We just returned from 10 days at the Marriott on SMB.
This is a direct comparison review to the Ritz. I have read much about both on Trip Advisor and have now stayed in both so I thought it best to compare the two for the sake of cost/value for money, etc.
1) The Marriott is cheaper to stay at than the Ritz.
2) It's resort fee of $35 is also considerably less than the $60 at it's bigger sister's place.
3) The Marriott is nicely situated close enough to Georgetown but far enough away from the cruise traffic, whereas the Ritz is up SMB about a 20 min walk from the Marriott.
4) The Marriott's beach is not narrow but it is not as wide as that of the Ritz.
5) The pool at the Marriott is tiny.
Discussions on the above:
1) The Marriott is not vastly, but is cheaper to stay at than it's counterpart. There is no getting around it.
2) The resort fee at the Marriott does not include much. The hotel will lead you to believe that it is value for money by telling you that you get beach towels, free wifi, and many other services, but realistically that is garbage. You have to sign out your beach chair towel and sign it back in, every day; the wifi is 'free' otherwise known as $14/day; the many other services include a tiny, humid gym (I note that they are going to be changing all of this in August/September...or so they say). Let's comapre this to the Ritz: beach towels are included and not signed out or in. In addition, somebody helps you every time to find a chair and sets up your towel for you; Wifi is not otherwised charged (from memory I think there was a faster charged connection but the room rate wifi was enough for me); the gym at the Ritz is large and has enough space for everybody to enjoy it...the air is not humid in there either; the resort fee at the Ritz includes all watersports equipment (inclusive of snorkels, paddleboards, kayaks, water bikes, etc); you also get complimentary coffee every morning at the Ritz in the lounge area.
3) The cruise traffic at the two hotels is negligible. The ONE thing I would mention is that the Marriott is in the business of allowing non-patrons to use their beach chairs. I read this in another review but saw it first hand where a woman from a neighbouring condo-hotel asked the beach guy if she could use the chairs, to which he said yes (for Ingrid, if you read this, that would be the young East Indian gentleman - I did not get his name - that doesn't crack a smile, barely talks and barely responds when you talk to him).
4) I will note that we saw the beach narrow as the trip went on and I attributed this, rightly or wrongly, to the tides. This might be why there are a number of negative posts about the front beach chairs sitting in the water, which they just about were on our last day. When we arrived on the island there was plenty of room between the front row and the ocean and the 4 rows of chairs were not packed in like sardines as suggested in other reviews. Note that weekends are far busier than weekdays and the whole idea of getting to the beach at 6:30am to get a front row is incorrect. The beach at the Ritz is much wider than the Marriott and quite pleasant but that would not be a deciding factor for me.
5) Last year I spent quite a bit of time in the pool, cooling off. This year I did not as the pool at the Marriott is tiny and frequented by children or a resort scuba dive course. The Ritz has 2 pools, the larger of which has floating chairs and has a lot of space.
I had to ask the front desk to have somebody pick up room service food that had been sitting on the floor in the hallway for more than a day. There were multiple rooms where this was the issue just in our one hallway. It was promptly picked up but I fail to see how cleaning staff did not rectify this on the first morning it was sitting there.
There is a deadbolt-style lock on the sliding doors exiting the hotel room. As we were on the ground floor I made sure this was locked each and every time I left the room as we were unable to fit everything in the safe (ipads, etc) so they were left out. One of the 2 days were elected to have housekeeping I checked the door before leaving the room to find that the maid(s) had left the door unlocked and open to anybody that wished to have a look around. I was not pleased and let the front desk know.
Overall I was disappointed with the Marriott, in part because I found it hard not to compare it against the Ritz. We went up to the Ritz for Sunday Brunch and were recognised by the staff there from last year. It is just a very pleasant place to be and everybody has a smile, whereas the Marriott has individuals that don't seem to care (our waitress at breakfast at Solana, for instance). On an island where a service such as restaurant automatically has a 15-16% gratuity on it, I expect to have good service and a smile at the VERY least. There are some that don't care. Having said that, Rod, Rodrigo, Lisa, and Evans over at Sol Bar were awesome. Nelson at the front door was very helpful and nice, even though it was only our last day when we had the chance to talk with him. On our last morning we ate at Red Parrot and had the breakfast buffet. I did not get his name (his wife works at the front in both Solana and Red Parrot) but the chef was extremely nice and helpful; he made french toast with gluten free bread and offered his help time and time again.
As much as there were nice individuals at the Marriott, our experience was better at the Ritz. I booked the Ritz for next year on our last day so as not to be disappointed again in missing out (it was fully booked this year). If you want peace and quiet, want to feel like you are on holiday and not in another hotel, then the Ritz is the place to stay.
Side Note: For those that dive, Ambassador Divers (located at the comfort inn) were phenomemal (Sarah, Ollie, Larry, and Chip)!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Beach House at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort makes you feel right at home. All of the spacious 295 guest rooms at our Grand Cayman resort have been completely refurbished. The main lobby "Anchor & Den" has transformed into a spacious, yet cozy place where you can connect, relax and spend time with family and friends. Experience enhanced culinary offerings at the new outdoor beach fish grill restaurant Veranda or have a drink at the Vista Bar - a perfect place to end the night in the Cayman Islands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Hotel Seven Mile Beach
- Marriott Seven Mile Beach
- Seven Mile Beach Marriott
- Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort Cayman Islands