Friday, September 27, 2013

Your Perfect Escape to Paradise



 
The first time I opened the pages of The National Geographic Books 
that my father bought for us,
I fell in love with so many beautiful places.
Countries I have never heard of.
And one of the places I fell in love with
I dreamt that one day I will get a chance to visit this beautiful island.
And visit, I did!

This year I was fortunate to get that chance.
A chance to spend my birthday 
in Paradise.

The next few posts,
please allow me to share our trip to Grand Cayman.

 

 
Like any traveler,
I had the trying task of choosing the hotel,
and planning for every activity on this trip.
With the list of hotels in hand, 
I started surfing the web and did my research.
Oh ... the tantalizing photos,
How do I know if that was just edited?
The slick promotion on some hotel's website
will make you believe that you will be bathe in ultimate pampering.
How can you tell if the hotel will live up to its own hype?
Reviews were making me more confused.

At the end,
it came down to location,
beach size, family-friendly, eco-friendly,
and those 3 Round Gold Plaques on their website for
an Award of Excellence 2 years in a row.

was my choice of hotel.
Fronting the famous white sand Seven Mile Beach,
located in the heart of Grand Cayman.
Named to Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List,
the resort has been recognized for its excellence.


Westin's renovated Lobby. Fresh, modern Caribbean meets Colonial-chic.


From the moment we arrived,
we were greeted by courteous and friendly staff.
Cicero greeted us with his big beautiful Latin smile as he opened the doors to the resort.

At the Front Desk,
Hadi was helpful and attentive to our needs.
He impressed me most when he remembered his guests from the previous year.
That's the customer service I want!



Cool towels and chilled water bottles were given to guests when they arrive.
At the lobby,
 a beverage container is filled with ice cold juice for the guests.
A perfect welcome refreshment after a day out in the sun.
The kids loved that.







I would have loved to play music in this beautiful baby grand
but guests were not allowed to touch it.

 
The beautiful fresh  interior.





OUR ROOM

We had a beautiful Deluxe Ocean Front Room.
At the dining table was a note, 
and a basket full of fruits, cookies, and chips for the kids.
What a sweet way to welcome us.

 

Having a Deluxe Ocean Front room gives you
hardwood floors, perfect for tiny wet feet tracking sand inside ... easy clean-up,
French doors that open to the beautiful view
 of the ocean and the breathtaking sunset.
The doors directly leads you out to the beach.
Lanai with outdoor seating is where we would sit every morning
and have our Starbuck's coffee (provided in our room).

Meditating at Sunset.

An elderly guest swimming at sunset.

My son's favorite tool at the lanai is the foot bath 
where he would wash his feet whether there is sand or not..

And best of all,
our vacation on the island would not be complete
without a hammock on the beach
 right outside our room.



My husband and I would go outside after we have put the kids to bed
to stargaze and listen to the ocean waves.
We enjoyed our quiet time together very much,
 lying and swinging on the hammock.

Some nights we would sit by the water,
with our cocktails
or enjoy a cup of coffee with our mini-rum cakes
 that the staff  leave on our nightstands at turn down each night.


Tortuga Mini Rum Cakes

The first night,
we had  forgotten to apply bug repellant and the next day,
my feet and arms were spotted with mosquito bites.
My husband and I enjoyed our quite time together,
 we didn't even feel that the mosquitos were already feasting on us.
We surely didn't forget to apply bug spray the following nights after that! ;)
Yes, there are mosquitos in the island,
where there is warm weather and water, mosquitos thrive.
So don't forget to bring bug spray or in our case we brought bug repellant towelettes.
We had carry-on luggages so an aerosole spray would have been thrown out by the TSA.

The island has Mosquito Research and Control Unit.
We've seen their Turbo Thrust aircraft fly around the island,
we were told, they drop pellets of insecticides on hard to reach areas
such as swamps.
The aircraft fly around on evening missions
attacking the adult mosquitos using adulticidal (meaning they target adult mosquitos) sprays,
the spray equipment releases tiny droplets that stay in the air
killing the adults on contact.
 Sunset is when they spray,
as this is the time when the swamp mosquitos are most active.

Our room had the usual must haves,
flat-screen television, security safe, iron, ironing board, a small dining table and chairs,
and single-cup coffee/tea maker with complimentary Starbuck's coffee.
Unlike what other reviews have stated
the mini-fridge and in-room Wi-fi is of NO charge.
We got 2 complimentary water bottles and mini-rum cakes brought in everyday.
Our deluxe ocean front room is equipped with a ceiling fan and it's own thermostat,
so one can control the temperature in the room.
You can request a dehumidifier for your room,
since nothing seems to dry with the humid weather in the island.

Double doors open to a spacious marble-tiled bathroom
with a separate toilet room.
A bathtub with a rain shower head and body spray,
which comes handy in cleaning up a sandy little tyke.
Bathrobes, hairdryer, make-up mirror and Heavenly bath-amenities
were provided.




After a fun day out in the sun,
the Westin Heavenly Bed
 was just what we needed to energize for the next day's adventures with our children.




THE BEACH

What's so special about the beach at Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach?
Incredible stretch of pristine white sand beach,
no rocks or seaweed,
warm and calm crystal clear water
in different shades of blue.
You'll find yourself swimming with fishes,
and everyday we encountered and swam with stingrays at the beach.
Yes, stingrays!

