The clock was lazily approaching the half hour past 5pm, when a gentle knock on the Plantana office door signaled the beginning of an exciting change of pace:  a scheduled  interview with a three strong, spirited women connected by blood who each, in their own special way, came to fall in love with Grand Cayman and Plantana 17 years ago.  As would be expected of Maria, the matriarch of the family, she initiated the call to action and was seated comfortably on the terracotta colored cushioned chair outside the office, in a lavender island chic outfit for an evening out with her girls. 

“Wow!” was my initial reaction, as one did not expect that she could exude any more confidence, vigor, strength and beauty than she does when she pops in daily in her beachwear to share a heartfelt story, offer words of advice, or make suggestions for our property. With a warm hearty laugh, she acknowledged my compliment and quickly commented that she felt like she did when she was young. Soon, her daughter, Marta, and young adult granddaughter, Sophie, joined us, smiling happily, and eager to partake in the interview. After pulling our seats closer and greeting Plantana team members, Roberto and Security Guard, George, Marta took the lead on the conversation, immediately gushing about her love for the Plantana property: “…we believe this is the most beautiful beach in the world.  Plantana is situated in the best part of Seven Mile Beach…the Plantana is nice and quiet, very private, always lots of room…the rooms are perfect. They give us everything we want… we have a view of the ocean which we admire from morning ‘til night and parking right at the door.  What more can you ask for?  It literally fulfills all of our needs.”

Without missing a beat, Grandma Maria reminded us of a key reason for their return year after year for the past 16 years. “Safety has a great deal to do with the ability to relax and not worry.” Marta immediately seconded her response and as the two ladies continued the discussion of safety and security, Sophie gently added,“The fact is that we would never have come back to Cayman at all if we had not found Plantana.” A resounding “yes!” came from both mother and grandmother.

At this point, the three women took a moment to retrace their tracks, recalling their first visit to Cayman and a stay at another property.  A casual stroll with then 2 year old Sophie along Seven Mile Beach to Plantana was serendipitous.  “…my mother and I walked to the beach and we saw the Plantana from the beach and we walked to the office and picked up a flyer and thought, “This looks very nice!”  They booked then and there and the rest is history.

As our conversation continued and they divulged their feelings about everything Plantana and their love for Grand Cayman, it was always the little things that made such a big difference.   On the topics of consideration and hospitality, it was clear Plantana was etched on their hearts.  “I feel like I’m an honored guest now; I take just what I need [from the towel exchange] and I go to the beach and they trust me.  There is the fruit punch that you left for us last weekend [at the office foyer on busy arrival Saturdays] …what a wonderful idea! It’s hospitality.  So I just feel that the management is getting better and better every year that we come.” Relationships with staff and other guests at the Condos also played a significant role, and almost read like a book of inspirational quotes: “…I am surrounded by friends…I feel like a reunion every time I come now…” followed by heartwarming anecdotes.

After 20 minutes of reminiscing, laughter and even some joyful but teary eyed moments (on the part of the interviewer!), we made it to the heart and soul of why three generations of woman could not imagine vacationing anywhere but the Cayman Islands, and specifically Plantana:  this vacation property that provided them exactly what they needed in a ‘home away from home’ more than a decade and a half prior, and even more so, today with the amenities and all the comforts of home, fantastic location, the best stretch of white sand beach in the world, the crystal clear Caribbean Sea with its breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, a sense of peacefulness and a dedicated staff that treats them like family.  We ended by encouraging Sophie to marry on the property; at age 19 she was not yet focused on starting a family, but, in true form of her matriarchs, she entertained the idea of future stays. The twinkle in her grandma’s eye meant the legacy would one day continue with a fourth generation of their family enjoying the pleasures of life together at Plantana on a gem of a Caribbean island that is Grand Cayman.

 

 

LOCAL TIME