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A question we have received a very large number of times is which points-friendly resort is better, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or the Westin Grand Cayman. Both are beachfront Caribbean resorts where you can relax and play thanks to your hotel points. In the case of the Grand Hyatt, you will be using your World of Hyatt points to play in the Bahamas while your Starwood Preferred Guest/Marriott Rewards points will secure your spot at the Westin on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman.
We have visited both resorts with our girls within the last six months and we enjoyed our visits to both. However, these properties have as much in common as they have different, so choosing which is best for your family will come down to personal preference, your elite status benefits, budget, and desires.
I’m going to do a few comparisons of the two properties and try to rank a winner in each category where I can. I also want to add up front that we visited the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar just a few months after it opened while occupancy levels were still very low. From what I understand, that situation has changed somewhat since our visit so the experiences going forward may be a little different than they were back in October 2017.
Winner: Westin Grand Cayman
Both the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and the Westin Grand Cayman are on fabulous stretches of beach on islands not very far from the contiguous United States. Nassau is a little closer to Miami than Grand Cayman, but both are very short flights from Florida, making them perfect for long weekend getaways for those the Eastern half of the United States.
While both resorts are on basically perfect stretches of beach, there isn’t very much within walking distance of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar while you are within walking distance of a lot of other resorts, restaurants, and shops, while staying at the Westin Grand Cayman.
In my opinion, Grand Cayman as a whole is a nicer, cleaner, and more inviting destination than Nassau, so I’m giving this one to the Westin Grand Cayman.
Winner: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar complex is massive with 1,800 total rooms, whereas the Westin Grand Cayman, while still relatively large, is much smaller with about 350 rooms. I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Baha Mar has six unique pools while Westin Grand Cayman has just one pool.
There was nothing really wrong with the Westin Grand Cayman’s pool, but there also wasn’t really anything overly exciting about it either. It was a relatively basic pool complete with a swim-up bar located next to a relatively amazing beach.
On the other hand, I think the pools are one of the highlights of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. I particularly loved the main pool closest to the beach as it has two different height cliffs where you can jump into a very deep section of their pool. It also has a cave with a glass wall that looks into their animal sanctuary so you can see the sharks, stingrays, turtles, and more swim right next to you.
Baha Mar also has lifeguards, zero entry areas for the toddlers, and plenty of poolside chairs, while the Westin Grand Cayman does not.
Best Beach Experience
Both resorts on are great beaches, but the overall beach experience is a dead heat. Seven Mile Beach itself is probably a little nicer than the beach in the Bahamas, but that slight difference is made up for by the number of beach inclusions at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.
At Baha Mar you can use the kayaks, paddle boards, sunscreen stations, and more whenever they are available for no additional fee. In Grand Cayman, most of those sort of things either aren’t available, cost extra, or are only included at specific times and with a reservation.
Best Club Lounge
Winner: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Okay, this was an easy winner as Grand Hyatt Baha Mar has a fabulous club lounge while the Westin Grand Cayman doesn’t have one at all. I think that access to the club lounge at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is virtually essential for a good family trip as otherwise you will be spending an inordinate amount of time and money simply feeding your family.
You can get access to this truly spectacular lounge with Hyatt Globalist status, by using a Hyatt Explorist annual certificate, or by spending additional points or dollars to book a room with club access. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that club access here can save your family over $100 per day on food and drinks easily – and likely more than that if you have any drinks at all.
On our trip, we ate every breakfast and dinner in the lounge, so our only real meal costs were lunches by the pool. Dinners in the lounge with their rotating hot items may get a little tiresome after a couple days, but after taking a break to enjoy one meal at a resort restaurant I guarantee you will again be happy with the price and speed of meals in the club lounge.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
The rooms at both properties are very nice with the Westin Grand Cayman fresh off a multi-million dollar renovation and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar being a new-build hotel. I give the best rooms category to Baha Mar mainly because the rooms are larger and those with families will enjoy two queen beds as opposed to two double beds.
Additionally, the aesthetic of the rooms at Baha Mar was just a notch over the style of the Westin Grand Cayman.
