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Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Ellicott City...
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Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Just got back from a week on GC with my husband, daughter and her boyfriend. Here are my observations which will hopefully be useful for someone else planning a trip.

HOTEL:

Stayed at the Marriott on SMB (we only ever stay at Marriotts). Hotel was great, service was excellent. All staff from housekeeping to pool staff to waitstaff to doormen where super friendly and attentive. Loved the fresh fruit poolside every afternoon. Easy walk to lots of restaurants, bars, etc. I even bought a temporary membership at Bliss yoga studio which was just two blocks away and went almost every morning. Was a bit disappointed in the beach which was very narrow and jam packed with rows of lounge chairs practically touching each other, but I did my research and was aware of this before we went. Spent one day at the Westin which had bigger pool and beach, but the pool was pretty gross with lots of dead bugs and leaves.

TOURS:

We used Red Sail since they had a tour desk at the Marriott. Did the half-day Stingray City/Snorkel trip which was a lot of fun. Stingray City was very cool; snorkeling wasn't great. Crew was great.

Also took their evening catamaran ferry to Rum Point for dinner. Loved the sail back in the dark. Rum Point Club food was pretty good but the most expensive dinner we had on the island. However, we figured the $5 per person boat fee plus dinner still came out to less than if we had taken the $45 per person regular sunset sail and had dinner elsewhere.

RESTAURANTS:

We found the food overall to be very good, better than other Caribbean islands we've visited, but also more expensive (again, we knew this ahead of time). We had everything from nice restaurants to beach bars. In fact, the only meals I didn't like were at the Marriott.

Breakfast:

Only had breakfast at the Marriott once and it was way overpriced compared to local restaurants (as hotels always are) and it was the greasiest omelet I ever had. Gross.

Cimboco and Coconut Joe's are right across the street from the hotel and were great for breakfast. Ate at Coconut Joe's three times. While I was getting tired of fried potatoes every morning (which I almost never eat at home), Coconut Joe's were the best.

Also had breakfast at Sunshine Grill in the Sunshine Suites Hotel just a few minute's drive up the road. Also very good for breakfast and they gave out mini ice cream cones for dessert! One day we wound up there at 11:00 which we didn't know was after they stopped serving breakfast so we had lunch food - best veggie burger ever!

Dinner:

Ate at Pepper's right across the street from the hotel twice. I had the steamed snapper which was excellent. Never had a whole fish before, but I really liked it. Sweet tender fish and lots of veggies. Hubby had the jerk chicken breast sandwich and enjoyed that as well.

We went to Camana Bay twice for dinner. It would be about a 10-15 minute walk, but we drove. Had great Indian food at Lola and Asian fusion at Mizu. Would highly recommend both. Hubby said the hot and sour soup at Mizu was the best he's ever had.

One evening we were in Georgetown so we ate at Rackam's. Very good fish tacos. My daughter ordered the NY strip and I was a bit hesitant about getting steak at a beach bar, but she said it was also very good.

Went to Macabuca in West Bay based on TA reviews and none of us were not too impressed.

GENERAL STUFF:

We always like to explore when on vacation so one day we drove to the East End and went as far as the Wyndham before we turned around. The island is pretty flat and boring, reminded me of Florida. We usually go to the volcanic islands (St. Kitts, St. Lucia) which have amazing topography with mountains and rainforests, but we knew GC would not be like that.

SO GLAD we didn't consider staying at the Wyndam. Not even close to as nice a property as the Marriott or Westin, completely isolated location with no restaurants nearby and the beach was covered with seaweed and was unusable. I had read about the sargassum problem in the Caribbean this summer but seeing it was something else. The area also smelled of sewage!

Make sure you check restaurant bills carefully to see whether or not they add a tip. Some restaurants don't include tip on the bill but many places automatically charge 15% or 16%. If the service was particularly good (of course noting that everything moves on "island time"), we added a bit.

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5 replies to this topic
chicago suburbs
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for Grand Cayman
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1. Re: Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

nice trip report but just a correction regarding nearby restaurants---there are some nearby

Italian Kitchen is across the street and Tukka is a short drive away. Tukka will also pick you up. There are a number of other restaurants on that side of the island, but these two are the closest.

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Tukka
Tukka
2,864 Reviews
Grand Cayman
Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
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2. Re: Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Great trip report. Thank you for taking the time to share this for the benefit of other travellers.

Could you tell us a little more about what you didn't care for about Macabuca? It's one of my go-tos and for my other friends as well. Only complaint I ever heard was that service can sometimes be spotty but have never experienced that personally. I was down there to check out their Monday night BBQ and wasn't that impressed, but others have said that it was good.

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Macabuca Bar & Grill
Macabuca Bar & Grill
982 Reviews
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Ellicott City...
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56 reviews
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3. Re: Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Nothing horribly wrong with Macabuca - just thought the food overall was better at other restaurants. We had the ceviche appetizer and liked the one at Pepper's better, daughter had the chicken curry and liked the one at Pani better (sorry, I said Lola in my initial review and meant Pani!), I ordered the roasted spiced vegetable panini and was served the vegetarian club Panini by mistake and it wasn't great. Also, my iced tea was very watered down.

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Macabuca Bar & Grill
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982 Reviews
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Pepper's Bar and Grill
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1,148 Reviews
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North Richland...
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4. Re: Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Great trip report. Thanks! We will be in GC in less than two weeks, so a very useful update for us. Count us as folks who have had good experiences at Macabuca. I think the food is less important to us than the setting. It’s just a fabulous place for a casual sunset dinner. Give me something to drink and their wonderful conch fritters and I’m good to go. So sad to hear about the East End and the sargassum. The last time we were there was 2015 and sargassum was a new experience for us on GC. (We try to go every year, but wife had to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis in 2016. All is good now.) We went to Tulkka where there was a mild influx of the stuff and the smell made the outdoor dinner less than desirable. It sounds like the seaweed is much worse this year. I feel for the businesses that are hurt by this poke in the eye by Mother Nature.

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Macabuca Bar & Grill
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982 Reviews
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Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
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5. Re: Trip report, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Thanks for the feedback.

However, I think that comparing a Caribbean chicken curry and an Indian Chicken Curry, which are two completely different things, comes down to a matter of taste, rather than any sort of overall "better".

But I take your point - in general you are going to find better versions of their food at other places on the island, just more expensive and not in such a casual location.

I appreciate the clarification.

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