When on the hunt for the perfect Grand Cayman luxury hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman was my top choice.
We were guests of the Grand Cayman Department of Tourism and on a mission to see why this Caribbean island is one of the best family vacation destinations in the world. It is. And, I firmly believe that families looking for a five-star experience should book into The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Perfect Location
Perched on the powdery white sand of Seven Mile Beach, this is where you want to be. The ocean water is delightfully calm enough young kids and has a sandy bottom toes will love. While I would certainly encourage you to explore the island, I completely understand why people stay put on the resort for the duration of a holiday.
Our Majestic Tours driver (call them if you don’t feel like tackling driving on the left with a rental car) picked us up from the airport for the about 10-minute drive to the resort. Transfers are easy.
The Cayman Islands luxury resort has a number of accommodation options depending on guest preferences. There are a myriad of suite choices with up to three bedrooms, full kitchens, separate living rooms and the like.
The important thing to note is that the resort has two towers connected by a skywalk: the Ocean Tower and the Resort Tower. Where you stay really depends on budget and availability. The Ocean Tower is closer to the beach and its rooms boast spectacular ocean views.
This is the sunset over Seven Mile Beach (from our Ocean Front Guest Room) which is not-to-be-missed.
A room like ours averages 480 square feet but it felt larger, perhaps due to our balcony with seating and beach tones that compliment the view. The room also had a desk, chaise, nice TV, fully-stocked minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, tea and plenty of bottled water. I really loved the Asprey bath amenities and the fact things like nail files, toothbrushes and more one might forget to pack are in there.
I am a huge fan of club level rooms so you may want to see if booking room or suite with The Ritz-Carlton Club privileges is worthwhile, especially when visiting Grand Cayman with kids.
One of the Caribbean’s Best Beaches
Part of the reason why I pay close attention to the luxury hotels I book is because my daughter is a half-day tourist. This means we usually spend a decent amount of time in our room. Not here. I could not get her off of this pretty section of Seven Mile Beach.
Tropical fish often swim into The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s roped-off swimming area. The resort fee enables guests to easily grab a snorkel and fins at leisure. We checked out aqua cycles, clear-bottom kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Rafts to float on are up for grabs, too.
Normally, I’d pay an hourly rental for water sports. But riding an aqua cycle for an hour is a lot of work. I strongly prefer paying one resort fee, having access to all and using water sports for as long or little as we like.
Beach staff sets up lounge chairs equipped with a little black flag to indicate when you’d like to order drinks and food as well as a movable shade. It’s a fantastic place for a burger or jerk chicken wrap. A good list of smoothie, cocktail, wine and beer options can be delivered chairside, too.
Great Onsite Dining
Speaking of dining on-property, our late arrival to Grand Cayman meant room service. I opted for a Caribbean platter with jerk chicken and rice while my daughter craved pasta. Both were very good. We dined each morning at SEVEN’s breakfast buffet with its selection of fresh juice, omelette station, charcuterie, baked goods, gluten-free station, hot dishes and more. SEVEN is also said to have Grand Cayman’s most extravagant Sunday brunch.
Blue by Eric Rippert is considered one of the best Grand Cayman restaurants so I look forward to trying it next time.
Bar Jack serves casual food like sandwiches, tacos, salads and wraps to the beach and pool. They have an al fresco bar with a TV usually playing sports.
On the recommendation of our server, I ordered the house pià±a colada—one of the best I’ve ever had. When I hesitated, he mentioned that the only fat in it is coconut and that there’s no dairy whatsoever. Arm twisted.
And, a little gift shop deli combo is perfect for grab-and-go snacks, last-minute souvenirs, Haagen Daz and the like.
The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman’s other onsite restaurants include Japanese, Italian, and a lovely indoor bar.
In addition to the main pool, a Starfish Cay water play area for kids includes small slides, a dumping bucket, and more water play. Another quieter swimming pool with cabanas is next door (as are basketball courts).
We spent most of our time bouncing between the main pool and the beach here.
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is one of The Ritz-Carlton properties to offer the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. The goal is to highlight the culture and environment surrounding the property through carefully-curated programming for young kids, tweens, teens, adults and entire families together. The resort has a sizable activity center dedicated to Ambassadors of the Environment.
We participated in an underwater photography tour. I’d just flooded my GoPro the day prior but the resort has point-and-shoot digital cameras in waterproof cases and GoPros for guests to use during the program (cameras may also be rented for recreational use).
Our guides drove us to a different snorkeling spot in George Town, where they pointed out rare and unusual fish and led us to the best reefs. After the tour, they emailed a link to all of the photos my daughter and I took along with some of theirs. My daughter and I loved it.
The shoal of squid we saw was definitely a highlight as I’d never seen them swim or change color in real life!
Other Grand Cayman Tours
Sapphire Sports operates out of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. It was ultra-convenient to walk a few paces from our room and on to a boat headed for Stingray City, snorkeling and Starfish Point (I’ll tell you more soon about things to do in Grand Cayman with kids). The concierge team can help with booking offsite Grand Cayman tours.
Luxury Hotel Flowers
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman boasts a ton of colorful art and accessories throughout but, as I usually do, I took a photo of the lobby flowers.
Two Resort Cats
We never saw Ginger but George was hanging around the pool. He’s totally cool with little toddlers waddling up to pet him and seems to like the attention. He even has a poolside residence.
A La Prairie Spa
I had every intention of booking into the spa but there was just no time. I love La Prairie products and suspect that the quality of the treatments is also five-star. Definitely take a peek at the menu during your stay as they have a Skin Caviar (one of La Prairie’s signature products) massage.
Good to Know
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has a resort attire policy in its indoor areas which I applaud.
I forgot to download The Ritz-Carlton app, which is an excellent way to request housekeeping and access resort details. I love these apps so highly recommend it for your stay.
Even at the resort where great measures are taken to ensure guest comfort, you’ll need to wear mosquito repellent at all times. They are very much a part of life on Grand Cayman.
I thought resort service combined a laid-back Caribbean vibe with swift attention to guest needs well. Staff gave us space to relax but was there when we needed them.
Items are quoted in Cayman dollars but charged in U.S. dollars which can be a little confusing at times.
I read reviews when booking into resorts for the first time. A common issue people have with this resort is price. There is a $70 per day resort fee. Yes, it’s higher than average but it covers WiFi, water sports rentals at the beach, use of most onsite amenities, valet parking, complimentary dining for kids under 5 and much more. As someone who spends several months a year checked in to luxury hotels, I did not find the cost of dining on property at all to be out of line with like five-star properties.
Some restaurants, programming, and The Ritz-Carlton Club are seasonal and closed from the end of summer to about November.
When we return to the Cayman Islands, we will check in here. No question.
Have you been to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman?
*Thank you to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism for hosting our stay. This had zero impact on my opinion as I know my luxury hotels. 😉
**Top photo and Starfish Cay photo are courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman