One of the most impressive properties inside both Kimpton and, thusly IHG, is the Kimpton Seafire Resort in Grand Cayman. I have been excited to try it from the moment it was announced that IHG Rewards Club points could be used to stay at Kimpton hotels.
The most iconic location in Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach and this is where you’ll find a row of premium hotels including the Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Kimpton Seafire in a line up the beach. The property is 5.3 miles from the airport, a $24 fare, and 12-minute drive.
Address: 60 Tanager Way, KY1-1303, Cayman Islands
Phone: (800) 546-7866
We were upgraded at checkin to a Junior Suite (928), an oceanfront room with views of the pool in the foreground and waves beyond. Our daughter, Lucy, loved the room and we did too – the style was fresh and contemporary without trying too hard to be cute.
To the left, when entering the suite, was a small kitchenette with some noteworthy features. Seafire has a minibar (core to their personality) but also included another refrigerator drawer that was available for our own items, something we really appreciate as a family. The ice bucket was filled each night without asking, and we utilized the extra space.
The bedroom was the majority of the suite, entering near the bed with a living room/sitting area to the far end near the balcony. The bed was really comfortable, though I personally opted for the pull-out couch as my daughter has a tendency to sleep perpendicular to us and provide back massages with her feet throughout the night.
The TV was large and had a number of channels from both the islands and the nearby Florida area. We would have liked to have seen a capability to use Netflix on the TV natively (though our FireStick would have worked just fine).
We all loved the balcony, it was a great way to start the day and to end it. Rooms on the front of the L-shaped business would have a closer view of the sea and none of the resort (rooms ending in 01-04) but we didn’t mind.
Separated by a full pocket door, the bathroom was top notch. Dual vanities with plenty of counter space and a large, well-lit mirror greet you as you enter. To the left is a separate water closet (no Asian toilet seat, but I lived) again inside of a pocket door.
To the right of the bathroom is a large open shower and soaking bathtub. There is a little peek of the ocean available if you are in the tub at one end. My daughter utilized this several times and we really liked having the option to choose which we would prefer. One small misfire regarding the bathroom: despite the space, newness, and premium of the property, there is no rain shower head.
Personal Service Throughout the Property
The staff all seem to love their job. From the moment you walk in the door, genuine smiles greet you from staff that cares about the enjoyment of your stay. Our daughter was uncharacteristically ill one night of our stay and the staff couldn’t have been better about supporting us.
A couple of minor issues (an outlet wasn’t working properly, a noisy bathroom fan, etc.) and the staff had them handled within the hour. They also waived the resort fee as a result, a generous token of goodwill.
Included in Your Resort Fee
Some hotels hand out guides for what is and is not included in your resort fee paid daily, in this case, $70. The property has a collection of water sports equipment such as kayaks, water tricycles, snorkeling gear, bicycles, among others. They also include tea and coffee for guests in common areas, a “happy hour” with wine and single chip nachos.
We enjoyed the beach and pool at this property. It has one major flaw which I will get into in a moment, but for the most part, we really couldn’t get enough of the water. It was a bit windy the two days we were in residence which made the waves beautiful but swimming in the sea a bit treacherous. Despite this, we spent most of our time at the water.
The pool is divided into three sections. A small, deep triangle at the front was primarily for adults who want to read poolside. The largest section featured a variety of depths and was generally open for all guests including children, the final section was exclusively for small children and families. Surrounding the family pool section was a turf with games like foosball and ping pong and additional bean bag loungers.
Seating and cabanas were available at all three areas; cabanas require reservations at an additional cost.
One deficiency of the pool area is the lack of a hot tub. They do have one, but it’s located inside the Spa, no one under 18 is allowed inside and the sauna/hot tub area is small for a resort this size, and inconvenient. Installing one or even converting the front triangle is a quick and easy fix, hopefully, one that takes place in the off-season. We were not the only guests to have noticed and mentioned this to staff.
