Note: I’m temporarily jumping out of my chronological Central America trip coverage to tell you about my very last stop en route back to New York: Bermuda! We’ll jump back into Guatemala soon.
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama…
I admit that until very recently, I knew next to nothing about Bermuda. I knew the Beach Boys featured it in one of their catchiest tunes, I knew my parents vacationed there when I was a kid (and left me at home, if you can believe it), I knew it had a famous triangle, I heard there were some pink sand beaches, and I thought (incorrectly) that it was kinda sorta in the Caribbean.
I had a lot to learn.
So when the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont managed hotel, invited me to come check out their new facelift, I decided it was time to go get an education. The pink icon recently underwent a ninety million dollar renovation, and I was buzzing with excitement to check out the trendy, art-filled and eco-friendly resort in the heart of Hamilton.
Bermuda, it turns out, is having a moment. And it had plenty of surprises in store for me.
Surprise #1: Bermuda is crazy close.
Did you know Bermuda is less than a two hour flight from most East Coast cities? You could arrive there from New York before you could touch down in the Hamptons! So I can’t exactly say that I was travel fatigued when I landed from Miami, but checking into my room released a flurry of relaxing Bermuda vibes nonetheless.
Standing out on the balcony, soaking it all in, I tried to suss out why a place I’d never been before felt so familiar. And then it hit me. “This is Martha’s Vineyard meets the Caribbean,” I said, a comparison I’d make many more times over the next four days. Though to be truly accurate, I’d have to throw an England destination into the mix — as one of the first and oldest British colonies, Bermuda maintains strong ties to its roots, evident in everything from left-side driving to a national obsession with cricket.
Surprise #2: Bermuda is insanely small.
Bermuda, I’d learn, is deceptively small. Though I’d pored over maps before arrival and knew that the island was less than 21 square miles, it wasn’t until I landed and tangibly felt the distances that I realized how charmingly sized this island really is. And its residents are fiercely protective of the natural resources in their little stretch of paradise.
I’m always happy when I see a big hotel — the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club has four hundred rooms — going green. A note in our room gently reminded us of the island’s limited resources and informed that unless requested, sheets would be changed every three days instead of every single day, and that towels would be replaced only when left on the floor. And I smiled when I heard all renovated rooms were designed to be energy efficient from the lighting to air conditioning to water systems. Even the trash bins in the room were divided into two compartments — recycling and trash.
Yet there was no sacrifice of style. Our small and stylish bathroom boasted a double-headed shower, a well-lit vanity and luxurious lineup of Rose 31 bath products.
Remember how I said Bermuda is less than two hours from most East Coast cities? It’s also a quick seven hour direct hop from the UK, I learned, when I was joined by my mystery man from Antigua. London Lawyer and I joked that technically, this trip was our third date — which will be a pretty tough one to top.
Surprise #3: Hamilton is a happening city.
Tough to top indeed. Bermuda is so much more than just beaches. The Hamilton Princess, as you might guess from the name, is situated right in the heart of Hamilton, a ten minute walk to the best restaurants and bars on the island — the ones not on the property of the hotel, that is. And yet the grounds still feel like a relaxing retreat. Over our four days in Bermuda we raved about how happy we were to be staying in Hamilton. We loved the ability to be adventurous during the day, but come home and be exactly where we wanted to be at night without ever having to hop in a cab.
Not that you really need to go anywhere during the day. I mean, can we talk about this harbor-facing infinity pool?
While the ocean waters were still a bit chilly in early May, the pool — and the hot tub — were just right. There’s nothing like whiling away a morning watching the hustle and bustle of the Hamilton harbor from your perch on the edge of an infinity pool.
Surprise #4: The Hamilton Princess might as well double as an art museum.
I can tell you one thing I was not expecting from a historic hotel that served as a headquarters for Britain’s intelligence operations during the Second World War, and was beloved by authors like Mark Twain — to walk into the lobby and be greeted by the works of Andy Warhol, Banksy, and Damien Hirst. Bermudian artists are also well represented, with original works by local artist Justine Smith gracing each guest room. This art school graduate and design addict was positively swooning.
The hotel’s collection is so extensive — and constantly growing — that an art tour by the hotel’s curator is offered to guests each Saturday.
