This atmospheric hotel opened in 1986 on the white sands of Little Cayman’s Preston Bay and consists of eleven homey rooms with flowered bedspreads, ceiling fans and, this year, new furniture distributed among airy stone and wood cottages. Guests, mainly advanced divers and repeat visitors, come for healthy corals, diverse marine life and the hospitality launched by the now octogenarian owner and Texas transplant Gladys Howard, a diver, conservationist, cookbook author and evening dominoes addict. The resort operates on a safari schedule with wake up and breakfast gongs followed by a five-minute van ride to the dive dock and two daily dives with unlimited bottom time (maximum depth 100 feet), with a return to the lodge around 3pm. The hotel sea front view is lovely, with hammocks strung on the white sand beach and easy, protected swimming and snorkeling within the barrier reef.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
With a population of less than 200, there’s no shopping or nightlife, but Little Cayman offers some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling, with dozens of sites including the north side’s acclaimed Bloody Bay Wall, a shallow reef that abruptly drops 1,000 feet where you may sight hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, rays, various sharks, octopus, barracuda and colorful coral denizens large and small. The variety of sites includes more spectacular drop offs and swim through shelves and bowls accessible to snorkelers and beginning divers. On land, about a mile from the lodge, the 260-acre Booby Pond nature reserve is an internationally recognized sanctuary for the red-footed booby and West Indies Whistling Duck. Little Cayman museum offers historical perspective. The main island presence is the Lesser Caymans iguana, a species that outnumbers humans by ten to one. Just ten miles long, the island consists mainly of lagoon, mangrove forest, and salt ponds with one sandy bottomed swimming beach, Point O Sand, accessible by bike or rental car.
Need to Know
Rooms: From $1,495 per person, inclusive of meals and most drinks, for seven day diving package; 11 rooms Check-in: Check-in and check-out are based on island flight schedules. Dining Options: The menu varies daily, inspired by the owner’s training with Julia Child, James Beard, and Jacques Pepin at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Guests dine according to the weather in the air-conditioned indoor restaurant or alfresco on a patio overlooking the grounds. The breakfast spread includes chocolate filled croissants, eggs benedict, and freshly made waffles; snacks include chocolate bars and candied jalepeño peppers. There's a sushi and champagne party every Friday night. Spa and gym details: No gym or spa; outdoor pool and hot tub with sea views.
Who’s it best for: Diving couples and friends traveling together, including novices divers looking for open water certification with personalized instruction. A pool test certificate no older than 18 months is required to dive in the marine reserve. Rooms We Love: Ocean front rooms, with or without air conditioning. Insider Tip: Novices should do their basic classroom and pool course at home to maximize dive time on the island. There’s only one, very expensive grocery store so bring in anything essential, particularly water shoes for the rocky beach in front of the hotel and insect repellent Hotel staff recommend bringing antihistamines in tablet, spray and cream form and an Avon product, Bug Guard, for mosquitoes and the pesky “no see ums,” which peak with the dry season.