Most people visit or live in the Cayman Islands because they’re trying to escape the cold, but even though they embrace the hot sun and the warm sea, there are many that admit they sometimes miss the feeling of chilly temperatures on their skin, and the cozy sensation of wrapping up in winter gear.
Whether you’ve moved here from colder climes, or you just want to experience the joy of wearing full makeup without any chance of it melting off your face, the minus5 Ice Bar in the Flagship Building, George Town, is the hottest (yet coolest) place to be.
It’s been a while since I’ve had to don a coat, gloves, and everything else necessary to keep one safe from brisk wintry winds, so it was quite the novelty to be fitted for my faux fur coat when I arrived at minus5 on a recent afternoon. You can go with a parka package, or upgrade to the coat. I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well look as fancy as possible, continuing my quest to be as fashionable as the Kardashians.
There were five other women there at the same time, all keen to get into the cold. We walked through the first door, and were handed gloves by a member of staff, as she went through the tips for visiting the ice bar. It was then the moment we had all been waiting for – we were ushered through the second door into the official minus5 bar; an icy wonderland with its own version of the Northern Lights, as different colors danced across the walls, the ice sculptures, and the very impressive ice chandelier hanging over the ice lounge area.
In the beginning, I was thinking “OK, it’s definitely cold in here, but I could probably wear a T-shirt and jeans and be happy.” I’m always the one that wants the air-conditioning as low as anyone else can stand it, so I reckoned I was just built for this kind of place. Of course, about 10 minutes into it, I began to be grateful for my faux fur coat and my gloves. All those frosty January evenings in London waiting for the Number 12 bus to Peckham came back to me in a flood, but thanks to this quality garb (as opposed to my silly student ensembles of miniskirts and wispy cardigans), I was toasty comfortable.
The minus5 Ice Bar is fashioned from large blocks of ice, with ice tables, ice walls, and ice carvings … you get the picture. What’s extraordinary is how frozen H2O has been manipulated to create so many different shapes and characters, even down to the clarity of the ice. Some of it is pure white, creating crests on the perfect surf wave along one wall, or crystal clear, like the cannon, or the pirate, or the wench that stand sentinel in the room. Honestly, they look like they’re cut from glass. Then there are the frosty blocks around the bar, with shells and sea creatures frozen in time.
Once I’d taken a good look around, I figured it was time for a drink. All the beverage glasses are made of ice, with a nice thick rim, so there’s no danger of breaking them with your warm lips. I opted for one of their signature cocktails – the Snowflake – with Smirnoff vodka, amaretto, peach liqueur, white cranberry and orange juice, but I could have gone with the Avalanche, Ice Man, Frozen Assets, Chilly Willy, or a number of other menu items, had I been so inclined.
Jägermeister fans will be thrilled to see that they have this Spring Break favorite on the shelves, as it’s usually a drink best served cold (like revenge), and it doesn’t get much colder than the minus5 Ice Bar. There is also a good variety of top shelf liquor from which to choose, along with soft drinks for children, who are allowed in up until 7 p.m.
I took my icy beverage to the ice lounge area, where I took a seat on faux fur pelts (yes, they are absolutely faux) to save my bottom from connecting directly with the frozen “couch.” In my luxurious coat, with my ice glass in hand, sitting under the sparkling chandelier, watching the colorful light show, and listening to the music, I fancied that I was at some VIP Hollywood party, perhaps a post-Grammy function. I half expected Kanye West to walk in the door, or maybe Beyoncé, seeking me out for advice … again. I wasn’t the only one – the ladies celebrating a birthday were having a ball.
I spent about half an hour in the bar, only because I had a previous engagement booked afterwards, otherwise I probably would have hung around for longer. That atmosphere works like a face lift on the skin. You can’t put a price on such a benefit.
As I departed, I spent a few minutes in their outdoor bar, acclimatizing to the Caribbean temperatures once again. I have to admit, it was nice to get a taste of winter for a while, without the flights, the sludge, and the Number 12 bus. Can’t wait to take the friends along.
The minus5 Ice Bar is located in the Flagship Building in George Town. For more information, see the website at minus5experience.com.