 AM
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My husband and I have been to GC for six consecutive years usually twice a year. There is a lot going for the island but just to give you an honest opinion it might help make your decision.
The ocean is exceptionally turquoise clear the diving is perhaps one of the best in the world. Seven mile beach is just the softest sand you will encounter.The beach,in certain places, is not crowded which is fantastic.
We do not like hotels so am unable to comment. However, the Westin is meant to be great and the food is certainly recommended. Good food is not hard to find on the island because of the influx of Americans who demand high standards.
What has happened to GC over the years is the over commercialisation. It was an exceptionally lovely island which has too much building going on. Huge monstrosity hotels are going up which just spoil the landscape.The Ritz Carlton do doubt will be fabulous but it was better before the building.
GC is not an inexpensive holiday,restaurants are expensive so take loads of money with you.
It is a safe island one never feels threatens.The people are absolutely the best,so friendly and helpful terrific in every way.
The last hurricane hit the island very badly and since then we haven't been back. We will definitately go back as at one time we thought of retiring from London to there.
So hope this helps. Perhaps go to a Grand Cayman site to see how much the island has recovered from the hurricane.
Oh forgot the most important thing. To swim with the turtles is just magical and to swim with the sting rays again a great expereience if you can do it without going on a trip with loads of people.
Have a great honeymoon and a good life!!
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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Just one more thing!! Cruise ships visit on a regular basis it used to be one or two but now it can be as many as eight in one day which makes going into town a nightmare!
Actually talking of cruises have you thought about that for your honeymoon. I believe that you would have an amazing holiday and be treated fabulously..only a thought I have never been but everyone I know who has been on one says its great!!
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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I agree with prety much everything said above but had to voice my opinion on cruise ships. We've gone 6 or 7x over the past 8 yrs(last time 1/04) and never encountered a problem with cruise ship passengers ruining our trips to town. This does NOT mean there's no validty in what someone else posted, just that you can easily check cruise ship dockings by checking the cruise ship site--http://www.caymanport.com/schedule.htm We just scheduled our ventures to town around it!

Having gone to Aruba(no offense to those fans), commercialism in GC hasn't reached the same level. Fortunately or unfortunately, we prefer the modern conveniences that it brings but I do agree that the Ritz towers over one and all!!!!
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 03:02 PM
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And..
http://www.caymanphotos.com
has photos of pre-immediately after-and now photos of numerous places on the island.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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we have just returned from Cayman
It was never the most beautiful island and it has extensive damage from Ivan in 2004
Not sure i would pick it for a holiday- let alone a honeymoon We were there on business
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Barbexpat---if you get a chance would you share what you encountered on the island, where you stayed, etc...

I've started making plans for Jan. and really appreciate hearing feedback from anyone that has been there recently.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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Yes, Barbexpat, please tell us about your trip. We are going in November and have not decided where for to stay. Thanks, Owa
 
Old Aug 15th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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My husband and I have been to GC 2 times and were scheduled to go last October but due to Ivan we could not go. We are planning to go this October and I can't wait. We always stay at the Grand Caymanian which is on the other side of the island from 7 mile beach. It is quiet but still close enough to 7 mile beach that we can drive there in less than 5 minutes. The rooms are beautiful and it has just been completely remodeled since Ivan. www.grandcaymanian.ky
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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To barbexpat : anyone who starts out with "it was never the most beautiful island" is never likely to come across as being highly credible... have you actually been to Cayman since Ivan ? Of course my credibility is tainted by my obvious bias towards Cayman, seeing as a) it is my home, b) I run a resort there, and c) I gave my heart and soul to doing my part in rebuiling the island since Ivan.

There are more stunningly beautiful places than Cayman, sure, but few places in the world give the overall package, both on land and on (and below) the water, climate, accommodations, food... and above all, the people... those who keep coming back to Cayman year after year cite the people they meet as the main reason for their loyalty to our little peace of paradise.

Oh.. I'm feeling picky tonight... Anoushka.. yes, the food is great in the restaurants, but mostly because the locals (all 110+ nationalities of us) are picky... especially us Europeans, our standards of gourmet cuisine are (I would suggest) a little higher than those of the average American (ok, donning my fireproof suite now !)
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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WAnt to see 'stunning'? go to http://www.caymanphotos.com/

The Cayman Islands are beautiful - unfortunately a hurricane went through - what are you to do but move on. Rebuilding will happen and vegetation will come back. Cayman is more then beautiful beaches, the best snorkellling and diving waters in the Caribbean, a diverse selection of very good restaurants and many attractions and the most unbelieveable sunsets around - it's also about the people! They welcome you to their home!

You won't go wrong and you will enjoy your honeymoon on Grand Cayman! Do try the Westin though!

Lori
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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My sister went to the Westin in June 2004 and she and her husband liked it so much they went back for their anniversary in June 2005.

Altho the Ritz is supposed to be open, do you really want to risk booking a hotel that may not be ready - or may be just barely ready - for your honeymoon?? The Ritz has been delayed several times - whose to say it won't happen again.
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