The perfect hideaway

Seven Mile Beach has become synonymous with luxury. Nowhere is that more apparent than Caribbean Club, the only boutique hotel located on Grand Cayman’s famous stretch of sand.

Combining the glamour of a five-star hotel with the privacy of a personal residence, Caribbean Club is the ideal island escape, a place where sophistication and comfort happily coexist.

“We didn’t want Caribbean Club to feel like a hotel,” explains Joyce Wells Burcombe, developer and architectural designer at Vista Development, who designed the interior of 28 of the hotel’s residences. “We wanted guests to feel comfortable and at home.”

Caribbean Club was originally built in the 1970s as one of the islands’ first luxury developments, home to approximately 19 single-storey cottages on the then-quiet beach. But when the owners decided to redevelop Caribbean Club, the aim was to create the highest standard of accommodation in chic, stylish surrounds. Since reopening in August 2007, Caribbean Club has taken Seven Mile Beach by storm, currently occupying top position among Grand Cayman’s hotels on objective travel website TripAdvisor. In fact, it took InsideOut a number of attempts to view the residences as they were consistently occupied.

Of the 37 three-bedroom, three-bathroom residences at Caribbean Club, 21 operate as a boutique hotel, each with their own unique interior design. The hotel offers complete amenities, including a gym, a pool, turn-down service, maid service, nightly security, concierge service and on-site restaurant LUCA. Each residence, at 2700 sq ft, is equipped with the highest quality furnishings, accessories and appliances, with sweeping balconies that overlook the turquoise water. The atmosphere is one of relaxation with a hint of romance; couples watch the sunset from their luxurious outdoor areas while children splash merrily in the pristine water.

“All the residences at Caribbean Club are fitted to a very high standard, despite the many different styles [of interior design],” explains Danielle Wolfe, operations manager at Caribbean Club.

“The space determined the size of the furniture, but the quality was the same across the apartments,” Joyce agrees, “and the style was determined by the client.”

It took Joyce around 18 months to complete the interiors of the residences, which together seem to encompass the entire design spectrum. From a Cape Cod-inspired theme to Hollywood glamour, California modern to Texan ranch, Asian influence to classic Caribbean, there is a residence to suit every style and inclination.

As Joyce leads a tour through one of the residences, which she describes as an “Asian feel with a tropical twist”, she says the designs were inspired by each owner’s personality.

“It’s a series of layers,” she explains. “You start with the owners’ style in the furniture. Then you add the colours, the fabrics, the textures, the patterns.

“Then you have the decorative icing on top with the lamps, the accessories and the artwork.

“You really have to be able to put the owner’s hat on and decide what works for them. You have to take yourself out of it.”

The residence has a calming effect on the soul with a palette of cream and sand. But, the aspect that immediately captures one’s attention is the space, a far cry from pokey hotel rooms of old; sunlight fills the vast, open living area, which offers sweeping views to the horizon.

Asian-inspired furnishings, such as an intricately adorned Ming credenza, exist alongside elements of the sea. Dark woods add depth to the design, anchoring the whimsical drapes and delicate, glass-topped coffee table, which appears to float in the room.

“The owner came to me with a paint chip and said he wanted a neutral scheme with clean lines,” Joyce says.

“We started from there. I choose all the pieces. The owners knew the apartment would be furnished but they didn’t know how personalised it would be.”

Joyce believes it is the small, often subtle details that pull the entire residence together. Indeed, when these details reveal themselves, the effect is striking. Glass canisters, topped with silver dragonflies, take pride of place in the kitchen; the same canisters have been used in every residence, customised with colours and toppers to suit the diverse styles. Lamps inlayed with mother of pearl are echoed in a stunning mirror over the kitchen. A tiny terracotta soldier stands guard over an antique liquor cabinet that conjures images of ancient China. In the master bedroom, blue crabs, sourced from the exterior of a destroyed building in Hong Kong, have been turned into bespoke lamps.

The principles of feng shui were used throughout the residence to promote harmony and positive energy. It was a decision Joyce describes as both practical and spiritual.

This attention to detail differentiates Caribbean Club from standard hotels, in which interior design is often duplicated across hundreds of rooms.

“The details really pull it all together,” Joyce explains. “We created that welcoming feeling with all the textures, furniture and colours. The residences are not cookie cutter.”

As the sole interior designer on the project, Joyce was faced with a daunting task, creating 28 unique spaces personalised to each owner’s needs. It was a challenge that demanded intense organisation as Joyce juggled the many needs of her clients.

“It was a big job to complete, but it was fun. I enjoyed every minute of it,” says Joyce. “I have a flipbook for each client with their look, their fabrics, colours and style. Plus I had spreadsheets to stay on top of it.

“I’m a woman, I can multitask,” she laughs.

The clients were delighted with the finished residences and these customised styles have had a positive impact on Caribbean Club as a whole. Guests continue to return to the boutique hotel for relaxing holidays with the family, for a romantic rendezvous, or for the ultimate staycation.

“Guests refer to us as an oasis on Seven Mile Beach, a home away from home,” Danielle says.

“Caribbean Club is unique. Having the space of a home with the services of a luxury hotel gives our guest and owners the opportunity to completely relax and be taken care of.”

With the glamour of a hotel and the ease of a home, it is still, four decades later, the perfect luxury hideaway.