The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is one of the top of the line hotels you can book in the world. If you are looking to boost your Marriott Bonvoy status, or better yet, cash in some of that status, this is one of the hotels to look into.
Gracing the stretch of the Grand Cayman, Ritz-Carlton is a total gem. It’s an AAA Five Diamond property with a spectacular beachfront location. Ritz-Carlton currently occupies around 144 acres which stretches along the famous Seven Mile Beach. It’s also known as the ‘resort side’ where tourists flock year in and year out.
The launch of Ritz-Carlton marked a new era in Grand Cayman’s luxury accommodation industry. This $500-million hotel and resort offers top-tier services and luxurious facilities that come at a rather hefty price.
Still, if you have the money to splurge, a stay in Ritz-Carlton is totally worth it. It has 365 rooms that range from 1 to 3-bedroom layouts with full kitchens and a full spectrum of residential perks. Also, it has suites as well as privately owned units that face the ocean.
If you’re planning to stay at Ritz-Carlton, it’s best that you understand its floor plan first, much so if you’re vacationing with your family.
Guestrooms are located on the resort side which faces either the pool or the golf course. If you want a full ocean view, you’d have to choose a suite or room that comes with a premium price. Both are ideal for families. But if you have kids, it’s best that you choose an oceanfront suite as it takes a shorter walk to the beach.
My 2019 Ritz Carlton Review – Grand Cayman Edition
Many travelers around the world swear by that there is no better remedy to winter chill than an escape to a sun-soaked Caribbean island. And to my delight, I was to be flying to the Grand Cayman for my son’s Spring Break of 2019. I knew my trip was going to be pretty good because I was staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman.
Ritz-Carlton is a name we all know very well. The resort first opened its doors in Grand Cayman in 2005. It is spread across 144 acres and stretches from the Seven Mile Beach to the North Sand. It has all the things you’d love in a royal resort. From a stylish facade in subtle shades of pale beige to the classic architecture, Ritz-Carlton is easily comparable to a titanic sand castle because of its unique shape and color.
What You Should Know About the Ritz Carlton on 7 Mile Beach
For those who know Grand Cayman well, you may recall this plot of land. It was formerly the very popular Holiday Inn back in the 1990’s.
The Ritz-Carlton is as big inside as it is from the outside. It has 375 rooms and suites which are each equipped with a balcony having a beautiful view of either the ocean, resort or the garden. There are even club rooms that offer lounge access. Typical room size at the Ritz-Carlton starts from 480 square feet and goes as high as 8,000 square feet. The biggest rooms are found on the Grand Cayman Penthouse.
The Exclusive Amenities of the Hotel
When I arrived at the hotel, I was welcomed by a lively yet professional staff who escorted me to my room from the front desk. This guy was one of the 800 very enthusiastic to please employees on the staff roster of the hotel. On our way, the staff provided an excellent overview of the hotel services. My room featured decor accented after the island having blue and green jewel tones and an ocean view. The bathroom in the room was made with white marble and was extremely welcoming. If that isn’t enough, my room also featured a dedicated terrace that had two chairs and a small table overlooking the swimming pool.
The rooms of Ritz-Carlton were recently renovated with new features. Now the rooms also include modern amenities such as flat-screen televisions, coffee machines, free Wi-Fi access, minibars, make-up mirrors, and plenty of electrical outlets to charge your laptop, smartphones and other gadgets.
Since the hotel is huge, I would highly recommend first-time visitors to use the resort map given to you at check-in. If you ignore that map, you are going to miss on a lot of things because there is a lot to see in the resort. For those of you who are very particular about your physical wellbeing, a 4,000 square-foot big and state-of-the-art fitness center featuring modern equipment and professional classes is available. Other highlights of the resort include two swimming pools, a water park, six restaurants, a nine-hole golf course designed none-other than Greg Norman. My favorite spot at the hotel was none other than the exceptional La Prairie spa. It is a true oasis! This immensely beautiful 20,000 square foot spa is one of the three in this area and has treatments using highly recognized and premium products by La Prairie. During my visit, I was able to enjoy a signature facial at the spa, it was one of a kind experience!
