News from our hotel partners

The many benefits of massage

Written by: Anneka Greenway

Last year brought us a lot of stress and showed us all that we can’t take our health and wellness for granted. The new year is a perfect time to start new habits for a healthier and less stressful future.

In times of economic crisis, investing in rest and relaxation probably doesn’t seem like a necessity, but looking after yourself should be a priority. Exhaustion and stress affect not only you, but your loved ones, too. Taking some time for yourself is good for your well-being and will leave you feeling healthier.

The spa is one place you can go to de-stress and recharge. Here are my top five reasons to visit a spa.

Me time

Everyone needs some "me time," a time separated from electronics and everyday life. A spa day guarantees that you have time to dedicate to yourself without sharing it with your work, family, friends or cell phones. Taking time out to soak in a whirlpool bath and enjoy a relaxing massage will help you de-stress, feel more grounded, clear your mind and increase mental productivity.

Better sleep

Spa days are the epitome of relaxation. The more relaxed your body is, the better you will sleep at night. Massages and other spa treatments transport you into a state of relaxation, thus aiding you to fall asleep faster at night. You will also wake up feeling brighter, lighter and healthier.

Relieves soreness

Exercise, sleeping on an unsupportive mattress and sitting for long periods of time at a desk can all contribute to general aches and pains. A great way of relieving these aches is by having a massage. A heated salt stone massage works 10 to 20 times deeper into the muscle than a massage with hands alone.

Weight loss

With the holiday festivities over, losing weight and getting into shape is on the to-do list of many. Thermal spa therapies open up the skin’s pores, helping to eliminate toxins and encourage the body to burn calories. Additionally, deep tissue massages can help break down fatty deposits through the pressure and friction exerted on the skin.

Increased happiness

Among the many benefits of spa treatments is the effect it has on your body, including on your happiness level. Massages at the spa are known to release serotonin, which is the hormone associated with happiness. Massages can improve your mood even after your massage has finished. It is said that our body works like a mirror, reflecting what it is on the inside. A relaxing day in the spa can reflect a more relaxed and happier you.

Anneka Greenway is the manager of the Spa at Seafire at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.

--------

This article appears in print in the January 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times. 

READ MORE

A local focus for Cayman Cookout

Those attending this year's Cayman Cookout at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman might experience a sense of nostalgia.

This year's event, which takes place 15-17 January, will be more reminiscent of the first years of the event when it was smaller, took place over just three days and included more local chefs. Now in its 13th year, the Cayman Cookout typically attracts some of the world's most acclaimed names in the culinary and beverage industries. Although the COVID-19 travel restrictions made it impracticable to bring in talent from overseas this year, the decision was made that the show must go on.

"Cayman Cookout is a signature event on our island and despite our current situation, we want to keep this beloved tradition alive, while adapting to the circumstances," said Marc Langevin, general manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. "So this year's Cayman Cookout will return to its roots and feature our local talent. We will also host virtual events for our loyal international guests who were looking forward to attending."

The innovative approach will present an event line-up focused mainly on resident chefs and the culinary delights of the Cayman Islands, said Frederic Morineau, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

"In addition to 10 chefs from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, more than 20 local chefs from some of best restaurants and catering companies on the island will participate," he said. "We are incredibly proud to showcase the immense talent and expertise in the local community."

Despite its smaller size and shorter duration, three of the most popular signature Cayman Cookout events will still happen: the Barefoot BBQ with 11 different food stations on Friday evening, 15 January on The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman beach; a special Saturday edition of Rum and Robusto by the Harbour Club Pool on 16 January; and the Bon Vivant Champagne brunch in the ballroom on 17 January.

Another highlight event occurs on Saturday evening — a five-course truffle dinner in Blue by Eric Ripert presented by Moët & Chandon Champagne.

For the full event line-up or to buy tickets, visit www.caymancookout.com/event-line-up-2021/.

Charity

Although 2020 was a challenging year for everyone in the Cayman Islands, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality industry particularly hard when the borders closed last March — and have yet to reopen for regular tourists.

Even so, Langevin said The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is appreciative of the support it received from the local community in the form of staycations and visitations to its restaurants since the COVID-19 crisis began.

"We recognise the current state of our tourism industry and now more than ever, we want to make sure we support our local community in every way possible," he said. "In addition to hosting a roster of all Cayman Islands-based chefs, this year the Cayman Cookout will benefit the Cayman Food Bank, the first and only centralised food bank on Grand Cayman."

--------

This article appears in print in the January 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.

READ MORE

The Bunker that's good for your golf

By: Jonathan Joyce

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has long been the top destination for tourists visiting Cayman. This year has presented locals with the opportunity to book a staycation and take advantage of the resort’s amenities. For golfers, in addition to a nine-hole championship course, the Ritz also offers "The Bunker," an indoor practice facility that features two Trackman simulators, multiple televisions and lounge seating. It is luxury indoor golf, Ritz-Carlton style.

Oliver Riding, the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Grand Cayman, said The Bunker is open to the public for individual, group and corporate events.

“We book individual private lessons, group clinics and corporate events with food and drink available from any of our restaurants," he said. "We also have steady bookings from golfers who are looking to improve their game or have fun playing one of hundreds of golf courses that are available.”

