The Dunmore and Dunmore Town on Harbour Island take their name from Lord Dunmore, the first Governor of the Bahamas who served from 1787 to 1796. Born John Murray, in Scotland, he served as the Colonial Governor of the Province of New York and later Virginia. After the recognition of U.S. independence, he was appointed the first Governor of the Bahamas. He built a summer residence and laid out the streets of the town in a simple grid. He then sold off pieces of his estate to settlers who farmed sugar cane on the south end of the island.
Harbour Island thrived with shipbuilding. Schooners built here carried sponges, fruit and timber to the US and Europe. This prosperity lasted until the outbreak of World War I, when the world was thrown into economic disarray. It wasn’t until the first regular Bahamas Air flights, in 1941, that Harbour Island began to grow with the arrival of tourists.
Twenty-two years after the first regular flights arrived in the area, Sidney Albury, Basil Albury and David Meek leased a Harbour Island restaurant called the Piccaron Cove (present-day Rockhouse). Shortly thereafter, the three partners purchased the Dunmore Estate from a local named Durth Duncombe. They converted its quaint house on the crest of the famous pink sand beach into a clubhouse that would become the Dunmore Beach Club. The three owners also constructed the hotel’s first three cottages. The three men ran the Piccaron Cove as the dining room that catered to guests staying in the rooms at Dunmore Beach Club. The small hotel was operated as a private club where its guests, referred to as “campers”, all had to be invited to stay.
Since its founding in 1963, the beautiful boutique hotel would change hands, open to the public and expand while building a long list of devoted guests. Dunmore Beach Club was recently acquired, the Dunmore Beach Club was acquired by a small group of investors, all long-time guests of the hotel. The property was lovingly and extensively renovated and reopened as The Dunmore on December 26, 2010.
The Dunmore still sits atop the crown of Harbour Island’s pink-sand beach, boasting some of the best views on the island. The refreshed clubhouse, 15 cottages and grounds have all been carefully renovated to cater to the island’s most discerning visitors, while maintaining the history and charm that have made it distinct and irreplaceable for over five decades.