One thing that wasn’t a surprise? How well we’d eat. As soon as I heard Marcus Samuelsson was opening a restaurant at the Hamilton Princess, I knew the food scene in Bermuda must be something special. I’ll dish more on my favorite Hamilton eateries in another post (dish on? restaurants? get it? please pretend you love my puns), but first — our home base hotspots.
Every morning we had breakfast at Crown and Anchor, which was the perfect place to start the day thanks to indoor and outdoor seating options and an indulgent buffet.
Though we arrived before the May 27th opening of new Bermuda hotspot Marcus, we were able to sneak in for a behind-the-scenes tour that left me swooning. Last December I finally made it to Samuelsson’s Harlem hotspot Red Rooster, a meal that made me an official fan — I can’t wait to see what he does here.
But Marcus isn’t the Hamilton Princess’s only brag-worthy worth restaurant. When I first walked into the harbor-side 1609, I exclaimed that it was an infinity restaurant — the floor-to-ceiling walls made it feel like we were sitting down to dinner at a floating table.
Can you imagine a more inviting place to sit down to lunch or dinner?
As with any trip, the people were what made it special. Everyone we encountered at the hotel, from the doormen greeting us at the entrance to the cleaning staff we passed in the halls, was warm and hospitable in the more natural way. One night, when we clarified directions to a restaurant we were going to with a concierge, we arrived to find he’d called ahead for us to let them know we were coming. (And, just to show you how insanely small Bermuda really is, it turns out that the manager of that restaurant was the concierge’s wife!)
From modern rooms to hip dining experiences, from a beautiful art collection to fabulous concierges, from an infinity pool to harborside water sports, it was hard not to buzz about this hotel to everyone we met. It’s a place I could see myself coming back to over and over again. I want to come back with my family and relax by the pool, I want to come back with my friends and party it up in Hamilton, I want to come back by myself and write the days away from a harbor-view balcony.
The Hamilton Princess and Beach Club has the best of both worlds. Want a fantastic getaway hiding out for a week and never leaving the grounds of the hotel? You got it. Want to explore every gem Bermuda has to offer? You simply couldn’t ask for a better base.
Stay tuned for more on my adventures diving, beach hopping, taking a SUP yoga class, renting a scooter, and nightlife hopping in Hamilton!
Have you ever been to Bermuda? If not, is it on your bucket list? (If not, it just might be by the time I’m done gushing!)
Many thanks to the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club for generously hosting me in Bermuda. I was compensated for my time in writing this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I would definitely love to visit Bermuda one day and I’m already excited to read more about your stay there! The blue of the water is just absolutely insane and I wouldn’t mind if I could chill out by that beautiful pool now! 😉
Today it was rainy and gray in Upstate New York… so I wouldn’t mind being by that beautiful pool again either!
It looks absolutely beautiful.
Adore the giant map poster that’s framed on the wall xo
That was one of my favorite pieces as well! The Bermuda version in some of the guest rooms was swoon-worthy as well.
I’m so glad you loved Bermuda!! Extremely random coincidence — my parents are headed to the Hamilton Princess next week, their first trip back to Bermuda in 20+ yrs! And yes, I moped about being left at home, even if my home is now 2500 miles from theirs.
PS — I ADORE the floral prints in the stairwell.
Oh my gosh they are going to be blown away! Please tell them to eat at Marcus and report back so I can live vicariously…
This hotel, and your photos, are seriously stunning! I love the artwork and decor in the lobby – I definitely wouldn’t expect to see Andy Warhol in this type of hotel!
He was one of many impressive artists on display. Seriously, who needs an art museum when you have a hotel collection like this!
I’ve been falling in love with Bermuda ever since you started posting pictures! It looks absolutely stunning, I’m looking forward to reading what else it has to offer.
And there are few things in this world that make me happier than bad puns 😉
Well then, Emma, I am happy to say that you’ll definitely feel at home here 🙂
The hotel looks absolutely stunning! A few of the ships in the cruise line I work for stop in Bermuda so I’m interested to learn more about the island! 🙂
Awesome! I was always intrigued by the New York to Bermuda cruises. Air travel is such a misery these days, I always thought that would be such a great way to vacation — from subway stop to cruise cabin to beautiful Bermuda!
I spent 10 days in Bermuda last year on my way across the Atlantic and instantly fell in love with it. We spent most of our time in St. George’s Harbor but did make it out to Hamilton for a day. The fort there and the garden growing inside the mote is like something out of Tomb Raider!