At the far end of the property, the Coccolobo Mexican street food restaurant serves patrons at the beach and pool. The property sits in front of a beautiful section of Seven Mile Beach with several rows of loungers and umbrellas, a few covered loungers were placed throughout the section.
This area of the beach had a much steeper transition to the beach which suggested to me that the waves tend to be higher at this portion of the beach than other areas. I would welcome comments that can conclusively state whether this part of the beach has higher waves than elsewhere on the island. It was generally windier than normal the two days we were in residence.
The views were incredible. The waves made a perfect soundtrack for lazy afternoons in the sun or hammocks swinging over sand.
Our daughter loved chasing the waves and for those wondering, it makes a perfect Instagram spot. If you don’t already follow us, you should.
For everything we loved about the property, service at the pools and beaches were a problem. At the pool, there were just three attendants at any point in time to assist with towels, seats, and anything else. There were a few more food and beverage servers than pool attendants but we struggled to get service.
The service we did receive was generally good, Alex at the pool was a bright spot. But during several other occasions, we just couldn’t get the attention of anyone who could help us get set up at the pool. For $600+ per night, that’s just not good enough.
It shouldn’t take guests literally shouting for assistance at a premium property to be acknowledged. On one occasion I waved a pool attendant over and he just waved back and walked away. Food and beverage service at the beach was ok until it took them more than two hours to collect the lunch cartons and drink glasses.
The answer to the service issue is more staff not better staff, most of the servers and attendants were cheerful and helpful once they realized there was a need. But anticipating the guest’s needs is what is needed at this price point. This is one of the top hotels in the IHG brand and they equate themselves to the Ritz-Carlton in nightly rates. If they wish to place themselves in the same category as hotels such as the Ritz, they need to deliver in the same regard.
This is a new concept and I thought it was interesting. Ave, pronounced as in Spanish: ah-vay, was a Mediterranean mix in an upscale environment. Avecita (Spanish for little Ave) was a restaurant within the restaurant that focused on Spanish cuisine and local fusion adaptations.
When I describe Avecita as a restaurant within a restaurant, I mean to say that you will use the same front doors to enter, the two share the same kitchen, but they are separated by a large curtain. Avecita uses communal tables and chairs while Ave is individual tables and booths.
It was a little confusing when we first sat down for dinner with Avecita, but we love Spanish food and it seemed a better fit for our small family of three.
Without going into a deep dive of the food, the starters were a little over-priced, especially the Iberco jamon, steep for the portion provided. The short rib was amazing, though the marrow was hard to distinguish despite instructions. The cheese plate was my wife’s favorite if nothing more than for the honey which could be applied to anything at all to consume with delight. Skip the (Cannelloni dish).
Breakfast is held at Ave in the morning. They drop the curtain and open the space up with options for buffet or menu. We tried the buffet but in retrospect would have rather chosen the menu after seeing tables around us. I did not include pictures of other people’s food in this review. The buffet was fine, the menu items appeared stellar.
The property had a Christmas-themed Gingerbread bar up for the holidays in a portion of the lobby. It was clever and guests seemed to enjoy the Christmas cocktails on offer.
In the IHG system, Kimpton properties are some of the most expensive both using points and cash. Guests are still required to pay the daily resort fee ($70) and 10% on any charges accrued on-site. However, this property costs as much as $1,000/nt, during our stay cash rates were lower than usual for the property at $625/nt in cash or 70,000 points. In high season, this is a great way to use IHG points that can be acquired at a reasonable rate.
In low season, rates are still pretty expensive at $500/nt or 70,000 points – when compared in the IHG system, the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa runs $1200/nt or 70,000 points. Perhaps this property should be readjusted both for cash and points value.
That being said, if there were 4.5-star hotels, this one would be worth creating the category. Some services were exceptional, like a complimentary ride home from a restaurant in the hotel Escalade, while others lagged behind where it should be for a hotel charging this much.
We will absolutely return, but likely in low season where prices are a little lower.
Have you stayed in the Kimpton Seafire? How was your experience? What’s your go-to resort in the Cayman Islands and why?