westin casuarina /renaissance

Old Jul 10th, 2002, 08:09 PM
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westin casuarina /renaissance

I am trying to decide between the Westin Causarina in the cayman islands and the Renaissance in St thomas. I have 2 children age 11. How do the activites compare and the beaches. I have seen many negative comments about the Renaissance in St thomas. The st thomas trip has a much better deal.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 08:29 PM
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STT offers a better deal because it's a less desirable destination.
The Westin is overpriced for the room and amenities you get, but the beach is far better than anything you'll find on STT, GC is safer, offers better food options, etc.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 05:51 AM
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I stayed at both places this year (a big year for vacations!)...They are both very nice and neither is in any way undesirable...but it depends on what you want and how big a price difference there really is. Each will offer a very different vacation experience.

Cayman (especially the 7MB area where the Westin is located) is VERY built up and reminds me of Miami -- very, very, very Americanized and modern...all the rough (interesting?) edges have been removed to make Americans feel very comfortable...it is a beautiful hotel on a perfect beach...it's just so very suburban! Cayman is also VERY expensive...restaurants (good, but not outstanding) feature high-end NYC prices...people are very nice, getting around is very easy -- do plan to spend at least a day away from 7 MB to get a better feel for the island. If you have very little experience traveling outside of the US, Cayman will feel more comfortable because it comes to you and you don’t have to figure anything out or deal with any local “issues.”

St Thomas is to me, way more interesting and challenging...less American (funny given that it is in the USVI), less up-scale overall...more rough edges, but overall more interesting and fun to be in. I always find the people to be wonderful (you have to remember they come from a different culture), but service is very slow and there are fewer very very good restaurants – I truly believe they just don’t understand why we are in such a hurry and that they do not feel it is rude to get things done when they feel like it and not necessarily when we want them done...but I always leave STT feeling like I have been far away and experienced a different culture...not so in Cayman.

Prices are lower in the USVI - higher than in US, but not as funny-high as Cayman.

Although I always felt totally safe in both places, I took more precautions in STT and would never walk alone at night in the town there...in Cayman, I saw young women jogging alone in the dark -- it is very safe in Cayman. I imagine that any crime issues in STT are localized and don't really involve tourists or places tourists really "should" be.

Regarding the hotels...the Westin is a nicer property overall, but the Ren is very nice too...(a little older and a bit more spread out) although the beach at the Ren (although nice) does not compare to 7MB...I think the decision should be based on your choice of island rather than the hotel itself...neither hotel will be a big disappointment...look into the Marriott Morningstar resort if you want a nicer alternative to the Ren on STT.

Also think about what you want ot do when you are there…there is more to see and do on STT – Cayman is mostly about the beautiful beach, diving, and eating out. STT offers more options and the trip to St John is not to be missed.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 11:35 AM
Cayman fan
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We have stayed at the Westin many times with our kids. I also have an 11 year old son. He loves it! The beach in front on the Westin is very nice! Grand Cayman is a very expensive island, so we now stay at The Avalon. It is a three bedroom condo that is on the same beach. It saves us lots of money because we can cook, and we don't need to buy two hotel rooms. As far as activities go, Grand Cayman has sting ray city, sunset sails, and the Westin has a good kid's club. The resturants are good in Grand Cayman but expensive. I've never been to St. Thomas.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 09:27 PM
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Robin, although Don's reply is very well thought out, written and interesting, the plain fact is, I would NOT take MY children to St. Thomas--PERIOD (I wouldn't even go alone)!! Stick with Grand Cayman--it's the BEST!!!
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 09:49 PM
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By the way, for Don to suggest that 7MB is comparable to Miami is just patently ABSURD beyond words! There isn't even ONE highrise along that stretch of beach, and even with all the low-rise condos and hotels, it still could NOT be classified as Miami Beach-like whatsoever!!!
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 06:52 AM
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Tom is right...the Miami reference was off base...I used it to suggest that the whole area is built up and commercial - lots of Americanized services and such.

I think my key point is that Cayman is very much of a packaged experience and STT is more rustic.

I took 2 small kids to STT in June and had no second thoughts while there...not sure why Tom would hesitate to bring kids...there were lots of families.
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 07:28 AM
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We stayed at the Westin in Feb. It had a fairly decent pool and a nice beach, however, the hotel is way, way overpriced. We saw very few kids there and speculated with other guests that it was probably because it would be an expensive island to be feeding a family on. The kids program was closed when we were there. It's very safe and very americanized. Stingray City was great and your kids may enjoy that.
Sorry, I can't comment on St. Thomas. That's next winter's trip.
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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Have also taken small children to STT and had no concerns, didn't feel unsafe. I love STT and have been there 2X with no bad experiences. I've also been to GC and many other great islands, and still can't understand why STT gets bashed so badly. You can hop over to St. John from STT- 15 minute ferry ride and see their fabulous beaches. I disagree that 7 MB is FAR better than any beaches on STT (in combinatin with St. John as well.) I've seen both to know, and while I do think 7MB is beautiful, so is Magen's Bay in STT which can be crowded when cruise ships come, but early in the day it's nice, and there are NO hotels built on it, but with all the hotels on 7MB it's not exactly quiet and secluded either. And with St. John so close, there are so many beaches to see.

Have recently heard of several tourist burglaries in Grand Cayman, one of them armed.

Always travel smart (keeping in mind where your belongings are, and doing research ahead of time as to what not to do, where not to go, and know what you want to see before you get there, so you're not aimlessly driving around looking for who know's what - Like you would anywhere in the world!)
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 01:01 PM
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Cayman Islands is the safest island I've been to. It's very clean and the beaches are outright gorgeous. We stayed at the Westin and we loved it! Although we don't have any children, I'm sure they will love it because the beaches are beautiful, the water is calm and the island is very safe.
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