Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is a luxury boutique resort at the world-famous Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean. While this resort isn’t large, it’s bursting at the seams with fantastic amenities, top-notch service, contemporary design, and incredible value when booked with points.
My stay wasn’t perfect, however. I’ll go over all of my issues with this hotel in addition to gushing about how much I loved it. I originally had no plans to go to Grand Cayman, but I decided I had to book a stay after writing an article about Kimpton hotels. The value of using points at this location was too good to pass up, so off to Grand Cayman I went.
The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is located on the famed Seven Mile Beach on the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman.
Once we arrived at the airport, we took a taxi to the hotel. The ride took about 15 to 20 minutes and cost $40. There aren’t any Uber or Lyft services on the island, so you’ll either need to take a taxi or arrange transportation with the hotel. The hotel’s concierge offered to arrange transportation for me, but it would have cost $125, so I opted to just get a taxi at the airport.
We flew to Grand Cayman on Southwest Airlines using a combination of Rapid Rewards points and the Companion Pass, but there are also lots of other options to get to the Caribbean with points and miles.
I wrote a post about the best Kimpton hotels to book with points, which included the Seafire Resort. I was so intrigued by the property and amazed at the value it offered that I had to book it — it’s a hazard of the job!
The cash cost of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is high. The base-level rooms bounce between $1,200 and $1,800 per night during peak season. (Prices can drop to around $600 during some off-peak times.) At the time of booking, the base level 2 Queen Premium Ocean View Room cost $1,831 per night. In addition to the room charge, there’s a 10% service charge and an $80 resort fee, so you can see the cash cost can add up quickly.
Of course, that’s not what I paid since I booked with points. I originally booked 4 nights and later added a fifth night. Award nights cost 70,000 IHG One Rewards points per night. However, since I have the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, I got the fourth night free, so I paid a total of 280,000 points for 5 nights at an average of 56,000 points per night.
Once you take into account the room charge and 10% service fee, I got a value of 3.6 cents per point on this trip! That’s incredible since we value IHG One Rewards points around 0.5 cents each.
I still had to pay the $80 per night resort fee since IHG One Rewards doesn’t waive it on award stays.
Hot Tip: The IHG Premier card just got a refresh, and thankfully, the fourth-night free benefit stuck around. This was the first time I used that benefit and it saved me 70,000 points, so I’m definitely keeping this card in my wallet for future IHG stays.
One of the nice things about booking the Kimpton Seafire with points is that availability was wide open. Even during spring break, when I went, you could still book with points without any blackout dates.
There are 2 types of rooms that were bookable with points — a North Sound View or a Premium Ocean View. Both types of rooms were available with 1 king or 2 queen beds. I would not recommend booking the North Sound View rooms. They are in the back of the hotel with a view of the North Sound and a road. The Premium Ocean View rooms were the same price in points and have gorgeous views.
If you think an $80 resort fee sounds a little high, I’m right there with you. I wish hotels would just roll the resort fee cost into the room cost, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works. There are some hotel brands, including Hyatt and Hilton, that waive resort fees on award stays. IHG One Rewards does not, so there’s no getting around paying the $80 per night.
Here’s what’s included in the Kimpton Seafire resort fee:
My check-in experience at Kimpton Seafire was a bit rocky. It all worked out just fine in the end, but if I was judging this hotel by my check-in experience alone, it would be a poor assessment.
We arrived around noon to find our room wasn’t ready. I’m a Diamond Elite member (formerly, Spire Elite, IHG One Rewards’ top tier of elite status) so I asked for an upgrade. I was told that no upgrades were available. However, I knew rooms were available because I was able to pull them up on the website as I was standing there. When I brought this up, the man who was checking me in looked partially confused and partially unsure of what to do (I really got the sense they weren’t interested in upgrading me).
He said he’d check, so we were offered a welcome drink (sparkling rosé, water, or juice) and a tour of the property while we waited.
We went to eat lunch and then went back to the front desk to see if our room was ready. They checked again (and I asked for an upgrade again) and I was told that no upgrades were available (again). When our room was finally ready, we opened the door to find 1 king-sized bed. So we turned around and went back to the front desk since we needed a room with 2 beds.
Back at the front desk, the staff again seemed confused. Then all of a sudden, they told me they had an upgrade available, but it wouldn’t be available until 5 p.m. Obviously, I took it, and we went to the pool while we waited for our room.
