“I have always been extremely drawn to the warmth of places like Mexico, Guatemala and East Africa. I also got some inspiration from trips to the Far East.” – Patrizia Amante.
A fusion of cultures and colors dictated the design style of a new boutique bed and breakfast in West Bay.
Run by Italian sisters Patrizia and Donatella Amante, along with Patrizia’s fiancé Yunio Lopez from the Dominican Republic, La Cazetta Guest House and Cottages has incorporated aspects from the backgrounds of all three partners.
“The guesthouse is very cozy and very earthy, while the cottages are all individual and very Caribbean,” explains Patrizia.
Born in Egypt to Italian parents, the Amante family lived in the North African country until Patrizia was 12 and then moved to Guinea in East Africa, before relocating to Sicily for a year.
As an adult, Patrizia went to live in the United States, visiting Cayman for the first time in 1990 and settling here the following year.
“I was lucky to have traveled extensively from childhood and throughout my life,” she says. “I’ve always been extremely drawn to the warmth of places like Mexico, Guatemala and East Africa. I also got some inspiration from trips to the Far East.
“All this, put together, influenced me in my decision of style and décor at La Cazetta. Being exposed to the cultures and countries I have lived in, or been to, made me think outside the box and incorporate a lot of the colors and different styles in one.”
Patrizia has worked in travel and tourism for more than 30 years, 10 for British Airways and, for the past four years, has owned a travel agency in Grand Cayman.
Having always enjoyed entertaining at home, Patrizia dreamt of turning her hospitality skills into a business.
So after meeting Yunio in 2012, she decided to convert the house into a bed and breakfast, later adding the cottage accommodation upon purchasing the property next door.
“We started by clearing up the bushes in the back of the house to make room for a nice relaxing garden for our guests,” says Patrizia.
“We had to increase the size of our living space to make it comfortable for us to live there and for our guests to have their privacy in their part of the house, which is separated by a set of French doors.”
There are two guest rooms in the main house, each with a patio and private access from the garden as well as through the front entrance
“We increased the size of one of the bedrooms for our guests and added a rain shower in an open-concept bathroom, with stone tiles in the shower area,” says Patrizia.
“The cottages, meanwhile, were completely gutted out to the bare walls and bare floor which left us with an open canvas to really decorate and put our personal stamp of interior design.”
In the main house, Patrizia chose to have white walls in the public areas as well as the guest bedrooms, which are accented with Indian wall hangings, runners and cushions from Guatemala.
The two cottages – Mango Tango and Caribbean Breeze – feature island colors.
“The outside of the property has a green picket fence, and my partner Yunio picked the tangerine color of the entire outside walls,” says Patrizia. “I was not sure at first, but then I loved it once I saw it on the exterior.”
A gazebo in the garden of the main house was designed with the intention of using it for either yoga or massages, and the garden and pool area can also be a setting for weddings.
The limitations of shopping in Grand Cayman made it difficult at first for Patrizia to find all the furniture, furnishing and accessories that she wanted.
“However, I have tried to buy locally because it was easier and quicker and better for our economy,” she says.
Tiles came from Edie’s Décor and Paramount Carpets while all the appliances, bathroom and kitchen fittings, small appliances, locks and handles were from A. L. Thompson’s.
Patrizia turned to Kirk Home Centre for lighting in the garden and patios, while beds and dressers were handmade by Woodworks in Bodden Town.
“For the largest of the cottages I was able to find a sea-creatures theme, which we hung on the wall in the living room and corridors, from Kirk Home Centre,” says Patrizia. “In the smaller cottage, we have some wall hangings from India, also sourced locally.”
Having opened in March 2014, Patrizia, Yunio and Donatella are gradually adding touches to the property to give it extra flair for their international guests.
And while La Cazetta – which in Italian means “tiny house” – is a small bed and breakfast, it aims to offer a big, warm welcome.