Be my guest: Bermuda
For pink sandy beaches, al-fresco dining and blue ocean views, alongside art galleries, boutiques and world-class golf, this Bermudian island is simply enchanting, says René Hill
Photography by Alamy. Map by Kenzie Designs
‘Feel the Love’ is Bermuda’s motto and the warmth emanating from the sea, the sun and the islanders cannot be dismissed. The island is renowned not only for her pink sandy beaches, but also as a domicile for offshore companies. Per capita, islanders enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. The island moves with the speed of an international business, but it is also as chilled as a lazy stroll along Elbow Beach. Fine dining is a given, while beautifully designed golf courses and idyllic views of pastel-hued homes topped with whitewashed roofs draw you into a painting. So feeling the love is a given in Bermuda.
The place to start your retail therapy is the city of Hamilton. On the western end of Front Street, boutique Cécile’s features designers including Emilio Pucci, Anne Fontaine, Basler, Luisa Spagnoli, Lilly Pulitzer, Tibi, and Trina Turk. For a designer bathing suit to wear at Tucker’s Point Beach Club, Calypso is the best place to go. And for that little bit of Britain, there’s always the English Sports Shop. Strolling a bit further to the east, you’ll find Lusso, the ultimate hub for designer shoes, handbags and accessories. The collections include Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Miu Miu and Jimmy Choo, to name a few. Carry on and you’ll find MaxMara, jewellers Crisson (the home of Rolex in Bermuda) and Louis Vuitton for the best accessories known to hands. Duck into Butterfield Place for Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery. On Reid Street, there’s more shopping to be had in boutiques such as Perry Footwear, Sasch, Stefanel, Brown & Co, AS Cooper, and Gibbons Company. A gander through Washington Mall will reveal The Edge for men’s designer wear, Pulp & Circumstance and Lovit Boutique.
Take a stroll, a taxi, or, if you dare, a moped up to Fort Hamilton along the ever-winding Harbour Road for a breathtaking panorama of Hamilton Harbour, with its picturesque islands, and across to Two Rock Passage. Or climb the steeple of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Church Street for magnificent views. In Southampton, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in the world, will offer a bird’s-eye view of the Great Sound and the South Shore. Head out west to the Royal Naval Dockyard for a Segway Tour (www.segway.bm) to Commissioner’s House and you’ll see how the island twists like a fish hook.
The island is dotted with art galleries, so, while you’re out west, take in the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard (www.artbermuda.bm). The resort of Elbow Beach, Bermuda is home to the gallery of world-famous sculptor Desmond Fountain (www.desmondfountaingallery.com). At the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art (www.bermudamasterworks.com), you can see some of the greats who painted in Bermuda, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Winslow Homer, and 2012 marks the museum’s unveiling of a sculpture as a tribute to John Lennon who wrote some of his last songs on the island. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess houses the Windjammer II Gallery (www.windjammer2.com), which features the works of local and international artists, while City Hall houses the Bermuda Society of Arts (www.bsoa.bm) and the Bermuda National Gallery (www.bng.bm). Philatelic buffs should head for the historic Perot Post Office set in Par-la-Ville Park, where eye-catching sculptures reside among the lilies. And, if you wish, have your portrait painted at the April Branco Gallery (www.aprilbrancogallery.com) in the Washington Mall. Enjoy local entertainment at The Lido Complex at Elbow Beach, Bermuda (www.lido.bm) during the balmy summer nights. Sip a Bermudian essential – a Dark ’n’ Stormy (ginger beer and Gosling’s black rum). See what’s on at Chewstick (http://chewstick.org) for open jam sessions and emerging artists and, for a dance, go to Café Cairo, Moon Nightclub or Fresco’s on Chancery Lane.
The Bermuda National Trust (www.bnt.bm) has many walking tours. One is through the 25-acre Paget Marsh and Boardwalk. Join the Walking Club of Bermuda (http://walk.free.bm) at dawn on a Sunday morning for treks all around the island. Hire the Spirit of Bermuda (www.bermudasloop.org) or book a trip with Sand Dollar Cruises’s Mark Whayman (+1 441 234 8218) for fun on the high seas. Meander through the streets of St George’s and visit Lili Bermuda (www.bermuda-perfumery.com), or take in St Peter’s Church, the oldest continuously-used Anglican Church in the western hemisphere.
After taking in the great outdoors, you might want to head to The Spa at Elbow Beach for a Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa Therapy, which combines the therapeutic benefits of Oriental meridien massage and custom-blended essential oils in a 1-hour 50-minute treatment. The Fitness Room is available 24/7 for guests, otherwise head to the hotel's own private pink-sand beach for a swim, or play a round of golf at one of the many courses nearby.
Festivals and events happen year-round. The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts (www.bermudafestival.org) takes place annually in January and February, and the Bermuda International Film Festival is on in the spring. For golf lovers, the PGA takes place in the autumn at Port Royal Golf Club. Also, check out the calendar for the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society (www.bmds.bm), which has plays at the Daylesford and City Hall theatres, and events hosted by the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda (www.gands.bm).
Executive chef Guido Brambilla of the Lido Restaurant at Elbow Beach, Bermuda (www.lido.bm) would agree that the seafood risotto is the most popular dish on the menu. A quick walk down the steps is Mickey’s for dining on the beach. For delicious homemade gnocchi, Maria’s on Chancery Lane (www.frescosgroup.bm) is a must. Or try spotting Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas when they are ‘on island’ at the Bolero Brasserie (www.bolerobrasserie.com), where chef/owner Jonny Roberts will delight your senses. Visit Pearl (www.portocall.bm/pearl.php) for sushi to die for and then head downstairs for cocktails on the veranda at Port O Call. And if you don’t want the hustle and bustle of Hamilton, visit Tom Moore’s Tavern (www.tommoores.com) for an enchanting, laid-back evening. Back to top