Another thing that caught my attention in the resort was the ‘Gallery Bridge, which is essentially a walkway connecting the man building of the resort to the Ocean Tower. It is also known as the Cayman Art Wall and displays more than 100 island-themed paintings and sculptures made by local artists. This art wall has been a highlighted feature of the resort since the very first day the resort was opened 12 years ago. And what is even better is that most of the artwork displayed is on sale too.
Nothing Short of a Great Dining Destination
When I was visiting the Grand Cayman, it was during the annual Cayman Cookout. This event is celebrated every year and it was the 10th year when I was there. It featured some of the best chefs from around the world including names like Anthony Bourdain, Emeril Lagasse, Jose Andres and more. Every year the event is hosted by none other than Chef Eric Ripert, three-star Michelin chef who is also the head of the resort’s culinary offerings.
Within the resort, you’ll also find Blue By Eric Ripert, a Triple-A Five Diamond Restaurant in the Carribean. It specializes in gourmet seafood and serves as an excellent attraction spot for food lovers from around the world. It requires reservations in advance so make sure to book a table! Some of the menu items I fell in love with included smoked butter seared cod with wild mushrooms, poached scallops with turnips, and conch-saffron chowder with seared tuna with bok choy and kimchi-shrimp broth.
In addition, the resort’s other five restaurants also feature a diverse menu from around the world. When you are there, I guarantee that you’ll never want to leave the hotel when it comes to food because if you’re looking for an amazing meal, you’ll find it in one of the six restaurants of the resort. The restaurants include Bar Jack, and Andiamo, both poolside and serving authentic Italian cuisine.
During the mornings, I used to often have breakfast at the Seven, a restaurant named after the Island’s Seven Mile Beach. The restaurant’s morning buffet was my favorite because it was fresh, extensive, delectable, and complete with a dedicated omelet station. During the afternoons, I found myself enjoying cocktails at the sophisticated Silver Palm Lounge that also has an extensive wine list, afternoon tea, and a cigar assortment on the menu. My most memorable dining experience was at the Taikun, the resort’s premium Japanese restaurant that offered amazing sushi coupled with traditional ramen and rolls. I also loved the fact that there was an extensive sake selection available here which you won’t find anywhere else on the island. The server even grated fresh wasabi root using shark skin when my meal was served at the table on request.
Lots of Family-Friendly Activities
Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is a very family-friendly resort. It is home to the one and only water park on the island called the Starfish Cay. The water park is located at the Harbour Club on the resort’s tower. The park also has an Ambassadors of the Environment program which is an eco-friendly program for both adults and children. It is made possible with the partnership of renowned environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau. As a result, you’ll find plenty of eco-tours and island exploration at the park.
And if you are a beach lover like me, the pool and shorefront experience of the resort is an ideal place for you. It has plenty of amenities including sunblock, lounge chairs, towels, ice water, and more. And if you are attracted by Cabanas, you have to reserve them in advance. You can also borrow a beach toy. All the non motorized water equipment in the resort is free of use such as snorkel gear, water hammocks, kayaks, water tricycles, paddle boards, and floating rafts.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and I would easily recommend it over other resorts on the islands. There is absolutely no resort or hotel in the region that can compete against what the Grand Cayman has to offer.
What You Should Beware Of
This place is NOT cheap. Luckily, I used some Bonvoy Points for this stay, but the resort fees, service fees, and tourism fees still make up a hefty spend every day. Drinks on the beach and in Bar Jack are about $20 for something tropical and frozen. Beers can be had cheaper, but they are still priced high in Grand Cayman overall.
The spend at this hotel is very real. The cheapest breakfast you can get on premises is “The Cupboard,” which is beachside in the first floor of the hotel, or at the lobby bar on the other side. Both offer many delicious coffee selections along with croissants, muffins, and other pastries. Seven was about $50 per head for the all you can eat breakfast, but they also have an a-la-cart menu. Both are very delicious.