Best Value on Points
Tie, winner depends on your priorities and length of stay
As of right now, the Westin Grand Cayman is a Category 5 SPG property that can be booked for 12,000 – 16,000 SPG points per night while the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a Category 5 World of Hyatt property that is 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
If you want to book a five-night stay at the Westin Grand Cayman, you can do so for as few as 9,600 SPG points with the fifth night free, which is a better deal at face value than paying 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night for Baha Mar. However, there is a $65 per day resort fee at the Westin Grand Cayman that is not waived on award stays or due to elite status. The $32.25 per day resort fee at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is waived on all full points award reservations and for Hyatt Globalists on paid or award stays.
Additionally, the Westin Grand Cayman will be going up to 60,000 points per night in the new combined SPG and Marriott program beginning August 1st. At that time the Hyatt will become the better award value of the two, but for now, I give the edge on five night stays to the Westin Grand Cayman even when factoring in the resort fee if you can get it for 9,600 points per night. On long weekend stays, I think you will get a better deal for your points at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar since you will be avoiding a big nightly resort fee.
Best On-Site Kid’s Club
Westin Grand Cayman
Until very recently Baha Mar has the superior kid’s club set-up primarily because it was free. However, that policy abruptly changed a few weeks ago to a $55 charge per kid per three-hour session.
My eight-year-old daughter enjoyed her time at both kid’s clubs, but she enjoyed the one at the Westin Grand Cayman a little more. I enjoyed that you could drop your kiddos ages four and up in that kid’s club without a reservation and then just pay by the hour. I also enjoyed the ‘family hour’ in the evening when all kids could come and play under parent supervision for no fee. If your child is three, note that the kid’s club at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar accepts potty-trained three-year-olds while you have to be four-years-old to be dropped off to play at the Westin Grand Cayman.
Best Manageable Resort Size
Westin Grand Cayman
If you like to get lots of ‘steps’ in on your vacation to work off the drinks and big meals, then you will love the size of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. However, if you don’t want to walk with your kids for 10 – 15 minutes just to get to the lounge, restaurants, or the beach, then the Westin Grand Cayman may be better suited for your group.
We legitimately had to use a stroller just to get through the 100,000 square foot casino to breakfast or the pool with our two-year-old at the Baha Mar resort because everything is so large and spread out. We did not bring or need a stroller on our trip to Grand Cayman as the resort had a much smaller footprint.
Best On-Site Restaurants
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, with a caveat
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar has 14 on-site restaurants and bars ranging from seafood to sushi to noodles to poolside standbys like hot dogs and chicken fingers. While we didn’t eat at very many of the restaurants on our trip thanks to relying heavily on the food in the lounge, we did enjoy our meal from the Stix Noodle Bar and our lunches the outdoor pink trailer by the beach. The Westin Grand Cayman does not have nearly as many on-site restaurants and we didn’t love the food we ate from their poolside restaurant. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as we would have hoped for the price.
On paper Grand Hyatt Baha Mar wins this contest by a mile due to the variety of on-site options, but I have read numerous reports of very slow and spotty service from many of their restaurants, so you need to pack your patience along with a fat wallet to cover the costs of these restaurants. In fact, pack the big wallet for the restaurants at both resorts.
While I will still give the edge to Baha Mar in this category, I have to mention that we enjoyed the themed meal nights at the Westin Grand Cayman including the affordable weekly beachside paella and the Friday evening BBQ on the beach.
Westin Grand Cayman
We had great service at both resorts with some true standouts at the Baha Mar property, but for now, service and policies are simply more consistent at the much more established Westin Grand Cayman. This may get better with time as the Baha Mar property gains experience, but as it stands service there is somewhat spotty and oftentimes slow.
The Westin Grand Cayman consistently had pretty prompt service and they went above and beyond to help us rectify a booking error that otherwise could have cost us a a good deal of money, so they get the win in this category.
That said, our service in the Baha Mar club lounge specifically was nothing but fantastic during our stay.
Neither the Westin Grand Cayman or the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is perfect, but both are exceptional in some areas and can be the backdrop for a very memorable vacation paid for largely with your points. I plan to return to both properties in the future, though I’m more likely to return for a five-night stay at Grand Cayman while Baha Mar would be my pick just for a more affordable long weekend stay where we heavily leverage our elite benefits to keep costs low.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these properties, and which one is the winner for your family’s next points-fueled Caribbean vacation.
To learn more about these resorts, you can check out our YouTube videos below.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.