Shangri-la a paradise for less

There’s a new patch of paradise on Grand Cayman – a hidden treasure in West Bay that appeals to the senses, and the pockets – Shangri-La.

Armed with a goal to provide visitors with superior accommodations at affordable prices, luxury B&B Shangri-la opened its beautiful doors to reveal its breathtaking charms to the public on Sticky Toffee Lane, off Batabano Road, on Friday.

Refreshingly, much of the focus of the new B&B will be on the visiting family and friends of locals and residents who want somewhere to stay on-island that is reasonably priced.

‘One of the main markets we’re trying to focus on is people’s family and friends coming to stay. We love tourists also, but we’d like to try and help residents who have nowhere to put mom and dad when they come to visit,’ explained Eileen Davidson, who, along with husband George runs the new operation.

The owners are no strangers to the hospitality industry. George has worked at The Westin Casuarina Resort for the past nine years where he delights all in the lobby with his fine piano skills. He and his family moved to Grand Cayman from Florida 16 years ago. George met wife Eileen while she worked at The Westin, before moving to Calypso Grill. Talented George has released 10 CDs of his piano instrumentals, including romantic ballads and easy listening, and has sold in excess of 250,000 copies.

The couple, who are both originally from Canada, are very excited about their new venture, which they have been planning for the past two years.

What is on offer at Shangri-la, a tropical lake-side retreat, is five en-suite plush Caribbean style bedrooms, with a glorious pool and Jacuzzi offering dreamy scenery and lush tropical plantings.

Push open your bedroom’s French doors and glance down from the flower-strewn balcony on a scene befitting a movie star, or glide through your bedroom straight onto the pool deck to bask in glorious sun or bathe in the cools waters of the swimming pool.

Fittingly, Shangri-la is a fictional land of peace and perpetual youth; the setting for the 1933 novel ‘Lost Horizon’ by the English author James Hilton.

But, despite the beauty of the West Bay accommodation and its surroundings, the best lure to Shangri-la will be the exceptional value for money, with rates starting at US$99 per room, per night (based on double occupancy). The most expensive room is US$139 per night and boasts a king-size four poster bed, substantial en-suite with Jacuzzi tub, with French doors a step away from the pool deck. Amenities at the guesthouse include cable TV, blow-dryers, mini fridges, a/c units and in-room safes. Internet access, telephone, iron & laundry services, bikes, beach chairs and beach towels are also on offer.

Breakfast is included in the price, and can be eaten at the large dining table in the comfort of air conditioning, or in the sun room overlooking the lake, gardens and pool. Guests are also free to make their own meals in the kitchen area.

A picnic lunch, which can be made for guests the night before, can also be requested.

Other services available on request include spa services from TLC Body Therapy or Spa to Go and treatments, such as a pedicure or a hair-do, can be administered while lounging on the pool deck or in the comfort of the guest-room.

The friendly couple will help visitors get the most out of their vacation by suggesting the best restaurants, attractions, water sports, shopping and will even offer to help with special events. The wedding market is also something the couple will cater to, and wedding planners can be brought in, with packages starting from $500.

The entire guest-house, which can sleep up to 14 people in total, can also be rented at a price of $499 per night.

Already before it had opened, the accommodation had received some bookings from residents for family and friends. But tourists are also booking the new B&B, as it is posted on the Department of Tourism’s website and another rental search engine rentalo.com.

And the new guesthouse is already living up to its ‘paradise’ name, with a few days over Christmas already sold out, and bookings being made for months and years in advance, even as far ahead as July 2007.

To walk into this paradise is to feel at home and pampered, just by being there. So, to add some Shangri-la to your friends or relatives’ vacations visit www.sangrilabandb.com or call 526-1170.

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