For our first visit in 1992 we chose the Hyatt Regency which is located on 7 mile beach not far from the center of George Town. Some may recall this hotel as it was featured in the movie "The Firm" starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. It was chosen because the inner courtyard is, without doubt, absolutely beautiful while its exterior isn't at all noteworthy.

Our 1992 trip was for Anne's certification and taken in conjunction with a local scuba shop that we did business with. They had only scheduled a four-day, three night trip so Anne and I went down several days before the group to make it a longer vacation and enjoy the island. The group from the scuba shop stayed at Sunset House, a dive oriented hotel, but for reasons long forgotten we decided to stay at the Hyatt. Without question the Hyatt is several steps above Sunset House in luxury and amenities, but there were some disadvantages also.

For our first few days on Grand Cayman Anne and I enjoyed the island and used the time to acquaint her with diving in the ocean and not a pool. The day before the group arrived she did her first open water dive as part of a resort package with Red Sail Sports through the Hyatt.

What we enjoyed about the Hyatt: Hyatt Regency hotels have a reputation for luxury and service, and the Grand Cayman Hyatt Regency certainly exceeds your expectations in those departments. But the thing Anne and I enjoyed most about staying at the Hyatt Regency was the inner courtyard. The inner courtyard was absolutely beautiful with its manicured gardens, pool and rest areas. Without question one of the prettiest we've ever seen for a totally enclosed courtyard. The pool was complete with a swim up bar, a necessity when the hot Sun is beating down on you.

Hyatt pool and bar
Hyatt Pool & Bar
Hyatt pool and bar at night
Pool and Bar at Night
Hyatt reception building and gardens
View of the rear of the Hyatt reception building
Anne sitting by the fountain at the Hyatt
Anne sitting by the reflecting pool
Anne enjoying the Hyatt gardens
Anne sitting by the pond and waterfall


As you can see from the photographs, the inner courtyard of the Hyatt Regency is absolutely beautiful. The trees, shrubs and grasses were manicured to perfection and created a very relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere. Anne and I enjoyed our time just roaming the grounds, sitting and talking, enjoying a drink amid the green, lush tropical growth. On our most recent trip (2001) we stopped by to just enjoy the grounds and introduce my sister and her husband to its beauty.


The ambiance of the grounds was serene and romantic.

At night the grounds were lit by thousands of tiny light bulbs encircling the trees and canopy as the pictures below show.

Hyatt courtyard at night
Anne sitting in the lighted courtyard
Hyatt reception building at night
The reception building at night
What we enjoyed least about the Hyatt: The Hyatt Regency is not located directly on 7 Mile Beach. To reach the beach you must walk several minutes and cross the main street. Since our first visit in 1992 the Hyatt has added some accommodations on the beach and also added a skyway to cross the busy main street. Both of these are improvements, but the main building is still across the street and not on the beach.

On our most recent visit to Grand Cayman we stayed at the Marriott on 7 Mile Beach. This time the choice of hotel was easy. Because of my frequent travel programs my stay at the Marriott was free, well, almost free .... $13 a night. On check-in at the hotel we were told that the room rate for this the high season was $385 per night. Don't tell me that there isn't some benefit gained from all the time I spend away from home on business. But, is it really worth it?

What we enjoyed about the Marriott: The Marriott, like the Hyatt, is considered a luxury class hotel and offers full services, something that is important to a frequent traveler. Unlike the Hyatt the Marriott is located right on 7 Mile Beach and just a little closer to the center of George Town. Leaving our patio we could be on the beach in seconds and I enjoyed that easy access.

The hotel grounds and pool area are definitely not as pretty as the Hyatt, but they were still enjoyable. We spent quite a bit of time outside sitting on our patio talking with my sister and her husband, and feeding the friendly little birds that came to visit. One was so taken by Anne and that it began to follow her around, even following her into our room through the sliding doors.

Anne and I actually spent very little time at the hotel. Each morning Anne and my sister, Carol, and her husband, John, would awaken early and take a two-mile stroll along the beach while I enjoyed what I like to do in the morning ... sleep! When they returned we usually had a bite to eat and then were off either snorkeling, sightseeing or diving. I spent so little time at the hotel I didn't take any still photographs (only video) of the grounds. (Sorry no pictures!)

Marriott beach and cruise ship
A cruise ship viewed from the
Marriott Beach
Anne and John enjoying a Sunset
Anne and John enjoy a few
relaxing moments
Carol Paige relaxing
Carol and John relaxing

One of the most enjoyable things about staying at the Marriott was the close proximity to the beach. I have to admit I'm not really a beach person. I can't stand sunbathing (it's boring) and generally just laying around doing nothing. If I'm near the water I'm usually in it. Since there was nothing spectacular to see in the water at the hotel's beach I didn't even go in. But I did enjoy sitting and watching the Sun go down each and every night. It's a sight I'll never tire of and when it's spectacular, or just semi-spectacular, it's wonderful.

We enjoyed several nice Sunsets, like the one at right, on the beach at the Marriott Hotel.

Sunset on 7 Mile Beach
What we enjoyed least about the Marriott: I hate to admit it, but the Marriott's water sports area did not cater to divers. Actually it probably wasn't Marriott but Red Sail Sports who have the concession at the Marriott for diving and other water sports The first problem is that access to the dive boats is not at the hotel. You need to be shuttled to another location (I believe the Hyatt) where the dive boat docks. The second is that they had absolutely no special dive package pricing. When I inquired at the Red Sail Sports desk as to dive packages I was informed that there were none and that the morning 2-tank dive would cost $85 per person and an afternoon 1-tank dive $55 per person. If Anne and I were on a serious dive vacation we'd do a minimum of three dives a day. At the stated costs it would have cost us $1,680 for six days of diving. Outrageous! Most hotels that cater to divers offer unlimited dive packages for a cost of $300 to $400 per person per week. Paying the prices at Red Sail Sports would have been more than twice the normal fare.