I don’t know if the staff was actually confused or they just really didn’t want to give me an upgraded room, but it all felt very disorganized. At this point, I was really nervous about what to expect for the rest of the stay, because the check-in process didn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Eventually, we got to our (upgraded — yay!) room and enjoyed the rest of the trip.
My mom, who is also a Diamond Elite, was traveling with us and was not offered an upgrade. She didn’t ask for one and was very happy with her room, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, I get the sense that this property is not accustomed to giving upgrades to elite members. I think I only got mine because they put me in the wrong room after I had already waited a few hours.
That said, the basic room that you can book with points was fantastic. Even without the upgrade, I still think this is a great place to book with points.
I was offered a few benefits upon arrival since I’m a member of the IHG One Rewards program.
First, the welcome amenity at Kimpton Hotels is a $15 Raid the Bar credit. This credit will just take $15 off anything you charge to the room. Upon check-in, I was offered a choice of the $15 credit or 600 IHG One Rewards points. Since the value of 600 points is about $3, I obviously took the Raid the Bar credit.
I was also offered a $30 spa credit, which I wasn’t able to use.
These benefits are offered to all IHG One Rewards members, regardless of elite status level.
There is 1 pool at Kimpton Seafire. It’s a large pool with a separate area for young children at the end closest to the beach and a small separate area at the opposite end.
You may notice the website says there are 2 pools, but 1 of them is for Seafire Residences only and not accessible to hotel guests.
One of the things I loved was that there were always chairs available, so we didn’t have to get to the pool early to claim a spot. Plus, as soon as we found a spot, a pool attendant came over to help us get our chairs set up.
The attendants also rearranged umbrellas to give us as much shade as we wanted or didn’t want.
The pool area (and beach area, too) had cabanas to rent for the day for a little more space.
You can’t visit Grand Cayman without enjoying Seven Mile Beach. The sand is powdery white and the water is an incredible shade of blue.
The hotel is directly on the beach, so you only have to walk a few steps to get there. Just as with the pool, there were always plenty of lounge chairs available with attendants at the ready to help us settle into our chosen spot.
The service by the beach was fantastic. The hotel staff was always around to make sure we had whatever we wanted, and they always did it with a smile. One of the nicest things was that all of the beach chairs (and pool chairs) had little flags that we could put up when we wanted to order something. It’s such a better system than just hoping someone walks by.
I enjoyed a shady spot under a section of trees during most of my days at the beach, and the complimentary beach bag was perfect for toting items to and from the room.
The property even had specially-made towels that went over the tops of the lounge chairs so they wouldn’t blow away (genius).
Lunch at the beach was fantastic — the chicken quesadilla was my favorite, along with a virgin strawberry daiquiri to share with my daughter. For a snack, we ordered the churros and they were honestly the best churros I’ve ever had.
There was cold water readily available at the beach (and the pool, too), as well as sunscreen, aloe, and hand sanitizer, so we didn’t have to go far for the necessities.
The resort had a list of activities available each day that included fitness classes and crafts. Here’s just some of what you can expect:
The large fitness center had a wall of windows overlooking the gardens, so it was quite bright and airy. There was plenty of cardio equipment and weight machines.
There were also free weights, kettlebells, foam rollers, yoga mats, and more.
There was a spa at the resort that offered lots of different treatments. The prices were pretty high, and since I treated myself to a massage at the Hyatt Centric Key West the month prior, I decided to skip it this time.
Camp Seafire is the resort’s kids’ club for 5- to 12-year-olds. Kids can go for a full ($120) or half-day ($65) of supervised fun and playtime.
We signed my daughter up for a full-day program and she loved it so much that she was desperate to go back the next day to see her new friends, so we sent her for another half day. She had a blast hanging out with kids her own age and even made some new friends that she played with outside of camp.
The staff was wonderful with the kids and even noticed my daughter playing with her new friends at the pool the following day and went over to say hello.
One of the things the Kimpton brand is known for is free bicycles that guests can borrow at each hotel. The bikes are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but there were plenty available, so there was little risk of a bike not being there when we were ready.
There was some construction going on that prevented us from being able to bike in the direction of shops and restaurants (unless we wanted to ride on the side of the highway), so we just checked out some nearby residential areas and then headed back to the hotel.
