Cayman Time

Cayman Blog from The Reef Resort in Grand Cayman

Category: The Reef News

Resort news and updates

Mardi Gras on Grand Cayman

New Orleans isn’t the only city to celebrate Mardi Gras Day in February. Did you know that Grand Cayman hosts it’s own version of Mardi Gras entitled Kaibo Mardi Gras and it’s held on Ash Wednesday, or February 25, on Kaibo Beach.

This is the tenth anniversary of Kaibo so expect the unexpected as this is one of the largest events on the island, attracting more than 5,000 party-goers to Kaibo Beach. Bands, island cocktails and brews, great food, bond girls, prizes and giveaways are the call of the day, visit online for all the details http://www.kaibo.ky.

The Reef Resort is the closest resort to the festival so to celebrate the resort is offering a Kaibo Package which includes; a three day package including VIP tickets (value $100 per person, limited availability) for two people in a Studio suite for US $950 total or US $475 each, this package is only available by calling 866 714-2309.

The Travel Gods have come together to raise money for Brac Hurricane Relief Fun

A unique opportunity for travelers who can get away quick, want to save big, and participate in an authentic island fundraiser. The Rotary of Grand Cayman is hosting a free concert on Saturday January 31, at Camana Bay. The concert features the best bands on the island (all are playing for free) in hopes of raising funds for the Brac Hurricane Relief fund. The Reef Resort www.thereef.com is offering a ‘rockin reggae rate of 30% off, and Cayman Airways is extending its air sales from New York and Miami. It appears the Travel Gods have come together to offer this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Saturday, January 31st at Camana Bay — Free charity/Rotary concert (one hour from the resort) music is a mix of country, soca, reggae. All donations go to the Brac Hurricane Relief. Show starts at 6:00 p.m.

The Reef Resort; www.thereef.com is offering 30% off rates between Jan 28 – Feb 6, 2009. Beachfront Studios start at US $210 plus tax.

NEW YORK air sales- on Cayman Airways – starting at US$ 353 or CI$ 296

MIAMI air sales- on Cayman Airways – starting at US 283 or CI$ 238

Bands: Hi Tide, Bob Mosley and Gone Country, Suckerbox, Jr Douglas and Band, Sea n B, Barefoot Man, Andy Martin, The Brac Country Roosters ( all Bracer band) Jr Dilbert, Hinton Connolly, Percy Whorms, Suite Elite band.

All-Inclusive Vacations are a Huge Trend

All-inclusive vacations are one of the biggest travel trends for 2009, reports Peter Greenberg in his e-newsletter. Check out his round-up article as Greenberg shares a few great new deals he found in the last week. Plus, he points you to previous articles and video clips where Peter talks about all-inclusives, reported by Karen Elowitt for Peter Greenberg.com.

As much as we admire Mr. Greenberg, here at The Reef Resort, all-inclusive programs were launched last year, and The Reef is one of the few Cayman Island properties to offer top-tier all-inclusive packages. The great news is the resort is offering packages for families, divers, weddings and more. Visit online to review the variety of all-inclusive packages that are currently being offered: http://www.thereef.com/en/reservations/allInclusivePackages.html

The Best Job in the world — Really

I’m sure, you’ve all heard about The Best Job in the World – Island Caretaker on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, sponsored by the Queensland Department of Tourism. If not visit www.islandreefjob.com.

At The Reef Resort, we think The Reef’s Relaxation Guru – Jack Wheeler has the best job in the world — he is mastering the art of relaxation and is willing to share his knowledge with anyone who wants to chill! Check out Jack and all of his musings at www.simplerelaxation.com, and hey, if you don’t get the job on the Great Barrier Reef, come back and visit Jack, he’ll be able to share a few soothing relaxation techniques to get you pumped for that next exciting job interview!

P.S. Tom McCallum thinks he has the best job in the world. He is the GM at The Reef Resort, overseeing this ever expanding property that boasts the largest beaches on the island and he gets to hang out on the beach each day munching down a delicious bite to eat, sipping a Caybrew, (http://www.cib.ky/ourbrands.html) or getting a bit of work done under one of the Palapas…Ok Tom, we’ve got to hand it to you, you really do have the best job!

