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Sunset House
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356 - 361 of 588 reviews
Reviewed 19 January 2014

I am an active PADI Divemaster who was certified in 1982, and quit logging dives many years ago (after hitting 1,000). Over the decades, I have experienced countless US and international dive operations. I happened to notice the recent review by a CA. diver (wtrdncr) and felt the need to offer a different, and perhaps better informed, opinion re: Sunset House, and Sunset Divers. Within the last year, I have stayed at SSH, dived with SSD, and referred many relatives and divers to SSH & SSD since 2004. I have also dived with numerous other operators on Grand Cayman, some of which I also recommend to folks. SSH and SSD are second to none when it comes to offering divers (beginners or professionals) a safe, enjoyable, and hassle-free experience. The resort and dive shop staff consistently bend over backwards to accommodate the needs of even the most "high-maintenance" individuals (you know the type) with a smile. The dive shop staff maintains a high level of situational awareness, which would go unnoticed by the casual observer. If you are at "My Bar" drinking a few Caybrews after your morning boat dives, and then go to grab a tank for a shore dive, don't be surprised if you are approached by one of the dive staff who might suggest (very politely) that you enjoy non-diving activities until the next day. If you are on the boat, and come up without your buddy or exceed the dive profile offered during the briefing, they will politely ask you where your buddy is, and remind you that solo diving is not permitted on the island (same goes if you are geared up and walking to the water alone) and to please pay attn. to the dive profiles. SSD practices a policy of Safety First, with a respectful smile. Sadly, there are a few in the diving community who believe some "certification" levels come with a license to disregard reasonable/common-sense dive policies routinely practiced by responsible dive operators, putting themselves and other divers safety at risk. My history with SSD over the years has been that they offer an atmosphere that provides a great diving experience for all. I will continue to strongly recommend SSH & SSD to anyone wishing to dive in Grand Cayman! (That's not a "secret".)

Room Tip: The "Avg" ratings re: fitness center and room svc is because neither are offered (or needed).
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank Toyotamark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keith S, General Manager at Sunset House, responded to this reviewResponded 20 January 2014

Thanks Toyotamark and thanks to everyone who has emailed us with much of the same thoughts. We look forward to seeing you again and thank you so much for the referrals. It means a lot! Cheers! (and stay warm up in Iowa for the rest of the winter!)
K

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Reviewed 16 January 2014

My family and I have been to Grand Cayman a number of times and have not stayed at Sunset House as we have a timeshare we trade into on the island BUT, "My Bar" located at Sunset House is a great spot for a post dive or post snorkel Caybrew and lunch. The menu is varied and includes burgers and salads but also some indian dishes and a great fish taco. Very Casual -- with reasonable process.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank MRaser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keith S, General Manager at Sunset House, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2014

Thanks so much MRaser for your review! Some other favorites at the Bar are the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and the Fish and Chips! A lot of guests are blown away by the Indian curries and how good they are! Have a great stay while you are here on island!

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Reviewed 9 January 2014

Dec. 26th through January 3rd, 2014 I took 25 friends with me on a dive trip to this Resort and Dive Operator.
Rooms, cleanliness, location were fine and the front desk staff, especially Jennifer, were organized and helpful.
MY BAR is great fun to hang out in between dives, after dives, and in general. However, the food is average, the alcohol weak, and the service lazy.

Next is where things go really BAD!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!!! The Resort has "in house" dive rules that are OUTSIDE PADI standard rules!!! My group spent close to 40K just to find out we could not dive to our certification level! We would have stayed on the East side, at the Morritz, where the diving is MUCH better and there are no restrictions (regardless of what Sunset House says)

REGARDLESS of your qualifications, you are limited to 100' and 50 minutes on your boat dives. The Cayman Wall, is of course, deeper than that and everything is DEAD until you actually get on the wall!
My group is loaded with Instructors, Assistant Instructors, Dive masters, Deep Specialists, and world renown photographers but even though all certifications were presented, we were stuck at 100'! TERRIBLE!. Some dives they put us in 25"!
This "policy" of theirs is not mentioned ANYWHERE. It also does not support PADI recommendations (Yes, they are a PADI facility!)
When we tried to discuss options, the management was arrogant and uninterested.
I DO NOT and will not recommend this Resort to any of my 1000s of students, associates, friends, or fellow professionals.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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8  Thank Watrdncr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keith S, General Manager at Sunset House, responded to this reviewResponded 23 January 2014

Dear Watrdncr,

Thank you for your commentary and the good things you have to say about Jennifer! We are happy to hear that the rooms were satisfactory for you. With regards to the diving, I will get to that in a bit.

