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Reviewed June 20, 2012

I decided to turn a trip to Cayman Brac (see my separate report) offered by my dive shop into my own Sister Islands trip by spending a week on my own on Little Cayman before joining the trip. Pirate’s Point proved to be a wonderful choice for a relaxing week of great diving. It is easy to see why many guests return year after year. The reservations process was a breeze and e-mails were quickly and cheerfully answered. I reserved the one room offered for a single guest which does not feature a single supplement charge. I was upgraded to a double room (#2) at no charge since there was availability.

Pirate’s Point is a unique resort/dive operator which will be appreciated by guests looking for the type of experience they offer. Guests stay in one of 11 rooms located on their 7-acre seaside property. Some rooms were air conditioned but those closer to the sea depend on ocean breezes and fans for cooling. In my time there in early June, a couple of the guests in non air conditioned rooms reported a bit of discomfort at night. Rooms do not include telephones and there is not a TV to be found anywhere on the property. Wi-fi is provided in the main building but apparently does not reach many of the rooms. There is a computer in the bar area for those wishing to check e-mail.

After breakfast, divers bring their neoprene, mask, camera gear and any other items they did not leave on their 42-foot Newton dive boat to air conditioned vans for the 5-minute ride to the dock. Their gear is delivered onto the boat and divers assemble their rigs. Boat rides from the dock to the Jackson Bight or Bloody Bay dive areas were 20 to 30 minutes long. Seas were not calm on the south side of the island where the resort is located but once the boat rounded the end of the island, calm seas and no current were the order of the day for the whole week on the north side. I experienced water temperatures of 82 degrees with visibility that went from 60 to 80 feet or more. Virtually all diving is on the spectacular walls with fish populations that were very good but not robust. Variety of critters was excellent.

When it is time to enter the water, divers don their gear and walk to the swim platform. Re-boarding the boat is done by passing your fins up to a crewmember, climbing the ladder and being escorted back to your seat where you are then responsible for swapping your rig onto your next tank. Crewmembers offered to handle the movement of gear on the boat for divers who might need the service. Dives were escorted and divers were asked to advise the dive master when they reached half a tank, obey depth limits outlined in the dive briefing, return with 500 or more p.s.i. and a computer that had not gone into deco. Once the group returned to the mooring, divers were free to explore on their own with their buddies. When the resort is full and all guests are divers, conditions can get a little close on the boat but not overly so.

After the brief van ride back to the resort from the dock, divers drop the gear they have brought back at the rinse tank and then hustle to lunch since by this point in the day it is between 2:00 and 2:30. After lunch, divers rinse and hang their own gear. Two dives a day is the offering here with an optional night dive from shore during the week offered for $50. An incoming barge prevented us from using the pier for the night dive so we entered at a beach area through swarms of mosquitoes. It was not a bad dive but not quite worth the effort.

An appetizer appears on the bar at 6:30. Cocktails are self-serve from the well stocked bar. All beverages are included in the price for those reserving the dive package. Dinner is served at 7:30. Meals feature one main course and a generous number of side items plus dessert. Chefs Jeff and Dianne provided wonderful, imaginative dishes that are a cut above those I have had on other trips. They asked each guest about dietary limitations and vegetarians on the trip complemented their efforts. Breakfast and lunch could be enjoyed outdoors under shady trees by the pool with an ocean view.

A week’s stay cost me $1,895 plus $284.25 (15%) gratuity plus $56 tax. This is no operation staffed by interns and college kids. Owner Gladys Howard has built something special here and it has attracted a staff that is experienced and very customer-oriented. Divers looking for a megaresort with music piped through speakers 18 hours a day and heaving buffets with dizzying arrays of average food along with valet diving four or five times a day should look elsewhere. Non-divers who want to read by the pool, pedal a bike or beach walk will find this place fits the bill but will not find much else to do. A couple of days before departure, staff members contacted Cayman Airways Express to confirm flight arrangements. Chefs saw to it that no guest missed a meal when a night dive or a flight would mean doing so. Dive master Mike is the resident iguana specialist and his Friday afternoon iguana tour is worth your time.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to the ocean are cooled by sea breezes but consider the likely weather during the season of your visit. I visited in June and some folks in non air conditioned rooms had a couple of uncomfortably warm nights.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled solo
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4  Thank Eric F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 19, 2012

