Room Key: Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
Address: Box 30371-Smb, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Bwi
Reservations: (888) 236-2427
Telephone: (345) 949-0088
Fax: (345) 949-8088
Managing Director: Chris Sariego
Nightly Rates: From $237, until Aug. 1; from $205, Aug. 2 to Oct. 31
Grand Cayman -- The impression that a Caribbean resort makes on me
has as much to do with how well it incorporates the destinations
allure as with the propertys physical appeal and level of service.
There are plenty of great hotels in the Caribbean and just as many
enticing islands. But when the two come together, making it
difficult to tell where the island ends and resort begins, the
right formula for a memorable getaway is achieved.
On a recent visit
to the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, a 307-room pastel-yellow
beauty on Grand Caymans Seven Mile Beach, I discovered a resort
that has made it a priority to bring the destination indoors,
creating an atmosphere of barefoot luxury around every
That the Grand
Cayman Marriott Beach Resort wasnt your typical cookie-cutter hotel
was evident upon walking into the lobby, where colorful artwork
created by local artists hangs on the walls.
The Marriott has
gone beyond simply acquiring the art. It has struck a partnership
with the National Gallery in George Town to display museum pieces
in the hotels public spaces. The resort also brings in local
artists on a monthly basis to exhibit their work and meet the
The courtyard off
the main lobby features a pond stocked with turtles, with quiet
seating areas surrounding the pond for admiring the creatures. The
Marriott works with local marine conservationists on a turtle
hatch-and-release program that enables guests to observe newborn
turtles and return them to the sea, yet another way of integrating
the island with the resort.
But it wasnt
always this idyllic. In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan walloped
Grand Cayman, arriving at the worst possible moment for the Grand
Cayman Marriott Beach Resort: The property was wrapping up a $7
the resorts managing director, said that Ivans furious winds
struck the Marriott mainly from land, sparing it from the storms
destructive sea swells.
resorts facade was destroyed and its windows blown out, and the
property was closed for nearly 10 months while a second, $16
million renovation was completed. The resort officially reopened
rooms were taken down to the sheetrock, carpets were replaced and a
new roof was put on. Seeing an opportunity to start from scratch,
the resort wired every guest room for high-speed Internet access,
outfitted guest bathrooms with marble and put 300-thread-count
linens on every bed.
While workers set
out to rebuild the hotels physical structure, Sariego and his team
set out to reshape the resorts image, which he said had become
We launched a
local campaign to promote and reposition the new Marriott as a
property that works more closely with the community and gives back
as much as it receives, Sariego said.
also took in restaurants and lounges, which Sariego said were given
new names and reinvented with an emphasis on sophisticated
Resort spa La Mer
was enlarged by 1,500 square feet during the renovation, including
four treatment rooms with private dressing areas, a couples suite
with a Jacuzzi and a cabana for outdoor massage.
The on-site dive
shop, operated by Red Sail Sports, offers open-water PADI
certification and all-inclusive dive packages. The dive shop and a
water-sports center will be moved to a larger building near the
activities club is planned. The resort also has hired a recreation
manager to create an activities program this season.
reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].