Bridal Wars

Note to brides book early to avoid the BridalWars at The Reef Resort


Courtesy of Alana and Dave
December Wedding 2007

BrideWars, a new movie release starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, is about two best friends having to share their wedding date. Of course, it turns ugly and according to the online site; www.bridewars.com an all out war ensues.

Note to brides — book early to avoid bridal wars. Just like the gal-pals in BrideWars, they must get married at the Plaza, and the Plaza, as scripted in the movie, has the same policy as The Reef Resort; only one wedding a day — guaranteed. Candice Bergen, the movie’s wedding coordinator is akin to Linda Locke, The Reef’s onsite wedding coordinator. Locke is extremely creative and goes the extra mile to ensure every guest is pampered. Her candid approach to what the resort offers; a casual atmosphere, the largest beaches on the island, private dock, attention to details and more, makes the resort a great consideration for brides seeking a relaxed, affordable affair on Grand Cayman Island. Don’t take my word for it, check out all of the guest comments here: http://www.thereef.com/en/weddings/testimonials.html.

Did you know that Grand Cayman offers some of the best wedding vendors in the world? Do you know why? The island is an international financial powerhouse amassing some of the best vendors in the world to ensure the perfect party, event and more…. The great news is many of these vendors are available for weddings and Locke has a Rolodex to impress. Reach Linda Locke at weddings@thereef.com or check out all things weddings here: http://www.thereef.com/en/weddings/weddingPackages.html.

New Names, Same Great Food

A new restaurant name, Pelican’s Reef, a new beach bar name, Rusty Pelican and a new Food & Beverage Director, Mike Flowers will bring about some new changes in The Reef’s menu offerings. Flowers is a well-known restauranteur, as he was the owner of Cayman’s own Lone Star Bar & Grill for over 25 years. His experience will bring an entire new flavor to both the Pelican’s Reef and Rusty Pelican. Locals needn’t worry as legendary entertainer Barefoot Man and Andrew Bacon are still on tap!

The Reef – Feels Like family

Many of our past guests vividly remember the warmth and unique humour of Phil Maguire, our Restaurant Manager from 2002 through 2006. Phil was recently visiting and came to our annual staff Christmas party. I thought I’d share his letter to our inimitable Resort Manager, Mr. Lawrence Haughton… the bold highlights are mine:

Mr. Lawrence,
I’d like to thank you very much for your kind invitation to the staff party last week. It was certainly most enjoyable. It was like stepping back in time. But having been away for the better part of a year gave me a somewhat clearer view of what has been achieved at the Reef.

Practically every management guru who has ever been published stresses the need for team-building. In itself it’s a worthy concept but too many leaders/managers pay mere lip-service to the idea. I’m firmly convinced that at the Reef you have left the notion of team-building far behind and instead have managed to create a Family.

I was observing how different people interacted at the party last week, both during the presentations and either side of them, and it struck me that the genuine warmth and regard that people from a variety of different backgrounds appeared to have for each other would not be matched or bettered in too many other establishments.

Seriously, I think you have achieved something pretty unique, and the end result is clearly greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Long may it continue!

One could say this is the “touchy feely” and intangible part of the business, but it is very, very real and vitally important to treat your staff like family, as they will then treat guests not just as VIPs, but as an extension of that family.

I’m sitting here typing this in a seminar at a conference on resort marketing, but haven’t heard anyone talk about “family” yet :)

New Runways opened at Dulles International and Chicago O’Hare Airports — Just in time for Holiday Travel

Karen Elowitt for PeterGreenberg.com reports “Chicago O’Hare airport, Washington Dulles and Seattle-Tacoma International airport all unveiled new runways Thursday which cost a combined $1.9 billion to build. Though the new runways may not dramatically alter congestion nationwide, they will almost certainly reduce flight delays at each individual airport.” This is great news for travelers seeking the surf, sand, and splendor of a Grand Cayman vacation at The Reef Resort as Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare airports are also offering direct flights to Grand Cayman via Grand Cayman Airways.

