Compleat Angler Hotel

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An outdoor sign at the Compleat Angler Hotel

The Compleat Angler Hotel was a modest three-story hotel on the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas. The establishment, located in the center of Alice Town, contained 12 guestrooms in addition to its rowdy bar. It is notable for its association with Ernest Hemingway, who was a guest from 1935-1937[1] and is said to have worked on To Have and Have Not there. It was built by Henry and Helen Duncombe in 1935 following destruction by fire of their first house, "The Dower House", on 18 November 1934. The hotel was damaged in a 1936 hurricane but quickly repaired. Duncombe was the island's commissioner during the American Prohibition Era. Henry Duncombe died in 1949 but the hotel continued under the proprietorship of Helen Duncombe until she retired and sold the hotel to the Brown family in 1973.

The hotel later became a major tourist attraction for Bimini and housed a collection of Hemingway memorabilia[2] including signed copies of his work and numerous photographs. Generations of anglers followed in the novelist's wake to crack open a beer and play a game of ring-toss after a long day on the water. The Angler was an unofficial museum, with one room devoted to Hemingway's exploits and most of its pine walls decorated with decades' worth of fading photos and newsclips of assorted anglers and trophy fish.[3] During its existence, the hotel hosted live music and served food.[4]

The hotel is not to be confused with The Compleat Angler Hotel in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Both hotels derive their name from the Izaak Walton book.

Notable guests[edit]

In addition to Ernest Hemingway, additional notable visitors have included Lucille Ball, singer and writer Jimmy Buffett, and Colorado senator Gary Hart, whose presidential aspirations were sunken in 1987 when compromising photographs were released of him at the lodge with a woman who was not his wife.

Fire[edit]

On January 13, 2006, the hotel was destroyed by a fire. The owner, Julian Brown, perished in the blaze after leading a guest to safety.[5]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]