January 2012 Report on Grand Caymanian Resort.
Had another enjoyable stay in a nicely-equipped one-bedroom at the GCR. The resort is reportedly moving out of the Wyndham family and losing the Ramada connection; management is looking at other branding/marketing options, possibly switching to become a Holiday Inn Resort. It is moving away from a timeshare model, more toward hotel and condo rentals. They are no longer actively involved in timeshare sales, just fractional and whole ownership in the new building, but I was assured that our timeshare contract is good for its long-term duration. They are offering assistance with resales of units.
My unit this time was 1209A, which worked out well for me for the most part, although it was not among my list of choices in my request. It was kind of midway, without excessive noise from the restaurant exhaust fan that might be an issue in 11 or 13. I prefer to be closer to the water/dock/pool. Nothing has changed in the unit from 3 years ago, but I was told that there are plans to refurb the older units. They allow smoking on the balconies, so that was a small issue for me a couple of times, when the people below lit up stinky cigar-smelling things (which I could see they littered on the ground also). There were a couple of days that there was excessive noise from the room above (at least it wasn’t late at night); for the most part, my two-week stay was quiet.
The rooms in the new wing have furnishings that are a much better scale for the floorplan, so they are laid out somewhat better, i.e., 2 nightstands in the bedroom. Supposedly, the new units are not available in the timeshare inventory so I won’t go into much about them, except that the studio side is a hotel room with two beds, with no studio kitchen (it has a coffee-maker). In spite of the black furniture, the rooms are attractive; the main unit has a full kitchen with stainless appliances.
There is no longer a Kids Club, or activities like trivia games (no activity director). There was a small intro snack breakfast with some island info, but no owners update. The Welcome party had no entertainment on 12/26, and had a small band on Jan 2 -- no limbo/fire-eater, like they used to have. There was Karaoke one night (plus on New Year’s Eve, and they had some fun NYE fireworks). There is now a small convenience store next to the reception desk, and the dive shop is across in the former Kids Club location. There is a small gym (4 machines) next to the dive shop. The dive shop is still doing dive lessons in the swimming pool, and they help with some touring arrangement. They didn’t seem to have a regularly scheduled stingray boat trip anymore, but will set people up with one. The jet-ski business does make regular runs out for snorkeling and stingray sandbar. There are a tennis court, volleyball court, bikes, board games, DVDS, books, etc. Full restaurant and bar. Access to island attractions requires having a rental car, using the shuttle, calling a taxi, etc. Most tours provide free pickup for their activities. It's about a 2-mile flat walk to the main drag and beach area (where there is a handy, cheap local bus system).
The hot tubs are gone – one location is now the new restroom area (a welcome addition) and the other is a charcoal grill set up; the propane grills are gone. I was pleased that there were 3 hammocks up – even tho it was quite windy a lot of the time, I do enjoy hammock time. Got different answers about the likelihood of a second pool ever happening. They were putting effort into making a sandy water entry into the Sound, but it looks like a losing proposition. I did go in from the dock ladder, in order to photograph some starfish out there. The new shaded seating area by the dock is nice.
The groundskeeping and housekeeping are excellent. The staff are very friendly and helpful. I had no issues that required addressing; everything worked and nothing was missing.
Link to a small sample of photos from the trip:
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