The Reef in Travel & Leisure Magazine

One of the world’s premiere travel magazines, Travel & Leisure, is offering their readers an economic approach to travel for December (www.travelandleisure.com). As the economy falters “luxury” will become redefined and less prominent than the experience itself. The Arabian Business News had a very interesting article entitled; What is Luxury? (www.arabianbusiness.com/537435-what-is-luxury). The article defines luxury as the opposite to what is currently being offered as mass-market styled luxury and takes a look at the luxury of tomorrow: bespoke, one-of-a-kind, and eccentric. How refreshing!

For readers of Travel & Leisure, enjoy this month’s issue and as you browse through the pages see if you can find properties that are redefining luxury. We at The Reef Resort define luxury as “simple”: simple travel, simple relaxation, and simply doing nothing. Check out our offer on page 34. We invite all readers of Travel & Leisure to come experience the resort and simply do nothing!

21st annual Taste of Cayman

Foodies and wine enthusiasts looking for a culturally-cool island event may want to check out the 21st Taste of Cayman, Food & Wine Festival (CITA’s) at Camana Bay, Grand Cayman. The event will showcase local and international cuisines from over 30 restaurants amongst a plethora of activities from wine tastings, food sampling and cultural events. The event date is November 22, 2008 and don’t forget Cayman Airways is offering some great deals out of Chicago, IL and Washington D.C./Baltimore area as new airlift is now available from these cities via Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles Airport. For more information on CITA visit www.tasteofcayman.com.ky

Cayman Airlines now offers airlift from Dulles International Airport with rates starin

Do you live in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. area? If so booking a flight to Grand Cayman got a whole lot easier. Book a round trip ticket from Dulles International Airport (IAD) with Cayman Airways and The Reef Resort. www.reef.com will provide a $200 resort credit, just present a Cayman Airways Washington D.C. boarding pass upon check-in and receive your resort credit upon check-out. Hurry now the booking window is today through October 20, 2008 with travel dates between December 13, 2008 through March 7, 2009. Who says Christmas doesn’t come early! Of course restrictions apply, and island taxes and such are not included so check out the details at: www.caymanairways.com/dulles and of course the friendly folks at The Reef Resort can also answer any questions
email: reservations@thereef.com

The Reef Resort institutes Simplicity

Do Us A Favor Take A Vacation! An article from Business Week Magazine (www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_21/b4035088.htm – 58k) echoes a few of the reasons The Reef Resort is dedicated to providing Simple Relaxation. The resort is committed to giving their guests the tools to simply relax, and ensure everything about traveling to the resort is simple. The Reef now has in place a Simple Hurricane Policy, a Simply Fit Gym, a Simple booking process and the new spa; Le Soleil Spa uses simply the best products. Click back to the homepage for a few Simple Relaxation techniques or better yet call reservations today and book a Simply All Inclusive Vacation getaway. reservations@thereef.com

Travel like a local

Some of the best experiences on Grand Cayman aren’t found on the “tourism” developed 7-mile beach. Take a hike to the “inner sanction” of the island and feel like a discoverer as the Mystic trail offers a two mile stretch back in time – dating back at least 100 years through one of the last remaining example’s of the Caribbean’s dry, subtropical forests allowing guests to glimpse plants and animals that are unique to the Cayman Islands.

Another note of interest; Grand Cayman has seven protected bird sanctuaries, including the QE II Botanic Park, Colliers Pond, Salina Reserve and the Majestic Reserve. Among species sighted in Grand Cayman are the Tricolor Herons, Common Moorhen, Green Herons, Black-necked Stilts, American Coots, Blue-winged Teal, Cattle Egrets and rare West Indian Whistling Ducks. Visit the Cayman Islands website for additional information on unique activities: www.caymanislands.ky/activities

Two Caymanian restaurants are just minutes away from the resort and yes, you can hob-knob with the locals as both restaurants serve traditional island favorites. Contact the onsite concierge for directions and details; concierge@thereef.com

  • Vivian’s Kitchen, serves up traditional Caymanian cooking — turtle soup, conch specialties and more
  • Over the Edge, a local’s favorite where guests feast on fresh, just caught seafood including lobster at a very fair price.

Women Power – It’s a girl thing you wouldn’t understand!

