West End Hospitality History

With the opening of the "New" Old Bahama Bay, here is some history on West End. West End has a colorful history and today the picturesque fishing village is still a popular tourist destination in the Bahamas. The settlement has a reputation for being hospitable and friendly – and the atmosphere is one of cool breezes and beautiful sunsets.  West End is the oldest settlement on Grand Bahama Island and is considered its historical capitol.

In 1948 England’s Sir Billy Butlin decided to expand his Butlin’s Holiday Camps to West End by building Butlin's Vacation Village.  This lasted only a couple of years. The property sat dormant for awhile until the opening of the Jack Tar Village Resort in 1951 by the Sammons family of Dallas, Texas.

The Jack Tar was one of the most lavish resort properties in the Bahamas and was the first Caribbean all-inclusive hotel. The resort included an airfield, a marina, a complex of canals, a commercial wharf, a 424-room hotel, 16 tennis courts, a 27-hole golf course and the largest saltwater swimming pool in the western hemisphere.   Jack Tar Village, along with the West End Community, prospered in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The resort was closed in 1988 when Mr. Sammons passed away.

In 1997, West End Resorts Ltd. began the development of the Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour on the site of the old Jack Tar Village Resort.  The new resort first opened with 72 marina slips in August 1999.  The first hotel rooms came to market in May 2001. In 2004, 25 additional rooms and suites were added, and in 2007 a final 24 units were opened – bringing the total guest accommodations to 73.

In September of 2004, Grand Bahama Island was hit directly by two powerful hurricanes. Hurricane Frances made landfall on September 3rd and just two weeks after came Hurricane Jeanne.  A year later, Hurricane Wilma visited the area.  All rooms, slips, amenities, and facilities were repaired and made new.

In January of 2007, Ginn Resorts became the managing entity for Old Bahama Bay and briefly renamed the resort Ginn sur Mer to make it part of its adjacent 2,000 acre community.  Ginn Resorts filed for bankruptcy in 2009, eventually leading to Old Bahama Bay’s current new management by Island Ventures Resort & Club, Ltd., a new hospitality company that is owned by Old Bahama Bay property owners and whose principals were involved in opening and operating Old Bahama Bay from 2001 to 2007.