DeckHouse owners move in and embrace Cayman lifestyle

People who know Cayman love it and the more they know about what the rest of the world has to offer, the more they love Cayman.
The DeckHouses at Dragon Bay were meant to be an amalgam of all that is the best in the region brought home and improved in Cayman. As the first owners moved in, it seems that lofty expectation was exceeded.

These new owners are delighted with their decision to make the Cayman Islands their home.
Looking relaxed, fit, and happy, Gail Sadler gladly extolled the virtues of life as a DeckHouse owner as she sat in a private cabana at the beach of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mrs. Sadler’s main residence is in Littleton, Colorado.
A long-time visitor to the Cayman Islands who fell in love with the country on her first visit 13 years ago, Mrs. Sadler says she already feels connected to her new home at The DeckHouses.
“It’s like the whole vibe of the island has seeped into my house. I can’t describe it in any other way,” she said.
When asked if she was happy with the new home, she said “Happy does not begin to describe it. It is too small a word, I am speechless.”
Feeling relaxed and refreshed after her first stay in her new home, Mrs. Sadler is anticipating spending more time in Cayman in the months and years to come.
Asked why she and her husband chose Cayman for a vacation home location, she said, “We’ve been to many other beautiful places, but in my opinion, nothing else compares.”
A feeling of peace, safety and security in Cayman is key for another DeckHouse owner who has also just moved into her new home, but has lived in the Cayman Islands for the past 11 years. Originally from Trinidad, she lived in France and Toronto before moving here.
Cayman, she says, is her “ideal” location as she was tired of the North American lifestyle and missed the Caribbean way of life she’d enjoyed growing up, with its emphasis on family, friends, and community. 
Discussing the quality of life in Cayman, she also mentioned the safety of the Islands, especially compared to the increasing crime in her home country.
Cayman is “perfect” when choosing a location, she said, as it is close to her family in Trinidad and also to her partner’s family in the States. Geographically, Cayman has everything on her list and promises a high quality of life, with friendly, accommodating and approachable people. “Not to mention the beaches!” she laughed.
Spending most of her time in Cayman, and working from her home, she needs a place that she can both live and work in. “It is imperative that I am happy there,” she said. “This is where I spend the majority of my time – and it is exciting. I feel more creative here every day.”
“In terms of living,” she said, “I emphatically love life and Cayman exaggerates that for me. I am happy every day I wake up here.”
With her parents living between Trinidad and Cayman, she has the family support and network that she needs.
Cayman’s people and the warmth and welcome of the community are other reasons she has chosen to make a home here.
“You never feel lonely,” she said, “It seems like you make friends over night. People are so genuinely nice, and it is not a false attitude.”
With resort home ownership still a relatively new concept for Cayman, this was also a major draw for these new homeowners, who recognize service is an important aspect of their Cayman lifestyle.
Mrs. Sadler loves the connection to the life and people of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman resort from her DeckHouse.
While at home enjoying the quiet privacy of the DeckHouse, she is still right in the heart of all of the amenities of the hotel – be it the beach cabanas she so enjoys, the world-class restaurants or the La Prairie spa just minutes by golf cart or boat from her door.
But it is the warmth and the human touch that Mrs. Sadler most appreciates.
“It is also about the people,” she said as she singled out private butler Pawaan Arora for praise.
“He is priceless,” she said, referring to the round the clock attentive service DeckHouse owners receive from their private butlers.
Our long-term Cayman resident agrees that the partnership with The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman influenced her decision to buy at The DeckHouses.
Prior to Hurricane Ivan in 2004, she lived on a property near the former Hyatt Regency, which was destroyed by the storm.
“Moving to an island,” she said, “It’s best to be affiliated with the premier hotel there.”
Having stayed in The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for five months prior to moving in to her new home, she found the management and staff to be ‘amazing’.”
“The staff are exceptional,” she said. “I thought the Hyatt was the cream of the crop, but I have been genuinely amazed at how easy a transition it has been and how sweet the people are.” (The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman has been voted the #1 resort in the region by Conde Nast Traveler for the last two years.)
She pointed out that being affiliated with The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman offers “all of the bonuses” of a luxury resort.
Living in such close proximity to the resort, her favorite amenities are the gym and the spa. “Although I don’t have much time to use the spa, the steam-room is my de-stressor,” she said.
She also raves about the food options at the resort.
“The food at the Ritz-Carlton makes me not want to cook! The food is so good, it is not like hotel food – it tastes fresh and home-made. There are so many different restaurants. I love the pizzas at Periwinkle. And the Kobe beef burgers at Bar Jack are just amazing,” she said.
Her accolades continued: “I know everyone at 7 – and what is so special is the added personal touches. When I order take out from 7, they give me truffles and little notes. They take time to know people so well. I can call and say it’s me and they’ll know what I want to eat! It is more than just being polite, and it is effortlessly done. And that’s what you appreciate. It is really an exceptional establishment.”