Our first trip to the Caymans, and we could not have picked a better place to stay. We did not dive, but we found many other fantastic things to do, including tarpon & bone fishing and iguana tours with fishing guide & iguana specialist Mike, snorkeling, swimming, bicycling, visiting Owen Island with it's white sand beach, and enjoying some much needed R&R. The pictures & stories from the other guests have convinced us that PPR has some of the best diving in the world. Every single staff member we met was beyond courteous, helpful, friendly. They made us feel like "part of the family" from the moment we set foot on the property. The food was incredible, with evening meals followed by games of Mexican Train and coctails & "coffee in the bar" and visiting with the other guests. Jeff & Diane were so great about checking for various guests food preferences/allergies, etc... Our beach front room was wonderful, with fantastic views of the ocean. You won't find any cabana boys or room service here, but that was one more thing that made it so special. We made a lot of new friends here and were sad to leave, and actually disappointed once we got to Grand Cayman. We wished we had spent the extra time at PPR. We will definitely be returning to PPR, and next time to experience the diving as well.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Chelleyhart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 18, 2012

We have stayed at PPR twice in the past 2 years. It is absolutely the best dive experience in the Caribbean. The dive staff is completely professional, competent, safe and enjoy nothing as much as sharing their sites with guests. They literally delight in finding the smallest creatures and majestic eagle rays and reef sharks. The staff is very much involved in reef and ocean conservation efforts and on both visits we enjoyed presentations from visiting researchers who discussed shark behavior and lionfish proliferation. In addition, the divemasters are wonderful technical instructors who are able to observe dive styles and suggest improvements for even the most experienced diver. The Yellow Rose is a sturdy and functional dive boat piloted by licensed captains. The accomodations are clean, casual and charming. The food is comparable to the best restaurant efforts wherever you live. Seriously. You cannot believe the skill of the kitchen staff. Domino instruction is available after dinner and Gladys Howard, the revered and iconic owner, will cheerfully beat you silly while teaching you the game. In every way, customer service is obviously the priority and we make PPR an annual destination. We cannot recommend PPR highly enough.

Room Tip: Request a room with air conditioning if you do not wish to rely on the ocean breeze in the warmer months.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Steve D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 18, 2012

I have to concur with what everyone else has to say about Pirates Point. We had no idea of what was in store when we went. To get in from the airport and go almost straight to dinner where we had roast lamb with a port wine reduction sauce along with potatoes, carrots, and asparagus was just overwhelming! We had no idea that Chef’s Dianne and Jeff would seek to constantly outdo each other as the week went on. The soups at lunch were just fantastic; a smoky tomato bisque, black bean, hot & sour that would put any Asian restaurant to the test and cream of brie!

Then there was BBQ night with some of the best ribs I’ve ever had covered with Jeff’s own sauce that he’s spent a year perfecting. Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, the famous broccoli salad, chocolate chip cookies with pistachios, black forest ham & cheese quiche, blueberry & cream cheese coffee cake, lamb sliders with home-made mint mayo, Mahi and avocado salad, French toast with strawberry preserves and real whipped cream, grilled Wahoo with an Italian roulade, eggplant stuffed with a marinara-cheese-basil mixture, tiramisu, Eggs Florentine, shrimp & pesto pizza, pork tenderloin with a sun-dried apricot reduction sauce, and more and more and more…..

There are only ten rooms so the whole atmosphere is like a large family. As someone else mentioned you can make a lot of new friends and dive buddies over the course of a week. Many people who have met there come back the same week every year to dive with their new friends. The Wi-Fi doesn’t quite make it to the rooms, which is probably a good thing. The water is completely safe to drink and divers get as much alcohol as they want from the well-stocked bar. We had a room with A/C. The other option is a beach front room where you’re at the mercy of the trade winds. At this time of year it gets very hot if you’re out of the breeze. The A/C kept us plenty comfortable at night. We had one problem with our room in that the bathroom sink was nearly completely clogged. We let them know and by the time I got back from diving the next day it was draining freely.

Oh yeah, I was there to dive. My still pictures can’t do justice to Bloody Bay Wall. You either have to see it in person or have someone shoot a lot of video. You gotta love the Nassau grouper some of which are so tame they let Mike give them a hug and are constantly following you on dives to get some attention. They may also be looking to get a free Lion Fish meal. Hawksbill turtles galore along with some young green turtles and a couple of Loggerheads. Saw my first pipe fish ever! I like places where I can do three or more dives a day but with just two a day this is a nice, slow pace with plenty of time to relax. The dive operation is first class with a nice large boat and five instructor/dive masters that can do everything from drive the boat to wash dishes in the kitchen.

