by Diana Lambdin Meyer
This is a traditional Westin resort with all of its elegance and attention to detail, despite the understated entrance to the resort via West Bay Road. That’s because the real showcase is the east side, facing Seven Mile Beach and the Caribbean. In fact, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa is the closest island resort to the water. Throughout the day, the water’s edge is a non-stop line of walkers and joggers exploring every inch of those perfect 7 miles. The Westin, like most other hotels, has put its decorating and landscaping dollars here, where it gets the most traffic.
Beaches are all public in the Cayman Islands, thus creating some great people-watching opportunities on Seven Mile Beach. However, the beach staff at the Westin takes great care in keeping its little slice of heaven immaculately groomed and assuring that all lounge chairs and umbrellas are dedicated to the guests at the Westin.
Built in 1997, the Westin survived the direct hit of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 with minimal damage, a testament to the overall construction quality of the property. The gorgeous beach resort has been upgraded and improved several times since — including a nearly complete revamp of the hotel in 2017.
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront resort
- Children's programs
- Spa and recreational activities
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The guestrooms, all of which have been revamped, feature tones of blue, teal and white for an ultimately fresh, beach vibe that's both luxurious and comfortable. Adjoining rooms are possible in the remaining guestrooms that include one king- or two queen-size Westin Heavenly Beds. There is no additional charge for cribs in any room, although rollaway beds incur a nightly charge. DVD players are available in the rooms upon request for an additional fee as well. All bathrooms have tub/show combinations, but the bathrooms are not overly spacious for multiple children. All of the basics, such as coffeemaker, hairdryer and ironing board are included.
Oceanfront and Ocean View Rooms
The majority of the rooms are oceanfront or ocean view. The difference is that oceanfront provides a direct view from your balcony or patio; ocean view means you have to turn your head about 45 degrees to see the ocean. Both are spectacular and include access to your balcony or patio via delicately framed French doors. No need to worry about little ones on the balcony. The rails are easily four feet high and exceed US standards for safety. Ground level rooms provide easiest access to the pool or beach.
Island View Rooms
Other rooms are Island View and face West Bay Road, a rather busy three-lane highway that connects one end of the island to the other. Not all have balconies, but the rates are cheaper, and really, how much time are you going to spend in your room anyway?
The two presidential suites are extremely popular for families traveling during the holidays and are often booked years in advance. Otherwise, two two-bedroom suites and four one-bedroom suites are the only options for suites.
by Shannon E
My husband and I have been coming here since 2003. Although we aren't thoroughly impressed with much at this hotel, we come back knowing what to expect because you really are here to mainly relax on the beach.
The Beach: Out of all the hotels in Cayman, this is one of the only ones where you don't feel like you are literally sitting on top of the person next to you. Water is beautiful and clear and the beach is generally clear from any debris. The chairs start to get uncomfortable as the day goes on, and the umbrellas only tend to shade one side, but the beach is literally the only positive of this hotel.
Happy Hour: The hotel does offer a happy hour from 5-7 which is nice as the drinks are $6 instead of $12 (although limited selection). They also have different live entertainment every night which is a nice added touch.
Service: TERRIBLE. I mean really, pretty much everyone we encountered acted like they were doing you a favor by being there. No one seemed happy to be there, no one seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Since 2003, we have always felt this way, but it seemed worse this time.
Example: Because my husband is elite with Marriott, we were given a certificate for breakfast for every morning of our stay. The card itself does not specify what the breakfast entails, only that breakfast is included. The first day we were looking at the ala carte menu, but had the certificate sitting out on the table, when a waiter ran up and said in a stern tone "You are not allowed to use the certificate on the ala carte menu, it is not included". That is not what we had been told at check in and when I tried to explain that, another waiter came up and started in on the "ala carte is not included". It wasn't really a problem for us if we could only use it on buffet, however the way it was handled was out of line, as we felt ambushed by the staff. Generally you greet your customer, not scold them out of the gate. On top of that, it was not specified that we could only use the certificate for the buffet, just that we could use the certificate for breakfast in general. (Sidenote: at other Marriotts/Westins/Etc we have been able to use the certificate on buffet or ala carte). I followed up with the front desk to confirm if this was true for the property and was told "as far as I know". I would think this would be something that the staff knows for sure. Overall the whole debacle was just not handled properly. From that point on, we felt that the staff at Ferdinands had a slight attitude with us over the incident which was not appropriate, but also not expected as I had said before, most of the staff here seems to not give a crap if they provide good service or not.
