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Bimini fishing resort gets “big” face-lift

Guy Harvey Outpost Resort & Marina has redeveloped the world-famous Bimini Big Game Club in an attempt to recapture the sportfishing Mecca's former glories. 

Monday, August 23, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010

When Guy Harvey Outpost Resort & Marina greeted its first guests off the dock this summer, the occasion marked the return to glory of one of The Bahamas’ most iconic resorts.

The legendary Bimini Big Game Club in Alice Town on North Bimini’s southern tip was made famous by novelist and avid fisherman Ernest Hemingway. First established by Nassau entrepreneur Neville Stuart in 1936, the club enjoyed its heyday during the 1930s and ’40s, but fell into decline in the latter half of the century, eventually closing for business two years ago.

Outpost, headed by famed artist, entrepreneur and marine biologist Dr Guy Harvey and partners Mark Ellert, Charles Forman and Bill Shedd, teamed up with Los Angeles-based financier and investor Don Hankey to restore the 51-room resort at a cost of $3.5 million. The renovated sports fishing and resort complex now includes revamped accommodation, the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, and the Outfitter Shop, featuring Guy Harvey sportswear and gifts.

“I’m absolutely delighted in the quality and the beauty of this location,” said Jamaican-born Harvey at the club’s ribbon-cutting ceremony this summer. “I just think the future of this place is so bright.”

Harvey says it took three years for developers to find what they were in search of–a combination of great fishing, diving, access to the US mainland and a great experience.

With more than 50-record-setting catches in the waters around the island, and only 50 miles off the coast of Florida, Bimini fits the investors’ criteria perfectly. The rich local history is also a plus.

South Florida real estate veteran and resort president Mark Ellert says guests, who are expected to be around 80 per cent recreational fishermen from Florida, will find a “best in class”?experience based on a sustainable and eco-friendly concept.

The resort, he says, is for those who want to be a part of “something bigger,” involving conservation of the marine ecosystem, which is fundamental to water sports, fishing and diving.

“That’s how our concept started, and we want to envelop conservation as the fundamental grounding of the resort experience,” he adds.

The Big Game Club is intended to be the first of several such Guy Harvey Outpost properties targeted at fishermen, divers and eco-tourists.

Phase II plans at the Bimini site include a theater and oceanographic center, as well as activities such as a guest lecture series and interactive sessions with Dr Harvey, and day trips to the Bimini Biological Field Station’s world-famous shark lab.

Improvements to the 75-slip marina, which is located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay separating North and South Bimini, are underway. The marina can accommodate boats up to 145 ft. By spring 2011, a full-service fuel dock will be operational, adding to the island’s allure for big game fishermen.

Having signed the required number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements with OECD member nations before the March deadline, The Bahamas is now preparing for the next round of scrutiny.

The Bahamas is uniquely positioned to become an international arbitration centre, employing the talents of the local legal profession. The Bahamas Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is looking to make that a reality.

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