No online link to this article (but it is well worth subscribing to this magazine, it is a fun read and the only magazine focussed on vacationing in the Caribbean), but just received today the July/August issue of Caribbean Travel and Life magazine, there is a big article by their Editor in Chief, Bob Friel, documenting the awesome recovery of Grand Cayman from “Ivan de Terrible”.
When he was here a couple of months ago to do this piece, I spent a most enjoyable couple of hours with Bob sipping mudslides (tough job sometimes !) and discussing our story (ie how The Reef recovered… see other blog today).
Anyway, he saved the best to last in his 12 page article. The following three paragraphs close out the piece :
I fine the perfect example of the Caymanian’s positive attitude when I stop at The Reef Resort, an east-end operation painted the color of sunrise that rises over the fringing reef just off its sandy beach. The property sustained $7 million in damage, but the local owners didn’t even wait for the insurance adjuster. They rebuilt and repaired and are going full-steam ahead with new condos, which they expect to sell out during preconstruction.
The Barefoot Man – who was the island’s favourite entertainer long before I got here (note : Bob Friel was a divemaster in Cayman 20 years ago..Barefoot has been here a while !) – now plays exclusively at the Reef Resort’s Castro’s Hideaway, and as the resort’s general manager, Tom McCallum (note : that would actually be the inestimable Mr. Lawrence Haughton…I’m just the guy in the back office ) and I listen to Barefoot’s latest hit, “Ivan”, I say that as far as I can see, the only concession they’ve made to the Storm is the new bar we’re drinking at. It’s made of poured concrete – what looks like several tons of it. If ever another storm approaches Grand Cayman and I happen to be on the island, I just may strap myself and my bottle of rum to this bar and watch it hit.
But as far as everyone on Grand Cayman is concerned, there’s little chance of that happening. The storm of the century has come and gone. And it’s only 2005 : They have a calm, clear 95 years to look forward to before they’ll have to worry about what’s lurking in the southern skies.
Well.. to be honest you never know when the next one will come, although Ivan was the first major storm to hit Grand Cayman since records begain in 1851. Our group of companies fared admirably with Ivan, but we are not resting on that, we have hired Marsh as risk consultants to help us fine tune our disaster planning (and to hopefully help save some money on our group property insurance).
Also, The Reef has had a Hurricane Guarantee in place to safeguard our guest’s vacation interests since before Ivan, and it is still in place, here. The chances of anyone’s specific vacation being interrupted by a Hurricane is very slim… if you think about it, there were only a couple of thousand vacationers on island before Ivan came calling, out of several hundred thousand per year who come to our islands… and again that was the first major storm to hit us since the word “tourism” first entered the dictionary.
I think the Westin is the only other property in Cayman with a Hurricane Guarantee, although I hope others will follow suit soon !