By Nila Do Simon
Golf Magazine writer Joe Passov once called Bermuda an island that “is like the Bahamas with a dress code: a mix of Caribbean flair with a splash of British formality.” He couldn’t have been more accurate in describing the island’s well-mannered vibe. It’s only fitting this lush island filled with courteous residents, whose closest neighbor is 650 miles away, was chosen as the home of the next America’s Cup, a prestigious, multibillion-dollar sailing competition that sees international teams vying for the ultimate prize in the sport. Here are some additional reasons to make your next island vacation a trip to Bermuda.
With a storied past as one of the world’s premier Spring Break destinations, Elbow Beach Resort represents a fusion between yesterday’s glory days and today’s modern luxuries and services. Built in 1908, Elbow Beach Resort is the second-oldest hotel property on the island, and its history is told through the dozens of black-and-white photographs dotting its lobby. Photos show a young Princess Margaret entering an Elbow Beach ballroom and a Saudi prince hoisting his catch off the resort’s shores, just some of the many dignitaries who have visited the resort.
Today, the 98-room seaside cottage resort has been rebranded as an independent boutique hotel (it was formerly with the Mandarin Oriental’s management team), and the latest renovations to Elbow Beach Resort give new and old visitors reasons to return. Most rooms now include unobstructed, floor-to-ceiling views of the turquoise-blue waters set against soft beige décor. More than 9,500 square feet of meeting space has been added, making it the only hotel on the island with direct ocean views in its meeting rooms. There is one constant with all the change: the spa remains one of the island’s best, combining island and Asian influences with ESPA-trained therapists in a tranquil setting that overlooks the water.
On an island filled with discerning residents and visitors, Bermudian restaurateurs aren’t afraid to step up their dining game. Case in point, Harbourfront Restaurant and Blu Bar & Grill. Both founded by two Italian ex-pats, the restaurants represent all that is grand on the island. Offering a varied menu, Harbourfront General Manager Pierangelo Lanfranchi, who spent extensive time in Japan, serves everything from fresh sashimi to tortellini with truffles.
As the only restaurant with views of Bermuda’s Great Sound harbor, Blu owner Costanzo Di Meglio has his sights on the 2017 America’s Cup, which will come to Bermuda’s water in two years. Capitalizing on the prime real estate and unobstructed views of Great Sound, where the race will take place, Di Meglio will deliver a special experience by expanding the restaurant’s terrace to comfortably accommodate more restaurantgoers and Cup watchers.
Located across Hamilton Harbour, Front Street’s wares are far from the average island retailer’s gaudy souvenirs. The colorful pastel-painted buildings house high-end shops featuring brands such as Rolex and Raymond Weil and luxury department stores filled with fine china and linens.
A must-stop is Lili Bermuda Boutique, a luxurious fragrance shop developed under famed perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone. This flagship store presents scents that are said to capture the natural beauty of the island. Making it more special, Lili Bermuda fragrances can only be purchased on the island or via its online store.
Bermuda is a diver’s paradise with the more than 250 shipwrecks that line its coast. About 100 yards from Elbow Beach’s shores is a coral reef, which acts a barrier and gives way to gentle waves. The clear waters even allow up to 200 feet of visibility.
If water adventures aren’t in your sights, then rest assured there are plenty of land-based activities on Bermuda. For golf lovers, Bermuda boasts more golf courses per square mile than any other location in the world, including championship-level courses designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue.