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New Barkers boutique a haven for wellness

Front Pages 20 May, 2024 Follow News

The beautiful Vida Ocean Adventure Lodge

Al fresco yoga

A healthy bite at Nourish

Glorious views

An expansive 2-bed

Diners are spoilt for choice

By Lindsey Turnbull

Nestled among the natural surroundings of one of the most unspoiled parts of Grand Cayman, Vida Ocean Adventure Lodge is a new boutique hotel located next to Barkers Beach in West Bay that is already adding an exciting dimension to Cayman’s tourist offering. With its focus on wellness, adventure and sustainability, Vida provides an entirely new approach to vacationing.

The property, designed by co-owner, architect Derek Serpell, opened its doors in early April. Guests can enjoy the gorgeous Barkers breezes from the specially designed open-air lobby with cantilever doors that make the most of the natural cooling in this location. The property is immersed in natural vegetation and where the vegetation has had to be removed for construction purposes, plants endemic to the landscape have been replanted and will soon provide natural shade.

“We’ve got baby coconuts, dessert roses, local mahogany trees, fruit trees, ferns, many plants that we have grown locally,” co-owner Milly Serpell explained. “We’ve managed to keep the birch, the almonds, the seagrape, moringa trees, the plop nut, the Silver Thatch and some buttonwood that was already here.”  

Featuring as many locally-made products as possible, Vida is home to some bright and colourful local art both in the shared spaces and in each room, created by artists such as the Stoak’d team of Pam and Marc Laurenson, David Bridgeman, Avril Ward, Julie Corsetti, Renata Seffer and Jo Austin.  

A gorgeous and expansive outdoor deck features a pool, sun-loungers and bean bags along with a cabana that can be used for events and private barbeques. While the property doesn’t sit right on the water, a short walk down a beautifully shaded path through natural vegetation (“a Cayman jungle” as Milly calls it) leads guests directly to the pristine waters of Barkers Beach where they can pull up a chair and soak up the sun and sea.

Their wellness programme is a big feature of the property and includes yoga and Pilates classes among others. Every week they hold between three and 10 different classes, currently mostly enjoyed by locals, but becoming increasingly popular with guests as they learn about the great fitness opportunities available at Vida. Most of the yoga and Pilates take place in a beautiful outdoor purpose-built space on the second floor with stunning views of the sea and which Milly advised “comes alive” at night, in particular, giving guests the chance to star gaze into the night sky. On the third floor another space is dedicated to quiet mindfulness and meditation and guests are encouraged to leave their mobile phones behind and focus on the moment here. This is also a lovely spot for events, especially pre-wedding drinks. The gym is located on the ground floor and is well-equipped for sporty guests.

In all there are 12 suites – six 1-bedroom studios, two 2-bedrooms and four 3-bedrooms. The suites are spacious and well designed, with one bedroom ground floor studios running at 800 square feet and the 2 and 3 bedrooms benefitting from fully fitted kitchens (the studios with kitchenettes), and all with spacious balconies perfect for dining al fresco and also in-room massages. Conveniently, the 2 and 3 bedrooms have their own washers and dryers and guests can enjoy sweeping views of the sea as they are located on the upper floors.

“We offer a pantry service for guests, so it is possible for you to arrive and have your room fully stocked,” Milly advised. “Chef Maureen who runs the Nourish restaurant downstairs can also provide private dining.”

All bedrooms are ensuite, most with showers and some with baths in the main bedroom, which is especially appealing to honeymooners and romance seekers, Milly advised. They also come equipped with yoga mats, weights for working out and beach towels made from sustainably sourced cotton. Toiletries are available housed in refillable containers so no single-use plastic is employed on the property. Guests are given their own water bottle on arrival (which they can take home) and there are plenty of water stations throughout the property. Composting bins are located in the kitchens and the compost gets collected and taken to Beacon Farms. In a clever touch, each guest gets their own mobile phone that is set up with places of interest as well as the restaurant what’s app and the front desk what’s app. Bikes are also on-hand should guests want to venture out for the day.

Vida’s restaurant Nourish is the brainchild of chef Maureen Cubbon (known as Chef Mo), who runs the restaurant in partnership with the property and is the perfect fit for the hotel.

“The food at Nourish is amazing,” Milly said. “It’s clean, and they use local or regional produce wherever possible.”

It is open seven days a week from 7am until 3pm and offers breakfast all day, which has proven to be particularly popular, as well as lunch.

Chef Mo, who also runs Bestlife Wellness and Culinary, is a private chef and is a popular proponent of healthy eating in Cayman. Her ethos, she said, was all about making health and wellness accessible to people in an exciting way.

“We want to make it easy for people to eat healthily and also create a beautiful dining experience,” she advised. “As much as we can, we use local produce and we have started to grow our own produce. All the seasonings are created in house so we can control the flavours.”

Partnerships with local suppliers have been an important part of Chef Mo’s cuisine all the way through her culinary career and these relationships with local growers and producers remains strong at Nourish.   

The owners anticipate that their focus on wellness and sustainability will help them become sustainably credited within the first 12 to 18 months of operation.

If you want to book up for a staycation at this exciting boutique hotel contact stay@vidacayman.com  or call 345 516 8432


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