As promised in last week's Travel Tuesday, today is all about the hotel. I wanted to share this in a different post because I thought it would be the most helpful! (see the full vacation recap here).
WHERE WE STAYED: The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman
LOCATION: Like previously mentioned, the hotel is on the east end of the island which can bring pros and cons. On the good side: you're far away from the touristy things, it's quiet and it's a true getaway. The downside: everything is a drive away, you're stuck at the resort (can also be a good thing) and you don't get to experience much of the island. No matter what side of the island you decide to stay on, I suggest renting a car. For what we wanted, the location was perfect. It was a true getaway and right on the beach. What more could you want?
Perks of being on the east end: seeing the sunrise.
THE ROOM: What I thought was so great about the hotel rooms were the fact that they all faced the water. At some hotels you can be disappointed by having a parking lot or building view. That was not the case here. Every room had a balcony and a killer view of the water. There were sliding doors to the balcony that -- as I found out on the last day -- you could push all the way open (three door widths). The room was also very clean and stayed that way with the staff everyday. There was the basic stuff like a kitchenette, fridge, dresser, mirror, closet and hangers, TV and safe. We also had a massive California king that was comfortable.
AMENITIES: What I thought was interesting was the option for an all-inclusive package during your stay. Most of the time, hotels are either all-inclusive or they aren't. However, the Reef had the option for day-to-day or for a longer (three-day minimum) package. We were debating the option but eventually decided against it only because we weren't sure how much we'd be at the resort since we had a car.
They also had their own watersports vendor where you were able to rent things like jetskis, snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, windsurfing gear and kite surfing equipment. This is also where you booked different tours like Stingray City, swimming with dolphins, submarine rides, helicopter tours, horseback riding, turtle farms, and scuba, snorkeling and museum tours. Booking everything through them was awesome and really convenient. They were the ones that advised us to go on the sunrise tour for Stingray City!
In addition to the water actives, the hotel offered yoga classes, had a tennis court, pools, hot tubs, a tennis/basketball court, a spa, beach volleyball and a beach bar. Inside the lobby there were different movies, games and actives to play and rent.
FOOD: We ate two meals during our stay. The first night there was an option for a buffet on the beach for New Years. Being on the beach (literally toes in the sand) for dinner was probably the only good part about dinner. It was rather expensive for a buffet and the food was only mediocre. There were people serving the buffet and would give you a small portion of what you wanted and would make you move on. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm at a buffet I'm going to get my money's worth and pick out my own portions. There was an array of options for food itself which was nice but all of the food was just okay. There was nothing that even stands out now looking back. I just remember it not being very good.
We gave the resort a second chance during our last dinner in one of the three restaurants at the hotel. This, thankfully, was MUCH better. It was the second best meal of the trip and it all but made up for the buffet night. Surprisingly, it was also cheaper than the buffet on the beach and we even got two appetizers and two large dishes. My meal below:
THE RESORT: The beach was awesome and always very clean. There were more than enough chairs to go around so staking out a spot was never a problem. Parking was free which was nice since we rented a car and we also never had a problem about finding a spot near our room. Wi-fi was free in the lobby and $5 for 24 hours if you chose to buy it for the room. The resort always felt very safe and the staff was amazing; truly very helpful and extremely nice. Overall the resort was awesome. It was a great place to stay and I would recommend it to friends!
Have any further questions? Let me know below!