What Watrdncr failed to mention in her comments about her experience here at Sunset House is that she represented herself as having a full service dive center in California, when in fact, it is only her, her website, a phone number and friends. While we went ahead and gave her a large commission for her group (22 in all including Watrdncrl, not 25), we accepted everyone's credit card individually as she did not have a company check or account. We had met Watrdncr at a trade show in Long Beach, California and had explained the resort fully by Resort Manager Karin Sahm.

Upon arrival and check-in, two gentleman in her group that booked had not let her or us know that one "needed" a downstairs floor room, as he could not do steps rather well. This gentleman was adamant, that he could not do stairs, so we GAVE him his own room at no charge to him or against Watrdncr's group package. This now took an extra room which was the only room we had left during this holiday season.

We also set up and made their arrangements for diving on the East Side of the island for them. 19 out of the group were totally delightful and we bought the group pizza on their last night. Everyone BUT Watrdncr and two others were just true Sunset House guests!

Now, the Diving and the Mysterious Sunset House SECRET Rules.

As any other guest of Sunset House will attest to, there are no secret rules that we go by as Watrdncr claims. The Cayman Islands Watersports Association (one sector of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association) is quite clear and if anyone is unsure, one can Google "Cayman Islands Diving Rules" and you will see what every dive operation follows down here. It is why the Cayman Islands have such a safe and extremely great dive product! (Listed in Scuba Diving Magazine Top 100 as BEST OVERALL DESTINATION. Pg 16, Jan/Feb 2014 edition)

The Operation Guidelines for our customers are quite short and quite clear. The Guidelines begins with, "The Watersports Operator's first duty is the safety of all divers, snorkelers, riders, participants and other individuals affected by the Watersports Operation". It goes on to say, "The Watersports operator shall abide by the following":

While I will not post the full 34 page Guidelines we as a professional dive operator in the Cayman Islands must adhere to, I will point out a few.

8. The recommended maximum depth limit with recreational scuba customers is 100 feet/30 meters, if within certification (See Appendix 'B'). The required maximum depth with recreational scuba customers is 130 feet/39 meters and 100 feet/39 meters for repetitive dives the same day.

(Appendix B points out that not all certification levels are allowed to go the 100', such as Discover Diver Programs, Jr. Divers, Scuba Rangers, etc.) As every morning we go out on a morning two tank dive, the first being a wall dive of 100' for 50 minutes, followed by a approximate 40 minute safety stop before we do a second shallower dive, we are obviously doing REPETETIVE DIVES, thus the 100' Maximum.

While Watrdncr points out that she had experience people in her group, she fails to mention that she had only 3 certified instructors including herself. She also had two 13-year-old Jr. Open Water Divers and 6 divers who had less than 25 dives experience. (5 of these divers were in single digit to the total number of open water dives they had done)


14. Divemasters are NOT required to endanger their own safety or the safety of other customers by chasing a run-away diver.

15. Speaks of Guidelines regarding Refresher courses...etc. and number 16

16. Rogue divers, defined as those divers who refuse to adhere to the safety code of the CITA, should be reported immediately to all dive operators via email broadcast from the CITA membership office.

The Dive Operation at Morrit's Tortuga Club.

While the diving around all three islands is spectacular, there are different things to see around sides of the islands. Watrdncr had decided that part of her group wanted to dive on the East End, which we helped her arrange.

This is a quote from Rod McDowall, Operations Manager at Red Sail Sports and Tortuga Divers.... "please be Aware that Red Sail Sports and Tortuga Divers abide by depth and time policies or recommendations made by our own internal decisions or CITA guidelines. We use the 100' depth limit as our maximum, depth and the time available depends on their computer reading and
our company expectations as to the amount of air we like them to have in the tank at the end of the dive for safe dive practices. These policies are understood and very well received by 99% of our dive customers.'

So in fact, Watrdncr and the couple of divers that went with her, did not do any deep diving at all at Tortuga and as any certified diver would know, you would not do reverse profiles with your dives in a 24 hour period... 100' followed by a 60' dive, followed by a 130' dive. Tortuga Divers afternoon dive has a depth limit of 60'.

