By 1962, the Beach Club had 537 bathhouses, 106 cabanas, and a membership of about 1500.
The following is quoted directly from a 1976 Beach Club brochure. It is provided here as an interesting overview of the cost of Beach Club membership decades ago.
The ultimate in bathing pleasure! A completely private 2-room cabana for your family’s use during the daytime and early evening hours. Accommodations include a private shower, use of a spacious lounging deck and the services of the Club’s cabana staff. Two parking passes are provided with each cabana membership, both of which provide parking privileges in the special cabana area. Individual cabanas are rented by the season to one household only, a maximum of four adult persons and unmarried children of the one immediate family only.
Cabana East - $750; Cabana West - $525
1 Household --- Mother, Father, unmarried children; Additional Membership Cards for cabanas : $30 ea. Additional Parking Pass - $10; Refrigerator - $25
Provides the family with a private shower and a separate, spacious dressing room, and one parking pass is included. Limited to Mother and/or Father and six persons of the same immediate family (5 years of age or older). No charge for children of one household under five.
1 Household --- Mother, Father, unmarried children - $275 - $315. Additional Membership Cards for Double Bathhouses - $25 ea. Additional Parking Pass --$10
Includes private family bathhouse with shower privileges and one parking pass. Limited to: Mother and/or Father plus two persons of the same immediate family (5 years of age or older). No charge for children of one household under age five.
1 Household --- Mother, Father, 2 unmarried children - $140. Additional Membership Cards for Bathhouses - $25 ea. Additional Parking Pass - $10
Includes separate bathing trays for adult members of same family and use of dressing rooms and showers. One parking pass.
1 Household --- Mother and/or Father and children of family under age five - $100. Additional Membership Cards for unmarried children - $15 ea. Additional Parking Pass - $10. Single Person Membership - $55
PAVILION MEMBERSHIP - Limited Number Available
For those who reside in Narragansett and who wish to come to and from the beach in their bathing attire (no shower or changing facilities allowed with this type of membership). One Parking Pass.
1 Household --- Mother, Father, and children of family under age 5 - $75. Additional Membership Cards for unmarried children - $15 ea. Additional Parking Pass - $10
In 1985, real estate developer Paul Roiff, in conjunction with Anthony Mansolillo, bought the Beach Club for $2.4 million . Following the purchase, he made $7 million worth of improvements, including the addition of the in-ground pool and the addition of the entire second floor of the pavilion around the pool and extending both east and west of the pool with three quadrangles.
Mansolillo also initiated a plan to change the contour of the beach. Previously, the contour of the property was perfectly flat from the area north of the pavilion, through the pavilion, and to the sea. The result of this flat contour was that the pit and the parking lot would often become over-topped with sand during storms.
In order to avoid this, the contour of the property was changed in 1986 so that the beach was made to slope downwards from the main deck toward the sea.
In 1987, Mansolillo decided to transform the Beach Club into condos and the Bonnet Shores Beach Club Condominium Association was born.
Some time thereafter, Roiff and Mansolillo did business as Seaside Realty. Eventually, Mansolillo faded from the picture.
The Beach Club somehow managed to survive, albeit with damage, four major hurricanes. In addition to the damage it suffered from The Hurricane of 1938, the Beach Club sustained heavy damage from the Hurricane of 1944, from Hurricane Carol in 1954, and from Hurricane Bob in 1991, the last of which resulted in $1.7 million in repairs.
In 1998, Seaside offered to sell the remaining development rights to the Condominium Association for $1.4 million. The issue of the development rights was indeed an important one. Mansolillo had obtained a building permit in 1987 which allowed him to continue to expand to a maximum of 1,069 units within 20 years.
Accordingly, if the condominium association wanted to stop expansion, those development rights had to be obtained. However, the $1.4 million offer was considered too high and was refused.
When the responsibility of the management of the Beach Club reverted from the developer to the condominium association, it was managed for several years by an off-site property management company.
In 2001, the condominium association became self-managed. The operation of the Beach Club is overseen by an elected Board of Directors, consisting of seven owners. The day to day operation is directed by five full-time managers who supervise a seasonal staff of 100.
In 2008, the BSBCCA bought out Roiff’s remaining development rights for $400,000. The number of units is capped at 930; the development rights of the remaining 139 units were formally dissolved.
The units are divided in this manner: 2 deluxe live-ins, 4 live-ins, 285 cabanas, 26 double bathhouses, 206 mini-double bathhouses, and 407 bathhouses.
The membership has remained consistent for several years at about 4500. The south-facing beach is bordered to the east by Kelly Beach and to the west by Wesquage Beach, both of which are small, private beaches.
Kelly Beach is reserved for the residents of Bonnet Shores; Wesquage Beach is reserved for the residents of the Bonnet Terrace Association and of the Wesquage Association.
Today, membership in the Beach Club is dependent upon ownership of a unit. All sales are handled privately between seller and buyer. Ownership of a bathhouse or of a mini-double bathhouse entitles the owner to four memberships, of a double bathhouse to six memberships, of a cabana to eight memberships, and of a live-in or of a deluxe live-in to ten memberships.
The Beach Club season typically runs from the weekend prior to Memorial Day to the last Sunday in September.
The food services were run as a concession for decades; in 2003, the condominium association assumed the operation of the food services. The Beach Club currently has a full-service restaurant as well as a snack bar and a grille. The snack bar is open seven days a week and the restaurant serves dinner Thursday through Sunday.
The pit is the location of not only the 75 foot 85,000 gallon pool, but it is also the location of the sand bar and grill, where food and beverages are served on a daily basis. Live musical entertainment is offered under the pit’s 60’ x 60’ tent every Saturday night and every Sunday evening throughout the summer season.
The Beach Club prides itself on the family atmosphere that it fosters. Swim lessons as well as tennis lessons are offered. Each season sees two family movie nights under the stars as well as a children’s sand sculpture contest. The Fourth of July fireworks display is a season highlight.
The Bonnet Shores Beach Club continues to be the envy of beach enthusiasts all over the state. The Beach Club’s 28 acre property with 1700 feet of waterfront is truly a treasure by the sea.