A sophisticated escape: Bermuda
As the oldest colony in the British Empire, Bermuda still retains many British customs, like having afternoon tea and wearing wigs in parliament. Most importantly though, Bermuda puts civility and politeness before all else. Any development here is regulated by strict rules, the number of cars is limited, gentlemen are expected to wear jackets and ties at dinner, and the environment is under the protection of the world's first environmental laws.
The Bermuda Department of Tourism will have you know that, "contrary to popular belief," its island is not in the Caribbean or the Bahamas—its quite separate and unique. Bermuda is in fact closer to New York City (774 miles away) than the Bahamas (940 miles away), and on about the same latitude as Charleston, South Carolina. Unlike many Caribbean islands, Bermuda's residents enjoy a high standard of living and tourists are not separated from the locals in prison-like resort compounds. Everyone here is part of one civil society.
The island's tourism infrastructure is designed to please honeymooners, celebrities, golfers, and anyone looking for a classy, cultured getaway. Bermuda offers the sophisticated traveler miles of beautiful white- and pink-sand beaches, luxurious hotels and quaint guest houses, spas, high-end shops and art galleries, historic sites to explore, and lots of tennis and golf.
With eight golf courses spread over its 21-square-mile area, Bermuda has more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else on earth. "It's a paradise for golfers," says SmarterTravel's Editor-in-Chief Ed Passarella, who particularly enjoyed playing the challenging par-three course at the Fairmont South Hampton.
The island also draws many visitors for seven annual "signature" cultural events and festivals. Highlights include the Bermuda Music Festival and the Bermuda Gourmet Getaway in October and the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts in January and February.
Visit the Bermuda Department of Tourism website for general travel information and the Bermuda Hotel Association website to learn about accommodation options and find hotel specials. Average Bermuda hotel rates range from $60 to $489 per night on TripAdvisor.
From the East Coast, you reach Bermuda via a quick two-and-a-half to three-hour flight. Several major U.S. carriers including low-cost airlines JetBlue and USA 3000 have regularly scheduled service. For midweek flights in February, American and JetBlue have round-trip fares from New York currently starting at $289, including all taxes and fees.