Aside from being a popular cruise ship destination, Grand Cayman has a lot going on. From new restaurants and innovative wine concepts to upcoming hotel construction, this Western Caribbean island is on the move. In November 2012, JetBlue added direct flights from JFK three times a week and Saturday service from Boston. After a recent visit to Grand Cayman, we have the inside scoop on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.
Gastronomy may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Cayman Islands, but Grand Cayman has its fair share of fantastic restaurants — and the list continues to expand. In April, two new eateries opened in the new urbanism community (one that is planned around walkability, rather than relying on cars) of Camana Bay. Sister restaurants Mizu and The Waterfront sit next to each other on what has become Camana Bay’s “restaurant row.”
Mizu is a chic, Asian-inspired restaurant and bar, serving sushi and Southeast Asian cuisine (try the dim sum and the Singapore fried noodles), while The Waterfront fills the diner void in the Grand Cayman restaurant scene. In its short life, the trendy diner has become known for its massive cinnamon bun that’s the size of a bread plate and absolutely delicious.
Unwind with a glass of wine or two at West Indies Wine Company in Camana Bay. The tasting room opened in March and is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Rather than ordering a single glass of wine, purchase a preloaded card and try more than 80 different pours in three different portions: taste, half glass and full glass. The vino is served via state-of-the-art Napa Technology WineStations, which allow you to expand your palate without committing to a full glass. If you like a certain wine, you have the option to purchase it, as well as beer, spirits and accessories. And if you get hungry, you can order a cheese plate from West Indies Wine Company or simply order delivery from one of the Camana Bay restaurants that are all within a stone’s throw.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which opened in 2005, updated a few pieces of the massive resort in late 2012. One of the most noticeable remodels is its signature steakhouse, Seven. Formerly known as 7 Prime Cuts & Sunsets, the restaurant takes its name from the world-famous Seven Mile Beach on which it sits. You won’t find any of the classic décor here (no more yellow walls and heavy draperies); the dining room incorporates the island feel by bringing in plenty of light.
Just down Seven Mile Beach, Camana Bay is making room for a new luxury hotel. Dart Realty (the company that owns Camana Bay) bought the shuttered Courtyard Marriott in late 2011, and construction has recently started. There’s no confirmation on who will manage the beachfront resort, but that should be announced in the coming months. Completion of the hotel is slated for 2016 as the next stage of Camana Bay.
Photos Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC, Camana Bay