- November 30th, 2008
- in Yachting
Home to the Finest Water Sports in the World – Protected by a reef on the ocean side, the Bitter End Yacht Club enjoys the dual conditions of a choppy lagoon with onshore winds at its outer limits coupled with a shore breeze over flat water, creating a downwind run towards Leverick Bay. For the novice taking part in Bitter End’s water sports programme of sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or kite boarding, the professional instructors are never out of reach. Family fun is important and there is an active kids’ sports programme as well as a fantastic arts centre where young artists can express their holiday smiles, West-Indian style.
On the other end of the water sports spectrum, the Bitter End is becoming an arena for professional events and competitions, with overseas gladiators pitting it out against local yachtsmen. The Bitter End Pro Am, which debuted in 1988, has become a draw for the megastars of the racing world. Venerable old-timers, current champions, and up-and-coming rock stars pit their skills against one another whilst giving the locals a fantastic opportunity to sail with, and against, the very best. The Bitter End also hosts Women on the Water, an instructional week gathering some of the world’s most experienced and talented female sailors. Recent stars have included Betsy Alison, Martha Parker and Pam Wall.
For charter guests in the BVI, the Bitter End is a must-stop. Only a three-hour sail from Tortola, slip space and moorings are available for overnight stays and the facilities at the resort are accessible to all. Designed to be self-sufficient, Bitter End generates its own electricity, utilizes solar power and collects and distills its own water. Enjoy a pint and a game of pool in the Quarterdeck Pub or fresh lobster in the Clubhouse Grille. Chill to the local music, wander down the beach with its freshly groomed sand, and dip your toes in the water.
Most sailors know the Bitter End as the stepping-off point for the 13-mile passage to Anegada. Generally, the wind direction is very favourable; if not, stay an extra day, as there is so much to explore and experience. The attentive staff will put you at ease and help with any requests you might have for fishing, snorkelling or diving trips.
In late 2007, Bitter End underwent some extensive renovations, with 46 rooms being updated by construction firm Kraus-Manning. The refreshed décor was designed by renowned Miami-based interior designer Barbara Hulanicki, who gracefully integrated Italian-tiled bathrooms, teak vanities, custom-designed bedroom and common area furniture into each of the open-air suites. Bright blue, orange and gold Eastern and Caribbean-inspired fabrics were used, rejuvenating the bedspreads and pillowcases, which coordinate beautifully with the ensuite art and unparalleled sea views. All materials were designed by Hulanicki exclusively for the Bitter End Yacht Club and were inspired by the Hokin family.
Naturally, for the Bitter End, the new rooms have an open-plan feel with a nautical theme. There is no entertainment system, tranquility being the aim. The only soundtrack is the whoosh of gentle trade winds and the soothing crash of waves in the distance. The rooms are naturally breezy with a steady airflow, and air conditioning is at the option of the guest. Each unit boasts a small refrigerator suitable for chilling wine, sodas or other beverages, while the resort offers guests a multitude of dining options including two restaurants with cuisine to suit any palate. After more than 30 years in business, the Bitter End is responsive to their guests’ every need. You can be pampered as you like—you need only ask.
Each new spacious, open-plan room boasts two doors, including a sliding-glass door and a traditional main entrance door situated atop a set of stairs. Tiled bathrooms, larger since the renovation, feature stainless-steel cleats as towel holders. The rooms embody openness and modest luxury and boast high wooden ceilings. The deck features views of Prickly Pear and Necker Island.
Bitter End was founded by the Hokin family, who developed a love for the area after first visiting in 1964. Generations later, the resort remains an extension of, and testament to, the family’s passion for sailing, diving, snorkelling, fishing, spending time with friends and enjoying the local culture. Dana Hokin, Managing Partner and owner of the Bitter End Yacht Club is an experienced sailor and artist. Having grown up around the Bitter End, Ms. Hokin is dedicated to reinvesting in it and continuing its development. A merger with Trade Winds in 1988 doubled the resort’s property and facilities. The resort also got a new Chief Operating Officer in October of this year, in the form of Sandra Grisham-Clothier, a veteran director of Caribbean luxury resorts. Ms. Grisham-Clothier will be integral to the Bitter End’s long-term planning efforts and aims to bring the resort to an even higher level of excellence.
Happily, Bitter End has never strayed too far from its founders’ original vision. In the 1970s, there were no phones at Bitter End, only cold water was available and there were paper sheets on the beds. Over the years, while staying true to those simple roots, Bitter End has developed a subtle, classic style that is neither brassy nor overbearing.
Over 100 watercraft make up Bitter End’s club fleet. Should you wish to venture further and explore, excursions are available. One of the finest resorts in the world, the Bitter End Yacht Club has rightfully become an emblem and standard bearer of the BVI.
For more information, contact the Reservations and Information Office, 800-872-2392; 312-506-6205; [email protected] Visit the web site at www.beyc.com, where you can also book a stay. In the BVI, call 284-494-2746 or hail the resort on VHF Channel 16