Celebrity chefs flock to the Cayman Cookout each year. // © 2016 ArtisanalAperture
Feature image (above): The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is an ideal choice for clients seeking luxury accommodations. // © 2016 The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
When “Empire” television co-stars Trai Beyers and Grace Gealey wed on Grand Cayman in April, it didn’t only gave fans a peek into the real-life love between the show’s tormented elder son and infamous femme fatale — it also triggered Caribbean vacation inspirations.
As a destination, the Cayman Islands doesn’t seek out the spotlight; in fact, it protects the privacy of visitors and residents alike.
Known for its villa resorts, spectacular offshore waters and Cayman Cookout, the famous annual beachfront food fest, this destination is perfect for true-life television stars enjoying low-key romance or culture-savvy clients looking for an island vacation with a hint of international glamour.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is the nucleus of luxury lifestyle in the Cayman Islands all year round, but Cayman Cookout in January is a calendar highlight that draws some of the most famous chefs and well-heeled foodies. Anthony Bourdain, Daniel Boulud, Michael White and numerous other celebrity chefs show up every year, and Chef Eric Ripert hosts.
Clients who can’t make it in January can still get a taste of the island’s cuisine year-round at the property’s five restaurants and lounges. (Blue by Eric Ripert, the on-site signature seafood restaurant, closes from Aug. 28 to Nov. 16.)
Marc Langevin, general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, says clients who visit during the summer will have access to seasonal savings.
Opening in November on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach will be Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. It’s a great option for clients who prefer a contemporary and fresh Caribbean aesthetic with full-service hotel amenities. For small groups who demand luxury, the property’s beachfront bungalows promise barefoot elegance and endless champagne by the sea.
Cruise business has also boosted the Caymans’ tourism, bringing bustle to Georgetown, the islands’ capital, and to Seven Mile Beach. While spending time on this famous stretch of white sand is a popular choice among visitors, clients with the means often choose to get above the crowds — literally.
“We sell a lot of helicopter tours in Grand Cayman,” said John Stoll, vice president of land programs for Crystal, which offers the helicopter ride as an excursion during its Flavors of the Caribbean itinerary.
Many also love going beyond the beach and exploring the crystal-clear Cayman waters,especially the many mysterious shipwreck sites.
“The water is as clear as glass, which is why diving is ideal for this area,” Stoll said.
Family-owned fishing charter Captain Asley’s Watersports is available to give guests a full day of smooth sailing and sun.
For those clients who want to travel farther, see fewer people or spend their vacation in nature, Little Cayman provides that with one essential island hop, offering clients the chance to kitesurf or dive.
And while they’re there, suggest that clients stay at the picture-perfect Southern Cross Club, which has long been a favorite hideaway for discerning Caribbean travelers. In our “Empire” fantasy, Cookie and Lucious Lyon would rekindle their flame in the beyond-adorable Honeymoon Suite. Honestly, anyone would.