Marriott Travel Hack of the Day
My advice is that if you are staying here, make sure you that number one, you are a Marriott Bonvoy member so you can earn points. Number two, get the Marriott Bonvoy credit card and pay for your entire stay on this card so you can earn 6 x the points. Depending on your status, you can even get a bonus just for staying there. I earned 10’s of thousands of points, even though I essentially paid for my room in points, so this membership has a lot of privileges. (They even let you earn “nights stayed” when you pay in points, which is clutch.)
Other Ritz Carlton Hotel Reviews:
Ritz-Carlton is a massive hotel and resort. This means that you can find small to oversized rooms to suit your taste. For those with kids, a marble bathroom with a tub and shower will be a good choice. There’s also an in-room fridge, Wi-Fi, DVD player, coffeemaker, and other perks that will satisfy guests across ages.
If you want to experience a club lounge stay, you might as well book a Club Level accommodation. This way, you’ll enjoy exclusive access to Ritz-Carlton’s club lounge. Of all the resorts in Grand Cayman, only Ritz-Carlton has a club lounge.
For those who want a large accommodation and can spend premium money, a suite is an unbeatable choice. You can book a one to three-bedroom suite located at the back of the pool. All of the suites have a full kitchen, washer and dryer, living area, granite counters, sleeper sofa, master bedroom, and more fixtures.
Make sure that you check the size of the suite before booking one. Usually, it ranges from 1,200 sq. ft. to 2,400 sq. ft. In case you find these suites too large, you can opt for the Harbor Suites. Most of the rooms here measure 960 sq. ft. paired with two balconies, master bedroom, sleeper sofa, and baths.
If you’re flying solo or just staying with someone, you can save more money if you settle for a basic room. Although it’s smaller than suites, you can pick one that has an ocean view or resort view.
Just a tip: if you’re staying with small kids, don’t forget to ask for a POLO kit (Protect Our Little Ones). This kit has outlet plugs, tub spout cover, and a night light that will baby-proof the room.
Looking for utmost privacy? You can choose the Seven South accommodation. This offers ultimate privacy, thanks to its highly secluded location as a new wing on the resort. It currently has 11 suites and the Grand Cayman Penthouse which is the largest and most expensive choice in Ritz-Carlton.
Activities you can enjoy at Ritz-Carlton
The resort is a perfect respite for families or individuals who just want to take a breather in the Grand Cayman. Here are some of the exciting activities you shouldn’t miss during your stay:
The Costeau’s series is part of Ritz-Carlton’s edu-tainment program called Ambassadors of the Environment (AOTE). This is composed of computers, digital cameras, and video microscopes where children who love ecology and wildlife get to experience it firsthand.
Each day, you’ll get to catch 6 experiences out of the 40 included in the series. The first three are best for ages 4 to 7 while the other three suits ages 8 to 17.
Take note that the program is divided into two during the day. One is from 9:30 and to 12:30 pm then the other half is from 2 pm to 5 pm. It’s best that parents supervise their small kids during the experience.
Mangrove Kayak Adventure
The Mangrove Kayak Adventure is something that 8-year-olds and up will enjoy. Here, they would be toured to estuaries like reefs, mangroves, and stingrays. There’s the so-called Stingray City where the guests can hop on a boat going to the sandbar where they can see actual stingrays.
If you find this a little risky for your small kids, you can bring them to the Starry Nights instead. Here, they can peek at the sky using a telescope.
Sea Turtles Discovery Lab
If you want your child to know how to care for turtles and other marine life, let them join the Sea Turtles Discovery Lab. Here, they will know more about turtles and how trash harms these creatures. They can also track a tagged turtle named Murph through a satellite.
After this, they will make cookies using a solar oven. They will also create solar prints and eat the cookies they made.
