travel diary: grand cayman (part II)

April 8, 2015

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As you may have seen in this post, I shared a look at what I did on our recent trip to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Today I’m sharing part two of my travel diary and it’s all about where to stay and what to eat + drink. Despite being in a bathing suit each day, it didn’t stop us from devouring all of the island’s fresh seafood and traditional rum.

And I must preface these with the note that the service we received while there was so top notch. On the islands, you will hear about “Cayman Kind” and after five days spent there, we couldn’t stop talking about how nice everyone was. From the bellman taking photos for us (with multiple backgrounds, no less!) to the waiters recommending favorite local haunts – it felt like everyone went above and beyond to make us fell at home.

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Which brings me to where to stay on island. We spent our trip at The Grand Cayman Marriott Resort on the famous Seven Mile Beach and couldn’t have had a better experience. Being able to wake up each morning and walk to the beach while enjoying a fresh juice and seeing the water so calm and the beach so quiet…it was a more serene experience than I’d had in in quite some time.

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What makes this resort unique I thought was all of the amenities they offer. Not only do you get free access to paddle boards and snorkeling equipment as part of your daily resort fee, they had so much programming. Custom made mojitos at happy hour, a beach bonfire offering s’mores, fresh slices of watermelon, a sunburn relief station (thank god for it!) and great activities if you have kids in tow (think balloon animals and hair braiding.)

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The hotel has just gone under a major renovation and we loved our room’s balcony, comfy beds and beautiful surroundings. Not to mention that the service at this Marriott was impeccable. I swear it was like the beach attendants could predict our every desire. But my favorite part about this property? The fact that you don’t even have to move from your beach chair to take in some of the most stunning sunsets you’ll ever see. Each night, we’d be sure to be on the beach and get to watch the sky light up in the most gorgeous colors. It was in these moments that I kept thinking to myself about how lucky I have truly been in life and felt very grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by this blog.

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But without further or due, here’s what we ate + drank on island…

The Sunshine Grill: Five words…The Best Fish Tacos EVER. Our boat captain from our stay had recommended this restaurant to us and the meal was so memorable. It’s super casual (our outfits were not…you’re better off in a sundress and sandals), is home to their famous “painkiller” cocktails that are topped off with fresh nutmeg and the menu is full of solid choices that are fresh and light. They’ll also bring you a variety of Caribbean hot sauces to top off your meal which is always a win/win in my book (I love hot sauce and we became addicted to a Jamaican sauce made with Scotch Bonnet peppers #todiefor.)

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Luca Restaurant at The Caribbean Club: The setting for Luca is striking as soon as you walk in. Beautiful wood interiors and a sprawling back deck that overlooks their pool, you nestle in for handcrafted cocktails and a menu with so many delicious sounding options that it is hard for you to choose. We ended up dining on fresh local red snapper with lemon risotto, pasta with clams, jumbo shrimp with kale and lobster pasta. All of it was so good and perfectly portioned.

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Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill: If you’re experiencing Stingray City, take your boat over to Rum Point for lunch post-ray holding. You can grab a colorful picnic table at and enjoy freshly blended drinks (they are famous for their Mud Slide) and sandwiches featuring the island’s abundance of seafood. We had delicious jerk mahi sandwiches and loved the setting right on the water under strung lanterns. (A quick note about this place: don’t come if you’re in a hurry or have somewhere to be as the service is most definitely on island time.)

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Anchor & Den and Vista Bar: We loved our stay at The Marriott so much and one of the highlights was eating breakfast their each morning. Their newly renovated lobby and restaurant, Anchor & Den offered fresh pressed juices, baked goods, made to order crepes and a sit down experience with everything from conch sausage omelets to delicious breakfast quesadillas and oatmeal full of toppings. Outside on the beach, we ate fresh mahi mahi wraps, fish tacos and drank pina coladas alongside a great local beer, CayBrew. Oh and did I mention the gelato bar they had? I took some coconut + chocolate down to the beach at sunset one night and it was heaven.

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Michael’s Genuine: Michael’s Genuine is actually a favorite restaurant of mine from Miami so I was thrilled to try his Grand Cayman outpost. Nestled into a relatively new shopping center, Camana Bay, this restaurant is heavy on seafood but with surprising pairings. The tuna tartar came with plantain chips, the local tiger fish was served over a bed of farro with vegetables (it was so good) and we ate something called breadfruit which was so strange but so addictive.

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West Indies Wine Company: Hands down the coolest wine store I’ve ever been to (and this is coming from a girl who spent eight years living in Northern California.) The shop features an abundance of wine with dozens available “on tap” to try. Their machines allow you to select a wine you’d like to sip on, insert a pre-paid card and then select 3, 6 or 9 ounces and the machine will automatically disperse that amount into your glass. It was amazing and had me wishing I lived near the West Indies Wine Company. I was able to indulge in one of my favorite Napa wines from CADE thousands of miles away and in a beautifully designed shop.

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A huge thank you to The Department of Tourism for The Cayman Islands for helping to arrange such a fantastic trip. A getaway I won’t soon forget.

[All photos by me]

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