A fish-hook shaped cluster of islands anchored in the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is a kaleidoscope of color with the blues of the sea, the greens of the hills and bursts of pastel-pretty hues in the countryside. Stretching for twenty-one miles and surrounded by a coral reef plateau coveted by snorkelers, the island is a quick two hour flight from many of the East Coast gateway cities.
Actively promoting travel agent bookings, the island encourages first-hand experience. “Our main focus is to educate travel agents so that they know the product and can better sell the destination,“ said Shawn Crockwell, minister of tourism development. “We make a concerted effort to keep travel agents updated with current promotions and encourage them to take a specialist course which includes participation in a FAM trip.“
Perennially popular for beaches carpeted in pink sand, gourmet grub and grog, and more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world, Bermuda also has its fair share of hidden treasures that even the politicians get excited about. “Our Crystal Caves are adorned with spectacular chandelier clusters on the cave ceilings, while the deep pools of clear, blue water are home to unparalleled formations that feel close enough to touch, despite being fifty feet below the water,“ said Shawn Crockwell.
Mark Twain said it right when he declared “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” www.gotobermuda.com
Unlike other islands in the region, high season starts in May and continues through October with Bermuda Heritage Day on May 24 a big draw for tourists and locals. Action packed with tons of family fun, highlights include the Dinghy Races, Half-Marathon Derby and Bermuda Day Parade.
Having purchased The Fairmont Hamilton Princess last year, businessman Peter Green and his sons, Alexander and Andrew Green have added the Southampton Beach Resort, formerly Sonesta Beach Hotel, to their portfolio which also includes Waterloo House on Pitt’s Bay Road. “For now, our main focus continues to be planning for The Fairmont Hamilton Princess upgrade and when that is complete, we will see how we can best utilize the former Sonesta property,” said Andrew Green.
Opening under new management, The Beach House Restaurant at Blackbeard’s is under the watchful eye of acclaimed Chef Piero, whose signature pasta with salmon roe is the star attraction on the resorts Trip Advisor page. www.stgeorgesclub.bm
At the Clubhouse overlooking Tucker’s Point Golf Course, Rosewood Tucker’s Point is also dishing up an Italian menu at their Sul Verde restaurant where Chef Guido Brambilla is applauded for his whole wheat and gluten free pastas. www.rosewoodhotels.com
Later this year, Cambridge Beaches will become the only resort with an adults-only policy. Impressive with ninety-four cottage rooms and three suites, the ritzy resort is a romance favorite offering candlelit dinners, bike rentals for couples, snorkeling excursions and access to local golf courses.
Haven of Rejuvenation
Perfecting the fine art of rest and relaxation, island spas are a treasure trove of Bermuda curatives and treatments. Skilled therapists use grains of pink sand for a wonder scrub that exfoliates the skin, and eucalyptus to soothe tender muscles and tired feet. Herb-infused baths relax the mind, jojoba hydrates dry skin and aloe is revered for sunburn relief.
At the highest point, Fairmont Southampton’s Willow Stream Spa is the largest wellness haven on the island. Popular with pleasure-seekers, the spa excels with an indoor heated pool with sun deck and Jacuzzis. www.fairmont.com
At the Reefs, La Serena Spa tempts with a delicious ‘Lime and Ginger Salt Glow’ that polishes to perfection. www.thereefs.com
Hole In One
For a small island, Bermuda is an overachiever when it comes to golf. One of the world’s best, Port Royal is a putter’s delight with eighteen holes over 6,842 manicured yards. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course hosts the annual PGA Grand Slam in October. www.portroyalgolf.bm
Other crowd pleasers include Turtle Hill at the Fairmont Southampton with eighteen par-3 holes. The 2,684-yard course also entices with a practice green, golf lessons and shoe rentals. www.fairmontgolf.com.
For players who like a challenge, Riddell’s Bay Golf Club is the oldest in Bermuda. Opened in 1922, the unique course measures 5,800 yards, with some of the holes mapped out on an ocean peninsula that is 600 yards at its widest point. www.riddellsbay.com
Practice makes perfect at The Bermuda Golf Academy with a 300-yard driving range and 18-hole putting green. For golf wannabees (or golf widows), the putt-putt course is cleverly designed with waterfalls and fountains. www.bermuda-golfing.com
The Long & the Shorts of It
Not to be confused with “clam diggers” or “Capri” pants, Bermuda shorts must be worn two inches above the knee with dark knee socks, dress shoes, a light-short sleeved shirt and dark blazer. A straw hat is optional.
Helmet Diving is as Bermudian as those fashionable shorts worn above the knee. Thrilling visitors for more than sixty years, the helmet works like a glass turned upside down enabling curious tourists to literally walk the ocean floor without getting their hair wet.
Just about everyone with a little romance in her (or his) soul will be intrigued by the many moon gates that dot the island. As the story goes, a Bermudian sea captain built the first moon gate in 1860 after seeing one in China. Decorated with bright blooms, a sunny future follows couples who are photographed in front of one.