Actually, she said, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is “one of the best Ritz-Carlton’s in the world, and I’ve been to many! It really is the best.”
Both women also reflect on the sheer natural beauty of Cayman and their love of their surroundings when describing their happiness with their new homes.
In Cayman with a close girlfriend for the weekend of Cayman Jazz Fest in early December, Mrs. Sadler was glowing as she recounted waking up that morning in her DeckHouse.
“I woke up, went to the kitchen, turned on the radio to a great local station, made coffee, opened the magnificent DeckHouse doors and sat on the deck to drink my coffee as music filtered through the outdoor speakers. It was the perfect start to the day,” she recounted happily, describing her panoramic view of the waterways and the North Sound from her wraparound deck.
A self-described lover of being on and in the water, Mrs. Sadler finds Cayman’s waters to be “magical” and described her joy the day before at being picked up at her DeckHouse by Blue Tip Watersports captain Eric Rivers for a trip out to Stingray City and Rum Point.
“We had a great time. We enjoyed the stingrays and the snorkelling, and I always feel safe with Eric when he takes us out,” she said.
A favorite aspect of life for owners at The DeckHouses is the view. Our resident owner said, “I don’t have my drapes yet, and I am thinking ‘Why on earth did I even order them?’”
Despite having lived in several places in Cayman, including on Seven Mile Beach, she still says, “Nothing compares with this view. All of the different tones. You get everything – the beach, the golf course, the boats coming up the canal. It is so much more stimulating than just the sea. This house makes me feel younger. It is my playground.”
She continued, “Here I feel like I can take advantage of what Cayman has to offer. I am not locked in a tower that happens to be on the beach. The DeckHouses are so organically a part of their surroundings.”
Mrs. Sadler also described the pleasing aesthetic of the DeckHouses themselves as a huge draw, mentioning the architecture’s reflection to traditional Caymanian homes in the wraparound deck and the use of hardwoods.
“It is more beautiful than I even wanted it to be,” she said about her reaction to walking into her newly completed and decorated home.
While the DeckHouses are built with the option to have your choice of two turnkey interior design packages, our resident owner decided to customize the home herself.
“My DeckHouse is very different,” she said. “Very California-esque. The ceilings are white, the walls, the doors. Everything is light, bright and airy. I just want to see everything last forever in it. It’s a stay-put kind of home.”
“Your home is an extension of yourself,” she said. “And this interior is an extension of me.”
Moving in on December 18, just before Christmas, she spent her first holiday at her DeckHouse.
“It was just awesome in a new place,” she said. “After spending all the time decorating, it was so rewarding seeing it come together.  It was like unwrapping a present, and I was so excited with the result.”
Also paramount for people buying property in Cayman is the professionalism of the transaction, and the overall experience can make a lasting impact.
Focusing on real estate investment over the last 10 years, our resident DeckHouse owner said that after buying perhaps 10 properties over that time frame, her DeckHouse purchase has been the most rewarding, fun and personable experience.
“Every morning I am so grateful and appreciative for what everyone has put into it. The service is really the difference,” she said.
“Even after the deal is completed, the people here are still accommodating,” she said. “They really want to keep you happy. It is the complete opposite of the usual real estate transaction – the way they continue to care – you don’t feel all on your own. If I should have problem, any problem, it gets taken care of. And I have never had great experiences like that – especially in the Caribbean.”
“I can’t believe I live here!” she exclaimed. “This house has really made me fall in love with Cayman all over again. It has made me love Cayman so much. I don’t even want to travel anymore.”
Loving her new home so much, she said, “I will never move, unless they kick me out. Since moving in, I have actually changed my life plan. I don’t want to be doing real estate projects anywhere else; I would rather invest here in Cayman. For example, with the new Secret Harbour project also to be located at the Ritz-Carlton.  It has been such a good experience with the DeckHouse, if investing again I would want to do it here.”
“Thinking about this purchase, I never second guess myself,” she said. “This has definitely been worth every single cent. Cayman is a great island, so accessible. Fabulous people live here. The homes are affiliated with one of the world’s best hotel chains. Everything is a plus. There have been no negatives thus far.”
“Buying a home is a big decision – it is where you are making a home and possibly expanding a family. The investment aspect is secondary,” she said.
Mrs. Sadler is also pleased with the more intangible aspects of her home investment in Cayman.
While schedules have made it difficult for her whole family to converge in Cayman (her son is in college and her youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school,) she looks forward to making many fond memories at her DeckHouse – be it with family or friends or just taking a well-needed break from the every day.
“When I am in Colorado, I wake up with a headache from grinding my teeth at night. When I am here, it just goes away,” she said with a smile.
Sitting back and reflecting for a moment, she said “I will never take this place for granted” before revealing that back in Colorado, she has Cayman Islands weather on her screen saver and counts down to her next trip.
“I feel like I can breathe here,” she said, contentedly looking out over the crystalline aqua waters that surround her.

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