The strikingly lovely island chain goes from tax haven to vacationer heaven.
The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory within the Greater Antilles, has been making a giant push to evolve from an endlessly fairly place the place the wealthy can park their cash offshore, to a bona fide luxurious vacation spot providing five-star hospitality on a par with the Turks and Caicos Islands and others of that ilk. And it’s lastly paying off, with two new boutique luxurious resorts bringing an entire new crowd to its picturesque seashores, plus main updates on the iconic Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
It’s been a very long time coming, and positively not for lack of funds. According to Michael Wheaton, Managing Director of the islands’ H&C Corporate Services Ltd., the Cayman Islands is the world’s fifth largest monetary middle, superb when you think about that it encompasses solely about 100 sq. miles, and has “some of the world’s highest levels of (tax-free) personal income.” Wheaton, writing in Destination Cayman journal, famous that in keeping with the CIA, “Caymanians enjoy a standard of living comparable to that of Switzerland,” which has the very best SOL on the planet.
The Cayman Islands are “globally recognized for its world-class legal, financial and corporate services,” Heaton notes, “along with a “broad range of professionals to assist and staff their offices” for teams that “require substantive offshore operations.” The islands are “becoming increasingly attractive to those who have nothing to gain from residing and working”—or opening accounts—”in a tax-neutral setting,” he provides.
As Heaton notes, the Cayman Islands is now well-placed to turn into a prime vacationer vacation spot, “thanks to its powder-white beaches, crystal-clear waters, famous diving, five-star resorts, fine dining, and welcoming local population.”
With a number of direct flights on main carriers from 25 worldwide airports, it’s effectively poised to welcome discerning vacationers who love the unspoiled, ultra-safe setting, desire a tropical expertise freed from potential pitfalls, and who don’t have any need to turn into newspaper headlines (hi there Tulum).
Business journey continues to be a lot in proof; throughout our keep at Palm Heights, the latest and coolest of most important island Grand Cayman’s boutique luxurious resorts, a bunch known as The International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, with placards positioned on the entrance, took over the restaurant one night time; and far of the discuss at neighboring tables wherever we dined was concerning the the professionals and cons of assorted monetary devices and tax methods. But the tide is popping.
There appeared to be loads of folks on the town merely there to soak up the sights, together with the world-famous Stingray City sandbar, the place you’ll be able to play with and pet the surprisingly frolicsome cartilaginous creatures. The Cayman Islands’ waters are additionally dwelling to greater than 365 dive websites together with quite a few notable shipwrecks, and the “pristine underwater environment continues to entice divers from around the globe,” as Destination Cayman places it.
When we picked up our open-top, UK-built Moke at Hertz Grand Cayman after stepping off a airplane from the East Coast, there was not one of the chaos that always attends touchdown in some lovely, if lower than completely organized, locale. The employees had been extremely useful, and the opposite guests gathering their automobiles—and questioning who the hell was the bloke who ordered a glorified golf cart—didn’t appear to be merely bankers on busman’s vacation (look it up).
Seven Mile Beach, which is as spectacular because it sounds, is Grand Cayman’s most important attraction, and naturally The Ritz-Carlton, for years the one recreation on the town, occupies a very good chunk of the idyllic oceanfront. The Forbes Five-Star resort, on 144 acres stretching from Seven Mile Beach to North Sound on the opposite aspect of the island, just lately debuted a multimillion-dollar renovation, which has introduced it as much as par with the grand Ritz-Carlton properties in equally located locales.
The Ritz-Carlton was already extensively recognized for Blue by Eric Ripert, which it calls “the Caribbean’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant.” Though Blue was sadly nonetheless present process renovations after we visited, Ripert has actually helped put the Cayman Islands on the culinary map.
Traditionally, each January, the Michelin-starred chef, greatest recognized for New York’s Le Bernardin, hosts the Cayman Cookout occasion. His chef buddies, together with the likes of Jose Andres and Emeril Lagasse, together with numerous different culinary masters and wine consultants, convene for 4 days of “cooking demonstrations, fabulous dining excursions and adventures, and remarkable wine tastings” on the Ritz-Carlton.