All Kimpton hotels, including the Seafire Resort, are pet-friendly. There is no limit on the number of pets you can have nor is there a weight limit. Plus there are no pet fees.
Red Sail Sports is the on-site water sports rental facility and retail shop.
As part of the resort fee, guests are able to use water toys including kayaks, paddleboards, pedalboards, and snorkel equipment for free. There are also paid activities that you can schedule at the shop, including scuba diving, banana boat rides, speed boating, and sailing excursions.
My husband and I went scuba diving twice during our stay. It was so convenient to have the dive boat pick us up directly at the hotel. The dive staff was excellent and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them if you’re considering a dive. Red Sail also picks up divers from The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa and The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
If you’ve read any of my other hotel reviews you may have noticed that I can get really grumpy if there’s not a coffee maker in my room. Well, there was no coffee maker in the room at the Kimpton Seafire and amazingly, it didn’t bother me at all. Coffee (and tea) were served in the lobby each morning and the setup was great, so I was able to have my coffee exactly as I like it — half regular, half decaf with almond milk.
The coffee station had everything we needed, including both regular and decaf coffee along with 4 types of milk options (half and half, whole, skim, and almond). Plus, there were sweeteners and drink trays so we could easily take a few beverages up to our room.
The tea station had hot water along with a variety of teas and sweeteners.
The coffee and tea stations were located next to Seafire Pantry, a small grab-and-go cafe, which made it so convenient to get a pastry to enjoy with my morning coffee.
Each evening, there was a “happy hour” in the lobby. It included bottled water as well as some local beers and a variety of Truly Hard Seltzers for the adults.
There were Capri Suns and fruit snacks for the kids.
I totally loved the decor at this hotel and the guest rooms did not disappoint. Done in a contemporary palette of white, black, and a fantastic dark pink color, the rooms were clean and modern, yet felt perfectly at home next to the beach.
I booked a 2 Queen Bed Ocean View room but was upgraded to a Premium Oceanfront Room. The room itself was very similar to the standard ocean view room, but it was a little larger and had a much bigger balcony with a direct view of the ocean.
As we entered the room, there was a wet bar with a sink and fridge to the right.
The closet was located across from the bathroom and had Seafire-branded robes, an iron and ironing board, a safe, a luggage stand, and a yoga mat.
There were 2 queen-sized beds with a dramatic headboard design that was the centerpiece of the room.
There was a gorgeous black and white nightstand between the beds with a lamp.
The nightstand had outlets and USB plugs on the side so we could easily charge our devices.
There was a dresser, mirror, and desk area across from the beds along the beautiful accent wall.
I love design that uses color in a unique or unexpected way, so I was giddy when I saw the insides of the drawers were painted dark pink!
Now, let’s move to the highlight of the room — the huge oceanfront balcony. It had plenty of room to move around and offered sweeping views of Seven Mile Beach and the Caribbean Sea.
We had a sunset view, so it could get quite bright and hot in the middle of the day, but it was just perfect in the mornings and evenings. There were sheer and blackout curtains, so we could adjust how much light we wanted in the room.
My only criticism of the room, and it’s a big one, in my opinion, is that half of our balcony was open to the balcony next to us. I don’t know who designed this, but they should maybe rethink their career path. My balcony just had glass separating part of it from the next one, which was quite awkward when we were out at the same time as our neighbors.
I don’t know if these rooms were once connected and this glass wall was an attempt to separate them after the fact or if this is actually what they intended, but either way, it doesn’t work.
Plus, at night, the balcony glass reflected the room light, so we could see right into our neighbor’s room. Thankfully, our neighbors weren’t on their balcony at the same time as us the majority of the time, but this strange open balcony design could lead to some uncomfortable situations.
The bathroom was to the left after entering the room and was separated from the room by a modern barn door. The vanity had 2 sinks with plenty of space for extra towels underneath. I love that the pink accent color was used in the tissue holder and soap dish.
The toilet was in a separate area, which is such a nice touch — and I was totally in love with the pink accent wall (yes, I am currently searching for the perfect pink color so I can do this at home).
The shower and tub had a half glass wall in lieu of a door. While aesthetically pleasing, it meant we had to get into the shower to reach the knobs to turn the water on. While slightly inconvenient, it really wasn’t a big deal.
There were jumbo-sized bath products in delightfully yummy scents from Atelier Bloom in the shower.
