January 20, 2022

Grand reopening & renaming of Cayman Brac Beach Resort – Cayman Islands

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Moses KirconnellOn Friday January 15 the Cayman Brac community celebrated the grand reopening and renaming of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort. This wonderful hotel has been instrumental in the development of tourism in Cayman Brac and continues to attract increasing numbers of new and repeat guests. Among its many accolades, the resort has received the 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently achieving great reviews from travelers. It has also recently been crowned as a TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Member, which selectively recognises recipients that consistently receive positive ratings and have earned Certificates of Excellence over a five year period.

The Premier of the Cayman Islands, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA, and the Deputy Premier of the Cayman Islands, Honourable Moses Kirkconnell were invited to bring remarks at today’s reopening ceremony. This is what they said:

Prem Alden McLaughlinRemarks for grand reopening of Cayman Brac Beach Resort
By Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA

Good morning. It does my heart so good to come to Cayman Brac and the grand re-opening of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort is the icing on the cake to my visit here today.
Thank you for joining me in celebrating the reopening and rebranding of this important tourism asset to not only Cayman Brac, but all three of our Cayman Islands.
As most of you know, Mr. Linton Tibbetts and two co-investors opened the first Brac Reef Hotel in 1977.
This was one of two positive things happening on Cayman Brac that year despite the fact that much of the Western world was still reeling from the recession of 1973 to 1976; the other being the opening of a Cayman National Bank branch at Cotton Tree Bay here on Cayman Brac.
Mr. T as he was affectionately known realized that that the Brac was still feeling the ills of the recession and that his people needed jobs. He set out to further develop the tourism product of Cayman Brac and help grow those jobs.
He knew, like most good business people, that he had to lay the foundation – literally and figuratively – to create those jobs and build the tourism product.
He also knew that to sustain development and jobs, the Brac would have to get visitors to this Island. So Mr. T, along with Capt. Willie Kirkconnell, Burke Ryan, Edward Ritch and a few others, formed a company and bought several DC3 planes to provide direct flights from the St. Petersburgh/Clearwater Airport to Cayman Brac under the name of Red Carpet Airlines, proving a very useful passenger and cargo service.
That first hotel built in 1977 was such a success that the Brac Reef Hotel was sold to the Divi Corporation in 1983, but on the condition that Mr. T build more hotel rooms to lure even more tourists to Cayman Brac.
In February 1985 the Brac Reef Resort opened its doors with much fanfare and about 200 welcoming guests at the grand opening.
Then-ExCo member for Tourism, Aviation and Trade Mr. Norman Bodden said in his speech at that grand opening that Mr. T had a good reputation as a successful businessman and construction of the new Brac Reef Hotel in such a choice location did not only attest to his vast business experience, but also stood as a definite expression of Mr. Tibbetts’ confidence in the continued development of tourism in the Cayman Islands and particularly in Cayman Brac.
Fast forward to where we stand today with the grand re-opening of Cayman Brac Beach Resort. I firmly believe that Mr. T’s family is carrying on his legacy of promoting Cayman Brac and ensuring her economy is sustained in part through tourism and the many developments he contributed to our country.
It was a commitment to the Island and the country that we saw in spades in November 2008 when Hurricane Paloma devastated Cayman Brac and reduced the site you are now standing on to rubble. Mr. T and his family could have thrown in the towel and walked away from all the damage back then, but they were determined to press ahead and rebuild.
Today I am happy to be a part of this grand re-opening and rebranding of Mr. T’s vision and foresight. I commend the family for championing the cause of growth and tourism on the Sister Islands. We saw the family’s commitment to carry on his legacy in 2014 with the opening of the Little Cayman Museum and continue to see it with today’s events.
This enhanced property is a huge benefit to the Brac’s tourism product and on behalf of Government I sincerely thank the family for its investment in Cayman Brac.
Before I close, I want to extend my condolences to the Tibbetts family on the passing of Miss Polly on 4 January this year. It was such a pleasure to spend time with her have a chat about the family and all of the accomplishments when the Little Cayman Museum was officially opened. I have a picture on my desk in my office of that visit of Miss Polly and myself, which I truly prize. I am sure the family will agree that Mr. T’s accomplishment and vision was shared by Miss Polly and we have her to thank just as well.
As I am anxious for you to take a tour and see the new freeform resort pool, upgraded accommodations and resort-wide renovations – as I have already had the pleasure on a previous recent visit – I will close now.
Again, thank you all for joining me in this all-important day for Cayman Brac and the successful future of leisure and dive tourism in the Cayman Islands.

Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, JP Deputy Premier Minister of District Administration, Tourism & Transport

Remarks Grand Reopening of the Cayman Brac Beach Hotel

15 January, 2016

With Protocols already observed.

It is an immense pleasure to join you in celebrating the grand reopening and renaming of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort.

