Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

Photo: Palm Heights

The next few months are going to look a lot different than usual. Large family gatherings can’t happen. Fun holiday parties can’t either. There’s even a big question mark next to your pre-Thanksgiving escape. Usually, you’d book a long weekend—before the craziness starts—as a gift to yourself. You just don’t feel comfortable traveling to your favorite resorts, though. Huge properties, which normally offer endless options, are just too overwhelming right now. But you shouldn’t give up on the idea of a quick getaway. You just need to pivot to something new.

Perhaps you should look at a hotel instead of a resort this year. They’re much smaller. They don’t have as many rooms or restaurants or bars. That also means they don’t have as many guests. Add more personalized service for what could be a perfect change of pace.

You can fly to the Cayman Islands in less than four hours on a nonstop flight. Once you land on Grand Cayman, the largest island in the British Overseas Territory, it’s just a 10-minute drive to Seven Mile Beach. You’ve seen plenty of pictures of this crescent-shaped beach before. The west-facing (read: gorgeous sunsets) stretch of coral sand is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Lucky for you, a new boutique hotel opened on it last year.

Photo: Palm Heights

Palm Heights looks like a glamourous beach club. All-white walls, rattan furniture, and lots of tropical plants greet you in the lobby. It leads to a thoughtfully curated library and Tillies, a restaurant focused on island produce. The view from the first floor extends down a long aisle toward the beach. Palm trees, pools, and the Coconut Club bar will surely distract you along the way. They all lead to rows of canary-yellow umbrellas on the sand. An attendant, carrying a Yeti cooler filled with purified water, will be out shortly.

So far, you aren’t missing all the extra options you’d find at a big resort. It’s actually nice that there isn’t a buffet or a playground in sight. The rest of the interior—really, your room—matters just as much as the public spaces, though. When you head upstairs, you find a water filteration system on each floor. A water bottle is already in your room. A woven tote and baseball caps are, too.

Your room, by the way, is actually a large suite. They all are. Each one is at least 600 square feet with a separate bedroom, a marble bathroom, and a balcony with a beach view. An Apple TV with Netflix and Bose speakers are among its amenities. So are two minibars: one to detox and one to retox.

You’re sold. It seems like smaller and different might be what get you through not only the holiday season but the whole strange winter ahead. Go book that flight to Grand Cayman.


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