The Compleat Angler Hotel
was a modest three-story hotel on the island of Bimini
in the Bahamas
. It is notable for its association with Ernest Hemingway
, who was a regular visitor from 1935-1937 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 18th 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 museum of Hemingway memorabilia 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.
Other notable visitors have included Lucille Ball, Zane Grey, President Nasser of Egypt, 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.
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.