Caribbean

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Does it Again

written by | Posted on October 1st, 2010

The Ritz-Carlton has long held its position as a leader in the upscale hotel and resort category, deservedly so by delivering top-notch service and consistency from location to location. And if you’re a regular reader of Recommend, you’ll know we’ve chronicled that extensive quality and resort expertise more than a few times over the years.

So here we are again and here comes our old favorite, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. But wait, despite the familiar theme here, this is not deja vu. Yes, our Caribbean editor Ciara LaVelle did indeed recently write an onsite review of the property after a visit she made in February 2009. Perhaps you’re experiencing unexplainable visions of an intimate destination wedding? Not to worry, put away the Xanax because the property was in fact recommended in our June 2010 issue as one of the best Caribbean resorts to hold such an affair. Okay, now you’ve got it, this is going to be about family travel right? Um, no—been there, done that, with a feature on family travel focusing on The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman in our September Family Travel issue.

Okay, okay, so unless Recommend owns stock in The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman—don’t we wish—what else can we possibly write about? We’ve got just six words for you, dear and faithful reader—Silver Rain, a La Prairie Spa.

It can be embarrassing for a travel publication that prides itself on its objectivity and its tell-it-like-is-style, to keep lauding a property’s singular expertise in all aspects of hotel/resort operations. So, when Recommend was invited to tour Silver Rain, a La Prairie Spa at where else?—The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman—we decided the resident spa snob (that would be me) needed to take the trip where said snob would certainly and finally find something wrong with this property. Maybe the spa wouldn’t live up to the rest of the resorts’ standards. I mean they have to get something wrong down there, right?

Sigh, despite my well-deserved reputation for being hard to please—okay, okay, almost impossible to completely please—it’s not going to happen here folks. This place is a stand-alone example of getting it right the first time without the fluff, the smoke and mirrors, while showcasing its own brand without dressing it up in local culture or utilizing local elements that would compromise its own distinctive brand.

And let’s face it, most Caribbean resorts do indeed infuse elements of its location or culture into their spa scheme—many times in a major stretch of authenticity, in our view—but the Silver Rain spa is operating like a brand unto its own. Which, in fact, it is because it’s the flagship spa for the upscale cosmetic giant, La Prairie.

Here, you won’t be greeted by an attendant wearing customary island clothing, nor will you feel like you are in the Caribbean at all. Instead, a sexy, sleek and well-designed very modern facility awaits. Open the door and you’ll find a lobby with a wall of silvery water cascading down the length of the quartzite surroundings. Partially concealed by carved crystalline sculptures, the “water walls” set the tone for the total spa experience.

We’re talking the ultimate in sleek and modern here, completely unlike the grounds on which it is set and probably why it’s such a show-stopping entrance, because it comes at you from left field in a completely unexpected, but thoroughly entrancing way. Even the air, in fact, is infused with La Prairie’s signature fragrance, “silver rain.”

Making it even more perfect, the Silver Rain spa provides a lavish 20,000 sq. ft. of elegance, which includes 16 treatment rooms and a private nail salon. It is an exquisite sensory experience of crystal, silver and mirrored surfaces; no detail left out. That sense of water is almost eerily everywhere; its sounds, scents and spirit are apparent in every architectural detail and they haunt the psyche like an unseen but hypnotic wraith—soothing and sensually mellowing out the spirit and the soul, as it’s meant to do.

“The luxury of water is the unifying element in Silver Rain’s merging of Swiss brilliance with Caribbean sensuality,” Lynne Florio, president of La Prairie, explains. “The spa embodies the essence of luxury, married to the energies of water…from glittering ice-crystal sculptural elements, to the softly embracing raindrops of Silver Rain therapies; every possible replenishment of moisture has been explored and glorified.”