I’m sad I didn’t make it to St. George! But hey, I’ve always got to leave something for next time…
I have to confess I didn’t know much about Bermuda either…but wow, have you put it on the map! Dreamlike pictures!
That makes me happy to hear, Camille! Thank you!
I was just looking at a yoga retreat in Bermuda….VERY tempting after reading this!
Yoga and Bermuda, two of my favorite things! Tell me more…
That’s a nice bright pink exterior. That place is really stunning.
I loved the pink! I’m glad they didn’t change that iconic hue with the overhaul. It’s so perfectly Bermuda.
Bermuda is definitely on my bucket list now! It’s so beautiful and I love that the hotel has a very fresh feel and doesn’t that tacky tropical décor. And it’s really cool that they give art tours; that would be so much fun.
Not a hibiscus bedspread in sight 🙂 It really was so sleek and chic — just my style.
It’s so funny, I grew up hearing about Bermuda but until now I didn’t actually know it wasn’t in the Caribbean. I actually had to Google it to see where it was. Who knew it was so far north? It does look like paradise. And who wouldn’t want to chill for a week in that hotel? It looks like you had a fabulous time 🙂
I KNOW! I had no idea it was so darn far up there! Now I’m struggling with where to put it on my Destinations page… the Caribbean where I know people will look for it? Or North America where it really belongs?
Your post inspired me to set up flight alerts from NYC! Love that it’s a short flight away and that the island’s so small. Had no idea; hope to visit soon! Your photos are fantastic.
Just ninety minutes from NYC! Crazy right?! Hope you nab a great deal on flights!
Before I went to Bermuda I had no idea that it was about the same latitude as South Carolina. Did you see all the shorts with high socks? Is that still a thing there? And so many little hidden beaches!
It is indeed still a thing! It was still pre-Bermuda Day when I was there (the official kick off day for summer, in late May) so locals reported there weren’t QUITE as many Bermuda shorts abound as usual. Still, there were quite a few! I wish I hadn’t been too shy to take a picture…
I love this! I was actually choosing between going to Bermuda or Spain for an internship. I chose Spain in the end, and am still in Spain now, but after reading this, I’m realizing either would have been an amazing choice.
Indeed you would have! And Bermuda will be a great place for a vacation now someday 🙂
I had no idea Bermuda was so easy to get to – or that Marcus Samuelsson had opened a restaurant! It’s always been in an “eventually we’ll get there” spot on my bucket list, but it just moved way up!
The restaurant just opened this past weekend — can’t wait to start reading reviews. I’ve been working on Samuelsson’s memoir and it makes me want to go even more badly!
Looks like such a beautiful place. Annnnd can we talk about that breakfast buffet?! Thanks for enlightening me about Bermuda…I knew as little as you did before this post!
Breakfast buffets: literally one of my favorite parts of travel (and I’m not ashamed.)
BRB researching flights to Bermuda…
Take me? After all we are BARELY SEEING EACH OTHER in the upcoming future.
Oh haiiiii sexy British lawyer… 😉
You know, I just really needed an advisor on British culture for this trip… 😉
Wow, I had no idea Bermuda was so close to the East Coast. I’m always looking for easy beach getaways for those winter blues. Everything sounds amazing!
I know, right?! It’s a world apart, just ninety minutes away!
Beautiful hotel! Was loving your Instagram posts from this trip – Bermuda is one island that seems right up my alley and a place I’d like to spend some time should I ever make it back to the Carib…ATLANTIC.
Ha, the end of your comment made me laugh out loud. I was in Insta-bliss while I was on this trip. It’s an insanely picturesque island!
My boyfriend and I have been tossing around ideas of where we want to go for our birthday trip this October. We’ve been talking about Iceland and California… but we may need to throw Bermuda into the mix now!
I mean, you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of those! But Bermuda is the freshest in my mind and therefore the biggest in my heart, at the moment 🙂
Love this post! This is a beautiful destination, and I am so happy to hear about the local hotels going green! Lowered energy usage and washing the sheets and towels less frequently are such small differences that could mean a world of change! Thanks so much for sharing.
It always makes me smile to see that too, Emme. I don’t wash my towels every day at home and certainly don’t feel the need to have it done when I’m at a hotel either! You’re right — little changes add up.