For an activity the family will enjoy, outdoor movies are the highlights of the Ritz-Carlton evenings at the Periwinkle Park. This is located on a sandy and laidback patch near Periwinkle just beside the pool eatery. Most of the movies shown here are family-friendly like ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Shrek’.
If you want to take a break from the beach, you can head to the Starfish Cay. This waterpark has waterslides, zero-entry splash pool, water hoses, splash buckets, and more. There’s also a kid-sized lounge, picnic tables, and chairs where you can relax.
For those who want some time with the adults, the Blue Tip golf course is something you shouldn’t miss. This 9-hole course lets 15-year-old and younger play after 4 pm given that they are supervised by an adult.
There’s the ‘Great Lawn’ on the resort side where Ritz-Carlton sets up a volleyball net. Families and groups can book a private session on the 20-foot rock climbing wall near the Heritage House. There’s also a tennis center and a basketball court.
Dining at Ritz-Carlton
The resort is a family-friendly resort, especially when it comes to dining. Kids under 5 can eat for free if accompanied by a paying adult in all of Ritz-Carlton’s restaurants. There are fish fingers, pasta, chicken fingers, burgers, meatballs, spaghetti, and more that the children can enjoy.
In case you don’t have the energy to dine in a restaurant, the resort offers 24-hour room service for your convenience.
Here are some of the best restaurants to try in Ritz-Carlton:
This is Ritz-Carlton’s signature fine dining restaurant. It’s an AAA Five Diamond restaurant which is the only one of its kind in the whole Carribean. The top chef here is famous for New York’s Le Bernardin. The food here is best enjoyed by adults and older kids.
This is an al fresco restaurant that serves Italian cuisines including pasta, pizza, and more. Andlamo also offers pizza-making classes for kids on several days.
If you’re craving for Japanese food, head to Talkun for a fresh serving of sake, sashimi, and sushi. This is actually one of the most go-to places in the while Grand Cayman.
This restaurant serves steaks and seafood on its chic establishment. It’s best for adults and older kids.
This dining destination both offers gastro delights and a chance to experience the art of cooking. Here, guests will be taught how to create multi-course meals under the supervision of top chefs.
This is an eatery located between the ocean pool and the sea where you can munch on burgers, sandwiches, and hotdogs while enjoying the view. This is a great place for afternoon snacks.
Extras you need to know
If you’re bringing babies or small kids, your trip will be more convenient if you ask for cribs, strollers, tubs, baby swings, and the likes ahead of time. This way, you no longer have to bring your own. However, this will cost a certain fee.
Upon booking for a room, you will pay an additional $75 daily resort fee. This will let you and your kids use complimentary equipment like paddles, kayaks, water tricycles, rafts, snorkels, and so on. You’ll also enjoy the high-speed internet connection.
Ritz-Carlton’s fitness center is open all day long. The 9,000-sq. ft. center is packed with all the equipment you need to get ripped even during your vacation.
Tented cabanas are available for $350 per day. Here, you can enjoy total privacy while feeling the refreshing sea breeze. The cabanas come with a waiter, chaise lounge, chairs and table, and drinks.
This extra is for the kids to enjoy. You can ask the hotel desk upon arrival so your kids will enjoy looking for clues in exchange for a reward. There’s a treasure chest in the lobby where the reward will be taken.
For tired moms and dads, Ritz-Carlton offers a full spectrum of spa services including treatments, massages, wraps, and more. For teens, they should be accompanied by a parent.
As a Carribean resort, timing is everything if you want to have an enjoyable stay in the Ritz-Carlton. Peak seasons are during the months of December to April where the prices are also high due to the holidays. If you want a quieter stay, you can visit during the low season months of March to November. However, these months tend to be cloudy and rainy at times.
The good thing is that Grand Cayman is easy to reach due to the availability of many flights across airlines. If you’re coming from Miami, this is just a 75-minute fly away. From the airport, Ritz Carlton is just a 15-minute drive. You can also make arrangements with the hotel so you will be fetched by a van.
In case you fail to add this perk, you can hail a taxi or ride a bus going to the resort.