Key to Cayman magazine: Shopaholic Bliss

(Published in Key to Cayman magazine, winter edition, 2012)

Key to Cayman’s Joanna Lewis finds herself in heaven amongst the shops and restaurants of Camana Bay.

OK, I confess. I’m a shopaholic. So, when the assignment came in to spend the day shopping at Camana Bay I jumped at the chance. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Camana Bay is the ideal place to spend a leisurely day, with gorgeous shops, palm-lined shady walkways, soothing water features and delicious eateries.

This is shopaholic bliss whether you are a visitor to Cayman or a resident in search of retail therapy.

First stop, NKY Collections. This boutique was one of the very first stores to open at Camana Bay a couple of years ago and has since expanded its offerings with numerous other outlets including The Jean Bar and Soles Shoe Salon. The store is stocked full of fabulous designer items, including dresses by Diane von Furstenberg, Herve Leger, BCBG, Jessica Simpson and Analili. There’s also to-die-for handbags, belts and shoes. It’s all very, very tempting.

I check out Bedside Manor next. This boutique store offers luxury linens, elegant throws and stylish home accessories as well as a selection of fun and quirky gifts for all ages. I even spy a cute selection of doggie collars and toys – perfect for my little pooch Jazzy. Sold.

I cross the road and check out Bay Market, one of the most recent stores to open at Camana Bay. The store specialises in organic foods, including fruits, vegetables and meats. Its large delicatessen features gourmet meats and cheeses, while foodies will love the antipasto and olive bar. There’s also a fab hot food section for meals-on-the-go, as well as made-to-order salads and sandwiches.

Looking at all the mouthwatering food on offer is making me hungry. It’s time for lunch. There’s a large number of restaurants and cafes to choose from at Camana Bay, including Ortanique, Abacus, KARoo, Jessie’s Juice Bar and Black Trumpet. Spoilt for choice, I head to Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Michael Schwartz, a past recipient of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, put Miami’s Design District on the culinary map when he opened his restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, in 2007. Three years later, his fresh, simple, pure cuisine arrived in Grand Cayman.

I order the butter lettuce salad, which comes with orange, avocado, hazelnuts and shallot hazelnut vinaigrette and opt to add some pan-fried lionfish. This invasive species has been wreaking havoc on Cayman’s reefs, but the good folks at Michael’s Genuine are working hard to help eliminate the fish by serving it on their menu and promoting it as an alternative choice to traditional catch. It’s exceptionally good too, with a light, delicate white meat that melts in the mouth. Yum.

With hunger sated, it’s time to hit the shops again. I head just a few stores down to Caribbean Canvas Company. This is truly an authentic Caribbean brand – the company was founded in Cayman and this is its second store. The first opened in downtown George Town. The shop stocks lightweight summer clothes perfect for island living, as well as bags and accessories to finish off your outfit.

As a true girlie girl, no shopping trip for me would be complete without a visit to a makeup and skincare store. Le Visage is a luxury cosmetic and skincare boutique and owner Sharron Eyers is an expert makeup artist who is always happy to give advice. Top selling brands include Stila, Elemis, Bliss, Penhaligon’s and Kevyn Aucoin.  I can’t resist, and leave the store with the most gorgeous Stila palette filled with this season’s hottest colours.

With the heat of the day, I need to cool down. I head to Ginger Lily, which offers tart frozen yogurt in an array of tempting flavours. There’s also a selection of mouth-watering toppings to choose from, including fresh fruits and chocolate sprinkles. I plump for chocolate yoghurt with raspberry topping – it’s guilt-free after all.

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so I hot foot it to The Mansion, which is Island Companies’ flagship store. I swoon over sparkling diamond rings, necklaces and earrings. Among others, The Mansion stocks the Hearts on Fire brand, which features a superior cut and craftsmanship. Indeed, the sales associate tells me that a Hearts on Fire diamond can be seen sparkling from 10 tables away. I sooooo want one now!

Pulling myself – rather reluctantly – away from the diamonds I head to Island Company, which stocks the perfect apparel for keeping cool in the hot summer heat. On offer is a selection of both men’s and women’s resort wear, including shirts, pants, tops and dresses in high quality, lightweight cottons and linens, as well as bags, swimwear and cover ups. My motto is that you can never have enough dresses, so true to form I fell in love with a cute little shift dress, which would be perfect for an island retreat. Must resist!

Next door is Sand Angels. I love this store. It has everything to ensure you look super chic on the beach, with swimwear by some of the world’s leading designers. I find a gorgeous bikini by Trina Turk, perfect for lazy days lounging around pool.

Just opposite is yet more temptation – The Cabana – the first international Lilly Pulitzer Via shop. Rails are filled with super cute, colourful dresses, which are a trademark of Lilly Pulitzer, who started her fashion empire in the US some 50 years ago. There’s also a selection of accessories all in fun vibrant hues.

With a huge sweet tooth – and I really do mean huge – there was one final stop that I had to make. Frosted Robin. This delicious café bakes cupcakes fresh daily and many are inspired by the flavours of Cayman, such as Cayman spice and Caribbean carrot. They also sell Frosted Robin Eggs, which are a fun twist on the traditional cupcake. Featuring some of the most popular cupcake flavours, these sweet eggs are blended with icing then dipped in chocolate. I couldn’t resist.

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