Though it’s often erroneously grouped in with other island getaways south of Florida — and it’s a member of the Caribbean Communities (CARICOM) — 21-square-mile Bermuda sits 600 miles east of North Carolina. Flying in, you’ll be surprised at how quickly (under two hours from New York) you’ll see Bermuda’s pink beaches, pastel cottages, and cyan-speckled shores.
Where to Stay
Built as a private home in 1906, the 40-room Rosedon Hotel (from $380) maintains its intimacy with a friendly staff and quiet perch atop the bustling capital city, Hamilton, below. The blue-and-white-speckled main house underwent a complete renovation inside and out in January 2017. Interiors and exteriors were refurbished and refurnished; a new dining room, porch, and guest lounge were built; and a Mediterranean-Southern restaurant, Huckleberry’s (yes, a nod to frequent visitor Mark Twain, who’s often quoted saying, “You can go to Heaven if you want to. I’d rather stay in Bermuda”), was added. Relax on the lawn with a Dark n’ Stormy or take a stroll on the vibrant Front Street to a nearby watering hole.
Go way back in time at Aunt Nea’s Inn (from $150) in St. George’s. Located on the eastern end of the island, St. George’s was founded in 1612 and is said to be one of the first places the British settled in the New World. Nea’s was constructed using original woodwork and craftsmanship from the 18th century. Six of its nine rooms were updated in 2016, with new bathrooms and ceiling upgrades featuring the famed Bermuda cedar. Local artwork now lines the lobby, and renovated outdoor seating allows visitors to spend afternoons reading and gazing out into the sprawling St. George’s Harbour. Guests can also take advantage of Just Add Water — a water activity company that partners with the inn — to explore the island via Jet Ski or paddleboard. St. Peter’s Church (the oldest surviving Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere), the Historical Society Museum, and Lili Bermuda — a tiny make-your-own perfumery — are all just a short walk away in the town square.
Stay beachside at the Loren at Pink Beach ($375), Bermuda’s newest hotel. Opened in the spring of 2017, the 45-room space departs from the traditional, English-style service and architecture seen throughout the rest of the island. A sleek spiral staircase rises up from the lobby to the top floor, and giant windows completely surround the main house, providing scenic views of the Atlantic — and a pink-sand beach, complemented by cabanas, stretches along the rear of the hotel. For a quick casual meal, go to the Pink Beach Club and grab a steak sandwich. For dinner, try the white-tableclothed Marée — a restaurant that sources seafood directly from the water in front of you and vegetables, spices, and other ingredients from nearby Wadson’s Farm. Before drifting off to sleep to the sounds of ocean waves and chirping tree frogs, make sure to take advantage of the Loren’s overnight shoe-shine service (included with the room) so you’re ready for the next morning.
Where to Eat
Located in the picturesque Flatts Village, Village Pantry, opened in early 2017, offers a health-conscious option to visitors. Go there for a late-afternoon lunch and start with lamb lollies — grilled spiced lamb on a stick with korma sauce, crushed toasted almonds, and locally sourced organic sprouts. Try the freshly harvested wild mussels next, served with sweet lemongrass, coconut milk, ginger, and cilantro. Once you’ve fully digested that, ask for a Bermudian Coffee Stout Craft Beer, a team effort from On De Rock Brewery and Devil’s Isle Coffee. Sip it outside the restaurant while watching fishing boats race the sunset back after a long day at sea.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place for brunch on the island than Tribe Road Urban Eatery. The mostly outdoor restaurant, located in Hamilton, has an eclectic mix of items that could keep you full for the rest of the day, like the bacon-heavy BananaRama, three banana pancakes smothered in cinnamon butter and a bacon “terrine” with, of course, a side of bacon. Our advice: Go with the Portuguese Man of War: paprika chorizo hash, fried eggs, roasted tomato, kale, and chive hollandaise, all served in a cast-iron skillet. Not only is it delicious, but you can also tell people you’ve eaten a Portuguese Man o’ War and you wouldn’t really be lying.
