I recently returned from a 5 day vacation with my wife at the Ritz in Grand Cayman. We came in with very high expectations and in most instances they were exceeded. While I have stayed at high end resorts and hotels before and we even were married at a Ritz, I was amazed at how easy and enjoyable this Ritz made our vacation.
Since it is fresh in my mind, I will be very detailed to help both future travelers and management. Let's start with arrival in Grand Cayman. After waiting in line for 45 minutes at immigration, our luggage was waiting and we quickly went through customs (FYI- for those bringing in your own food such as meat, you need to declare it, but you can bring in under 25 pounds as long as it is sealed and says USDA approved). The taxi stand is right when you exit the airport and there was a Ritz employee who helped us get our luggage into the cab. The cab ride is $30 including tip and takes 15 minutes. Upon arrival we received a choice of rum punch or fruit juice and were immediately taken to the club lounge. You should note that the "lobby" is very small because the original lobby was where the Seven Restaurant is, but was changed after hurricane Ivan.
At the club lounge we were checked in and informed that we had been upgraded to an Ocean Front room. Many of the reviews have focused on the distance from the non-ocean rooms to the beach, but as a couple (not with kids) we found that we would have been fine with the longer walk. I believe the Periwinkle pool is a hidden gem at the Ritz and is on the non-ocean side. That being said, our room had a great view and made it a very short walk to the beach pool and the beach.
The rooms are nice, clean (especially for a Caribbean resort), and well maintained. There are several free water bottles in the room and they are continuously replenished. The shower pressure is average and there is no hand held shower head, but the bathroom is well stocked and spacious. We slept very well in the bed and had little noise from outside. The room is cleaned once a day and there is turn-down service in the early evening. The cleaning staff is very friendly which is certainly the theme of the hotel. One of the most amazing parts of the ocean front tower is that there was almost never a wait for an elevator.
The facilities are well maintained. The gym is well equipped with all the amenities you would need including headphones. You need to walk through the spa lobby to get there. The TV's on the equipment are dated and the audio does not always follow in sync with the picture. The pools are nice with very good service, but as I said above, the Periwinkle pool is fantastic. It is the pool far from the beach, but has covered couches, covered hammocks, and free cabanas (first come first serve). There is full court basketball next to the pool and a water park feature (that was still under construction) for the kids.
The beach is large with 3 rows deep of beach chairs. There are cabanas in the back and luxury daybeds in the front. The beach service was generally good, but it seemed the staffing went down midweek, so there was a longer wait. They have divided service between the chairs and towels (blue shirt) and the food servers (white shirt). The food service comes from Bar Jack, so there is a big menu and the food comes out in a wooden box, which makes it easier to eat. The watersports is on the far right of the beach and has the snorkeling equipment (which is a must, even if only around the beach). Further down is the paddle boards, kayaks, etc. Note, make sure they rub their lotion on the mask or it will fog up. The Ritz has done a great job removing most of the rocks in their ocean swim area. Make sure you get on one of the covered floating tables. You will get good at swimming to them with a drink in your hand. The wifi reaches the beach, but can be somewhat spotty.
There are several places to eat at the hotel. We were especially focused on this aspect since we have very specific dietary and food preparation restrictions. We ate three dinners at Seven and each one was better than the next. We also ate the buffet breakfast there as well (which was included in our room rate). Note you might want to use a travel agent to book since they can get some added features that the internet cannot get you. Chef Jordan coordinated all of our meals flawlessly. Chef Jen prepared amazing dinners for us and was able to walk us through her preparation prior to ordering. Chef Jose prepared us delicious omelets and has extensive experience in preparing glatt kosher meals. We were even able to spend one dinner at Taikun, where we were able to have specially prepared sashimi and sushi. Of course we were blown away when the Sommelier at Seven, Jonathan, came out with three outstanding bottles of kosher wine. Traveling with strict dietary restrictions is tough, but the Ritz did an amazing job handling it strictly and respectfully.
Lastly, checkout is a breeze, just don't get to the airport too early.
A final shout out to some of the other staff who stood out and you will no doubt meet. Abdul at the Club was the most knowledgeable about everything. Holly at the Club took care of all our needs. Kingsley is a gem of a guy at the beach and Chantal was so helpful at Taikun. Our breakfast server was also great, but I cannot remember her name. As you can see, it is a nice part of the vacation to get to know the staff. They are genuinely friendly.
The only real challenge in going to the Ritz is the cost of the amenities. Every drink, dinner, and activity is super expensive. The most egregious of those is the spa treatments. $300 for a facial (before tip). The $225 for the daybed at the beach was a big surprise as well. To be fair, it is the Ritz and you should expect that cost with the outstanding service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, a luxury two-tower resort on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Here, sparkling blue waters blend seamlessly with the sand and sky to create your perfect Caribbean oasis. Located on an archipelago of three picturesque islands, our Cayman Islands resort hotel offers a breathtaking location unlike anywhere else on earth. From the white sands of Seven Mile Beach to world-renowned restaurants including Blue, by renowned seafood chef Eric Ripert, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman luxury resort offers guests an unforgettable escape from the everyday. With a resort side including resort and garden view rooms and an ocean side for ocean view rooms the property runs from sound to sea. Residential towers are located on the ocean side. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Hotel Seven Mile Beach
- Grand Cayman Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Seven Mile Beach
- Seven Mile Beach Ritz-Carlton
- The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Cayman Islands