My mom, who was in the standard ocean view room that you can book with points, had a stand-up shower with a frosted glass wall that let light pass from the room to the bathroom.
Overall, the quality of the food and drinks at Kimpton Seafire was excellent, although you’re definitely paying for it. Grand Cayman isn’t an inexpensive island and the food prices at the Kimpton definitely reflect that.
There are really only 2 restaurants, plus a grab-and-go spot for breakfast and lunch. I think the resort would benefit from another restaurant, especially since there isn’t much that’s easily accessible without getting in a cab.
Coccoloba is the Seafire’s beachfront restaurant serving Mexican-inspired dishes for lunch and dinner daily. When you order food at the pool or beach, it will be from this restaurant.
The restaurant was open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
AVE is the hotel’s main restaurant serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a mostly indoor setting.
The restaurant was open daily for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., lounge from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m, and Sunday brunch from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Avecita, located inside of AVE, offers a semi-private interactive dining experience that focuses on Spanish-style tapas. Seating is limited.
Seafire Pantry is the hotel’s coffee shop/grab-and-go cafe that was open for breakfast and lunch, daily from 7.am. to 4 p.m. I loved stopping here each morning to grab a pastry to enjoy with coffee on my balcony.
In addition to pastries, Seafire Pantry also served specialty coffees, breakfast bowls, snacks, beverages, and a few lunch items, including sandwiches and salads.
Room service was available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and we ended up ordering a few nights since it was so pleasant to eat on our balcony. Surprisingly, for such a pricey resort, the room service fee was incredibly reasonable.
I can’t say enough about the outstanding service I received at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. Hands down, it was the best service I’ve ever experienced at a hotel.
From the doormen to the pool attendants, housekeeping staff, and everyone in between — the service was excellent.
Everyone was always friendly and happy to help out with whatever we needed. Many staff members referred to us by name. In the mornings, I would carry a few coffees and some breakfast back up to my room through a door by AVE and the staff would always see me coming and open the door for me. Those little things really added up to create a fantastic experience.
Even the front desk staff, after my slightly rocky check-in, was wonderful. I really can’t say enough about the Kimpton Seafire staff.
Daily housekeeping went away during COVID-19 and many hotels have been slow to bring it back. As someone who much prefers hotels to vacation rentals, housekeeping is a small luxury that I enjoy when staying in a hotel. Since it’s not a given anymore, I love it when I can get it.
Kimpton Seafire offered daily housekeeping plus daily turndown service that included fresh towels, extra water bottles, and cookies.
Grand Cayman didn’t reopen to tourists until November 2021 and cruise ships had just begun to visit the island again the week before my trip in March 2022. Visitors to the island had to be fully vaccinated and submit a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
The hotel still required masks indoors, although only about half of the guests wore masks. There was also hand sanitizer available all over the resort. Since the island had taken such a slow and serious approach to reopening to tourists, everything felt very safe.
If you couldn’t tell, I really loved this resort! Everything from the incredible Seven Mile Beach location to the beautiful pool to the fact that there was always a lounge chair available was just awesome. What really set this resort apart for me was the service. Everyone was always genuinely happy to help and we never really had to worry about anything. There was always someone there to get an extra towel, bring a drink, or open the door when I had my hands full of coffee and pastries.
The food and activity costs are definitely on the higher side, so you’ll have to spend some money even if you book with points. If you’re looking to stick to a very strict budget, this hotel probably isn’t for you.
If you’re looking for a laid-back, family-friendly luxury resort on a gorgeous beach, then go get yourself some IHG One Rewards points and book a vacation at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa pronto — you’ll love it!
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is about 5.5 miles from George Town/Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM). It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the resort and a taxi will cost about $40.
Kimpton Seafire Resort has 264 guest rooms and suites, all of which have private balconies and most have ocean views.
No, Kimpton Seafire Resort is not all-inclusive. The only food or drink that is included in the price is coffee and tea in the mornings and water, juice, and a small selection of alcoholic beverages during the evening happy hour.
The Kimpton Seafire Residences are residential condos located on the Seafire property. The condos are in a separate building and have a separate pool.
Yes, Kimpton Seafire is a great place to vacation with your kids. Camp Seafire is a club for kids ages 5 to 12 that offers supervised play and activities. Kids will love the included rafts for the pool and snorkeling equipment. There’s also a small, separated section of the pool that’s very shallow and great for babies and young children.
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