On my second day as soon as I jumped in the water I noticed the volume of bubbles emerging from my pressure gauge console had increased markedly from the day before and also noticed some pinprick air leaks from the hose outside the console assembly. Not wanting to risk a high pressure hose blowout at 100 feet I swam back to the boat, climbed up and within five minutes Mike and Martha had replaced the hose and used Martha’s personal hose mount to secure my computer to the replacement hose all while I’m still sitting on the bench in full gear. Back in the water, dive saved!

One more note on the food. On Friday night Gladys Howard holds a little party at her house on the edge of the property. On this occasion we had Lion Fish sushi along with several other kinds and Champagne. A couple of us watched Chef Jeff prepare it. Very interesting.

On the next to the last night I finally got sucked into the Mexican Domino games and ended up wishing I had started at the beginning of the week. It was a lot of fun and provided the perfect after-dinner activity to take you all the way to bed time. Gladys is very hard to beat though.

We had an early flight out on Saturday. Chef Dianne was making spinach quiche for everyone else in two big pies. For the three of us that had to leave early she made us personal quiches in baking dishes that would have been the equivalent of two slices each of the big pies. Also had link sausages and apple strudel. This kept us well satisfied until we reached Tampa late in the afternoon.

We usually like to avoid going to the same place two years in a row but we may have to make an exception with Pirates Point.

Room Tip: During the summer from June until closing in August I would personally recommend rooms with A/C.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Ronsch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 11, 2012

We spent five nights here in April 2012. My traveling partner had won a trip to the Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman, so we dove Little Cayman first. After five days diving and staying at Pirates Point, I didn't want to go to the Ritz! I wanted to stay at Pirates Point! The food was incredible. When I read other reviews before we chose to stay here, I thought, sure the food is good. We go to Michelin-star restaurants. But it really IS that good! Everything is very organized - one of the two chefs rings a dive tank to signal meals. Everyone eats together, and as a result, you really get to know the other guests. This was another reason we didn't want to leave - we really made some wonderful friends on this trip. Only two couples (us being one) of the 14 total people staying had never been there. The other 10 people had all been there two, three, four times.
I did my open water test with Bob the Dive Master, and I am so glad I did it here. He was incredibly patient, knowledgeable, and all around a great teacher. My favorite thing about him was that he sat down with me at the end of each day to recap and debrief - what went well? What do I think I should improve for next dive?" After my fourth dive with him - before my 'graduation ceremony' at dinner - he told me to "stay teachable. Don't become a complacent diver." I am a teacher, and am a bit of a perpetual student, so this was very meaningful advice to me.
All meals, drinks, wifi, etc. are included. I really liked being able to walk in and get a soda, beer, glass of ice, when I need or want it.

Our room was perfect for a dive trip: clean with a cozy, comfortable bed, hot shower, plenty of outlets for e-readers, no TV, a table to sit and put on sunscreen, a window air conditioning unit, fan.

My absolute favorite part of this trip - other than the ridiculously amazing diving - was the hammocks by the water. Each day when we returned from diving, we ate lunch, grabbed a big glass of ice water, and retired to a hammock. There was a lovely breeze, just enough sun, and it was soooo relaxing. There is a pool, but I found no need to sit around it when the hammock was calling my name! I brought my book each time, but promptly fell asleep each time. :)

Mike and Martha are also incredible dive masters - safe but laid back. Michelle has a very different dive master style - a bit tough for my tastes - but she is safety conscious and professional. All of the dive masters are knowledgeable, dedicated to safe diving for divers and marine life, and professional.

Before leaving Pirates Point, we exchanged emails with the other guests and wished that we could meet up again next year. I haven't done this on a trip since I traveled through Europe as a college student. When we returned home, we recreated a few of the meals, our favorite being tuna salad with seared tuna steak, avocado, tomato, capers, and asparagus. Delicious and healthy!
This resort IS different - different than any place I have ever stayed. We decided about night #2 that we would save our money so we can return. I can't wait! We recently stayed at a lovely resort in Cozumel to dive (not to mention the Ritz) and both places I tried (unsuccessfully) to compare them to Pirates Point.

If you are looking for champagne and caviar-type hotels, this is not for you. If you want clean rooms, delicious food, amazing diving, great service, and new friends, this is for you.

Room Tip: We had a room "inland." Next time, we will book early so we can get a room on the water. That way, we can open the windows at night.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MichelleChicago124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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