Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino

Friday, March 9, 2018 1 No tags Permalink 3

Note: this post is a compilation of previous posts on the Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino. 2018 Update Below.

Bahama Princess

The Bahamas Princess Tower
Freeport, Bahamas

Photo by B.J. (Chris) Lothian
Ernie’s Studio & Camera Center, Ltd., Freeport, Grand Bahama, W.I.

So, here’s the backstory on this one. Mom and Dad went to the Bahama Princess (and stayed in the Country Club) when my sister and I were quite young (pre-1980?). Years later, they took us there on vacation (we stayed at the Tower). The Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino was a phenomenal place, sitting on 1,000 acres with pools and a casino. It was right next to the International Bazaar.

The Princess resort was built sometime in the 1970s and was a pretty big deal. Sometime after our visit in the early 90s, the Princess Towers became Bahamia Royal Oasis Resort, owned by Driftwood Properties (it seems the country club became the Sunspree Holiday Inn around that same time). As late as the year 2000, the Resorts at Bahamia was still in business. But things changed, and several tropical storms/hurricanes hit the Bahamas. The business closed down.

In 2007, the Royal Oasis Resort was purchased by Harcourt Development Group for $33 million. They had plans to transform the site into the Crowne Plaza Golf Resort and Casino at the Royal Oasis. Then the financial meltdown of 2008 happened. The Crowne didn’t open.

Closed and abandoned for so many years,  on September 23, 2010 a fire broke out at the Towers on the 7th floor:

I sent an email to Harcourt Development Group, inquiring as to the status of this lovely resort, but didn’t get a response.

I dug up some family photos from maybe 1991, for your viewing pleasure. I skipped the one where I was having my hair beaded and braided.

Casino view:

bahama princess casino

Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower

View from our room in the Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower view

The International Bazaar:

internationalbazaar

This article in the Freeport News (autumn 2013) discusses the International Bazaar, which is currently up for sale. The location has 85 retail stalls.

As of November 2013, Harcourt Developments was still listing the Royal Oasis like it’s a fully functioning, open business. I again emailed them to see if they can provide an update on the development, and again I did not hear back.

Looking around in January 2014, I found another link for the Royal Oasis Resort Hotel, Casino and Convention Center, this one from AECOM Capital. From their website:

The Royal Oasis is a well-established resort hotel located about 10 minutes from the airport, adjacent to the International Bazaar. While not located on the beach, the hotel complex is renowned for the tropical settings of its pool areas, which offer respite for guests after nights in the casino or out on Grand Bahama Island.

AECOM provided masterplanning and full design services for the existing 300,000 square foot, 400-room hotel, as well as for the 45,000 square foot casino and 55,000 square foot convention facility. In addition, a new 350,000 square foot hotel tower was added that includes 250 rooms as well as a new lobby, spa and fitness center. New residential 1, 2, and 3 bedroom 650 timeshare units were also part of the project scope.

I contacted both the company and one of the principal architects and once again haven’t heard anything at all. The Freeport News notes in this article that the International Bazaar is still for sale.

2018 Update

Apparently The Freeport News likes to steal photos. This article about the West Sunrise Highway reopening uses my photo above, the view from our room in the Princess Tower and they credit themselves with the image. You can see they cropped the photo, but my watermark still partially shows on the top of the ‘b’ on catobear.com. I have the original print, which was scanned in.

Here’s their website:

Here’s my original scanned photo with watermark:

I appreciate the reporting on the Bahama Princess, but I’d like to be credited for my own photos in other articles, and linked back to my website.

Anyhow, on to the update article, which I have linked and included the text as sometimes things disappear on the internet.

This article (link here, text below in case the link eventually fails, by Denise Maycock, Tribune Freeport Report, dmaycock@tribunemedia.net) tells a more recent update of the Bahama Princess after another hurricane and a more uncertain fate:

WHILE the island of Grand Bahama is now in restoration mode post Hurricane Matthew, the old Royal Oasis resort property and the International Bazaar in Freeport have fallen into further disrepair.

The main entrance dual thoroughfare is littered with debris, and some of the tall Royal Palms and decorative lamp posts lining the entry-way were blown down in the storm.“

It is an eyesore within an eyesore, if that’s possible. This area was once the gem of Freeport and it is sad to see it in such poor state,” said one Freeport resident.

The 500-room tower resort, and the 900-room country club and timeshare, was the island’s premier anchor resort property for many years. The casino was the main attraction and visitors flew in from the US to gamble and enjoy Freeport’s nightlife, while staying at the hotel.

Guests would shop at the nearby International Bazaar which housed souvenir shops, retail stores, restaurants and bars.

