For luxury travelers, the Cayman Islands has always been in fashion. Located 480 miles south of Miami, this trio of boutique islands is world-renowned for idyllic beaches, sophisticated adventures, and gastronomy: after all, they make up what is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Whether visiting the Cayman Islands for R&R, celebration, or romance, Upscale Living highlights how to do it with pure indulgence on its largest float, Grand Cayman.
Make yourselves at home in Caribbean Club
Seasoned travelers tired of cookie-cutter resorts will find Caribbean Club a refreshing change: at-home luxe. The boutique property has just 37 spacious 1-to-3-bedroom suites and villas built right on the famed Seven Mile Beach, widely known as the Caribbean’s most beautiful. Think of it as your own opulent holiday home, complete with all the essentials such as a full kitchen, large fridge, washer/dryer, plenty of living, storage and desk space, smart TVs, and dining options ranging from marble counter to dining table to balcony. You’ll wish that the AWAY suitcase would stay put for maximum time. Every room has its own en suite bathroom, and villas have wrap-around balconies and ocean views that are reminiscent of private beach houses (without a trek to the front desk). Opening your drapes to the blue hues of the Caribbean Sea and closing them to warm orange sunsets will affirm there is no better location. Ground floor amenities include a restaurant and bar, Luca, an outdoor pool dotted with lounge chairs, and of course, steps out to a clean coral-sand beach and sparkling turquoise waters.
Discover the Cayman Islands’ beloved sea turtles
The Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (CTCEC) is the oldest endangered green sea turtle conservation and education facility in the world, and naturally one of the top attractions in town that will delight kids and adults alike. CTCEC is the only organization to have successfully bred, hatched, and raised two generations of Green sea turtles – over 34,0000 of which were released to the wild – allowing visitors to experience sea turtles at all stages of life. You’ll be able to come to see these magnificent creatures at feeding time, in the hatchery, and even snorkel alongside them in Turtle Lagoon. There’s also a predator reef, butterfly garden, a Caribbean aviary with local birds, a gift shop, and Schooner’s Bar and Grill. Expect time to rapidly sail by.
Eat the region’s finest
After just one meal in the Cayman Islands, you’ll begin to understand why it’s the culinary capital of the Caribbean. In fact, we guarantee you’ll go through the entire vacation without experiencing a mediocre meal. Choose between seafood shacks, five-star restaurants, and just about everything in-between: there’s a type of cuisine for everyone thanks in part to the island’s diversity. Our picks include Luca for contemporary Italian and a must-try-it-all wine list; Andiamo for their handmade pasta (save room to step up to their gelato station), Tillie’s for Seven Mile Beach’s most exquisite brunch, and Kimpton Sea Fire Resort + Spa’s Coccoloba for tasty Mexican street food. Date night? Agua Restaurant & Lounge is a hotspot in the chic waterfront town, of Camana Bay. The seafood specialist is rooted in Italian tradition and inspired by Peruvian cuisine, and their ceviches are phenomenal.
Join the locals for a party
Expect to make everlasting memories, no matter what your demographic; the Cayman Islands hosts iconic annual events from water sports competitions to culinary festivals, and the locals sure know how to bring their A-game to the party. Highlights from the calendar include the Annual Flowers Sea Swim on Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Cookout, Cayman Cocktail Week, Pirates Fest (themed to pirate legends), and CayMAS, the island’s cultural festival. Music lovers should make a beeline for Festival Green in Camana Bay to attend the Capella Music Festival, an immersive day of music that brings together local and legendary artists across the music worlds of pop, pop-rock, and reggae. You’ll want to do it VIP, of course, with a separate air-conditioned area, catering, VIP bar, and access right up close to music’s greatest.
Rest and rejuvenate island-style
Sea air and sunshine are a healer, and many travels to the Cayman Islands with wellness in mind. Fitness activities are aplenty, especially if you count watersports and excursions where physical strength is required. For downtime, the great thing about a diverse island is the fact that the spa treatments are vast and varied. Our favorite under-the-radar spot is Touch of Thai, right opposite Caribbean Club. The day spa and salon do the greatest authentic Thai massage, that’s with the extra pressure that’s how you like it, perfect for untangling jet lag. No matter whether you go down the massage, facial, meditation or yoga route, the island will send you back with a healthy glow.
The Cayman Islands are open to vaccinated travelers. US flights run directly from LA, Houston, Charlotte and Miami. Images courtesy of The Cayman Island Department of Tourism and partners.