Photo Credit: iStock
Location

Living in the Cayman Islands, Jewel of the Western Caribbean

Mar 10, 2022 | By: Judith Isacoff

The carefree Cayman Islands draws some of the world’s wealthiest people with its tropical climate, tax-neutral status, and high standard of living.

Photo Credit: iStock

“Grand Cayman is the most desirable destination in the Caribbean for high-net-worth individuals because of a vast array of unique advantages, which include virtually no crime, modern and exclusive infrastructure and properties, and an affluent residential community,” Kim Lund, owner/broker, RE/MAX Cayman Islands, said in an email. 

In addition, Lund points out “perfect sandy beaches, the calm, crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, tropical lifestyle, gorgeous weather, no direct taxation, first-world shopping and conveniences, the best award-winning restaurants in the Caribbean, and easy and fast access from the U.S.”

In fact, if the islands were a fully recognized country instead of a self-governing British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands “would arguably be the richest nation in North America,” according to the 2022 World Population Review.

The luxury property market in the Cayman Islands is “absolutely booming,” Lund said. “The pandemic fast-tracked overseas investment and purchases of our most exclusive properties, and our luxury real estate market continues to prosper and grow.”

The real estate market in the Cayman Islands broke many records in 2021, in both the number and value of property transfers, exceeding the billion-dollar threshold for the first time, the Cayman Compass reported in February.

Cosmopolitan Grand Cayman, the largest of the tiny three-island archipelago, boasts 76 stunning square miles encompassing numerous luxury condominiums, including several still in development. 

“The ultraluxury condominium market has exploded over the last few years,” Lund said. “A large amount of inventory exists and is being developed, with the most prestigious prime beachfront properties being the Watermark, WaterColours, Aqua, Ritz-Carlton, Grand Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, and Lacovia.”

The WaterColours luxury condominium on Seven Mile Beach, permitted as the first 10-story building on the famous stretch of coast, uses only nine stories for residences, allowing for greater ceiling heights—and some amazing waterfront views for all of the condominiums. Amenities include a beachfront owners’ lounge, a chef’s kitchen, and wine storage. Average prices range from $6 million to $8 million, though one of the luxury residences sold for $13 million in 2019, a record for Cayman property sales at the time. 

Just south of WaterColours are the sophisticated and contemporary residences of Lacovia, with a private members’ club, a 24-hour spa, as well as fitness, valet, and concierge services. Designed by award-winning Swedish architects OOAK, the development features three exquisite oceanfront residential buildings. Prices range from $5.5 million for 2,985 square feet to just under $12 million for a 5,581-square-foot penthouse. 

The luxe Aqua Bay condominiums feature Sky Villa penthouses with private elevators, an infinity pool, a spa, and an outdoor kitchen and bar overlooking the picturesque North Sound. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow for unimpeded sunrise views 16 feet above sea level. A two-level 4,711-square-foot corner penthouse is listed for just under $8 million. 

Photo Credit: The Watermark

The Ritz-Carlton Residences on Seven Mile Beach, which typically cost from $4 million to $15 million, feature open floor plans in condominiums ranging from 2,400 to 20,000 square feet, each with terraces overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The iconic resort, which underwent extensive renovations in 2021, includes chef Éric Ripert’s Blue restaurant and a classic La Prairie Spa, among other amenities. 

Ultraluxe residences in development include the five-star Mandarin Oriental property at St. James Point on the southern shore, and The Watermark and Grand Hyatt residences on Seven Mile Beach.

While basking in the elegance and amenities of luxury condominiums in the Cayman Islands, residents can also enjoy high-end shopping and fine dining experiences, a state-of-the-art medical campus, in addition to the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of this world-class diving destination.

Foodies will rejoice to hear that the renowned Cayman Cookout, an annual international event hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, will resume in January 2023, featuring chef Éric Ripert, among others. The black-tie Breast Cancer Gala Dinner in October brings celebrity hosts, including the Today show’s Hoda Kotb, reality stars Bill and Giuliana Rancic, and actor and former pro footballer Vinnie Jones. And, not to be missed is CayMAS Carnival, a colorful and exotic Caribbean celebration at the end of June.

Accessible by a 70-minute flight from Miami, or more than a dozen direct flights from the U.S. and international cities, the islands are also a favorite for those who choose to arrive by sea. Around a dozen superyachts visit the Cayman Islands each year, while the government weighs options for accommodating a greater number. 

The best way to enjoy all that the Cayman Islands has to offer, of course, is by taking up residence in a luxury condominium.