by Traci L. Suppa
It doesn’t take long to fall into the laid-back lifestyle on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. This take-it-easy vibe is the reason families stay at the Christopher Columbus Condos. You’ll never feel pressured to dress for dinner, or “shush” the kids. Here, it’s about enjoying family time in rented condo units with two or more separate bedrooms.
This property is a hybrid of a limited-service hotel and a rental property. While linens and housekeeping services are provided, there are no onsite dining options. Your unit will feel very much like home, especially due to the large, fully equipped kitchen.
There are 30 units on the property, spread across three floors, all with different layouts and configurations. Each is privately owned and rented out to visitors through the onsite management team, so the dÃ©cor and amenities vary.
The property sits directly on a private, 350-foot stretch of Seven Mile Beach, and you’re literally steps away from the Caribbean Sea, with gentle waves and nearly transparent aqua hues. Seaside units are worth the premium for their ample furnished balconies and amazing views of the sunset.
The small size of the property and the location on a private beach makes this a quiet, peaceful property, day and night. In fact, signs on the property suggest “quiet” time between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Eventually, you may want to take a break from beachside relaxation and see the local sights or go out to eat. This property is conveniently located along West Bay Road, the main thoroughfare connecting the island’s West Bay and George Town districts. Nearby, kid-friendly activities and attractions include the Cayman Turtle Farm, Stingray City excursions, the Atlantis Submarine, the Pirate Adventure Cruise, and the Camana Bay shopping and dining district.
Our Editor Loves
- Cayman Turtle Farm and Stingray City nearby
- Direct beach access, with beautiful ocean views
- Family-friendly atmosphere, with a lively pool scene
- Free Wi-Fi
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More than half of the 30 condominium rental units -- the "Ocean Front" units -- face the sea, and have balconies. The "Garden View" units have partial sea views. There are four configurations: two-bedroom, two-bedroom with den, three-bedroom and penthouse. The two-bedroom units sleep up to four people, while the rest can accommodate up to six people.
All units offer free Wi-Fi, central air conditioning, fully equipped kitchens, cable TV, and telephones. High chairs and cribs are available, with advance request, at no charge. Housekeeping services are provided every day except Sunday, although the services do not include dishes or personal laundry. The units are privately owned, reflecting the personal decorating tastes of the owner, most featuring a floral or tropical motif.
I've stayed at the Christopher Columbus for 5 years now, and I'm blown away every time I come back. We LOVE Unit #3, which was remodeled in 2017 and has fantastic new appliances. The oceanfront view is nice as well.
7 Mile Beach will spoil other beaches for you forever. The Christoper Columbus's private section of beach is phenomenal, with cabanas for shade in the afternoon and westward views for sunsets (can you say "green flash"?). You won't find a more convenient beach access - the beach is about 70 steps from the guest rooms. You can walk up and down the whole beach and sightsee the other resorts and public beach spots if that's your gig, but it's hard to leave CCC once you get settled in.
There is a kiddie pool and a regular pool between the condo units and the beach. There are barbecue pits and nearby grocery stores. All of this makes a fantastic setup for families with small children or couples who'd rather stay in than go out to eat. (With the pool and large private beach area, kids have enough space to play without bothering couples looking to relax, which is a problem I've seen at other smaller properties).
Dining options are unlimited up and down 7 Mile Beach, from tasty local joints to upscale resort restaurants and everything in between. Further down the road, Georgetown is the main shopping district, which is about a 15 minute drive from the Christopher Columbus.
The staff is very friendly and have always been quick and helpful!
There is not a better spot on the island for a combination of high quality and high convenience. The beach is world class, the condos are homey, and all of the sights and restaurants are a short drive away. For a couple's romantic getaway or a base for a family adventure, the Christopher Columbus is the perfect place to make Grand Cayman whatever you want it to be.
This is our second year at this fantastic place and it keeps getting better each time for our vacation needs. Lisa and Josephine are such good hosts.
Everyone there makes us feel welcome and at home. Before we left, we decided to book for next year and of course, since we did that, the days are already going by slowly.
The main goal for most families staying here is relaxation and fun in the sun. This is a small property with an intimate setting, so you're not going to find organized children's programs and the flurry of activity that goes along with them. Instead, children here have unstructured time to play, swim and explore independently, or with other guests. The pool deck and direct sea access are the highlights of this property. The pool is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult. There are no lifeguards on duty at the pool or on the beach. Beach towels are provided in each unit.
