Though it lacks a beach, this family-owned and professional diver–managed resort on the rocky coast just south of George Town has direct ladder access into the Caribbean. Grand Cayman’s two famous underwater sites, Eden’s Rock and Devil’s Grotto, are just a short swim away, and boat trips offer the option of up to five dives daily. Images by some of the world’s most respected underwater photographers decorate the tiled and comfortable smoke-free rooms, many with kitchens and private balconies or terraces for storing tanks and wet neoprene. The vibe is laid-back; post dive, guests sit by the pool or swap stories at the palapa bar, which has the island’s best sunset vista. Managers and veteran divers Keith and Karen Sahm make sure everything runs smoothly and ensure visitors explore the best of Grand Cayman both on shore and underwater.
Rooms: 53 rooms. From $232. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Diver hangout My Bar serves fresh lobster, excellent curry dishes, and other Indian specialties. Spa and gym details: No spa or gym, but a freshwater pool and whirlpool overlook the ocean. At the sea wall, there is ladder access to shallow corals and an excellent house reef.
Who’s it best for: Laid-back divers and snorkelers who dislike crowds and impersonal tourist resorts. Our favorite rooms: Ask for an ocean-view room themed with photos by elite underwater photographers; artists include Courtney Platt, Ellen Cuylaerts, Cathy Church, and Jim Hellemn. For shutterbugs: Cathy Church, former photo editor of Skin Diver Magazine, operates an on-site photography shop offering underwater camera rental and photography classes.