L-O-V-E the R-I-T-Z

I think my favorite establishment in Grand Cayman is the Ritz-Carlton hotel (slash city, slash slice of heaven.) A landmark in and of itself, you can give anyone directions based on the location of the hotel, residences, cross-walk, and golf course. It's absolutely enormous and wonderful in every way.

Our first encounter at the Ritz was when friends stayed in the hotel for a couple nights. They gave us a mini tour of the place, and we were happy to explore the halls and giant stair cases and use the luxe bathrooms. At one point, I was convinced we were walking through an art gallery of Cayman scenes.

Nope. That turned out to be a huge walkway connecting two of the Ritz' hotel spaces across West Bay Road. Now that's a classy way to cross the street.

Of course the grounds are beautiful and immaculate at all times, and especially magical at night.

One of the things I love about the Ritz is how accommodating they are. Even night time visitors have a comfy place to lounge. I'm not exactly sure if these loungers are involved, but every evening at dusk, the Ritz hosts Movies Under the Stars - a complimentary family-friendly move at the Periwinkle Theater.

My next Ritz experience was at the Cayman Captive Forum - an insurance conference where my accounting firm was a sponsor, and several of the staff worked an exhibitor booth. Not only was it an easy day of work, but the Ritz once again did not disappoint. Their food and beverage service was top notch, and meals were served under an enormous white, air-conditioned tent on the lawn. When it was time for me to return to the office, I was a bit disoriented as to where on the property I might find my car, so I naturally asked one of the wait staff for directions. He didn't give me directions; he walked me to my car. Nothing beats terrific customer service. Nothing. 

On a side note, every exhibitor at the forum seemed to have some kind of raffle going on to draw people into their corporate table. During breaks, I'd take a walk around the exhibits, meeting others in the insurance industry, and dropping my card a few places. When I got to the Wells Fargo table, I noticed that their card container wasn't the ordinary glass vase - it was the Wells Fargo stagecoach!  I liked it so much that I couldn't help but to ask the bankers to let me "win" it - and no, it wasn't the prize being raffled.  The next day, when the forum ended, the insurance partner in our office proudly marched into my cube to present me with a porcelain stagecoach cookie jar - my winnings! I had to confess that it wasn't a fair win, but I think the fact the WF guys remembered to box it up and send it off with my colleagues was a win enough.

This now houses my pens and post-its. I'm planning to add some cookies.

The next time I was at the Ritz was a couple weeks ago when a partner from the New Jersey accounting firm I worked for was vacationing with family in the Exclusive Resorts - an independent attachment to the Ritz. Members have access to the full range of Ritz accommodations while they're staying in luxurious residences complete with concierge service, a personal driver, beverages... basically a dreamy vacation. I was lucky enough to be a guest in their vacation home for an evening while we caught up on life, Grand Cayman, and a little bit of accounting. I enjoyed seeing their enormous bedrooms, gorgeous kitchen, and beautiful endless pool in the back. Basically, I love being invited to the Ritz, and this particular family made me feel like one of their own.

So this bring me to our latest Ritz jaunt. Our good pals J&S are from Oregon and are huge Ducks fans, so when the National Championship rolled around this year, they got permission to watch the game at a Ritz residence that JS' boss owns.  Talk about a nice place. I took quite a few pictures just of the chandelier and the mirror.


Oops. Back to the game. SD made a nifty field on which to place football-shaped chocolate-covered cake balls to commemorate the game.

I came in on the tail-end of the preparations but still got to help these girls pipe on some stitching.

Okay so maybe we're not ready to go pro, but they tasted divine.

We had a very nice Monday evening cheering on the Ducks, eating the typical football fare: pizza, chips, chocolate, and a special cake, decorated by JS himself.

Get 'em while they're young.

Go Ducks! (Next year, at this point.)

So, in summary, I've concluded that the Ritz provides me a good time. (And also the people I'm with. And the food. And winning prizes.)


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