Huckleberry’s opened in April 2017; its kitchen is led by chef Lucy Collins, a former contestant on Chopped who cut her teeth in New York restaurants like Ai Fiori. Collins’s roots are in the American South, so the menu includes comfort dishes like shrimp and grits, served with peppers, chargrilled, scallions and a creamy tasso-ham gravy. Be sure to try the crab cakes doused in hot tomato marmalade and green-tomato relish; it’s a flawless blend of flavors from both the Caribbean and Carolinas. For a drink, go with the South Shore. It’s the bartender’s take on a Dark n’ Stormy, made sweeter thanks to the addition of the almond syrup falernum.
What to Do
Learn how to play Bermuda’s national sport by taking a cricket lesson at the state-of-the-art Bermuda National Sports Centre. A coach will explain the basics of the game, listing the ten (yes, ten!) possible ways a batsmen can get out, teaching the proper form of a bowler (it is much harder than pitching a baseball), and letting you hit tennis balls off a tee until you’re ready for the real thing. Groups of five or more are preferred, but the Bermuda Cricket Board should be able to accommodate you and a guest with advance notice. By the end of the hour-long class, you’ll be throwing finger-spinning googly’s past the batsmen and straight off the wicket … and you’ll know what those terms mean, too.
Explore the island in a quick and environmentally conscious way with a Twizy. The tiny, electrically run cars, which debuted in Bermuda last summer, are safer than motor scooters and rent for about $100 per day. Guests can pick up a vehicle at the Hamilton Princess resort and drive around 60 miles on one charge; charging stations are located islandwide. There’s room for a driver in front and one passenger directly behind, space for beach towels or bags, and Bluetooth capabilities. GPS is coming soon, and the company is also pairing up with Winnow, a cultural booking app that will link up with your car to tailor itineraries and road trips during your visit.
Enter the weird by going on a Glow Worm Cruise. Two days after a full moon, Ana Luna Adventures will pack up champagne and snacks and take guests on a nighttime sail into Grotto Bay. Once the sun sets, the green male and female worms will dance along the surface of the ocean, hoping to mate, while also creating an incredible underwater fireworks show. If only humans could generate such magic. It’s $79 per person and, if for some reason your captain gets lost at sea, the worms should be able to light your way back to land.
Ian Bridges, whose family has lived in Bermuda for more than 100 years, is the owner of Bermuda Adventure, where he teaches surfing, paddleboarding, and other water sports to local kids and tourists alike.
Jamaican Grill at Bailey’s Bay is my favorite spot to grab a meal. The respect and flair of authentic Jamaican cooking is intertwined with an unspoiled view of the local cricket grounds — a true reminder of Bermuda‘s sporting heritage. The charm of Chef Tim and his team, hailing from Kingston, permeates throughout the establishment.
Chaplin Bay is one of my favorite beaches within the framework of “off-the-beaten trail.” It has a very large parking lot, and at the eastern end a trail extends to a deep network of soft, sandy trails that then lead to a number of smaller beaches shrouded by beautiful, fossilized sand-dune formations. If you are sure-footed, some of these dunes provide exceptional views — and welcomed shade on a hot day.
For snorkeling, go to Tarpon Hole off the breakers of Elbow Beach on the public side. Walk down the beach steps and draw an imaginary line straight out to see. Swim along that line to the breakers and you will discover some of the most pristine coral communities on-island. Tunnels, passages, caves, vaulting arches and sandy holes dot the site until you run into the deep side of the reef. If you’re up for it, it is also a good place to spear a lionfish or two.
Finish your day with a sunset at Scaur Hill Fort in Somerset. There’s a perfect bench to sit on overlooking the western coast of the island and an awesome fort with tunnels, passageways, and views of the great sound and the city of Hamilton in the far distance. A suitable place for a romantic date.