By Narbeh Minassian
Sometimes, travel is hard. With so many hotels now able to offer the highest luxury and the holiday business now being so competitive, it is difficult to isolate any possible advantages one resort has over another. Admittedly, these are the most shameless of first-world problems, and will be ‘suffered’ without an accompanying choir of violins. Nonetheless, the solution may well have been found by Heather Lockington, who has channeled all her experience gathered from her extensive travels toward creating the only luxury boutique cottage hotel in the Cayman Islands.
Hers is a mantra that is based on providing high-end accommodation with an undiluted sense of place and authenticity. In other words, she has set out to create a resort with the luxury of a 5 star hotel that does not sacrifice the experience of Caymanian nature. This is an uncompromising balance. The approach to such a resolution is a relatively unique method; 4 cottages accommodating 4 groups of people. This exclusivity ensures that visitors receive the greatest possible attention from the resort, while avoiding the inevitable crowd of tourists found at more conventional resorts. All of these cottages strictly comply with the boutique’s theme of ‘Caribbean chic’, giving a fusion of modern design and Caribbean-inspired architecture.
Thatch cottage sleeps 4, it has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living and dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a private veranda. Its garden is the beach, which can be seen from any part of the house through the low windows, and the high ceilings almost belie its cottage status. The Master bedroom features a king size bed, walk-in closet, and en-suite master bath with large Jacuzzi tub and rainforest shower.
Sea Grape Cottage and Cocoplum cottage do not differ in anything other than appearance; the deciding factor is therefore down to personal preference, although there is no way you can go wrong with any of the three. Almond cottage is the only one that can be separated into its own bracket. This is a garden-view cottage that sleeps 6, making this the best option for families travelling in the four by fours.
The said exclusivity and the independent nature of the stay at Cotton Tree should not be mistaken for isolation or loneliness; on the contrary, the concierge is on hand to facilitate your experience of the island and will make the appropriate arrangements for car rental, dry cleaning, horseback riding, and virtually anything else t is within their power. While these are big gestures that no doubt contribute to a worry-free vacation, it is sometimes the slightest touches that make the big impressions. From flowers, flip flops, welcome drinks, to complimentary essentials for the first night stocked in your room, this boutique is meticulous to the last detail, all to maximize the vacation experience.
As far as dining is concerned, personal chefs can cook for guests in their own kitchen from an ever-changing and diverse menu. A tempting opportunity, of course, and one worth taking given the caliber of the chefs; the newest member of the culinary team is Chef Keith Griffin , who, with over 30 years experience in the Hospitality Industry, is one of Cayman’s most renowned chefs. As the Past President of Cayman Culinary Society and Director of the Caribbean Culinary Federation, Keith is the Manager of the Cayman Islands National Culinary Team. However, even the staff at Cotton Tree will tell you that a visit to one of the nearby restaurants is an absolute must-have on the bucket list. Perhaps the two most popular places are Ristorante Pappagallo and Vino Veritas. The former is an authentic Italian restaurant fusing the best of old and new world of Italian cuisine. The menu changes regularly under the watchful eye of Chef Steven Wagner and there are Italian and Caribbean dishes available to suit all palates. The latter offers a wide selection of European and New World Wines, with wine connoisseurs on hand to give recommendations.
The Caribbean is arguably the most relaxing destination in the continent, if not the world. To fully revel in this aspect, guests can unwind with a full range of world class spa treatments in the secluded spa pavilion and outside shower nestled among the sea grape trees just a few feet away from the Caribbean Sea. For the more active visitors, ENERGY is a unique 2000 sq foot fitness studio located at Cricket Square in the heart of George Town, Grand Cayman. Their fully equipped Pilates apparatus room is the only one of its kind in the Cayman Islands, complete with an array of Pilates equipment and a training room with weights and cardiovascular exercise programs.
It is probably fair to say that it would be easy to stay on this resort for the entire vacation, and while the trip would still be worthwhile, visitors are advised to see all that the island has to offer. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1503, the Cayman Islands are often referred to as the ‘hidden jewel’ of the Caribbean; famed for its seven mile stretch of beach and clear waters with an endless variety of marine life, which are also waters legendary for scuba diving and all water sports.
Cotton Tree offers privacy, relaxation, and all the appeal of the Caribbean, and the degree of each aspect is up to the visitor. It is simply not your average resort with a far better than average value. •
375 Conch Point Road
PO Box 31324
Grand Cayman KY1-1206