Word on the street is there’s no hotter island in the Caribbean right now than Grand Cayman. I’m not talking about temperature, but instead how this destination is racing to the tops of many travelers’ wish lists. If you follow trends, numbers, and social media buzz, it feels like there is a giant arrow pointing right at this 75-sq. mi. island, and it certainly seemed that way as I recently boarded a packed flight from Miami International to Owen Roberts International Airport to finally see for myself just how busy this once-subtle destination has become.
Funny enough, if there’s buzz around this island, it hasn’t really landed yet. Or, perhaps, the wonderful people of Grand Cayman simply aren’t affected by it. The island is still as laidback as it gets, because, well, it’s impossible not to experience instant bliss and relaxation when your entire vacation is spent wandering up and down Seven Mile Beach. And that’s undoubtedly what has increased the attention for this amazing island.
That and spectacular resorts like Westin Grand Cayman Resort and Spa.
Location Really is Everything
No matter where in the world we travel, be it to one of the many amazing Caribbean islands or some slice of heaven halfway around the world, it’s always great to hear that your ride from the airport to resort will take less than 10 minutes. That shouldn’t be a massive perk for an island, but it’s an irresistible bonus when you’re dying to finally set your eyes on that legendary stretch of sand.
I was excited enough to see Seven Mile Beach from the spacious lobby, even if the sprawling pool area somewhat blocked the view, but when I opened the curtains inside my Beachfront-Lanai room, it was a classic Caribbean moment of breathless appreciation. In the weeks leading up to my visit, I even wondered if I could compare this beach to Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos—both are widely regarded as the best in the Caribbean—and my ultimate decision was: why bother? We’re so lucky to have the opportunity to visit these unbelievable places, so ranking, comparing, and debating is a fool’s errand. Seven Mile Beach is astounding, and everyone should try to see it.
But you also need to get out and explore the island, and Westin Grand Cayman is an ideal base of operations. Golfers will love that North Sound Golf Club is a quick car ride from the lobby, and visitors who tour on two feet will love to get out and stroll. Sure, there’s a decent amount of vehicle traffic on West Bay Road (and obviously even more on Esterly Tibbets Highway), but it’s still incredibly safe for pedestrians throughout the day. The shopping plazas are loaded with fun local dining options and great shops for souvenirs, but if you ask just about any staff member at the resort for recommendations, you’ll never get to do it all in one trip.
An Elite Dining Experience
Two of the biggest events that take place on Grand Cayman—Cayman Cookout and Taste of Cayman—revolve around food, so I should have known this is a destination packed with creative cuisine. Still, I had no clue how good it all is, beginning with the dining options at Westin Grand Cayman.
Specifically, the newest option: woto, a fun little Japanese spot that is maybe half the size of the hotel’s coffee shop but offers the freshest, most downright delicious sushi, ceviche, and poke that could easily provide a different meal every day. However, that’s not to say the signature restaurant, Ferdinand’s, has lost any luster compared to this funky newcomer. If anything, they play very well together and uphold the “little bit of everything” vibes this property showcases so well.
But you’re going to want to wander and try local establishments, even if it’s just a quick jaunt to neighboring Governors Square, which is home to Seven Mile Burger, a restaurant unassuming in name but so highly recommended by just about every Westin Grand Cayman staff member I surveyed, and the place was as marvelous as billed. When it comes to dinner or merely enjoying an evening under that clear, beautiful Caribbean night sky, there’s nothing quite like Camana Bay on any island I’ve visited. In fact, it felt like a stylish slice of South Florida had been dropped in the middle of the sea.
The crown jewel dining experience of this open-air plaza is Union Grill and Bar, which a friend previously told me was home to the best steak he’s had anywhere in the Caribbean. “My friend, that’s a tall claim,” I replied, but when I finally had the chance to see if it lived up to his hype, I smiled as I told the restaurant’s owner that I’d had no finer dining experience anywhere else. And it’s all no more than a few minutes by car or shuttle.
An All of the Above Experience
One thing that caught me off guard and struck me as odd was when I learned that Westin Grand Cayman recently did away with its kid’s club facilities. I ask myself a set of standard questions when visiting a resort for the first time, and it almost always begin with: “Would my 8-year-old son like it?” No kid-specific amenity is a strange play for a resort that otherwise seems perfect for families with multiple children, so I had to ask why it was gone, and I absolutely loved the answer: “We want kids to experience the island, and they can’t do that in a room.”
Really, that goes for everyone. This isn’t a family-specific resort because everything is cultivated so well here with every type of traveler in mind. In fact, I’d say that wellness-focused people will feel like this is their kingdom, because it’s possibly the one place you can lose weight despite being surrounded by incredible dining options.
Start the day with a 3- or 5-mile guided run and see Grand Cayman while breaking a great sweat and follow it up with a 45-minute F45 full body workout class. Prefer to take it easy? Water fitness classes are great for all fitness levels and offer amazing views with a side of cardio. Daily sunrise yoga is hands down better than a cup of coffee, even the Caribbean latte at the Cayman Coffee Exchange (it’s been a month and I’m still furious that Starbucks has nothing that comes close). And the meditation and mindfulness classes recently resumed to allow any high-stress professionals to come down and let every bad thought melt away.
This barely scratches the surface of everything guests can experience when visiting Westin Grand Cayman—I didn’t even mention catamaran excursions to Rum Point and Stingray City! But that’s just a testament to the amazing versatility of this phenomenal island. Some destinations are “been there, done that,” but it’s impossible to claim you’ve done it all here.
That’s because this resort will never let the good times end.
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