My husband and I just returned from the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa in Grand Cayman (July 4-11, 2003). In comparison to other islands in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is one of the most safest, cleanest, and westernized islands. There is absolutely no poverty on the island, as Grand Cayman has a 20% higher standard of living than the United States. My husband and I rented a car one day to tour the island, and we were amazed at the number of mansions on the island!
RESORT: The Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa is beautiful and just the perfect size: not too big, not too small. The resort was almost empty, which was an added bonus.
The lobby is elegant with a collection of meticulously selected furniture, art, and accessories. The lobby has high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, sumptuous sofas, majestic lamps, and mahogany wood tables.
ROOM: My husband and I had an ocean front room on the top floor. The bedroom was exceptionally clean (as was the whole resort) and quiet. The furniture such as the bed, side tables, and television cabinet were made from mahogany wood. We requested a king sized bed, which was incredibly comfortable. The bathroom had a very small tub, granite counter tops, and a separate toilet area. The French doors to the patio and the double doors to the bathroom were a nice touch.
The only shortcoming is that the room and the hallways in the resort have carpet, not tile or marble. In my opinion, carpet takes away from the overall impression of a resort, as it becomes outdated overtime.
I noticed a review that mentioned a musty smell in the rooms. I did not come across this at all. The maids did such a wonderful job cleaning our room that it always smelt clean and fresh. Also, the housekeeping service was very efficient everyday.
BEACH: The beach at the Westin is the finest on Seven Mile Beach, especially when compared to the beach at the Hyatt. The beach is without a doubt one of the highlights at the resort. The sand is fine and white, the sea a turquoise blue, and the waves small and gentle. The beach is long so that you can always get a chair no matter what time you arrive at the beach.
Also, the beach is wide from the resort to the water. It is covered with fine sand that continues into the water where there are no pebbles or hard objects, jellyfish, or seaweed. The only shortcoming is that there is not enough shade on the beach. The pool area and beginning of the beach are lined with palm trees, however once you get onto the beach there are no palm trees or palapas.
The pool at the resort is equally beautiful, despite its small size. It has a bridge that allows you to get from one side of the pool to the other without having to walk around the entire pool. The pool has waterfalls, hidden coves, and palm trees. The pool is spotless and romantic.
Activities and entertainment: There are an endless array of water sports such as parasailing, water-skiing, sailboats, banana boats, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboats, snorkelling, and scuba diving.
There are no nighttime activities, except the piano bar.
FOOD: The two main restaurants at the resort called Havana and Ferdinand’s are incredible, however they are expensive. My husband and I paid approximately $350 Canadian for dinner one night at Havana, which included appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks. Despite the price, the food is absolutely exquisite, the atmosphere stunning, and the service impeccable. The Sunday brunch at Ferdinand’s is magnificent, as there are a variety of options in terms of food and unlimited champagne. Make sure that you make a reservation well in advance because the brunch is popular with the locals. Also, there is limited seating inside of the restaurant. If you would like to sit inside of the restaurant, you need to specify this when making a reservation. It is very hot outside on the patio! Unfortunately, the food at the pool is only mediocre. The nachos are terrible, as they taste like 7 Eleven nachos with Cheese Whiz.
My husband and I were able to explore some fantastic restaurants away from the resort such as Ristorante Pappagallo, El Dorados, and Portofino Wreck View. There is also a great pub across the street from the Westin that is connected to Eats Restaurant (a cheap breakfast joint). A word of warning: eating out in Grand Cayman is very expensive, so you should prepare yourself for this well in advance.
DRINKS: The resort has an excellent selection of alcohol. There are a lot of premium brands that we have in Canada. However, the drinks are triple the price at the resort. For instance, a cheap glass of wine is $16 CDN, a tropical drink such as a Pina Colada is $15 CDN, and a Corona Beer is $14 CDN.
Also, my husband and I appreciate a fine, strong cup of coffee. However, there is none at the resort or on the island. We went to several restaurants and coffee shops, but could not find a decent cup of coffee anywhere. We met other tourists who felt the same way.
We were extremely impressed with the level of service at the resort. From the waiters and bartenders to the chambermaids and front desk staff, everyone seemed to go out of their way to make our trip memorable. We were especially impressed with the restaurant staff, most of whom had obviously received very thorough service training.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: All in all, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa. When compared to other resorts on Seven Mile Beach, the Westin is without a doubt one of the top properties. We had a chance to visit other resorts such as the Hyatt, which is another stunning property. However, the Hyatt is not located directly on the beach – a beach that is only mediocre to say the least. The only shortcoming at the Westin is that it could use a fresh coat of paint. This would do wonders for the overall impression of the resort. I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to others. However, if I ever returned to Grand Cayman, I would most likely stay at the Ritz Carlton, which is currently under development. This resort will be the only true 5 star resort on the island.
If you have questions about the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa or Grand Cayman, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.