Pink Sand Beaches and Rum Swizzles: The Bermuda Travel Guide
From the clear blue water to the pink sand beaches, the Crystal Caves to the endless rum cocktails, it’s obvious to see why The Beach Boys were so intent on taking their pretty mamas to Bermuda. This island is home to some of the most picture-perfect (read: #nofilternecessary) seaside towns on the planet. And best of all? It’s only 90 minutes from New York City and Boston, respectively, which is faster than a drive to Cape Cod or (God forbid) the Hamptons on a busy weekend.
With its easy accessibility, Bermuda is perfect for an East Coast friends’ trip any time of year. And did we mention the weather is always warmer too? Who needs the polar vortex when you can be ordering a Rum Swizzle poolside? But West Coast travelers shouldn’t be discouraged: The extra flight time is worth it to experience this pastel playground in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Read on for our Bermuda travel guide and find out how you can live like a (Hamilton) princess — for 72 hours, at the very least. (Photo via Getty)
WHERE TO STAY
If you dream of little pink houses, then Bermuda is your architectural paradise. The reigning queen (or should we say, princess?) of these pastel colonials is indisputably Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess, also known as “The Pink Palace” — a nickname bestowed by Princess Louise of England. Located just minutes from downtown Hamilton, this iconic institution was opened in 1885 and is the oldest of all the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. (Photo via The Loren at Pink Beach)
The property was renovated in 2015 and now features the country’s sole full-service hotel marina. The hotel’s marina in Hamilton Harbour now accommodates up to 60 yachts of up to 500 feet at once. As if that weren’t opulent enough, the hotel also boasts a collection of roughly 40 Warhol originals — but more on that later.
The Newstead Belmont Hills Resort is a more cost-effective option, which also boasts its own gorgeous waterfront views. The oceanfront pool is ideal for whiling away an afternoon ordering Rum Swizzles, which is just as well, since the hotel takes care of most of your logistical worries the second you land at the airport (and a complimentary shuttle is there to greet you). There are also hourly ferries operating across the harbor from town, so — whether by land or by sea — you’re taken care of.
Standing out from the sea of Bermuda’s pastel-colored buildings, The Loren at Pink Beach is a breath of fresh air, or contemporary architecture, at least. The pool, however, with its lined rows of umbrellas, is a vintage classic — and could serve as the inspiration for any Gray Malin photograph.
WHAT TO DO
When in Bermuda, get your own wheels (scooters or mopeds, preferably). Continuing our esteemed tradition of destinations that specialize in carless weekend travel, Bermuda takes things to another level: There are no rental cars on the island, though you are now allowed to rent a two-seater electric Twizy, new to the rental market.
Hotels also provide transportation, as we mentioned earlier, to some of the must-see sites. Guests at The Hamilton Princess can hop on a pink jitney to the beach club and explore the sheltered cove via activities like paddle-boarding, kayaking, or snorkeling. At The Newstead Belmont Hills, you can hop on a shuttle to the gorgeous, yellow-umbrella-lined beach at Coco Reef Bermuda (not to be confused with the members-only Coral Bay Beach & Tennis Club), as well as the Belmont Hills Golf Course.
Let’s focus on the beach for a moment, as Bermuda specializes in ultra-Instagrammable sandy hideaways. In Tucker’s Town, Horseshoe Bay Beach is popular along Bermuda’s southern shore for its hidden caves — be sure to explore the sparkling, underground Crystal Caves, replete with glowing limestone and distinct rock formations. Sunbathe on the much-lauded pink sand beaches or retreat into a private seaside oasis of your own: Horseshoe Bay also boasts sheltered coves similar to the ones we mentioned above near The Hamilton Princess.
If you’re too high-energy to relax at the beach (no matter how beautiful it may be), check out the schedule for local events. The annual Cup Match is a weekend-long affair which purports to be about cricket, but is really about the celebration of Bermuda as a nation. The event coincides with Emancipation Day (the abolition of slavery) and Somers Day (the island’s discovery by the English), and the accompanying parties and revelry are patriotic in the truest sense of the word. Bring your A game.
Another option for the restless traveler? A cruise upon the Royal Caribbean International, which makes stops in Bermuda as well as throughout the rest of the Caribbean at large. The adventure is perfect for the traveler who wants to brave the Bermuda Triangle from the comfort of their bedroom onboard.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
We hate to dictate how you spend your vacation, but if you visit Bermuda and don’t try the Bermuda Fish Soup or a Rum Swizzle, then you haven’t truly visited Bermuda. Aside from that menu requirement, there are myriad options for fine dining (and wine-ing) on the island. (Photo via The Loren at Pink Beach)
If you like your dinner served with a side of culture, head to Marcus’ at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club to dine in the presence of an assortment of portraits by Andy Warhol — not to mention the works by Banksy, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Takashi Murakami that are scattered throughout the hotel. The Hamilton Princess is one of the most distinctive art hotels in the world and boasts one of the largest private collections of Warhols in the world, including his portrait of “Queen Elizabeth II,” providing a fittingly regal home for such a legendary monarch.
Speaking of British heritage, Swizzle Inn is the oldest pub in Bermuda, and a historic spot to order — you guessed it — a Rum Swizzle. The Bermuda Bistro at the Beach offers casual (and tasty) waterfront dining, as does The Pink Beach Club at The Loren at Pink Beach. The Loren’s other restaurant, Marée, provides a more elegant atmosphere for a date night (or a “treat yourself” night).
As for that esteemed tropical tradition of day-drinking — you are on vacation, after all! — there’s no shortage of opportunities in Bermuda. Order a Grog (native-made Gosling’s rum and fruit juice) before walking the plank at Calico Jacks, the country’s only floating bar. Cosmopolitan Ultra Lounge & Nightclub veers towards a different extreme (from shipwrecks to fireballs), while The Pickled Onion reliably delivers a singalong-worthy live band in the evenings.
For those who like to have their voices heard when they belt off-key, head to Hog Penny, a beloved local dive where musicians can be found strumming along on an acoustic guitar. When it’s that time of night when all that’s left to do is dance, head to The Dog House, where you can rest assured that any and all bad behavior won’t have the repercussions the establishment’s name suggests. Cheers!
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