In 2000, the Princess Resort properties were sold to Driftwood, which changed the hotel’s name to Royal Oasis Resort and Crowne Plaza. The developers closed off West Sunrise Highway, a major road artery that passed through the property.

The Bazaar thrived off the resort, which had high occupancies and employed about 1,500 persons. Hundreds of Bahamians were also employed in the various shops there.

In August 2004, Hurricane Frances struck and the resort was severely damaged. The developers closed the property, leaving thousands of workers jobless. Businesses at the Bazaar were also affected and many merchants were forced to close or relocate to the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

The only remaining merchants are the Asian restaurants and a few straw vendors.

Harcourt Development later purchased the Royal Oasis resort property, but was unable to redevelop and open the hotel and casino property due to lack of sufficient funding. The hotel and Bazaar deteriorated after years of neglect.

When The Tribune visited the property recently, it looked like a jungle of dried up trees and overgrown vegetation and there appears to be no urgency to clean up and remove debris.

Meanwhile in Port Lucaya, restoration work has commenced at the Marketplace and stores are expected to open when power is restored there.

Royal Oasis was bought by Harcourt Development Group in 2007.

If you like international hotels, you might like these:

Hotel Ponce Intercontinental

Bluebeards Castle

La Concha Puerto Rico

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Monday, January 29, 2018 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Published by Edwards Camera Center, Onancock, Va.
Silvercraft – Made by The Dexter Press, Pearl River, N.Y.

This lovely vintage card was mailed with a green one-cent George Washington stamp from Tasley Virginia on June 27, 1947. It was mailed to Mr. Ernest Graves, RFD #2, Amherst Mass. It reads:

Dear “Dad”
Have had a grand trip so far – and we are both feeling good in spite of the 400 miles we traveled. This is a nice place and cottage with all conveniences. We could have made it in one day but didn’t want to rush.
Love Freddie and Elizabeth

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Whispering Pines Motel-Hotel
Perfectly appointed Motel or Hotel accommodations. AIR-CONDITIONING – Television – A Spacious Dining Room and Soda Fountain.
WHISPERING PINES
Ocean Hiway – U.S. #13
Accomac, Virginia
Phone: 707 – SUnset 7-1300

Hannau Color Productions, 475 5th Avenue, N.Y.
Color Masters INC
K 36858

This Koppel card features the AAA logo and was mailed with a purple four-cent Lincoln stamp from Accomac  September 11, 1964 to Mrs. R.M. Milligan, 312 W Britannia St, Tarenton, Mass. It reads:

Fri Night
Accomac, VA.
Good trip so far –
Traffic average
Over 500 miles today
Will write Sun or Mon.
Love Roy

Roy is Roy M Milligan, writing to his wife, Naomi B Milligan. The home at the address on Britannia Street still stands, according to Google Street View:

I didn’t find any details on the Ernest Graves, Freddie or Elizabeth, and not very much at all on the Milligans. I was especially interested in Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia after reading American Fire by Monica Hesse.

It was a really interesting book, and made me want to look more into the area. If you’re looking for a fast read, you might want to check it out. Anyhow, the Whispering Pines was something in its day. Advertised in newspapers like the Wilmington Delaware Morning News (12/11/1947):
Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Or the same paper on December 9, 1954:

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Or later, in the Salisbury Maryland Daily Times (10/29/1995):

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

This website has motel construction as 1932 by Charles F. Russell, and held and run by the family until it was sold in 1972 (Charles passed in 1963). It was sold at auction in 2012 for $28,000.

Summer Reads 2017 Update #2

Monday, July 10, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

summer reads 2017

We are already into week seven of our summer reads, and so it is time for the Summer Reads 2017 Update #2. I’ve been on a bit of a reading streak, and have not only added some books to the list but read a ton in the meanwhile.

Since our last update (click here), I’ve finished Trials of the Earth, The Gustav Sonata, The Wonder, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, The Book of Summer, and The Little French Bistro. That’s seven books in six weeks. Not bad.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry 
This book was at least interesting. Quite interesting. It’s told from the vantage point of a young girl, and is full of fairy tales. That being said, I can’t think of anyone I’d specifically recommend it to and I wouldn’t put it on a list of books I couldn’t put down. Most of the time I was just waiting to get through it. If you want it, let me know and I will send it to you (paperback version).

Trials of the Earth
This book was excellent. Very interesting. I’m very glad I’m not a pioneer woman. Highly recommend the book if you are looking for an interesting memoir or something of a historical nature. It’s more real and grittier than Little House on the Prairie, but then again it’s written for adults. I really liked it and I think you would too if you enjoy memoirs. Again, I’m super glad I was not born a pioneer woman. I keep mentally going back to this book. Great read.