It is sad that three people out of this group,including Watrdncr who professes herself to be a dive professional, could blatantly break not only depth, but length of time and our policy of coming up with 500 psi of air. Plus the fact (and it is stated everywhere from our website, to our boats and on our dive shop, NO SOLO DIVING, yet Watrdncr and a couple others on her group, including the gentleman who could not walk up stairs, were caught on numerous occasions and spoken about it. Speaking of the gentleman that could not walk up stairs, he broke his profiles so badly, that he put his dive computer into decompression, ran out of air to take him out of a decompression dive and lead him being not allowed in the water for 24 hours. This gentleman who had the difficulty, walked to town over a mile while the others were out diving the rest of his stay.

Believe me, when I say, this was not the model of her entire group. Many of them where shocked at the attitude of their group leader, thanked us for our service, great hospitality and our concern for their safety and well being on their dive vacation.


Since Watrdncr was the instigator of many of these guideline infractions, Watrdncr's name and the blatant solo diver are the only names that has now been shared under Section 16.

I am also very please to share, that PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors) believes in our product here at Sunset House so much, that for the 15th year in a row has reserved the entire resort this June for their PADI Diving Society week long event Total Submersion.

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Reviewed 7 January 2014

Great place to stay. Right on the water. Some things you should know if you want to go here:

1. They are walking distance (less than a mile) from the center of town where all the ships come in. This is the area that has all the shops, etc. One thing of note is that this area completely shuts down after 5:00pm when the cruise ships leave.

2. If you are a scuba diver this place is great. You can rent tanks and just jump in the water and swim 50 yards out to an awesome coral reef. The thing is the hotel is geared toward scuba divers and financially it makes much more sense to get the scuba package from them.

3. If you want to do more than dive, rent a car. Most of the "cool" things to see ( turtle farm, botanical gardens, etc) are not close.

This place is not cheap. If you are diving every day it becomes a better deal. Don't be afraid to stay here if you don't dive. it is still an awesome place right on the water with a huge bar (on the water) and outdoor restaurant (on the water). The food is good, the people that work here are GREAT and we couldn't have had a better time!

Room Tip: Rooms with a water view are definitely more fun!
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Joel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keith S, General Manager at Sunset House, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2014

Dear Joel,

Thanks for your wonderful comments and suggestions, especially to the non divers that are sometimes have concerns staying here! Karin and I do like thinking of Sunset House as a big Guest House and look forward to sharing out home with you!

Look forward to seeing you again! Warm regards, Keith

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Reviewed 30 December 2013

Never written a review for anything but couldn't hold back from sharing our love for Sunset House with others. My husband and I have traveled to many dive locations but this is our favorite.
The only one we keep coming back to year after year since 2000. Why? It has everything to make your trip fun & memorable. You can start with a shore dive from the afternoon you arrive. The reef is filled with a wide variety of things to see. Over the years we have photographed turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, angel fish, nurse sharks, tarpon, free swimming moray eels, squid, varieties of juvenile fish, octopus, purple sea anemonies, crabs, lobsters,...and of course the mermaid. That's only the start to your diving experience. Each day you have awesome boat dives to different locations. The dive staff takes great care of you so you get the most out of each dive. You must try Stingray City. The interaction with them is so much fun. Then if you haven't had enough diving...at any time you can hop back in the water for another shore dive. We never tire of the reef at Sunset house. Don't forget to try a night dive there too. You have your own locker to store your dive gear in. The set up makes shore diving so easy. Ladders are set up for divers and snorkelers to come in and out of the water with ease. We've brought friends that got their certification here because its the perfect arrangement with pool and ocean so easy to use. As for the hotel facility the rooms are all remodeled, clean and comfortable. Made to order breakfast is included each day. The waiters take good care of you. My bar is not only a great place for drinks and food but a beautiful view too. Pretty sunsets at night. As for the staff...you will be like close friends by the end of your stay. We can't say enough about Keith Sahm (resort manager) and all he has done for us through the years. We look forward to coming back to our home away from home again soon.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Anita20002013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keith S, General Manager at Sunset House, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2014

Anita,

What can I say, but to thank you for all your kind words... I remember your very first time with us and the fun bantering we have had over years.. I looked up and you have been here 11 times since we met... True VIP return customers... See you soon at Our World Underwater next month and look forward to seeing you again this fall again!

Warm regards, Keith (Karin and Murphy!)

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