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After our wedding, my husband and I weren't whisked away on a storybook honeymoon to some far-flung beach like two lovebirds in a romantic comedy. Rather, our work schedules, hectic as ever, didn't line up — meaning we were back in our Manhattan apartment the next day. As I sat at my work desk the Monday post-wedding, it felt supremely unfair that we had this small yet beautiful wedding, and that I wasn't enjoying time with my new husband somewhere special. The desire to prolong our celebration and savor that moment of "hey, we're married!" was still going strong.
So we decided to plan a quick getaway — a "mini-moon," as my BRIDES coworkers like to call it — opting for a long weekend in Grand Cayman, the largest and buzziest of the Caribbean's Cayman Islands. Having produced a fashion shoot there earlier in the year, I knew it had incredible beaches, amazing restaurants, and unbelievable snorkeling — we were immediately sold. The island is filled with so many great things to see and do that it can be overwhelming, so here's how we tackled Grand Cayman in just three days.
8 A.M. — A number of U.S. cities offer daily nonstop flights to Grand Cayman Island. And it's just a four-hour flight from New York City, so before I knew it, we were in a taxi and arriving at our hotel, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa.
1 P.M. — Situated right on Grand Cayman's famous swath of white-sand, Seven Mile Bach, the Westin is one of the area's hallmark resorts. The property also recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, making it a honeymooner's haven. Expect amenities like updated décor in guest rooms, multiple dining venue, an expanded spa (with steam room, sauna, and 13 treatment rooms), and a 700-foot pool with swim-up bar. (If sipping Piña Coladas in waist-deep, crystal-clear water is your thing, this is where you want to be.)
7 P.M. — I'd heard Sunshine Grill, on Seven Mile Beach, was a local favorite, serving haute comfort food at bargain prices. Indeed, the burgers, fish tacos, and array of eclectic Cuban dishes did not disappoint.
9 A.M. — Red Sail Sports Cayman, located within the Westin, is your one-stop shop for water activities. My hubby and I are big snorkelers, so we immediately booked an offshore excursion in West Bay. Captain Andy swam alongside us and was eager to point out the various marine life, making sure we missed nary a lion fish. All that swimming will work up an appetite, so plan to swing by Rum Point Club for an OG mudslide cocktail before capping the day with a stop at Starfish Beach for a cuddle with some starfish.
1 P.M. — Slightly buzzed from the one (okay, two) mudslides and vast intake of Caribbean rays, a return to the hotel in the afternoon is ideal for light lunch and a nap. We opted for local fare of Sesame Seared Tuna and Shrimp Tacos from the Westin's Ferdinand café, before heading back to the beach.
7 P.M. — It wasn't our "official" honeymoon, but we still wanted to splurge on one over-the-top meal to celebrate. Blue by Eric Ripert was a natural choice for foodies like us. What better way to top off your recent marriage than with a seven-course tasting menu that highlights local seafood? The service was exceptional, without being overbearing, and the setting was incredibly romantic (oh and the food wasn't bad, either!).
9 A.M. — Sigh. It's nearly time to leave, but the sun is out, and the beach open for business. I spend my last few hours lounging on a beach chair with a good book; my husband opts for more snorkeling. If you're looking for a quick dip, Seven Mile Beach is the perfect location — you can rent gear directly from the hotel (for as little as $15 a day) and simply swim out from shore. It won't be long before you come upon a coral reef teeming with underwater wildlife.
1 P.M. — We leave Grand Cayman rested, with fuller hearts and perhaps redder noses. It's hard to imagine how our actual honeymoon will ever top this mini-moon.