This wonderful hotel has been a fixture on the Brac landscape for some thirty years, since it first opened its doors in Feb 1985 thanks to the vision and foresight of the late Linton Tibbetts. At that time, recognizing that our economy was heavily dependent on tourism, the construction of the Hotel was an expression of Linton’s confidence in Cayman Brac and its potential to play a viable role in the industry’s development.

The vision for this Hotel was to attract new and repeat business to the Brac based on the provision of high quality service, reasonable rates and guest comfort and convenience. All of that was underpinned by the natural warmth and hospitality inherent in our Caymanian people and which was freely and willingly extended to all who visited these shores.

Over the years, the Brac Reef Resort as it was formerly known, underwent a number of changes in keeping with the needs and expectations of the dynamic hospitality sector which it serves. Perhaps the most significant was due to the passage of hurricane Paloma in 2008 which devastated the property, reducing it to rubble.

Having learnt to live through hard times, Brackers are undeterred by adversity, and the Hotel was rebuilt better than before – which is testament to the resilience and tenacity exemplified by Linton and the Tibbetts family.

Through all of these ups and downs, the one thing that has remained constant from its inaugural opening to the present day is the fact that this Hotel, along with the adjacent dive business Reef Diver II, has remained as a locally owned enterprise operated by the Tibbetts family.

I am very pleased that the legacy established by Linton Tibbetts has not only thrived, but has passed on to the next generation and continues to grow from strength to strength.

Under the stewardship of Linton’s grandchildren, Michael, Emily and Jessica the family’s hospitality business has expanded to include world-class dive resorts on each of the three Cayman Islands. In addition to the Cayman Brac Beach Resort, the family owns and operates the Little Cayman Beach Resort which continues to operate at high occupancy year round.

Their newest property, the Cobalt Coast Resort expands the consortium of resorts outside of the Sister Islands to Grand Cayman. With this expansion, Reef Divers now offers world-class valet dive services to guests on all three Cayman Islands.

In the hospitality sector it is often said that people are our greatest asset and there is no doubt that Jessica, Emily and Michael are assets to the Tibbets family. Though they each have their own careers they are actively involved with the oversight and management of the resorts. Due to their education, skills and commitment, 2015 was a year of significant growth under their stewardship, perhaps more so than any other year in the company’s history.

Michael Tibbetts

Michael graduated from Princeton University in 2004 and from Harvard Medical School in 2009. Though he is a practicing ophthalmologist he maintains active roles on the boards of several of the family businesses, which involve hospitality, real estate and lumber both in Florida and the Cayman Islands. He also serves on the non-profit board of the Cayman Islands Legacy Fund which oversees the Little Cayman Museum. Michael and his wife, Rebecca, have two children, Caroline and Lydia.

Emily Tibbetts Allenbach

Emily received an undergraduate degree from The Walsh School of Foreign
Service at Georgetown University in 2004, and she holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University and a Law Degree from the Brooklyn Law School. Emily also maintains active roles on the boards of several of the Tibbetts Family businesses, which involve hospitality, real estate and lumber both in Florida and the Cayman Islands. Emily and her husband Mark have two adorable little girls, Lily and Madeline.

Jessica Tibbetts Buchanan

Jessica attended the University of Richmond and the New York University and currently works as a therapist with children. She is an active participant on the Board of the family’s hospitality company, JEM Holdings and she also serves on the Tibbetts Family Council within the broader Tibbetts Family. Jessica was recently married to David Buchanan in April 2015 in Little Cayman.

I know that their father and grandfather are immensely proud of all that Jessica, Emily and Michael have accomplished. I am confident that with this caliber of experience and expertise directing the family businesses, the legacy will continue well into the future.

I am very happy to be here celebrating the reopening of the Cayman Brac Beach Hotel and following this latest elegant makeover I feel certain that guests will be attracted to the high-quality accommodations complemented by modern amenities. In addition to the myriad of upgrades the name change will allow the resort to fully reflect its location in the Sister Islands, hinting at the spectacular sport diving that can only be experienced at Cayman Brac.

In many ways Hotels are like the front desk of our country, for the welcome and hospitality guests receive strongly influences the impression they form of our people and our Islands. Ultimately it determines whether they will return or recommend us to others. This charming resort exhibits so many characteristics of its founding family – efficient, friendly and welcoming – it is no surprise that guests return, and among its many accolades, the resort has received the 2015 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence for consistently achieving great reviews from travelers.

This Resort has also earned a prestigious new designation of TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Member, which selectively recognises recipients that consistently receive positive ratings and have earned Certificates of Excellence over a five year period.

The team here at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort is evidently committed to excellence in all that they do and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank them all for their hard work and dedication.

As we celebrate the beginning of another new chapter for this great hotel, I would like to convey my best wishes and blessings for this renewed venture.

I would also like to congratulate Jessica, Emily and Michael, as well as the management team and staff for your enterprising spirit and outstanding accomplishments.

I pray that the Cayman Brac Beach Hotel will endure as a treasured landmark within this very special community and I wish you all the very best for the future.

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