Women are influencing every aspect of the marketplace and travel is no exception. Did you know twenty-four percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years and 39 percent of American women plan to take one in the next 3 years? (AAA Girlfriend Travel Research Project #070005) The Reef Resort offers a variety of girlfriend getaway packages: Cheat’en Husbands getaways (perfect for the women whose husbands have strayed) and Beach Chic Escapes (a getaway for women who love all things beach). Women will relish the resort’s large beaches; all oceanfront rooms and the resorts off-the-beaten path location, all are ideal for rejuvenating friendships. Contact reservations for additional rates, packages and special offerings. reservations@thereef.com

Looking to book a flight to the Caribbean?

The news is gloom and doom regarding airfare to the Caribbean. With a bit of planning and knowledge travelers can fly to the Caribbean painlessly and also book a decent fare, visit The Window Seat at Travelocity www.windowseat.travelocity.com. This site is very informative and delivers up-to-date news when flying to the Caribbean.

Planning a Destination Wedding?

From 2001 to 2006, destination – wedding spending grew by 318 percent at constant prices, from $3 billion to nearly $10 billion with resorts and lodging in exotic or tropic locales stand to gain the most growth, reported in the April 2008 issue of Kiplinger Finance. Did you know that Grand Cayman, due to its financial strength offers some of the best wedding vendors in the Caribbean and beyond? Destination weddings on Grand Cayman have been popular for many years, and The Reef Resort, has seen a dramatic increase in weddings.

The resort’s off-the-beaten path location, 1,600 sq.-ft. beach, (the largest on the island) all beachfront suites, the new spa, plus their one wedding a day guarantee have made the resort an increasingly popular choice. Linda Locke, the onsite wedding coordinator, has recently launched a unique pre-destination wedding scouting trip to the island. The package was developed as a romantic getaway weekend for the newly engaged couple that is making a decision on where to host their destination wedding. “This idea dawned on me one day as I wanted couples to come and experience the island and the resort plus meet with photographers and florists, and review catering options, locations and more. The purpose of the package was to prepare and educate couples to make sure their wedding day was seamless, joyful, and memorable. Brides and grooms today are concerned with planning a family-friendly wedding, since families play such a huge role.

Couples want to consider their family’s wants and desires and there is no better person than a family member to make the final judgments.” Contact Linda at www.theknot.com and or Destination Weddings www.destinationweddings.com

What is the passport card and is it necessary?

The Passport Card is a new card issued by the U.S. Government and is used for entrance into the U.S. via Canada, Mexico, seaports and for use with cruises but it cannot be used for air travel. Why get it? Read more by clicking below, and see for yourself why you may or may not need this card.
Please visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

What is a Sea Safari?

Most travelers are familiar with safaris in Africa but did you know Grand Cayman offers its own sea safari? A Grand Cayman styled safari is an ocean adventure using a kayak as opposed to a Jeep or Land Rover but the premise is the same for a sea safari. Like an African safari, a sea safari offers snapshots of nature in motion. A sea safari offers travelers opportunities to explore secluded shorelines, inlets, bird-nesting areas, and mangrove communities. An experienced guide will point out scenes of interest and describe the importance and interdependence of these fragile ecosystems with the surrounding coral reefs. A refreshing swim and snorkeling around a healthy coral head is also part of the adventure. A nighttime outing will allow travelers to enjoy the phosphorous glow from the plankton below and if the moon is full, guests can see bioluminescent ocean plants. Very memorable. Visit online to learn more, www.caymankayaks.com

Scuba diving the East End of Grand Cayman is an organic experience

“Did you know one-half of U.S. adults, or 98 million people, have taken an adventure trip in the past five years,” reported from Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). What you might not know is the East End of Grand Cayman Island provides some of the best organic snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean, as this area is one of the most undisturbed on the island with new dive sites being discovered regularly. The Beach Locker, a satellite dive center operated by the resorts dive partners, Ocean Frontiers, is now open. Note, Ocean Frontiers is a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm IDC Center offering all levels of instruction from a basic beginner lesson in the pool to Divemaster and Instructor programs. A brand new all inclusive dive package is available and affordable contact reservations@thereef.com