Though the Cayman Cookout didn’t happen this 12 months, it’s set to return in 2023 (barring any extra international pandemics,) for its fifteenth season, and Ripert’s restaurant on the Ritz-Carlton is slated to reopen this summer season. Meanwhile there are many different points of interest on the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, together with a tremendous pool and seashore complicated full with posh non-public cabanas, a spectacular Greg Norman-designed nine-hole golf course, and numerous different eating venues each indoors and out.
The revamped interiors on the resort, created by award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design, fronted by Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Interior Design Hall of Fame member Alexa Champalimaud, artfully “blend modern coastal elegance with mid-century British Caribbean style.” This is most attractively in proof on the resort’s reimagined Silver Palm Lounge, which incorporates a custom-built cupboard for uncommon rums, brandies and whiskies, together with hand-rolled cigars, largely from across the Caribbean.
Throughout the resort an up to date shade palette that includes the “deep blues of Cayman’s night sky, lively shades of green inspired by the islands’ botanical wonders, the whites and beiges of the island’s smooth sands, and the sparkling shades of turquoise found in the Caribbean Sea,” is showcased to charming impact. It’s actually a serious improve for the acclaimed property, a prime asset within the Ritz-Carlton portfolio.
In lieu of Ripert’s Blue, we dined on the Ritz-Carlton’s gorgeous new Japanese restaurant, Taikun, positioned simply off the Silver Palm Lounge. The sushi, sashimi and different Japanese fare, ready and offered with panache utilizing the very best and freshest substances, is obtainable each within the conventional type and with Caribbean flavors and influences for the extra adventurous. Taikun additionally boasts the island’s most in depth choice of sake, in addition to a tableside presentation of precise contemporary wasabi utilizing a sharkskin grater, an providing hardly ever encountered exterior of Japan.
The placing, colourful decor which cleverly incorporates asian design motifs, similar to bamboo-accented paneling and wealthy lacquer, enhances the expertise exponentially. And what’s extra we had been feeling 1000 % earlier than we even sat down, because of an hour spent within the Ritz-Carlton’s impeccable spa by La Prairie, the Swiss luxurious skincare model. You can get a facial with caviar and even actual gold, if that’s your factor; we opted for a deep-tissue therapeutic massage, and it was top-of-the-line we’ve had at any seashore resort. Had we extra time, one in all their therapies that “harness the healing power of marine plants and other natural elements” might need been on the playing cards.
Before our go to to the Ritz-Carlton, we checked into Palm Heights a brief distance away alongside Seven Mile Beach. As the London Evening Standard put it, upon strolling into the revamped classic property, “It feels as if you’ve been invited into Slim Aarons’ world; a laid-back, sun-drenched vibe that is part Palm Springs, part French Riviera.” With simply 50 ocean-facing suites, it’s intimate, and because of an eclectic mixture of classic and retro decor, it seems like a snapshot from a extra glamorous period. It vibes Chateau Marmont earlier than the decline and fall. And the Moke was the right journey to tug up in.
Each spacious suite has a wonderful ocean view, and the indoor and outside areas move invitingly from one to the opposite. There are two swimming swimming pools and all types of personal nooks and crannies shaded by palm bushes, tropical vegetation and cascading flowers. The internet impact is film star on trip, and the facilities are top notch, right down to the Aesop tub merchandise and the archive of classic espresso desk books, a few of which can be found for buy.
The suites and the assorted public areas, which embody a library and a lounge, in addition to two eating places, is embellished with a lot of genuine classic gadgets, primarily from the ’60s and ’70s, created by the likes of Ettore Sottass, Mario Bellini and Ingo Maurer. The Evening Standard studies that is the work of the resort’s founder and inventive director, Gabriella Khalil, who has spent years gathering and curating them.
