Jubilee Suites is a Historic Hotel
We are so fortunate to have a gifted storyteller like Alan Samry in Fairhope. Alan is a local author and historian with an extensive background in researching and documenting local history. Recently we asked him to delve into the history of Jubilee Suites. We knew a few things about this historic building, but Alan Samry’s project brought this old building and the neighborhood to life for us. We hope you enjoy learning more about it too. The 20-minute video below is something we created with Alan for our guests and locals alike who are always fascinated with the little bit of history we knew about our boutique bed and breakfast. Now for the rest of the story! Be sure to check out all our other videos on our YouTube channel.
The History of the Volanta Neighborhood
The history of this historic hotel we’ve named Jubilee Suites is very much tied into the history of both Fairhope and the Volanta neighborhood we live in. In fact, as Alan points out, there is quite a bit of confusion surrounding the hotels in the Volanta neighborhood and their history tends to get mixed up together.
Volanta was first populated by speculators around 1910, shortly after Fairhope became an official city in 1908. They purchased land along the Bay here on N. Mobile Street with hopes of selling lots for homes and businesses and also building a railroad from Fairhope to Pensacola, Bay Minette, and Fort Morgan. Big dreams! Unfortunately, the developers had trouble finding buyers and many of their plans simply failed. Much of that failure was due in large part to the major Category 3 Gulf Coast Hurricane of 1916 which wiped out the Volanta pier they had built to attract visitors who arrived by bay boat.
Although the developers ultimately failed to create the Volanta neighborhood of their dreams, development on N. Mobile Street and the surrounding streets continued. In 1947, El Nathan Hotel, the original building that later became Jubilee Suites, was opened by the Shoop family. The Shoops had a heart for serving travelers and a dream of running a hotel on this beautiful property overlooking Mobile Bay. When they couldn’t find building materials during World War 2, they bought a used barracks building and trucked it in pieces to our current location. The whole family, including children and grandparents, worked together to reassemble the barracks and turn it into a hotel. Unfortunately, El Nathan Hotel, Hebrew for “gift from God”, had a very rough start, suffering from prejudice because many people thought the name meant the hotel was owned by Jews and only for Jews. Alan Samry does a great job of telling the story of the Shoops and the long line of owners and managers who each took over the hotel with high hopes of finally making it profitable. And ultimately, most failed.
Jubilee Suites Today
Fast forward to 2017, and Jim and I decided to move to Fairhope to be closer to our first grandchild and to be a part of her life growing up. (Now we have three beautiful granddaughters!) I have to give credit to our daughter-in-law, Maegan Maloney, for first showing me the property we now live and work in, Jubilee Suites. When we moved here, I had been an Airbnb Superhost in Charlotte, NC, and had always dreamed of running a bed and breakfast. The building we bought was the successful Away At The Bay bed and breakfast and we saw all the possibilities immediately. With 200 feet of beachfront right on Mobile Bay, the sunsets each evening are spectacular and we knew our guests would come for the location, location, location. After extensive rejuvenation, we opened Jubilee Suites in early 2018… and the rest is history! Our guests come from far and near to soak up our waterfront experiences, enjoy our luxurious family-size suites, relax around the firepit for the sunset each evening, and explore our charming town of Fairhope, AL. Jim and I couldn’t be happier with our decision to move here and personally, I love being a resident B&B host!
Come See Us!
Come experience this little piece of paradise yourself. Choose your perfect suite, reserve your view at our website and come prepared to be relaxed, refreshed, and restored simply by taking a few days to bask in the peaceful beauty. We always recommend you stay for at least 3 days to have the time to fully unwind and rejuvenate. The natural beauty here is so healing.
About Alan Samry
Alan Samry, a local author, historian and degreed librarian started his career as a journalist writing for The Fairhope Courier. He is also a former director of the Fairhope Museum of History, a research librarian for The Fairhope Public Library, and now works at Coastal AL Community College Library. He is the author of two books, Stump the Librarian and Clay City Tile both available on Amazon and at our local Fairhope bookstore, Page and Palette. He also owns and operates the walking tour company, Fairhope By Foot. Contact Alan Samry at his company website.