There are five primary types of accommodations in Bermuda: large resorts that boast private beaches, golf courses and on-site dining options; boutique hotels with their own unique design and amenities; small inns and B&Bs, which in most cases include complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea; vacation rentals, including privately owned homes and condos; and cottage colonies, which are standalone units that feature uniquely Bermudian architecture like white stepped roofs and exposed cedar beams.
Whichever you choose, expect to pay top dollar; Bermuda has long catered to moneyed crowds who hop on two-hour flights from most East Coast gateways.
For families seeking a hassle-free stay or anyone looking for an all-inclusive experience, a stay at one of Bermuda’s large resorts is an ideal choice. Most of them feature private pink sand beaches with on-site dive facilities, large swimming pools with hot tubs, outdoor tennis courts, in-house spas, modern fitness centers, multiple dining options and, in some cases, 18-hole golf courses with endless views of the turquoise Atlantic.
If that sounds like your idea of a perfect vacation, then consider a stay at the Fairmont Southampton, which is adjacent to stunning Horseshoe Bay Beach and features a large spa, an ocean-view golf course and numerous on-site restaurants including the Waterlot Inn, a swanky steakhouse housed in a handsome 350-year-old Bermuda cottage.
Another, albeit pricier option on the island’s southeast shore is Rosewood Tucker’s Point, which opened in April 2009 and is Bermuda’s most luxurious property. Featuring 88 spacious rooms, each with its own private harbor-view balcony, plantation-style hardwood furniture and oversized soaking tubs in large spa-like bathrooms, the resort is replete with amenities and British colonial charm. Its Roger Rulewich-designed 18-hole golf course, private beach club and blissful Sense spa are a few top amenities — as is its acclaimed fine dining restaurant the Point, which features an 80-foot handpainted mural of 19th-century world ports.
Bermuda Resort Resources:
Bermuda Boutique Hotels
Smaller than their full-service resort counterparts, Bermuda’s boutique hotels offer guests a more intimate experience and one that adventurous travelers may enjoy. Many of them only have one on-site dining option (a good excuse to sample the bars, cafes and restaurants in Hamilton and beyond) and tend to be located off the beaten path (i.e., not directly on the beach, so hopping on a bus, in a taxi or on a rental scooter to explore the island’s pink sand will likely be required). Many of the island’s boutique hotels are family-owned, so you’ll experience personal touches you might not receive at a large corporate hotel.
At Hamilton’s quaint, 32-room Royal Palms Hotel, for example, guests can stroll through lush fruit gardens where they can pick fresh guava, bananas, avocados and oranges right from the trees. (Complimentary breakfast, an afternoon wine and cheese happy hour, and Wi-Fi are also included.)
Another popular property is the Newstead Belmont Hills Resort, which is one of Bermuda’s newest boutique hotels, thanks to a knock-down-rebuild renovation in 2008. The chic, all-suite property has 60 rooms with balconies overlooking Hamilton Harbour — a view you can also enjoy from its kidney-shaped harborside infinity pool.
Bermuda Boutique Hotel Resources:
Bermuda Inns and B&Bs
Bermuda’s small inn and B&Bs are most popular with budget travelers trying to avoid sky-high resort rates and with older guests who enjoy mingling over the breakfast table each morning and during afternoon tea — and there are many scattered across the island.
At Greene’s Guest House in Southampton Parish, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Great Sound from most of its seven ensuite rooms, its pool and its public spaces (where you’ll also be just a 10-minute walk from secluded Whale Bay Beach and a stone’s throw from the Robert Trent Jones-designed Port Royal Golf Course).
At Granaway Guesthouse & Cottage you’ll stay in one of four ensuite rooms — or in its private cottage, perfect for those seeking additional seclusion — where you’ll be tucked away in a 1734 waterfront manor house among lush gardens and well-manicured lawns overlooking Hamilton Harbour.
At Edgehill Manor you’ll be treated to some of the island’s best home-baked goods including pear and walnut coffee cake, orange cranberry muffins, banana nut bread and a full assortment of pastries; plus, you’ll be within walking distance of all of Hamilton’s shops, bars and restaurants.
Bermuda B&B Resources:
Bermuda Cottage Colonies
Uniquely Bermudian in their architectural design and style, cottage colonies are the island’s most traditional accommodations, mimicking the look and feel of typical Bermuda homes. These groups of standalone one-story buildings have white stepped roofs to collect the rainwater and classic island design elements inside, like A-frame ceilings with exposed Bermuda cedar beams and hardwood furniture. Note: Most do not have full kitchens, so don’t expect to do the cooking for yourself.
Most cottage colonies feature a main manor house where the front desk, reception area and restaurant are usually located, and some have the amenities you’d expect at a large resort like a pool, spa or even a private beach.
Such is the case at Bermuda’s oldest and most celebrated cottage colony, Cambridge Beaches, located in Sandys Parish on Bermuda’s west end. With 94 rooms, suites and cottages spread over 30 tropical acres, plus four private beaches, you might never see another guest. An exaggeration maybe, but there’s a reason why celebrities and politicians alike have long made this adults-preferred retreat an island favorite (Bill and Hillary Clinton have long been fans, and children under 13 are not permitted).
Another popular spot is the Elbow Beach Hotel, which recently rebranded as a boutique cottage colony following a recent renovation. Featuring 98 rooms in low-slung detached cottages with modern touches like iPod docking stations, personal espresso machines and large flat-screen TVs, the resort also boasts one of the island’s longest stretches of private pink sand.
Bermuda Cottage Colony Resources:
Bermuda Vacation Rentals
If resorts, hotels and cottage colonies seem too expensive and sharing the breakfast table at an inn or B&B isn’t your thing, then consider renting a private home, condominium or apartment. Properties vary drastically from modest one-room studios to sprawling multi-family homes in locations across the island, so peruse the listings at the websites below to find what type of property suits you best.
–written by David LaHuta