Adjacent to the Westin Grand Cayman Resort's Beach is the Governor's Reef
(in front of the Governor's house of course),
home to countless varieties of brilliantly colored tropical fish and marine life.
The reef is a few kicks off the shore, it is an easy spot to snorkel.
The fish are not shy and they will swim up to you.
The ever changing colors of  Grand Cayman.
Took this shot on one of my morning walks before 9 a.m.

Took this one around Noon

Amazing shot my husband took of a fish swimming on top of the stingray.
My daughter helping her brother view the stingray swimming past them.
Another shot of  2 Spotted Eagle Rays  
My daughter swimming with the friendly fishes, they just love to swim around your feet.
A shot of the Trumpet Fish my daughter took while snorkeling
at waters in front of the Westin Resort.
Cabanas at the Beach  

Yoga at the Beach for guests



THE POOL


The pool is nestled among tropical palms and casuarina trees.
My son loves the ocean but he loves the pool equally.
We would order lunch from Tortuga Grill, and ate by the pool.
 After lunch,
 while my little tot and my husband stayed at the pool,
my daughter and I would go back to our room to freshen up
and take a little siesta before dinner.
  
The over-sized pool features a swim-up bar.

Ice cold Lemon water available for guests by the pool and beach areas.

Guest can relax at one of the 2 hot tubs at each end of the pool. 

Cabana with Swinging  Beds at the pool area

Swim-up Cabana 

DINING

Dining on vacation with picky eaters is always a challenge.

They love my home cook meal,
but are never adventurous in trying new dishes like my husband and I.
We had lunch at Tortuga Grill at the hotel most days,
and dined out most nights.
There are restaurants across the street or within a 10-15 minute walk from the resort.
Some restaurants do deliver.
We joined the Friday night Beach BBQ at Tortuga Grill at the resort
and the kids loved that.
They especially loved the buffet of desserts.
The next time we come back to Grand Cayman
we will definitely not miss dining at Casa Havana.


Had lunch at the pool or at the beach almost everyday.
My chicken wrap from Tortuga Grill.
Very happy to be at the Beach BBQ

OTHER AMENITIES

The resort offers families with children 4-12 years of age Westin Kids Club.

The Kids Club provides a multitude of interactive and educational activities such as the
Kids Club Adventures which takes the kids to the Turtle Farm where they get to see
 the Cayman Green Parrots, Iguanas,
 and the children get to hold a sea turtle.
The kids get to hug, kiss and get their photo taken with a dolphin
at Dolphin Discovery.
Another Kids Club Adventure
the children get to experience is the undersea tour through The Nautilus,
which glides over shipwrecks and reefs.
The kids are never bored in this exciting new environment.

If you can't skip your daily exercise routine on vacation,
the resort has the WestinWorkout Fitness Studio for their guests.
The studio is equipped with free weights, treadmill,
elliptical machines and universal weights machine.
This room is located on the 1st floor which offers a view of the pool.



We arranged our water activities with Penny, a concierge for Red Sail Sports in the resort.
Red Sail is Grand Cayman's premier dive operator for 25 years.
They offer adventures for all ages including, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, Stand-up Paddleboarding, Banana Boat rides and tryke for the kids and the kids at heart, Hobie Cat Sailing,
and daily excursions to Stingray Sandbar, and reefs.
They arranged for my husband and daughter's parasailing as well.
Avail of the complimentary Stand-up Paddleboarding instructions.
I have a new found love for SUP.

One can relax and decompress, or just simply get pampered,

at Hibiscus Spa .
Guests are welcomed by soothing colors and elements that mimic the tropical island paradise 
of Grand Cayman.
The focus of nature continues through the treatment rooms,
where guests can choose organic essential oils and plant extracts 
to create completely personalized experience.





OUR CRUSTACEAN & REPTILE FRIENDS


Our children woke us up fairly early everyday
to show us who have dropped by
on our lanai.

One morning,
a crustacean friend got a tour of our room,
when my four year old decided to wake up his dad
by shoving the crab close to his father's face.
Funny for the kids but for a sleeping dad, not so much. ;)




Feeding a strawberry to the Green Iguana.

Watching the iguanas coming down from the tree,
lucky that they never jump on top of us while lying in the hammock.


THE FRIENDLY & ATTENTIVE RESORT STAFF

We would like to thank the staff that made our stay comfortable and fun.
Thank you for all your help.
Your friendly smiles brought sunshine even on gloomy days at the island.

A friendly Cayman smile from Brenton, one of the WGC Pool  Staff.


Andrea at the Hibiscus Spa
Penny- from the Red Sail Water Sports,
Gabby- Housekeeping Manager, made sure that our room was well cleaned and well stocked with necessities everyday,
& Rosemarie-the ever so helpful Concierge.
With Jessica, who helped us have the best of accommodations.

 
WE ARRIVED AS GUESTS ... and WE LEFT AS FRIENDS.


a

on my list.

We enjoyed and experienced the resort with pure indulgence and with the finest full service of luxury.

Our appreciation to Ms. M. Zacharia, and Ms. M. Trieschmann.

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