Sands Harbor Resort & Marina - History

Our Beginning

Pompano Beach Yacht Basin 1940s

Earliest known photo of Pompano Beach Yacht Basin (late 1940s)

Sands Harbor Resort and Marina premiered in 1950 as America's first "Yachtel," a combination yacht basin and motel. Known as the Sands Yachtel, it was one of the first establishments in Pompano Beach.

The Pompano Beach Yacht Basin and the Sands Yachtel were conceived in 1948 when Mr. H.J. McDonald, a boat dealer in Long Island, New York, delivered a cruiser to Mr. E.W. Beye of Pompano Beach. After several frustrating hours searching for a place to dock, the men finally located a slip in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Beye, a builder and real estate developer, realized the need for a good yacht basin conveniently located on the Intracoastal waterway in southeastern Florida. The two men agreed they would work together looking for a site to construct a yacht basin.

Shopping Center at the Pompano Beach Yacht Basin - 1950s

Shopping Center at the Pompano Beach Yacht Basin 1950s

After several weeks of investigation, a strip of land was purchased in Pompano Beach. The location was ideal from the vacationing yachtsman's standpoint— in the center of Florida's resort area with Miami 34 miles south and Palm Beach 35 miles north, and just a step to the ocean and beach. The Hillsboro Inlet, one mile north, provided access to the ocean and deep sea fishing grounds.

The Marina and Yacht Basin at Pompano Beach (Sands Harbor Marina) 1951

Marina and Yacht Basin in 1951

The original complex consisted of 40 docks, a 12 unit motel and to complete the facilities a shopping center catering to both yachtsmen and tourists traveling by car. The project was an immediate success. Boaters enjoyed leaving the cramped quarters of their crafts for a few days and the shops made it possible to conveniently buy supplies and necessities, eliminating the overstocking of small boats with limited storage space.

The Sands Yachtel

The Sands Yachtel 1950s

The Early Years

By 1953, the Sands Yachtel grew to 23 units comprised of four hotel rooms, two 1-bedroom apartments and 17 efficiencies. The marina was also expanded to 76 slips, and a swimming pool was added.

The black-and-white photo at the right shows the marina with undeveloped beach front in the upper right-hand corner that is today filled with high rise condos and hotels. Also of interest is the old Intracoastal waterway bridge on Atlantic Boulevard that appears in the lower left-hand corner. The new bridge has four lanes and is much higher to allow most boats to pass underneath.

Sands Harbor circa 1961

Aerial view of Sands circa 1961

To meet the demand for hotel rooms in the growing city of Pompano Beach, the original yachtel structure was demolished and a new nine-story building with 56 rooms and 2 penthouses on top was built in 1966. The hotel was renamed the "Sands Harbor Inn."

Sands circa 1970s

Sands Harbor in mid-1960s prior to new hotel

The 1960's and 1970's were a busy time for the hotel. Past guests may remember eating at our fine dining establishment, "The Galleon Room." This restaurant evolved into "Fishtales" in the 1980's. The Sands waterfront Patio Bar continues to be a hot spot for tourists and locals alike, providing a relaxed atmosphere with the endless boat parade on the Intracoastal serving as an enjoyable backdrop.

We Continue To Grow

New owners purchased the hotel in 1977 and renamed the inn to the "Sands Harbor Hotel." This name survived for almost two decades when, based on the increased activities and amenities offered by the hotel, we became the "Sands Harbor Resort and Marina."

Sands Harbor Hotel and Marina (before the office complex was added in 1989)

In 1989, the owners utilized the vacant strip of land south of the hotel and east of the marina to create a two-story office building with stunning waterfront views. Activity from the office complex enhances the level of fun at Sands Harbor, from numerous yacht brokers selling huge megayachts to real estate and other professional services.

Present Day

The marina and office complex presently houses a retail dive shop; scuba, boating and fishing charters; glass bottom boats; special occasion yacht charters; waverunner rentals; bathing suit and sportwear manufacturers; beauty salon and much more.

Sands Harbor Resort and Marina is home to the two largest saltwater fishing tournaments in South Florida— the annual Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo and the Pompano Beach Saltwater Slam! These events attract thousands of participants and spectators. Each afternoon the fish are displayed along the Sands' dock while spectators guess their weight and try to win fun prizes.

Our waterfront Patio Bar is a fun family hot spot. Kids swim and play in the pool while mom and dad sit nearby, sipping one of our famous frozen cocktails. And there's plenty of dockage available for boats of all sizes. Come relax and enjoy a great view of all the passing boats while you sample our grilled burgers, chicken wings and fresh salads.

Though we've grown along with our city, our longstanding tradition of providing guests with comfortable accommodations in a casual, relaxed setting continues today. We would love to share the Sands Harbor experience with you, so make arrangements to visit us soon!

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