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Trip report by - November 2001

My husband and I took our first trip to Grand Cayman last month. We had originally planned on going to GCM earlier in the year for our honeymoon, but ended up going to St. Barthelemy for 2 weeks instead.
While we really enjoyed and had a great time in Cayman, you won't find us rushing back there, not because of anything negative, but because there are several other islands we want to visit before we make a return trip to anywhere.
We flew down from Philadelphia on US Airways connecting through Charlotte. The flight was uneventful (we flew First Class) and they ended up cutting the movie off because they ran out of time! Customs in GCM is easy! We were the only flight arriving and our baggage came off right away. We took a taxi to the Marriott, which is where we had originally booked. Upon arrival at the Marriott I was disappointed with the hotel in general; far to 'conferencey', very bare bones with their service, and the room was musty, moldy and damp. Yuck! definitely not up to our standards (or Marriott's usual standards). Though disappointed with the room, we both agreed that it would suffice since we were not planning on spending all our time in the room. We waited for 1/2 hour for someone to bring our bags to our room, then we went downstairs to the beach...... so we thought. There is no beach at the Marriott - nothing. I was horrified at the mess of the beach/pool area, as was my husband, so we went to speak with the hotel manager. The manager was wonderful, extremely helpful and she arranged to have us move up to the Westin without incurring any penalties at the Marriott for cancellation.
I loved the Westin. I loved walking into the lobby and seeing white sand and blue water. We were upgraded once we arrived at the Westin (thanks to the Marriott) to an oceanfront room. The rooms at the Westin are nice; typical hotel rooms. Comfortable and the bathroom was a good size. We went down to the beach/pool area and had a drink and admired the view.
For dinner that night we went to Deckers. Since it was a Friday night Hi Tide was playing. The atmosphere was great! My husband had the 'all you can eat lobster' (best deal on the island) and I had the Red Snapper which was a special. We had a great time at Deckers.

Here is a list of the places we ate (I'll list the dinner locations first).

Deckers: opposite the Hyatt. Ate there twice, had a great time both visits.

The Reef Grill: Very nice meal: fresh fish was outstanding. Creme Brulee for dessert was super creamy. Great meal.

The Wharf: SKIP IT!!!! The absolute worst meal! We made reservations for 8pm and sat by the water. I was horrified at the fact there were many small children (kids under 10) and even older children running all over the restaurant. We even had one child come up to our table and start screaming for her mother. No apology was offered by the mother who came to retrieve her child. I was looking for a nice dinner, not Romper Room. The food was disgusting; it tasted like it has been cooked, then reheated. Very Very poor meal - a definite tourist trap.

Bamboo (at the Hyatt): I think this was the best sushi I have ever had; fresh, plentiful and delicious! Great Martinis (many made with sake) and a lively atmosphere. This was my husband's first experience with eating sushi and he LOVED it. We ate dinner at Bamboo twice.

The Brasserie: Another lovely meal. We went there on Thanksgiving night and they even offered a turkey dinner special! My husband and I both had fish, as well as the goat cheese salad and tried a bottle of one of their new wines - scrumptious! After dinner we had a cocktail in the lounge area. The service was attentive and friendly; actually, the bartender from the Hyatt who we met there one night had called her friend over at The Brasserie and asked him to make sure we had a great dinner, which we definitely did!

Chicken Chicken!: Yummy chicken! great flavor! Easy simple dinner. We walked down from the hotel and walked back. Delicious food; a must visit on the island.

Lazy Lizard: It had been open a week when we arrived. Very casual and laid back bar/restaurant with lots of locals. Dinner was pretty good - Mexican/Caribbean theme. Crowded, but we got a table with no problems.

Many of our lunches were simple meals; if we ate breakfast (which we would eat late), then we usually skipped lunch as it was too much to eat! If we were going on a boat trip, we ate breakfast and skipped lunch. The Westin has sandwiches and salads which you can order poolside or on the beach.

Britiania Golf Club (Hyatt): Nice lunch, cool view of the golf course. Typical club food.

Smugglers Cove (yes, they are open for lunch): Yummy lunch. Would have liked to go back for dinner, but we had so many other places we wanted to try. Small and cozy spot downtown George Town.

Ferdinands (Westin): There was only ONE day out of our entire trip that it rained, so we walked down to Ferdinands for lunch. Pretty good lunch with a nice view of the beach.

Westin: A definite must. Fantastic brunch: they had everything from meats to sushi-raw bar, pastries, pasta, fruit, you name it. Champagne served with brunch, as much as you want! I didn't indulge in too much because we were going on a boat trip right after brunch. If you go make reservations; it was booked solid when we went.

My husband and I love to snorkel and we took advantage of the beautiful reefs and coral that Cayman has to offer. We went with Captain Marvin one afternoon; Reef, Coral Gardens and Stingray City. Swimming with the Stingrays is a unique experience; they are amazing creatures. On this trip there were two guys from VIP Productions. They videotaped the trip and then showed the tape on the way back to land. You had the option of purchasing the video if you want too. We originally thought it was a cheesy idea, but once we got home to the US, we decided it would actually be pretty 'neat' to have a tape of our trip, so it's on it's way to us.
Our second trip was with Captain Dexter, and we visited the same places - we just can't get enough of the underwater world.!!!

We went to Rum Point (via the ferry) on a Friday after we had been in GCM for a week. Rum Point was so-so; kind of touristy and not very clean around the picnic tables. However, it was a relaxing afternoon, but towards the end of the afternoon we felt stuck there as the ferry back was leaving at 5pm - not soon enough! I was annoyed that families hogged the hammocks by putting their belongings in the hammocks (towels and bags) and then sat on one of the beach chairs. Oh well, at least we got a beach chair! Rum Point was overcrowded and you sat on top of other vacationers - we had been spoiled at the Westin with so much room on the beach!

