So I had been doing a lot of travel for work the previous year and collecting points on IHG. Made it to Spire Elite status without even paying attention. I’ve used hotel points here and there for a free room on a motorcycle road trip, or when driving out to Colorado to help move stuff when my dad moved out there from New Jersey, but I decided I wanted to make use of the points at somewhere better than a standard Holiday Inn express. Did some research on the best use of points, and decided on a long weekend at the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa in the Cayman Islands. There were direct flights available from JFK, it was a warm location for the middle of January, and we had been big fans of the Kimpton brand from our stay at the Kimpton Gray in Chicago for a weekend the previous year. The only rooms available for rewards nights were the standard Oceanview King rooms, so I grabbed one for 3 nights at 70K points a night.
January 16th Thursday
Thursday morning started off exciting with my girlfriend waking up with achy bones, a stuffy nose, and a slight fever. I didn’t help anything by insisting that we get to the airport early. Got us up early, made some coffee, and somehow convinced her to push through it. Flu recovery would be better at a Spa than at home in bed?
JFK was obviously empty at the international terminal at 6 am. The Cayman Airlines flight was the first one leaving that day, so we sat and waited for others to show up at the gate. Even better, no coffee places had opened yet.
Flight was as expected. Nothing special at all with a points booked economy ticket. The free rum punch cocktails, premixed and served out of a plastic gallon milk container, were a great early morning wake me up, and I appreciated the “cheese sandwiches in a sandwich baggie” for a lunch snack. It was a direct flight. Can’t complain.
Super easy cab ride from the airport. There were ads for a price checker app which I used because I'm paranoid, but the cab driver was super nice and knew where to go.
Check-in was a little surprising. Since booking with points, I had assumed we'd get the most basic room that they had. Due to my IHG status, they upgraded me to a 1 bedroom suite, gave me a $30 spa credit, and gave me a $30 restaurant credit. Even better, my girlfriend mentioned that she was also an IHG member so they gave her a $30 spa credit as well.
We were early so they gave us a drink and we lounged at the beach for the afternoon.
Definitely one of the nicest rooms I’ve ever stayed in, and enormous. Way more than we needed for the weekend.
While my girlfriend took a nap after check in to try and at least start her flu recovery, I checked out the wine happy hour, a standard for Kimpton hotels.
After the break, we decided to keep it local and dressed up for dinner at one of the hotel restaurants, Avecita, for some small plates, drinks, and desserts. No complaints at all, as we started thinking we could get used to a spa resort type vacation.
January 17th Friday
Next morning, our first full day, we decided to start it off by taking advantage of our very temporary $1300 a night suite life, and ordered breakfast to be delivered to our room on the balcony. Even tried to be healthy out of guilt. Oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, and robes.
This morning’s schedule was one of the main reasons for the trip. A spa day for the girlfriend. Prepaid for a package and hoped the $60 in credits would make a dent in the bill, but yeah not even close. While she relaxed at the spa getting a facial and mani/pedi, I lounged on the beach and broke out the new underwater video camera and full face snorkel set, which was one of my main goals for the trip to play around with.
Listened to rave reviews of the Seafire Spa over fruity drinks and tacos on the beach at Coccoloba.
Spent the rest of the afternoon poolside and reading. Popsicles, drinks. For a family friendly place, it certainly didn’t feel like it, as there weren’t too many kids or families at the pool.
Dinner in town for a change of pace. The restaurant was recommended by hotel staff, but they told us the town would probably be pretty empty as there were no cruise ships in port. Le Vele restaurant was perfect for seaside dining.
Lindsay has a severe aversion to seafood. Can't eat any of it. However since I had set up this trip, she wanted to do a seafood place for me for one dinner. I ordered an appetizer, pretty much the only one that didn't contain any seafood, but she was a little skepticaland wasn’t completely sure they were seafood free.
January 18th Saturday
Still getting over the flu, we decided to sleep in a little longer than normal that morning. I got up first and had to check out the free hot chocolate station, and picked up a snack from their pantry.
Spent the morning on the beach, trying out the new full face snorkels that I had brought with us. Grabbed drinks and tacos on the beach.
Plan for the afternoon was to do something a little touristy, but something I wanted to do while there in the Caymans. Made our way to the highly Captain Marvin's Swimming with Stingrays boat trip. Picked up a fedora hat while waiting for our tickets, which ended up in the water almost immediately after getting on the boat. One of the deckhands ended up jumping in to retrieve it before we headed out to the stingray grounds. Got some great footage swimming with the stingrays and snorkeling with fish afterwards. It was much more choppy than expected for everyone, and much more hands on with the sea-life than we expected. Definitely something you should do at least once.
One more set of drinks on the beach, post terrifying ray excursion.
Last dinner at Avecita.
January 19th Sunday
For our last day, we had to do breakfast in bed again. This time we didn’t go healthy.
Final relaxing beach day and some snorkeling before heading back.
Loved the Caymans, and found a great way to use IHG points for expensive hotels. I have a bunch left so I plan on banking them for one more Spire Elite trip before I figure out if I'm switching to another loyalty program. One other bonus that worked out well on this trip was getting a Chase Offer on Kimpton hotels with my credit card. While points were used for the room, we racked up some charges with the spa, drinks, and food, so it was nice to see some credits come back that I wasn't expecting.