North Side resorts share colorful history

Rum Point's iconic sign.

The Rum Point Club was opened in the 1950s by entrepreneur Ralph Coatsworth, and later run by Bruce and Doris Parker from 1965 until the early 1980s.

The property was eventually taken over in 1994 by Rum Point Investments, later managed by the Hyatt, and most recently is being run by We Ltd., part of the Red Sail Group.

Bruce and Doris Parker were owners of Rum Point Club from 1965 till around 1980.
Bruce and Doris Parker were owners of Rum Point Club from 1965 till around 1980.

“It was and will always be a colorful place,” said John Buckley, one of the Rum Point managers.

When he was at the helm, Bruce Parker brought some flair and showmanship to the resort, as he was a world champion water skier and his wife was a New Jersey beauty queen.

The USA Waterskiing Foundation notes: “To millions in eastern United States during the 1930s and 40s, Bruce Parker was ‘Mr. Water Skiing.’

“No individual water skier before or since has commanded the attention of the media – newspapers, magazines, newsreels – to the extent that Parker did.”

The organization adds that along with becoming the first overall U.S. national water ski champion, teaching and putting on dramatic ski shows, Mr. Parker specialized in elaborate stunts, even achieving a speed record at the time while being towed by a seaplane in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

During the Parkers’ tenure, Rum Point was a small 10-room hotel and dining room. The dining room was done in a South Seas décor and the adjoining Wreck Bar was the same building that is today the Rum Point Bar.

Mrs. Parker was a first-class chef, and Mr. Parker taught diving and water skiing. It was where Cayman’s own Barefoot Man got his start as an entertainer.

The current buildings were constructed in the mid-1990s.

Today, Rum Point offers a restaurant and bar, along with expansive outdoor recreation facilities.

Those hailing from the Seven Mile Beach area looking for a unique dinner experience can take a $5 catamaran dinner shuttle from SafeHaven over to the restaurant.

Down the road, the Kaibo restaurant, beach bar and marina had its origins in the 1980s, springing up around a dock constructed for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, who had come to open the Queen’s Highway along Grand Cayman’s northern coast. Kaibo’s Daniel Petts notes the current Kaibo building housing a cafe/bar and upstairs restaurant was built in 1999.

Kaibo is getting a brand new dock.
Kaibo is getting a brand new dock.

It replaced the original wood hut which was first constructed on the site in the 1980s by Cecil Fox, a developer behind much of the Cayman Kai area.

Mr. Petts noted that construction of a brand new state-of-the-art dock is currently under way, which should be complete in a few weeks.

“This new dock is being welcomed by the boaters,” said Mr. Petts. “The old dock had seen better days and was definitely due for a change.”