I entered The Bunker recently to work on my game. My plan was to play a round of simulated golf at Adare Manor, host of the 2027 Ryder Cup. But first I went to the practice range. The big-hitting screen revealed a typical outdoor range with an assortment of detailed swing data. I took a swing and saw the ball soar into the sky before turning hard to the right — bit of a duck hook in golfer’s parlance. Looking at the data, my club face was closed, causing the ball to go right. Over the next 15 minutes, I made small adjustments based on the information provided and eventually saw the ball flying straight and true.

Feeling confident, I headed to the first tee. I had a half hour left in my booking. Plenty of time to play nine or 10 holes. The Trackman simulator allows for a realistic playing experience in a fraction of the time it takes to play outdoors. But unlike a video game where I can play as Tiger Woods, it was me hitting the shots. While no one will ever mistake me for a professional, I played well and left with some confidence to take into my weekly Saturday game.

Over on the other simulator, Tim Dwyer, one of the Ritz-Carlton's golf professionals, was conducting a junior lesson. Tim works with kids of all skill levels, including several of Cayman’s young golfing stars. I was impressed with how he mixed fun with the fundamentals of the game. The lesson ended with a competition between the student and the coach. I think Tim managed to squeak out a victory.

The Bunker is a great option for someone looking to work on their game as it gives immediate data analysis. It's also ideal for enjoyable company outings.

“We can customise any event to meet the needs of our clients," Riding said. "Get in touch and we can let you know what is possible.”

Contact the Ritz-Carlton at 815-6500 for more information.

--------

This article appears in print in the January 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.

READ MORE

A hard act to follow

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on the global tourism industry and the same holds true here in the Cayman Islands. However, one benefit for Cayman's hotels — for those looking for silver linings in dark clouds — is that they have developed closer relationships with the local community than they've ever had before. Whether it was through staycations, themed weekends or imaginative culinary events, the outreach to the local community has been unprecedented — as is the number of residents who have stayed in or visited the hotels.

The efforts of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa to offer affordable and delicious culinary events for the local community have been especially noteworthy. Dinner events like Barbacoa on Saturday nights and the Voyage Through the Mediterranean on Thursday nights offer fantastic value for a fun and satisfying night out. Although both of those events cater to larger crowds, Seafire's culinary team saw that there was a gap for those looking for a more intimate, fine-dining experience. The Avecita Chef's Table — ACT — dinner series launched last month accomplishes that.

The ACT dinner series is similar to the chef's counter dinners that were regularly offered at Avecita before the pandemic, but with one important difference: They are collaborations between the Seafire culinary team and a guest chef from another local restaurant for a two-night-only dining experience. ACT 1 on 15 and 16 December saw Chef Dylan Benoit of Prime Group and Carnivore Premium Meats in Camana Bay bring his crew over to Avecita to work with Chef Massimo De Francesca and Kimpton Seafire's culinary staff in preparing a six-course meal that highlighted the styles of both teams.

The meal

Fine dining incorporates numerous elements like flavour, aroma, texture, freshness, serving temperature and doneness. There's also presentation, which includes how a dish looks on the plate, how a dish is presented by the chef and/or server, and even the words used to describe a dish or entire meal on a written menu.

ACT 1's keepsake-worthy menu prepared for each diner described the meal by its ingredients and preparation processes. For example, the final savoury course was headed "35-Day Dry-Aged Striploin" and listed the following below: "confit | beef fat potato | charred onion aioli | grilled broccolini."

The optional paired beverage was listed below the food for each course.

Another important element of fine dining is how the food and beverages of individual courses — and entire meals — fit together as a whole, and incongruity with any particular theme.

Starting from the three-part amuse bouche course, with each item meant to be eaten in a single bite, diners got a sense of the synchronicity of ACT 1. The first two bites were gazpacho and "gambas al ajillo" — garlic shrimp. Both of these are Spanish dishes in which Ave and Avecita specialise. The inspiration for the last bite — elk tartare — came from the game meat Carnivore sells, partially because of Benoit's nostalgic familiarity with it from his childhood growing up in Canada. To pair with the wide range of flavours in these three bites, Seafire Beverage Manager Jim Wrigley and his bar staff created a Champagne cocktail that incorporated complementary elements of each bite — including an elk wash. These three small bites paired with the cocktail epitomised the collaborative nature of the meal while simultaneously highlighting the strengths of each team.

Another course that meshed particularly well was medium-rare duck served with a foie gras "carbonara" in a pasta shell, topped with crumbled porcini and served with a premier cru Pinot Noir from the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy. Partially because of the harmony between the various elements of the dish paired with just the right wine, this dish soared to heights greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Just before the dry-aged beef course, warm coconut brioche was served and Chef Dylan told guests they should take some of the bread and dip it in the candle that was burning in front of them — which turned out to be a candle made entirely of rendered beef fat. Delicious surprises like these are what make fine dining — and the ACT dinner series — fun and memorable.

ACT II takes place 26 and 27 January, with Bacaro's Chef Federico Destro and his sous chef joining Chef Massimo and the Seafire culinary team. The price for the ACT dinners is CI$85 for the food alone and CI$55 for the optional beverage pairing. With only 14 seats available for each night, the ACT dinners sell out quickly. Call 746-4111 to make reservations.

--------

This article appears in print in the January 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.

READ MORE

Bitters make cocktails better

Chances are, if you’ve been into a bar that serves mixed drinks over the last decade, you will have encountered a small army of brown glass or cut crystal bottles, often with cryptic labels like “Tiki," “Wormwood” or “Hermes.” These bottles are filled with bitters, and they are much more important to your drink than most people think.

READ MORE