If you’re like me and the rest of my friends, you’ve spent the last 6-9 months searching for Zika-free vacation spots. One of the many beautiful things about living on the east coast is that you can escape your crazed city life and the cold temps with a jaunt to the Caribbean (which arguably has some of the world’s best beaches) with little to no planning or prep. But, with Zika infesting all of the fail safe locales for last minute vacays, I’ve had to look elsewhere as of late to satisfy my wanderlust bug.
A few months ago, Bugsy and I were looking for places to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. Ideally, we’d find ourselves somewhere in Europe (like Rome, Positano or Amsterdam) or the Caribbean (like Tulum (again), Anguilla or St. Barths), but with busy work schedules prohibiting a longer trip and Zika threatening our good time (and health), we decided on BERMUDA. Neither of us had ever been, it’s only a 2 hour direct flight from JFK (a shorter flight than Miami?) and of course, those famous PINK SAND BEACHES…
MY Guide to Bermuda
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BOOKING:
Weather: Although Bermuda is a year-round destination, because the island is situated in the middle of the Atlantic (and not the Caribbean), the waters tend to be cooler, as are the temps (especially after the sun sets). So, if you’re expecting scorching hot sun to escape the winter chill in January or February, you might be a little disappointed by low 70’s temps.
Pricing: Luckily for us Americans, the Bermudians use the US Dollar interchangeably with their own. But, due to its geographic isolation, pricing for food, goods and services are on the high side. To our surprise, prices were comparable to those in NYC.
Transportation: Scooters are readily rentable and the primary mode of transportation for visitors, but the roads are congested and a bit windy, so proceed with caution. Unfortunately, rental cars are prohibited on the island. While there, taxis were our primary mode of transportation, as most destinations are not walking distance, but taxis are very expensive. For a cheaper alternative, public transportation is available and tourist friendly, but will likely double, if not triple, your travel time.
Flatts Village, Bermuda
PLACES TO STAY:
Hotels in Bermuda range from large resorts with all the amenities to small boutique hotels to B&Bs/inns. Depending on your budget and how you intend to spend your time while on the island, there is something for every taste. Here are a few options to consider.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point: For ultra-luxury near the east end of the island (budget permitting), you’ll have to stay here. The resort is spectacular to say the least and it’s convenient location near the restaurants, shops and attractions in Hamilton, the island’s capital, is a major plus.
Elbow Beach Resort: For modern luxury in your own private cottage located on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, stay here. The spa is also brand new and one of the largest on the island.
The Reefs Resort & Club (we stayed here): For a luxury boutique experience with a number of restaurant options and the most perfect private beach, stay here. The rooms are spacious (although they could use a little updating), the beach is pristine (I watched them comb the sand every morning), and the restaurant options str good (although a bit pricey).
Fairmont Southampton: For a true resort experience (that is also family friendly) at the island’s largest with some of the famous restaurants on the island, this is your place. It’s perfect for those who never want to leave the resort. You’ll have plenty to keep you occupied.
Royal Palms: For a boutique hotel experience with a blend of colonial and Bermudian architecture, stay here. Like most hotels in Hamilton, you’ll have to travel to the beach.
The Reefs Resort & Club, Bermuda
PLACES TO DINE:
Dining is fairly formal on the island with dinners absolutely requiring reservations. Unlike other island locales (and to our disappointment), we didn’t find any beach shacks or roadside local snacks. Unfortunately for those with more varied palates, the food on the island is mainly continental American cuisine. Thankfully, the local fish chowder is unique and a must try.
Marcus’: Located in the newly renovated and totally swank Fairmont Hamilton Princess, this Marcus Samuelsson restaurant is among the best on the island with a more inspired and creative menu, featuring Caribbean soul food and craft cocktails. The views of the harbor are a beautiful added bonus.
Devil’s Isle Café: Located in the City of Hamilton in a cool space that can only be described as Brooklyn meets shipwreck, the restaurant offers a more eclectic, international inspired menu.
Waterlot Inn: For a fine dining experience, try this high-end steakhouse inside a 1670s-era Bermuda cottage. Be prepared for a little sticker shock, but it’s perfect for a special occasion.
Mickey’s Beach Bistro: For a picturesque al fresco dining experience with steaks, seafood, and pasta, try this idyllic restaurant on the beach.
Rustico: For some surprisingly delicious Italian fare, try out this restaurant located in Flatts Village. Their fish chowder is also divine.
Dining Room at Gibb’s Lighthouse: For Italian in a more casual setting and incredible views, this is your place. Opt to sit outside on the patio to get the full experience.
Waterlot Inn, Fairmont Southampton
PLACES TO DRINK:
Unlike some other islands, Bermuda doesn’t boast a big party scene. But, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are a few spots worth visiting for some late night drinks, bites and maybe some dancing.
Cafe Cairo: This Egyptian-themed lounge is probably the only place to get your dance on, and it’s conveniently open until 3am. On Saturday night, the line was around the corner to get in, and top 40’s and dancehall filled not only the lounge, but all of Front Street.
The Docksider Pub and Restaurant: Arguably the most popular bar on Front Street, this is a local and ex-pat favorite. It also stays open late. A true sports bar with great pub bites, we excitedly watched the UFC fight along with the rest of the island. There’s also beer pong, foosball and darts to entertain to you while you drink.
Flanagan’s Irish Pub: For a more laid back vibe and some pub fare, this is a great place to grab a bite and drink. On the weekends, you might find a live band or karaoke.
Front Street, City of Hamilton, Bermuda
PLACES TO SEE & VISIT:
Any an all of the beaches are breathtaking, but the pink sand and rocky coves make the coastline extra spectacular. And, when you get tired of the beaches, there are some other fun options to occupy your time, although I’d highly recommend you spend most of your days enjoying the sand and surf.
Beaches: Horseshoe Bay Beach is likely the most popular, and unfortunately, the most crowded of all of your options. You’ll find that cruise shippers will make this their first if not only stop on the island. Equally as gorgeous are Elbow Bay and Warwick Long Bay Beaches. Note: For the best pink sand beaches, stick with the southern coast of the island.
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo: For a short sojourn from the sun, this a fun, quick activity. You’ll also get the benefit of seeing idyllic Flatts Village where they are located.
Crystal & Fantasy Caves: Likely the most popular attraction, other than the beaches, you can spend a morning or afternoon touring subterranean granite caves, which feature fascinating stalactites and stalagmites, and a lake you can walk over via bridge.
Royal Naval Dockyard: Home to shops and the National Museum, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon away from the beach and to pick up all necessary tourist momentos.
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
Bermuda Aquarium, Flatts Village, Bermuda
Crystal Caves, Bermuda
Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
Photography | MY
A few more postcard worthy shots from our trip.