International Fall Travel maybe a better bet than domestic travel

Peter Greenberg renowned travel expert reported in his latest newsletter, “This fall, international travel is set to be a much better experience than domestic travel. As carriers cut U.S. routes and raise domestic fares, overseas routes will be largely unaffected because of the long-standing bi-lateral agreements between countries, which make airlines reluctant to give them up. Prices may even go down from previously steep levels, as airlines cut prices in an attempt to stimulate demand in this sluggish economy. In fact, this Thanksgiving you may want to consider going to London instead of to Grandma’s house in Louisville for dinner – because overseas airfares are almost the same as domestic fares. Don’t believe us? A quick check on Expedia.com reveals that it costs $563 to fly from JFK to LAX over the Thanksgiving holiday, and only $641 for a roundtrip from New York to London. Atlanta to San Francisco costs $472, but for only $57 more, you could go to Montego Bay, Jamaica instead.” Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Irish Times by Karen Elowitt for PeterGreenberg.com. This is a great travel site to learn the latest and greatest: sign up for Greenberg’s free newsletters at www.petergreenberg.com

Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park – a true island treasure

Did you know you can find all things native to Grand Cayman in just one place? Visitors to the island will want to make the trip to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, www.botanic-park.ky The park was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth and guests can transverse more than 25 acres experiencing Grand Cayman of old, as this is an undistributed wilderness, a sanctuary if you will, of all that is natural and indigenous to Grand Cayman. Visitors can even spot the elusive Blue Dragon, an extremely endangered species with only 20 or so left in the wild. To support the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, The Reef Resort has designed a program entitled; Adopt a Dragon, where guests can experience a Blue Dragon vacation, and The Reef Resort will donate $25 to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. Call reservations today and ask about the Blue Dragon Vacation package and for additional information on the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme visit: www.blueiguana.ky or book Adopt a Dragon vacation contact reservations@thereef.com

Keep that tan

Keep that tan going right into the holidays as the resort is “Right smack on the beach” said Caribbean Travel & Life magazine in a recent editorial that featured the resort. No surprise as the property offers 1,600 sq.- ft. of creamy, sandy beaches; the largest on the island. Forget towel touching, just relax and enjoy this off-the-beaten-path hideaway on the East End of Grand Cayman. Call for rates and keep Indian Summer Alive.

Simply All Inclusive – a new option, only from theReef

In one of our biggest news items ever, we are proud to announce “Simply All Inclusive”, an innovative new vacation option from theReef.This is the first time ever that any resort in Cayman has offered a premium all inclusive plan… that’s a la carte dining, ‘top shelf’ drinks…. no strings attached!Rates start this summer from $429 double occupancy… and that includes all taxes. Click here for more info!

Le Soleil Spa – Now Open!

Experience the soothing, natural benefits of “YonKa Therapy” at La Soleil Spa, the full-service, onsite spa at The Reef Resort. Aromatherapy, phytotherapy, fruit therapy and mariane therapy – our specialized treatments incorporate all the plant world has to offer.
Click here for more info!

Agriculture Show 2008

Last Wednesday marked the 41st agriculture show here in the Cayman Islands. This event always falls on Ash Wednesday and is treated as a day out for the family and to have a good time. From foodies to farmers this event is a treat for all. In fact, this year had biggest crowd on record with over 10,000 people attending.

The event features prizes in a variety of categories from produce to native crafts. As I walked in I was greeted with the smell of a multitude of food items which made my selection that more difficult (I opted for the Turtle Stew). After I got something in my stomach, I ventured over to see the farm animals on display. Cows, goats, pigs and chickens were on display for the competition – certainly a treat for the young children.

The next area I ventured to was where venders were selling various plants and trees such as mangos, hot peppers, and guavas. As a big lover of Ackee and codfish, I was forced to buy an Ackee tree for my own yard. For those who don’t know, Ackee is a fruit that turns red when ripe and looks like scrambled eggs when served. This is why Ackee and Codfish is generally eaten at breakfast time.

There was also a children’s area with bouncing castles and slides which is perfect when you need a break.

Every year the Agriculture Show brings something new and exciting for people of all ages and this year’s show was no different.