The shade palette is pure and beachy with pops of -70s shade and a normal air of groovy glamour, laidback and simple, with a depth that solely true classic, from structure to decor, can evoke. A youthful, extra trendy crowd has already taken up residence on the stylish resort in consequence; Emily Ratajkowski just lately popped up on their Instagram feed, pouting by the pool, and little doubt extra lovely influencers will comply with.
Service is incomparable all through, and likewise because of Palm Heights, Ripert is now not the one superstar chef on Grand Cayman. Khalil introduced on Chef Jake Tyler Brodsky, beforehand of NYC’s iconic 11 Madison Park, to helm Tillies, its super-stylish beachfront restaurant. “With an appreciation of classic Caribbean dishes, inspired by the local produce and farms of Grand Cayman,” Brodsky has created an informal however no much less elegant different to Ripert’s Blue, with indoor and outside eating and a tasty menu targeted on seafood.
Palm Heights has loads of different points of interest within the works as effectively. It’s at present developing a large jungle-themed spa, designed by architects FOOD-New York, who’ve accomplished tasks for Virgil Abloh and MoMA. The Evening Standard studies that it’s “inspired by the ancient world and its social approach to rituals, and designed with maze-like greenery dotted with hot and cold plunge pools,” in addition to “an outdoor hammam, an infra-red sauna, a boxing area and even an athletics track,” and different tasks are in numerous levels of completion as effectively.
After reluctantly testing of Palm Heights, we climbed within the Moke for a scenic drive alongside the coast in direction of Grand Cayman’s East End and Black Urchin, a model new, actually distinctive boutique luxurious property comprised of monumental suites and personal villas.
This a part of the island is dotted with lavish non-public residences, together with one reportedly owned by billionaire Mark Cuban simply up the highway, and a keep at Black Urchin seems like becoming a member of the membership. It’s already turn into standard with sports activities stars and celebrities, who demand extra privateness than the everyday luxurious resort can provide.
Black Urchin has a lot of swimming swimming pools, and a personal seashore that’s all the time peaceable and serene. The design right here is ultra-high-end up to date, and feels each inch the multimillion-dollar A-list residence. It will not be but extensively recognized, including to its escapist enchantment. Each of the lodging, which incorporates six and seven-bedroom non-public villas, in addition to four-bedroom suites, is furnished with the utmost style and opulent fixtures. This is fashionable class at its greatest.
There is a devoted and gregarious employees together with a concierge who can cater to your each whim. There was a bottle of Möet on ice awaiting us on arrival, and the concierge kindly went out and received us some groceries to fill the high-end fridge. Want a cocktail by the picture-perfect pool? You have however to ask. Ditto another request, from boat excursions to barbecues. Our solely remorse was not bringing sufficient mates to fill all of the spare bedrooms.
Another main attraction of Black Urchin is its on-site non-public chef, Chef Remy. The personable maestro has 27 years of culinary expertise from quite a few positions held at numerous worldwide institutions. He will come to your villa and put together your meal whilst you polish off that bottle of Möet, having despatched you an extended listing of menu choices prematurely.
Chef Remy was featured within the first version of The International Who’s Who of Chefs among the many greatest cooks of the world, and he made our already distinctive keep at Black Urchin much more particular. It’s straightforward to see why a sure famous person songstress who needed to purchase out your entire resort additionally needed him on name 24 hours a day.
As for an additional nice meals we loved whereas on Grand Cayman, The Brasserie was actually an evening to recollect. This restaurant Brasserie exceeds any notion of “fresh seafood” you’ve heard of earlier than; it has its very personal fishing boat. Aside from the impeccable seafood additionally they develop a lot of their very own greens, bake their very own bread, and have their very own poultry in addition, making the expertise actually farm to fork. The wine listing is world class as effectively. Now that you simply’ve added the Cayman Islands to your bucket listing, you’ll wish to e book a desk there very first thing. Bon appétit.