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Bitter End

Finest Water Sports in the World – When the Hokin family purchased Bitter End in 1973, they had really been looking for just an acre or two on which to build a small cottage for them to enjoy their love of the islands.  Their long-time relationship with Virgin Gorda’s North Sound and with Basil Symonette, the owner of the land and its few buildings, led to an offer from Symonette to sell them not just an acre but the entire property.  Gradually, what was initially the family's playground grew into the world-class hotel facility that we know today. Now, having completed a room renovation in record time, Bitter End is staying true to form as a luxury resort, and as a magnet for water sports enthusiasts.

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 for young artists to express their holiday smiles, West Indian style.

On the other end of the water sports spectrum, Bitter End is becoming an arena for professional events and competitors, overseas gladiators pitting it out with local yachtsmen. The Bitter End Pro Am first started in 1988, has become a draw for the megastars of the yachting 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… 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 Palmer and Pam Wall.

For charter guests in the BVI, Bitter End is a must stop. Only three hours' 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 Grill. Chill to the local music, wander down the beach, with its freshly groomed sand, and dip your toes in the water.

Most sailors know Bitter End as the stepping-off point for the 13-mile passage to Anegada. Generally, the wind direction is very favorable; if not, stay an extra day as there is so much to explore and experience. The attentive staff will keep you at your ease and help with any requests you might have for fishing, snorkeling or diving trips. Recently we joined General Manager Mikhail Shamkin for a tour of the newly completed additions to Bitter End's accommodations.  Twenty-six rooms were completed by construction firm Kraus Manning between September 2 and November 18, 2007.

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Naturally, for Bitter End, the new rooms have an open plan feel with a nautical theme. There is no entertainment system–tranquility being the aim. “White noise doesn’t really suit us”, explains Mikhail. “Bitter End is about nature and enjoying it. The hive of activity on the water as you swing in your hammock and the fresh rush of trade winds provide ample soundtracks to your personal retreat.”

The rooms are naturally breezy and have a steady airflow, making air conditioning unnecessary.  There is a cinema down by the beach showing movies and there are no fridges or kitchenettes in the properties.  You don’t really need them, since the resort offers comprehensive dining options and, after over 30 years of business, Bitter End is responsive to their guests' needs. You can be as pampered as you like, you need only ask.

The new spacious, open-plan rooms have just one door, the sliding glass entrance.  Tiled bathrooms, larger since the renovation, feature stainless steel cleats as towel holders.  The rooms embody openness, freedom and modest luxury.  The dividing wall between the bathroom and the bedroom comprises wooden storage slats, complementing the high wooden ceilings. The deck features views of Prickly Pear and Necker Island.

Bitter End was founded by the Hokin family, who formed their love for the area since first visiting in 1964. Generations later, the resort is an extension of the family's love of the water, sailing, diving, snorkeling, fishing and spending time with local people and enjoying the local culture. Dana Hokin, Managing Partner and owner of the Bitter End Yacht Club, is an experienced sailor and artist. Growing up around the Bitter End, Ms. Hokin is dedicated to reinvesting and continuing the development of Bitter End.  A merger with Trade Winds in 1988 doubled the resort's property and facilities. Current plans are to develop the Lookout Project, a 68-acre residential programme to include 22 villas and larger single family homes at the Bitter End.

The resort has not shifted too far from its founders' original vision Cisterns collecting water doubled as foundations and there were no phones on Bitter End in the 70s.  There was only cold water and paper sheets on the beds.  Over the years, while staying true to those simple roots, Bitter End has developed a subtle, classic style which 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. 

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