There is, at most, 50 feet of grassy lawn and sandy beach separating the property from the clear blue Caribbean Sea. The waters off this beach -- and around the entire island -- are relatively calm because reefs encircle it, acting as wave breakers. While there are several palm trees on the seafront, the real shade is offered by 10 thatch-roof gazebos. Underneath them, you'll find comfortable seating, including cushioned chairs and loungers. Under a few, you'll find hammocks and old-fashioned wood plank swings.
The full-sized pool, which ranges from four to six feet deep, looks as though it were new. Two shallow ledges along both sides let you lounge in the water, partially submerged. There is also a round wading pool for toddlers, with a spraying fountain in the middle. The trunk full of pool and sand toys is a thoughtful touch. With just 30 units on the property, there is a convivial feeling around the pool as you get to know your neighbors. Kids can easily make friends quickly.
There are also private, lighted tennis courts on the property, which are open until 10 p.m. You can borrow equipment from the management office.
When you're ready to venture off the property to explore the local attractions, you'll find most activities within a 15-minute drive. Family-friendly attractions include the Atlantis Submarine, the Pirate Adventure Cruise, Stingray City, Cayman Turtle Farm and the Camana Bay shopping and dining district, with an observation tower, movie theater and bubbling play fountains.
There are no onsite restaurants at the Christopher Columbus Condo. However, it's easy -- and economical -- to make your own meals while staying here. The kitchen in each unit is equipped with a full-sized refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher and countertop appliances like a coffeemaker and toaster. You'll find full sets of dishes, glassware, pots, pans, cutlery and cooking utensils. There are also outdoor charcoal grills on the property.
The nearest supermarket is Foster's Food Fair, a local chain which is an IGA franchise, located on West Bay Boulevard, less than one mile north of the property. It's open every day except Sunday. Prices are listed in Cayman Island Dollars (KYD), although the U.S. dollar is accepted. At checkout, I was shown the KYD total, followed by the USD conversion before my credit card was charged.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Other condo amenities include two tennis courts, barbeque grills, laundry facilities and a concierge service.
The laundry room is located next to the management office, where you check in. The coin-operated machines only accept Caymanian currency, but you can exchange money in the office to get coins.
Additional Fees and Reservations
Before booking your stay at the Christopher Columbus Condo, take a look at the rate information on the property's website so that you're aware of the fees and surcharges. A three-day deposit, payable by check or bank draft, is required for confirmed reservations. Reservations are only refundable with 45 days prior notice. There is a 6 percent gratuity charged in lieu of tipping, and a 13 percent Government Tax will be added to your bill.
When you check in, you have access to the brochure racks in the office, so pick up the "Fine Dine-in" booklet, which lists more than 20 local restaurants willing to deliver to the property for a small fee, plus driver gratuity. The selection is varied, from pizza to Indian and Thai; even the Hard Rock CafÃ© participates.
There are no babysitting services offered here, but the office staff can help you identify local agencies that provide the service. Because the units have separate bedroom spaces, the adults can spend time together in the living room or on the balcony after the kids are in bed.
The Art of Smart Timing
There are pros and cons to visiting the Cayman Islands in the "off" season, from June to December. On one hand, the prices are considerably lower, and the crowds are lighter. On the other, it is the rainy season, which means an increased likelihood of afternoon showers. Remember that the hurricane season is June through November. You may want to download a weather alert app on your mobile device to warn you of any impending storms in the region.
When you book a stay here, it's worth considering what day of the week you arrive on the islands. You'll likely want to buy provisions at the supermarket, which is closed on Sundays. There are also no housekeeping services on Sundays. Plus, the management office closes on Saturdays in the early afternoon. Try to fly in early that morning to get there in time to retrieve the keys to your unit.
Check-in is at 3:00 p.m., and check-out is 12:00 noon.
This property is a 15-minute drive from Owen Roberts International Airport, which is served by major international and U.S. airlines. It is located on West Bay Road, which is the main thoroughfare, so it can be subject to traffic delays. There is no airport transportation offered, but there is public bus transportation available on the Omnibus service.
The most convenient way to get around is with a rental car. This maximizes your stay, allowing you to get off the property to go to the supermarket, restaurants and local attractions. Driving is on the left, but depending on the company, you may get an American car with the driving wheel on the left, too. There are several companies, both local and international brands, with airport pick-up and drop-off locations.
For Mom and Dad
Grab some rackets and have a nice couple's tennis match.