by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Ideally situated in the middle of Seven Mile Beach, the Marriott Grand Cayman has all the amenities of a typical Marriott, but is enhanced by its enviable position on a Caribbean island. Five floors of guestrooms create a broad arc facing the ocean, but of the 295 rooms and suites, only 72 have a partial or full ocean view. The remaining rooms look out over the courtyard or other island vistas.
Originally built in 1993, a project is always underway, keeping this property up to Marriott’s standards for high quality. Most recently, the lobby, fitness center, lounge and restaurant received a complete makeover.
Upon check-in, families are welcomed with traditional Caribbean rum cake along with a fruity punch drink, appropriately spiked for adults who wish. The resident red parrots, Ruby and Eco, might make an appearance as well — they are frequently seen around the property and offer a great photo opportunity with kids. Kids also love watching the turtles swim in the waterway that winds through the courtyard between the restaurant and pools. The activity staff welcomes help in feeding and caring for the turtles and announces the times when this will happen each day.
Our Editor Loves
- Beautiful Seven Mile Beach
- Friday night Buccaneers Feast
- Unlimited water sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Everyone wants to wake up to a view of the ocean, and 72 of the 273 rooms and all of the 22 suites at this Marriott provide a partial or full view of the ocean. And in all rooms you'll be able to enjoy time relaxing on your private balcony. All rooms offer either a king bed or two doubles and a mini-fridge. Cribs are provided at no charge, and adjoining rooms are also available upon request. All bathrooms are fitted with tub/shower combinations and provide traditional Marriott bath products.
If you're on a budget, ask for the Deluxe room -- it's the least expensive option. The floor-to-ceiling windows and private balcony are also great features in the guestrooms.
A junior suite is a good choice for families with more than two children, as it includes a sofa bed and wet bar. DVD players are standard in all suites and may be requested for other room arrangements at no extra charge.
The pros: This hotel was recommended to me by a friend. I thought the service was outstanding! Truly, the staff are so well trained. Our restaurant server experience is unforgettable. They were also so attentive to our toddler. We enjoyed the Mediterranean night a lot. We also liked the outdoor restaurant. Staff by the beach are excellent and attentive. I remember our server from Bali in the interior restaurant and two lovely servers from the Philippines in the exterior restaurant as well as the Kenyan who helped with umbrellas and chairs outside. An international staff with superb customer service. I loved the beach and the floating sun bather floaters (not sure what to call them). By far one of the best beach experiences ever. If you love calm water - this is the place.
The cons: at this price point you will be disappointed by the rooms. It’s very dated. Felt like an upscale motel which was the single biggest disappointment. Spending over $600/night on rooms and amenities this old is quite scandalous. The only other bad drawback is the incredibly small beach front and even smaller pool. It creates a nice bouquet feel but you don’t feel like you’re getting what you paid for.
The other thing that was difficult for me to swallow was the amount of single use plastic. I’ve never seen more waste at a resort. Endless plastic cups by the beach served. A brand like Marriot needs to get better about this.
by Alicia W
The staff made the stay for us. Almost everyday a staff member went out of their way to recognize us personally, to remember our birthday, to leave an extra coffee in the room and to find an answer to a question, etc. The staff seemed very genuine and not just coached. The hotel’s beach problem was easily solved by just walking down to an empty area that was peaceful and had beautiful sand. The hotel dining was fine, but we also enjoyed eating at the various places across the street, particularly Coconut Joes.
Beach and Pool
As with any Caribbean vacation, the beach and water activities take precedence over everything else. The kidney-shaped pool ranges in depth from 3 to 5 feet, and is a pleasant, palm-tree fringed setting. Rafts and noodles are permitted, but there are no water features to engage extremely active children.
Red Sail Sports coordinates the waterfront activities here, which include all you can imagine: snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, parasailing, water bicycles and trampolines.
Kids' Club and Family Fest
Camp Eco, the hotel's children's club, takes advantage of both the beach and water activities for children 5 to 12 years old. Just steps from the beach, a bright and lively air-conditioned center offers Wii and other computer games, as well as a creative selection of arts and crafts. Two trained staff are with the children at all times and often lead them around the property on treasure hunts and to interact with the turtles and parrots.
Arts and crafts activities and family-sized treasure hunts are also coordinated for families who choose to play together during the day. There is usually a nominal charge to participate in these craft projects. Although there is no teen center, teens enjoy the video game arcade, and other activities such as water volleyball.
The Buccaneers Fest on Friday evenings is a vacation highlight for many families. Your bunch of buccaneers will enjoy everything from jerk chicken to papaya glazed mahi mahi. The event also promises a band, costumes and "yo-ho-hoing" on the beach.
Four onsite restaurants offer lots of choices for families.
Veranda on Seven Mile Beach
This alfresco dining option serves lunch and dinner in a "smart casual" setting. Guests will love the seafood grilled on the beach at Veranda.
Open for breakfast and dinner, guests can enjoy homemade pastries and bread at Den. For breakfast a full buffet or an a la carte menu is available.
Anchor Bar & Lounge
This casual lounge is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a grab and go menu and raw bar and sushi are available here too.
This new, beach and poolside bar features lunch and a cocktail menu is a casual setting.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
In addition to Camp Eco, parents have the option of hiring a private babysitter for in-room service or resort activities. Ask at the concierge desk. The concierge can also provide milk and cookies for your children along with the nightly turndown service.
The fitness center received an upgrade and has a comprehensive selection of cardiovascular and weight machines. Located next to the lobby, it allows teenagers 16 and older. Unfortunately, it does not provide a view of the ocean.
A Little Princess Package is available at La Mer Spa, and includes a French braid, manicure and pedicure and a lipgloss. Anyone under 18 must have a parent's signature before receiving any additional spa services.
All rooms offer Wi-Fi at an additional charge, but guests will find free Wi-Fi in the lobby and restaurant areas. Gold and Platinum members of the Marriott Reward program always receive complimentary Wi-Fi wherever they are.
The hotel's all-purpose sundry and gift shop offers snacks and last-minute items that may have been forgotten at home.
In keeping with the trend throughout the Caribbean, this Marriott is entirely smoke free.
The Art of Smart Timing
It goes without saying that winter is the high season in all of the Caribbean. You will not find bargains at this time and may not find rooms at all if you don't plan ahead. You'll have a lot more sand to call your own in August and September, when you'll find the best rates and last-minute deals. This time is also hurricane season, so you might want to invest in some travel insurance.
If you plan on exploring George Town during your visit to the Cayman Islands, first check with the concierge on the number of cruise ships expected in port that day. Any more than two ships results in excessive crowds that make shopping or dining a challenging experience.
The Grand Cayman Airport is located at George Town, which is the middle of the island, but at the eastern end of Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Road. Depending on traffic, it could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to reach the Marriott via taxi or private car. A one-way taxi ride should cost about $30 US for a family of four.
Walking about the resort is easily accessible but a taxi is needed to get to George Town.
For Mom and Dad
Make babysitting arrangements ahead of time for a romantic beachfront or poolside dinner. Each night, the hotel designates just a handful of remote spots for private dining by candlelight, so plan ahead. Also consider an evening away at Camana Bay, a relatively new development where adult dining options prevail.