From Ohio to the Caribbean, these hotel rum bars are worth a shot (or a mai tai or mojito)

Aug 16, 2021

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Vodka has rum beat as the most popular spirit in the U.S.

But the key ingredient in so many tropical cocktails — including rum punch, mojitos and mai tais — gets its day to shine on Aug. 16. That’s National Rum Day, in case you missed the memo with everything else going on.

It’s the rare hotel that has a dedicated rum bar in-house, but we’ve done the legwork to lead you to some stellar spots to stay if an on-site rum bar is among your preferred hotel amenities.

From a swim-up bar in Hawaii to a surprise rooftop spot in Ohio, these are some of our favorite hotel bars where rum rules every day.

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Kane Tiki Bar & Grill

Kane Tiki Bar & Grill at JW Marriott Marco Island
Kane Tiki Bar & Grill (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort)

It’s a no-brainer that rum is best enjoyed by the beach. And at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, you can do just that, steps from the Gulf of Mexico. The Kane Tiki Bar & Grill has the requisite palm-thatched roof over a long granite bar and an open-air, tropical vibe that brings a bit of Bali (the bar’s inspiration) to Southwest Florida.

The extensive rum list pulls from all over the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond, so this is the place to try something new (perhaps a Venezuelan rum or one from Mauritius or Guyana). Purists go for tasting flights, but there are lots of fruity cocktails, too, and the menu’s selection of Indonesian street foods pad the drinking.

The JW Marriott Marco Island is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property, which means reward nights will cost between 50,000 and 70,000 points per night. On off-peak dates, you can use a 50k reward night certificate, which you can get on your anniversary of holding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

Related: TPG’s 15 favorite hotel bars around the world

Rumbar

Rumbar at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
Rumbar (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami)

Miami offers no shortage of hangouts to capture that Old Havana feeling. But if you’ve come for rum, then seek out the lobby lounge Rumbar at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami.

The liquor selection here covers more than 85 varieties of rums, piscos and cachacas (none of them Havana Club from Cuba, of course, but there are many other countries represented). The bar is big on vintage Cuba vibes, though, with palmetto ceiling fans spinning lazily, rich dark woods and old-school photos on the walls. The quintessential cocktail to order if you want to conjure Hemingway in Havana is El Floridita, made with Ron Cartavio 12-year rum from Peru, orange flower water and guava nectar.

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property with reward nights available for between 50,000 and 70,000 points per night.

Related: 7 Florida hotels that feel like the Caribbean

Blackwell Rum Bar

Accessed by a staircase carved from coral rock that leads right down to the water’s edge, the Blackwell Rum Bar in Negril, Jamaica, could make anyone feel like a proper pirate. Sidled up at a bar inside a cave with the Caribbean Sea thumping below natural windows carved by the elements into the rocky walls, you can sit sipping the island’s top rums, including Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum (founded by Chris Blackwell of Island Records fame).

The bar is just one reason to love The Caves, an adults-only cliffside resort in Negril’s West End with just 12 cottage-style accommodations overlooking the turquoise water.

Related: Why all-inclusive resorts are more attractive than ever

RumFire Bar and Barmacy

RumFire at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica
RumFire (Photo courtesy of Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica)

When the 151-room Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica opened astride Cabrits National Park in 2019, it became the Nature Island’s first true five-star resort. To make up for the small black-sand beach, the property went all-out on its pools (including a lap pool, spa pool, adults-only pool and main pool) and invested heavily, too, in what’s easily one of the best hotel rum bars in the Caribbean.

RumFire is a sweeping terrace with fire pits and lounge areas overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Just inside, at the Barmacy, you can pick your poison from a wall of Dominican rums infused with local herbs, spices and fruit (passion fruit, mango, star fruit, cinnamon and more) that are said to have curative qualities. Sounds a lot like drinking virtuously.

Related: 29 of the most beautiful hotel pools around the world

Strong Water Tavern

Strong Water Tavern at Universal Orlando Resort
Strong Water Tavern (Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)

You could almost suspend disbelief and imagine you were sipping rum someplace more island-y than Orlando at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.

The huge selection of island rums, customizable as flights if you can’t decide, is that good — especially the impressive range of rhum agricole (made from free-running sugar cane juice) from the French Caribbean, including Martinique and Guadeloupe. Strong Water Tavern does a great Cuba libre (with Puerto Rican Ron del Barrillito) and the mules, with house-made ginger beer, are another winner. The menu’s share plates add to the conviviality of things, with aguachiles, grilled octopus and seafood tostadas among the selections.

Related: Why you might want to rethink that Florida theme park trip

Dr. Mai Tai’s

Dr. Mai Tai's at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Dr. Mai Tai’s (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina)

A swim-up rum bar. Now that’s genius. Dr. Mai Tai’s at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is a vintage-style cocktail van that hugs the edge of the resort’s infinity pool. It’s helmed by an “on-call cocktail doctor” who proffers “rum-infused prescription elixirs.” Sign us up as new patients.

On the menu for sipping in your swimsuit is a range of tropical cocktails made with coconut and pure cane rums from Hawaiian distilleries and other island ingredients, like macadamia nut syrup, passion fruit and hibiscus.

Related: 9 great spots to grab a drink in the airport

Caribar

Puerto Rico is to thank for producing 70% of the rum in the United States. And as the story goes, the Caribe Hilton is to thank for being the birthplace of the pina colada, said to have been invented here by bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero in 1954.

You can try Puerto Rico’s national drink (the pina colada, por supuesto) at Caribar, and various other top-notch rum-based cocktails that include the espuma colada, made with two types of rum — Don Q Anejo and Coco — and splashed with walnut bitters and the Pinold Colashioned, with Brugal 1888, Don Q Coco and a coconut-flavored sphere of ice to add to the party in your glass.

Rum Runners

Rum Runner's at Captain Don’s Habitat
Rum Runner’s (Photo by Robb Leahy)

Guests at Captain Don’s Habitat — one of the most famous scuba-diving hotels in Bonaire, the shore-diving capital of the world — rinse off from the ocean and make straight for the waterfront tables at Rum Runners to sip something frosty.

The King Rincon is the one to try, made with Bonaire’s own Rom Rincon (made with the island’s abundant flora, the kadushi cactus), white chocolate and mango.

Related: The 10 best secret beaches in the Caribbean

Vaso

Vaso's Tiki Escape
Tiki Escape (Photo by Trent Brown/Vaso’s)

Land-locked Ohio may not spring to mind as a rum bar mecca. But surprise yourself with the impressive selection at Vaso, the rooftop bar overlooking the Scioto River at the AC Hotel Columbus Dublin.

While not technically a rum bar, this one is making our list thanks to its transporting urban setting paired with an excellent rum selection of more than 35 varieties that include Plantation from Fiji and Santa Teresa 1796 from Venezuela, in addition to all of the Caribbean mainstays and niche bottles. There’s always a featured Tiki cocktail on the menu here, too, to make you feel far from, well, Ohio, for starters.

The AC Hotel Columbus Dublin is a Category 4 Marriott Bonvoy property, which means you’ll need between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night, depending on dates and availability.

Featured photo of Dr. Mai Tai’s courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

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