Attention to Detail/Consistency: Its just not there. One day we got bottled water in our room, the other days we had to go to the front desk which was annoying. One night we got two rum cakes at turn down, every other we got one.
Our air conditioning had a temperature lock on it so that we could not put the temperature lower than 68 degrees. At one point it felt like the heat was on. I had to go down multiple times to the front desk to have this fixed. One morning in fact the air had turned off completely (this was not the day they did maintenance on the hotel units). It had just turned off on its own.
There was a group staying here during part of our stay and one morning 3 women from the group by-passed the giant line waiting to be seated at Ferdinands, signed the sheet, and then the girl at the desk seated them. I guess if you are staying with a group you get to jump the line?
Line some mornings to get in is generally long as you go through the inquisition to get seated (do you want to sit in or out? buffet or ala carte? room number? last name?) it just feels like you are up there forever.
Don't make the mistake of forgetting your suntan lotion. Prices at the sundry shop used to be relatively reasonable, but I paid $25 for a bottle of SPF 30 and had to laugh at the price gouging.
Hallways are noisy and if people are loud in the hall slamming doors etc you will hear it in your room. I'm not sure what was going on in our hallway during this trip, but they seemed to stack us all on top of each other and the people across from us were in and out of the doors and talking ALL THE TIME.
Glen inside Ferdinands was probably the saving grace of that restaurant and I got the impression he was new because he seemed to enjoy what he was doing and had a positive attitude, unlike his counter parts.
Bec/Rodrigo/John (Pool Bar Service): We didn't even have to use the buzzer with them as they kept coming back and checking on us to replenish drinks. Even coming down to the water and bringing our drinks to us there for us to enjoy while we sat in the smaller chairs near the water. (The buzzers btw were a nice added addition as it use to take FOREVER for service on the beach.)
Overall, this hotel kind of sucks, but you come here for the beach, not really anything else. If you know that going into it, you won't be disappointed. It serves its purpose, and I think the hotel knows that people will return because of the beach so they just don't care about fixing service."
by Roseann G
Another great stay at the Westin. Beautiful Resort. I would like to thank Alessandra at the Front Desk for going above and beyond to help with our accommodations and take care of all our needs during our stay. She made our stay wonderful. Carol, the Concierge, is always pleasant and helpful, answering all our questions. Also, our housekeeper, who provided nightly turn down service for room 163 was a sweetheart. Can't wait until our next trip to Grand Cayman.
Two lovely pools connected by a swim through bridge-covered passageway provide family entertainment. Although there are no specific children's pools, the two featured pools range in depth from 3 to 5 feet. Children may also partake in refreshments from the swim-up bar. Toddlers enjoy splashing in a little stream that feeds the two pools from a landscape fountain. Unlike many resort properties, the Westin allows families to bring in their own inflatable rafts and beach toys. So pack those at home and save from purchasing them on location. You'll also need to bring your own bucket and shovel for building sand castles, or purchase them in the shops on property.
Beach and Water Sports
Of course, the beautiful white-sand beach that Grand Cayman is known for is the focal point here. Often ranked as one of the best beaches in the world, Seven Mile Beach is a perfect family playground. The Westin contracts with Red Sail Sports to provide all of the beach toys, for which there is an additional charge. Choose from catamarans, kayaks, sailboards, banana boats, beach bicycles, jet skis and parasailing. Red Sail also offers diving lessons in the pool and leads deepwater dives from the property. Children 12 and older may participate, but "bubblemaker" classes in the pool allow for children as young as 8 to become familiar with breathing under water.