The Gustav Sonata
Ok, this book was  interesting, too. It’s a historical novel of sorts, taking place immediately after WWII. The characters were good. The story was good. I can’t really think of anyone who would love it, but if you have wanted to read it let me know and I will send it to you.

The Book of Summer: A Novel
Honestly, after the first four books I read, I needed a bit of a break in the form of some lighter reading. My criteria for light reading is a beachy cover, a story that takes place on the coast, and nothing too serious. This book fit the description perfectly. When it was done, I found myself researching the homes that are falling into the Atlantic in Nantucket. If you are in need of a light read, let me know and it’s yours.

The Little French Bistro: A Novel
I loved this book. It was another one I selected for a light read, and it was delightful. I loved everything about it, and took photos of some of the passages so I can go back and re-read them when I need some inspiration. I loved this book so much I purchased another one of her books to read later this summer.

summer reads 2017 update #2

The Wonder
After two light reads as palate cleansers, I went back to the regular reading list with Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder. It takes place in Ireland, seven years past the Great Famine. It is a fascinating read, a really interesting story line. I couldn’t put it down and read through it very quickly. Now that it’s done, I keep mentally returning to it.

summer reads 2017 update #2

What’s next? Perfect Little World, by Kevin Wilson. What are you reading this summer?

Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
Added:
The Book of Summer: A Novel by Michelle Gable

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Southwind Motel Ocala

Monday, June 26, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Southwind Motel – Ocala, Florida

Southwind Motel Ocala

SOUTHWIND MOTEL
Located on U.S. 27 – 441 – 301
Two miles south of Ocala, Florida 32670
18 Units, 200 feet off the highway. Outdoor living – Pool – Play and Recreation area. Pets welcome. 2401 South Dixie Highway. Phone 622-6461. Under management of Esther and T.O.Eaton.
ATA    CTC

New Color Card Technique, R.A. Lasater, Apopka, Fla.
73301

This lovely vintage card has the Diner’s Club logo and another logo that looks like a shield with a Greek in it. I can’t make out the writing. No idea what the ATA or CTC means, either. This card is unused.

There are older cards from the Southwind available online, listing eight units under the ownership of Creston & Orpha Six. This is the second card I have of the Southwind; a slightly older version with the older phone exchange can be seen here. The older card also boasts two more rooms.

I love this place and though I can’t seem to find it, I hope it is still standing today.

Like Ocala? Check these out:

Twin Palms Court

Golden Spur

Star Motel

Sandcastle

Monday, April 17, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 1

Sandcastle Lido Beach

Sandcastle
Motel Economy – Hotel Luxury – Apartment Efficiency
100% Air Conditioned
Directly on its own private Gulf of Mexico Beach at famous Lido Beach, Sarasota, Florida
“You’ll be the Royalty at the SANDCASTLE”

This lovely vintage postcard was mailed from Sarasota March 18, 1956 using a red 2 cent Jefferson stamp. It was mailed to Dr. James C Fox Jr, 85 Jefferson St, Hartford Conn. It reads:

We’ve has a pleasant visit here and are now beginning to think of going home
Our best regards to you
Juliette & Herm[unintelligible] Rome

Holy cats you guys, I love this card. The palm trees. The decorative balconies. The staged guests in the chairs. The guy standing in the khakis and white shirt. The billowy clouds in the background. It is glorious and I wish I was there. No wonder Juliette and Herm had a pleasant visit. But I’d never want to go back home.

Dr. James C Fox Jr was born September 20, 1895. He attended Johns Hopkins medical school and married Alice Fox. He passed away November 23, 1980 at age 85. From the August 13, 1948 Hartford Courant:

drfox

And his obituary from the Hartford Courant November 24, 1980:

drfoxobit

 

Like the Sandcastle? More here:

Sandcastle 

Sandcastle

Clearwater Beach Pier 60

Monday, April 10, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Clearwater Beach Pier 60

clearwater beach pier 60

Looking east from Clearwater Beaches Big “Pier 60”, one of the finest fishing piers on the west coast of Florida. Thousands of visitors and residents alike enjoy year round swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and sun bathing on the beautiful white sandy beach.
Color Photo by Sparky Schumacher

Florida Natural Color, Inc., 2652 N.E. 189th St., Miami, Fla. 33163
FNC 4955
82814

This lovely vintage postcard with the questionable pluralization of the word ‘beach’ is unused. Not sure, but it looks like the two gentlemen walking on the pier are holding hands, which might be a bit unusual for this time frame. I would love to do some stand up paddle boarding right there for sure.