We spent an afternoon in George Town which was overrun with cruise ship visitors. There is not too much to see in George Town; a typical Caribbean village with jewelry stores and such. The jewelry is not a good deal; in fact, a bit of a rip off. Everyone praises tanzanite,of which I don't understand the appeal.

We didn't rent a car as neither one of us felt confident enough to remember to drive on the other side of the road! We had no problems getting around; taxis were plentiful and not at all expensive.

Leaving the island was terrible!!! Of course, that was compounded by the fact it was the Sunday post Thanksgiving and everyone was returning to the US

Trip report - November 2001

Westin and Villas of the Galleon - both have a fine beach. The nicest part of west coast/7 Mile Beach. Almost stayed at Sunshine Suites for a few days. Looks nice and is good value but too far from beach.

Westin: Nice pool, jacuzzi and lobby area. Cable TV in room had few channels and poor reception.
Villas of the Galleon: Next to Westin. Rented 2 BR that was actually a 1 BR with loft bedroom. Good cable reception. Staff helpful.

Rented Car:
Avis/CICO – Lumina, $40/day, $240/week. No problems. Foster’s Supermarket is about half a mile from Westin. Driving on this island is easy, even if it is on the other side of the road. There is a long line of traffic during morning rush hour from West Bay area all along 7 Mile Beach in to George Town from before 8:00am until 9:00am.

Ristorante Ragazzi: Liked a lot. Good salads, pasta and wood fired pizzas. Restaurant packed on Friday night. Reservations recommended. Was very loud. Recommend. What did you say? I said, try this place.

Lobster Pot: Did not like. Menu selection is limited. Entrees are US$25-35. Food is average. Service OK. On Waterfront in George Town. Only place in Cayman that smelled like fish. We were in good mood, reminiscing and were able to ignore the smell but the food was still a disappointment. The experience dampened our enthusiasm. Two of us each ordered the same dinner, Lobster and Shrimp, 32 US for less than ¼ pound lobster shrapnel and 5 shrimp, a plantain slice, and maybe a vegetable slice. Taste was uninspiring. Very average. This experience discouraged others in the group from wanting to try Pappagallo or Westin’s Casa Havana.

Deckers: Liked. Good salad and pasta dishes. I ordered half-pound Caribbean lobster and another entrée, Salmon Fettuccine with Pesto Mousse. Both were good. Service good. Recommend. Friday and Saturday, live music.

Lone Star: All-U-Can-Eat Fajitas. Absolutely no taste other than that of cooked meat. No lime or chili powder taste. No discernible seasoning. One green pepper strip and some onions accompanied the meat. I didn’t eat all I could eat. Black bean soup had no flavor at all (no hint of spice or anything). Service ok.

Café Mediterraneo: Received best service here. Ample amounts of bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Scallop appetizer, good. Lobster and shrimp fettuccine, good. Risotto Primavera was very good. Warm goat cheese salad was good. They even accommodated 1 person in our party that wanted just spaghetti and meatballs. Recommend.

Athena’s: Service was worst anywhere. We waited for a while for a waiter/waitress to come to the table to take our order and we were the only table that was seated inside the restaurant. British waitress did not return to our table after we received our dinners. We had to get up and chase her down. We would have liked to order more drinks. She said she was too busy talking with a friend. We ordered an $8 spinach dip appetizer that came with 4 tiny quarters of a small pita bread (for 5 people), so we asked for more pita. They actually charged us $1.25 for the extra pita bread to finish the appetizer. Restaurant was empty. Greek food was good. I thought the décor was tacky, like a painted set from a high school play. My girlfriend liked the décor (the colors, the lighting, the atmosphere).

Vesuvios: Inexpensive. Pizza’s average at best. Sandwiches better. Pizza Hut would have been better.

Chicken-Chicken: For lunch had Pita-Pita platter. It needed salt-salt. Restaurant is a lot like Boston Market or Kenny Rogers Roasters.

Cimboco: Liked. Recommend. Nice décor. Good service.

Foster’s Supermarket: Purchased 4 lbs of Rib-eye steaks for CI$22. Grilled steaks at Villas of Galleon and ate in. Good dinner. Service almost psychic. Foster’s carries just about everything you see in our grocery stores.

Eats: Yeah, I ate at Eats. It was ok.

Benjamin’s Roof and Cracked Conch: Closed for renovations.

Blow Holes: Good thing there was no fee. Only one blow hole when I was there. Maybe they could drill some more holes and charge some money. Nice 10 minute break from driving along coast.

San Pedro’s Castle (House): US$8 per person. Wasn’t that exciting to me. Cayman Democracy story seemed lame. Again nice break from driving to East Side. Wonder how much the Smithsonian could charge. However, my girlfriend liked the presentation. She thought it was clever and informative but that it is a little pricey. It has a beautiful view along the southern coast of the island.

Windsurfing: Morritt’s Tortuga Club on East Side. Conditions fine. Rates CI$35/hr, CI$70/3 hrs, CI$300/week. Wind blows on shore, so even beginners can feel comfortable.

Stingray Sandbar: Captain Dexter of Fantasea Tours has done it again. Tour of 11 people received good service at a reasonable price. As with others, we were glad we were not packed on a boat with 50 or more people. Recommend.

Snorkeling: Governors Reef, recommend. Eden Rock, recommend. Cemetery Reef, were there but I think we missed the best part. We snorkeled 200 yards off to left of beach access entrance.

Turtle Farm: We were told that one tank, hatchlings, and Iguana would cost us $5 US each (normally $6 US each). We passed.

Hell: Ok. Quirky and free. Close This Window

These pages are © Robert Clark, 2004.
Date last updated: 24th May 2004