Red Sail Sports also offers family rates for dinner and sunset cruises, as well as outings to places like Stingray City and Rum Point. A trip to the Turtle Farm and Queen Elizabeth's Botanical Gardens, which can be arranged by the concierge, can add to the educational value of this family vacation.
For an additional fee, the Westin Kid's Club, for children ages 4 to 12, offers supervised activities like arts and crafts, magic shows, cooking classes and movie nights. Of course, the beach is the ultimate playground and plenty of activities take place on the beach via a qualified staff member, too. Children must be potty trained to join. Kids Club runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and walk-ins are welcome. Night Camp from 6 to 9 p.m. does require a reservation.
This is a great family dining experience, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet-style, and includes crayons, puzzles and even the occasional napkin-folding instructions for animals. The breakfast buffet is extraordinary as is the Sunday brunch. Mountains of fresh fruit, muffins, and dry cereal along made to order pancakes, waffles, omelets and other egg dishes leave no one without a satisfactory start to the day.
Kids especially enjoy the Friday night pirate's buffet when the staff is dressed in costume and the menu choices focus on traditional Cayman fare. Kids are welcomed to come in costume, as well. Fire dancing is a part of the festivities.
Cayman Coffee Exchange
This casual cafe is the place to grab a breakfast snack, coffee or afternoon refreshment. Kids will love it for the selection of ice cream treats. Here's where you can grab individual bananas, apples, oranges and other fresh fruit to take to your room, or individual boxes of juice or milk.
Tortuga Beach Grill and Bar
For outdoor dining around the pool and on the beach, your choice is the Tortuga Beach Grill. Kids will love simply swimming up to the bar and eating a sandwich while their feet dangle in the water. Or you can have a waiter bring your salad or snacks right to your beach chair or family cabana. The fish tacos are a favorite here!
For upscale dining, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asian influences at the Beach House are ideal. Seafood fills the menu, but there are beef, pork and lamb options as well. Well-behaved children are welcomed to join adults for dinner. Don't worry about packing a coat and tie for the men: the dress code is smart casual or smart resort wear. However, children should not wear shorts. Parents may enjoy this restaurant for a date night.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort charges a daily fee of $65, which covers Wi-Fi, two bottles of water, fitness center access, organized activities and kids' club programming.
There are a few shops within the Westin: one called Mermaids is a clothing boutique that includes a wide selection of swimsuits for all ages. The other is Essentials Plus, which is where you can purchase extra diapers, sunscreen and anything else you may not have remembered to pack.
The resort has a spacious fitness center with all manner of equipment for a good workout. It's open 24 hours.
In-room baby-sitting may be arranged through the concierge from outside services.
Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort App
The resort has its own free app (that's not affiliated with other Westin Hotels). Download it to conveniently access a daily schedule of resort activities, make restaurant reservations and more.
The Art of Smart Timing
It goes without saying that winter is the high season in all of the Caribbean, and that's equally true at the Westin. You will not find bargains at this time and may not find rooms at all if you don't plan ahead. The best rates and last-minute deals are in August and September.
The Grand Cayman airport, Owen Roberts International Airport, is located in George Town, on the eastern end of Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Road. Depending on traffic, it could take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to reach the Westin via taxi or private car. If you prefer, the Westin concierge can arrange transportation to and from the airport at a per person cost.
The resort is easily walkable once you arrive. A car rental desk is conveniently located onsite for those who want to explore the island.
For Mom and Dad
The Hibiscus Spa provides a variety of services in 12 treatment rooms, including prenatal massages for expectant mothers. While the spa is best for adults, teens are welcome to enjoy manis/pedis and additional services with parental consent/supervision. Reservations are a must.
After the spa, order a cocktail at one of the resort's two bars: Catboat Bar and Pool Bar. You might also consider the Beach Terrace, which serves tapas and cocktails nightly from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.