Like Clearwater? Check these out:

Clearwater Causeway Sunset

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Causeway

Palm Springs, California

Thursday, April 6, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
Looking south along the world-famous Palm Canyon Drive which is a mecca for winter vacationers from all over the world. Along this exciting palm-bordered avenue you will find some of the nation’s smartest shops.
Color photo by H. Lowman

Copyright 1955 Ferris H. Scott, Santa Ana, Calif.
Mirro-Krome Card by H.S. Crocker Co., San Francisco 1, Calif.
PS-24

There is some mighty fine mid-century modern architecture still in place in Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive.

Like California? More here:

Oxnard California

San Clemente California

Redondo Beach

Oxnard California

Monday, March 27, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Oxnard California

Oxnard California

View of 5th Street, Oxnard, Calif., one of California’s fastest growing cities.

Schulze News Co., Ventura, Calif.
Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers, Inc., Boston 15, Mass., U.S.A.
Color by Walt Dibblee

This lovely vintage card is unused.

The building on the corner, Oxnard Cut Rate Drugs, was located at 105 Fifth Street. And there still is a pharmacy there, but the building is not the same. In 1946 (Oxnard Press-Courier) has an ad for the Oxnard Cut Rate Drugs with Y.A. Reyes & Sons listed as the owners. Ynez Aragon (Y.A.) “Joe” Reyes passed away in November 1987. His wife was Antonia and he had sons Charles C Reyes and Robert A. Reyes. Joe was a pharmacist. Antonia passed in 1978.

Oxnard is 30 miles west of LA.

Like California? More here:

San Clemente

Redondo Beach Pier

Skyways Hotel

Golden Beach Apartments

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Golden Beach Apartments and Motel

Golden Beach Apartments

 

Golden Beach Apt’s and Motel
“Directly on the Ocean at 19475 Collins Ave.”
Miami Beach 54, Florida
Delightful Accommodations for One to Six Persons – Heated – Air Conditioning Optional – T.V. Available – Tropical Patio – Shuffleboard – Large Private Bathing Beach – Close to Shopping Centers, Restaurants and all Points of Interest.
Louis L. Goodwin, Resident Mgr.   Phone Wilson 7-9103

Pub. by Color-Ads Productions, Box 38-594, Miami, Fla.
Made by Dexter West Nyack, N.Y.
99647-B

This lovely vintage postcard was mailed from North Miami Beach April 4, 1959. The stamp has been removed. It was sent to Miss Elva Durie, Lakeview Avenue, Clarkson, Ont. Canada. It reads:

Dear Elva:
Spending three weeks in Miami. Got fed up with the long cold winter so took off for the South. Weather perfect. Regards, Marion

Goodness, this place does look like it has delightful accommodations. Love the decorative iron on the balcony. Love the sign. Love it all. I understand being fed up with the long cold winter and heading to Miami for three weeks. I feel that way myself, roughly from October through April.

This history on the City of Mississauga has some photos and information on Elva Durie (pages 109 and 120), as does this (pages 64,84 and 90) . The Durie family had a store and merchant bank. The Golden Beach no longer stands, and it is a shame.

Like Miami Beach? Check these out:

Greetings from…

New Suez Resort

Buckingham Waterfront

Sandcastle Lido Beach

Monday, March 13, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Vintage Postcard – Sandcastle Lido Beach – Sarasota, Florida

Sandcastle Lido Beach

SANDCASTLE
Lido Beach, Sarasota, Florida
Telephone 388-2186    TWX SSTA 8093
60 superb hotel rooms and efficiencies located on 300 feet of magnificent pure white and private Gulf Coast beach. Coffee Shop and Cocktail Bar. Free golf and Continental breakfast. Fully air-conditioned, room TV, heated pool and putting green.

Pictured:
Top — View of patio court looking towards the Gulf.
Bottom — Teeing off at Bobby Jones’ 27 hole golf course.
Rev. 5-62
12M-5-62
Printed by Seaward-Edison Corp., N.Y.C.

The Sandcastle Lido Beach is an old favorite (see here). They seem to run their cards dual image, vertical print. Here’s the Wiki on Bobby Jones, of the golf course: Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr. (March 17, 1902 – December 18, 1971) was an American amateur golfer, and a lawyer by profession, who was one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport. Jones founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club, and co-founded the Masters Tournament. The innovations that he introduced at the Masters have been copied by virtually every professional golf tournament in the world.

The lady golfer reminds of of a Nancy Drew mystery. There’s plump Bess Marvin and Ned Nickerson with Carson Drew in the background. Seems like the Sandcastle would be a lovely place to stay. And stay you can. Here’s the image on the top of the card, today (courtesy of the Sandcastle Resort website):

sandcastlenow

Like Sarasota? Check these out:

Beach & Sun

Tower Court