With Valentine’s Day near, there’s already love in the air and you’re probably thinking about sea, salt and sun to celebrate. It turns out the sexiest getaway is not that far—in mind, body or spirit. If you’ve got some time this month, check out the love scene in Grand Cayman. One of three islands that make up the Cayman Islands, it’s an ideal destination that will spark your passion. With crystal-clear beaches, flawless white sand, world-class cuisine, and stylish accommodation, all you need to pack is that romantic spark.
Insider tip: The Cayman Islands is one of the few destinations that allow Canadians to marry the same day they arrive; making it a perfect destination to elope.
WHY WE LOVE THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
Steal a kiss from a stingray in Stingray City. The gentle southern stingrays have been gathering in the naturally occurring sandbar ever since fishermen began cleaning fish in the area decades ago. Set sail on a luxury catamaran for an unforgettable experience with these sea creatures. Or for the ultimate up-close-and-personal encounter, charter your own private cruiser (You’ll feel like you’re in your own music video with Cayman Luxury Charters) where the crew is so knowledgeable they can even recognize and name individual stingrays. Standing in just three feet of water, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by a dozen or so friendly stingrays begging held and fed calamari!
Set the mood for romance with a couples massage at the opulent Silver Rain la prairie spa in the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The sensuous la prairie spa offers a choice between a 60-minute restorative Swedish and deep tissue massage for couples (they also offer a caviar massage!) Bask in the afterglow on luxurious chaise lounges in the Silver Haven room and sip a complimentary glass of champagne. Insider tip: Set aside time before your treatment to unwind in the spa’s whirlpool, sauna and steam room.
WINE AND DINE
With billowing white décor, Oestra Bay, on Morgan’s Harbour, is a taste of Miami Beach in Grand Cayman. Start with a cocktail in one of Oestra Bay’s three stylish cocktail lounges and raise a glass with the Cotton Candy martini or Dark & Stormy with house-made tonic water and ginger beer. Ask for a table on the waterfront, where moonlight sets the mood for romance. The restaurant focuses on fresh local Caribbean ingredients and seafood features prominently on the menu. Start with lobster bisque, or fresh tuna tartar, followed by lobster and shrimp linguine, or locally sourced Wahoo with pea puree, smoked potato puree and lemon butter.
If knowing where your food comes from is important to you, make a reservation at field-to-fork restaurant, The Brasserie. With an in-house organic garden and their own private fishing boats, the restaurant is celebrated for being a sustainable cooking innovator. Under the guidance of consulting chef Dean Max, the restaurant emphasizes sustainable local cooking. The menu changes seasonally, but features whatever is fresh–whether it’s the day’s catch grilled on hardwood coals, or local chicken breast with organic quinoa, local pumpkin and garden purslane salad verde.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the Brasserie Harvest dinner. Once a month, chef Dean Max jets in to oversee the family-style dinner served outdoors by the kitchen garden.
Raise a glass at West Indies Wine Company in the heart of the stylish Camana Bay town centre. The tasting room and wine bar features 80 wines (from a fruity white to full-bodied red) served from state-of-the-art Wine Station machines. Wine comes in ‘sips’, ‘half glass’ and ‘full glass’ and is dispensed using a pre-paid SmartCard. Manager Brandon Copico hails from B.C. and sommelier Shaun Merritt from the East Coast. If you’re confused about where to start, the staff will guide you. But half the fun is tasting wines you might not normally find in your local wine store.
Insider tip: Make a day (or night) of it! Customers are encouraged to enjoy their wine al fresco. West Indies Wine Company sells cheese and charcuterie plates or staff will order food from local restaurants to accompany your tipple of choice.
For serious luxury, stay at the 5-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach. Guests are greeted with a glass of rum punch before checking into beautifully furnished rooms with either a sea view or garden view and private patio. With two outdoor pools and an oceanfront Jacuzzi as well as water sports and luxurious outdoor cabanas, you’ll be busy doing very little.
Insider tip: While rooms beach-side offer postcard-worthy views, the more secluded pool on the garden of the resort is perfect for a tranquil late night swim under the stars.
If you are looking for a more intimate stay, check into the boutique Caribbean Club, set on Seven Mile Beach. This 5-star resort features just 37 individual guestrooms with full-sized kitchens, spacious living area, rainfall showers and private balconies overlooking a pool and serene blue sea.
Insider tip: The attentive staff at the Caribbean Club can arrange to stock your gourmet kitchen ahead of your visit, or hire a private chef to cook for two–if you’re all about staying in. However, oenophiles will want to visit the hotel’s restaurant, Luca. With more than 3,000 bottles to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice.