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.
I admit, I was pretty tempted to just never step foot outside the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club for the entirety of my time in Bermuda. And it’s such a stunning hotel that I might do just that on subsequent trips. But Bermuda was a milestone for me; the thirtieth foreign country I’d had the great fortune to travel to. I was feeling sentimental and grateful about hitting that benchmark, and wanted to honor it by seeing the best Bermuda had to offer.
So on our first full day on the island, after a morning of lounging around the hotel and gushing over our good fortune with the weather, we decided it was time to lay eyes on one of Bermuda’s famed beaches. Though public buses and ferries are viable options for travelers looking to get around the island, we went for speed over savings and hopped in a cab. A mere eleven minutes later, we were unloading at Elbow Beach.
Let me assure you, there was a lot of squealing involved. (On my part at least. London Lawyer kept it together pretty well.)
Surprise #5: The beaches really are all that.
Though I’d seen plenty of pictures of Bermuda’s electric turquoise waters, I remained skeptical I’d see them for myself. Surely, I thought, those photos were taken on the most beautiful, spectacular day of the year. There’s no way it could just look like that… all the time? Right? Right?
Though the ocean is still chilly in early May, the air temperature was perfect for stretching out in the sand and marveling at the view. I didn’t know water this color existed outside the Caribbean.
I’ve seen a lot of beaches in my life, and this one could compete with the best of ’em.
Elbow Beach boasts a big hotel on each end, but there’s a nice stretch of public sand in between where anyone can stretch out a towel. While there are far less developed beaches in Bermuda, we enjoyed taking advantage of the waterfront amenities, and at the recommendation of our hotel concierge we had a healthy and scenic lunch at Mickey’s.
Selfies and salads
Fueling up was necessary for our next adventure. We were about to get up close and personal with those hues of beautiful blues at a Stand Up Paddle Yoga class with Yoga with Tali. Arriving at Spanish Point Boat Club, we were greeted by our friendly instructor Tali and a chatty group made up of expats and locals — and two freshly Bermuda-obsessed tourists (yup, that would be us).
We paddled out to a calm stretch of water from where we could see from one side of Bermuda straight across to the other, and began a particularly balance-focused yoga practice. I’d informed London Lawyer about this activity less than twelve hours before and smiled at what a good sport he was about his third ever yoga class coinciding with his first time on a paddleboard.
It could not have been a more fun class. My body loved the challenge, and my heart — yes, yoga brings out my trite side — loved being surrounded by water on all sides. Tali is a fun and energetic teacher and I was excited to learn that she and her business partner Alex will soon be opening a brand new studio right in downtown Hamilton. Yet another reason to return!
Surprise #6: Bermudians are beyond warm and welcoming.
From the moment we met I was enamored by the whole bendy bunch and the thought popped into my head that these would be the kind of women I’d seek out for brunch dates if I were ever lucky enough to call Bermuda home. So I was friend crushing hard when they casually invited us for a bottle of post-savasana champagne in the garden of one of their nearby homes. I arrived a stranger and left a friend — the dream of any traveler, no?
Before we knew it, the sun was setting on a beautiful day in Bermuda, and it was time to head back to Hamilton. Having arrived straight from Central America and the Caribbean, I lavished in the islands’ later sunset time — those extra hours before an 8pm sunset felt luxurious.
Surprise #7: Hamilton is happening!
One of the things that most surprised me about Bermuda was the nightlife. As in, it exists, and it is fun. One of my favorite parts of the trip ended up being exploring the restaurants and bars around Hamilton. Our favorite dinner spots were Red, a stylish steakhouse that transforms into a late night hotspot, Devil’s Isle, the trendy eatery pictured below that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn and, of course, 1609, the Hamilton Princess’s harbor-side restaurant with the best views in town. It was my great Bermuda heartbreak that we arrived before the hotel’s grand opening of Marcus’, though I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be back to add it to this list.
In terms of after hours activities, Red was by far the most sophisticated nightlife venue we experienced, with a lively mix of beautiful people spinning on stilettos to an upbeat DJ. Next door, The Pickled Onion was a little more casual with a few more tourists thrown in the mix, but equally fun thanks to a crowd-pleasing live band. Bermuda Bistro on the Beach — which is not, actually, on the beach — was the most casual of them all. While the crowd there skewed a tad young, they stay open late and also have regular live music. And there were half a dozen other venues I hoped to check out but will have to return for. I loved that everywhere we went was a mix of locals and expats and tourists, and that it was easy to strike up conversations with just about anyone. I guess on an island with a population of 65,000, locals and expats are happy to have someone new to chat with!
But the best part of all these places? They were a ten minute stroll (or stumble, depending on how many Rum Swizzles you’ve indulged in) from our Hamilton home base. The New Yorker in me loves to walk, and I adored not needing to rely on cabs at night.
We’d arrived on a Friday, which is undoubtedly the biggest night out of the week — starting off the weekend with happy hour is a huge tradition. Saturday was also lively, though noticeably less so. Unfortunately we arrived too late on Friday to experience Marina Nights, the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club’s own weekly harbor-side happy hour kick off at 1609, but we did make up for it by eating dinner there not once but twice.
Can you blame us? Even on a cloudy evening, 1609 still shined.
Once again, I was finding that Bermuda had a beautiful balance of things I look for in a travel destination. Remote beaches and island ocean adventures by day? Check. Sleek and sophisticated city nightlife after dark? Check again. My thirtieth country was seriously living up to the milestone. And I couldn’t wait to wake up and do it all over again.
Next up, diving the Bermuda triangle!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club via Rhythm One. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The SUP yoga looks really cool, but really hard! I’ve never really considered Bermuda too much, but it’s not that far away from me so I’ll have to look into it. Once the waters warmer, haha. The beaches are seriously stunning in your photos!
Memorial Day in the US is Bermuda Day in Bermuda, and that’s apparently considered the opening day of summer. We heard locals won’t consider going to the beach before that! Which was fine for us… more sand to ourselves.
cudos to London Lawyer for joining SUP Yoga! I don’t think you’ll find many guys that would join you with that 🙂
I’ve successfully roped quite a few guys into doing yoga with me over the years, ha. I guess I go for fellow yes-people!
Wow awesome review and those pictures, such a beautiful place!
Would love to go there some day and im not too sure about the Yoga, since once I see sand and water, I feel like wanting to lay back with a margarita or a mojito instead. 🙂
Ha, I can relate to that! I definitely has to restrain myself from a refreshing cocktail at lunch, knowing I was headed out on the board soon after 🙂
SUP Yoga, I’ve been seeing this rather a lot lately, me thinks its a sign I have a crack at it. It looks beautiful,I guess having that outlook would inspire one to really commit to the poses huh?! Soak up some sunshine for me, we started our day with a glorious -8c. Boo Hiss! 🙂
Ouch! It’s been unseasonably cold up here in New York too. Yesterday we put the heat on… in June!
Whoa, that beach looks incredible! I thought Southeast Asia and the Caribbean had the world’s best beaches but that beach looks like it’s right up there with the best of ’em. I think Bermuda might be the perfect country to have celebrated this particular milestone 🙂
I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried! It truly was the perfect destination.
Congraulations on visiting your 30th country destination. 🙂
Bermuda really looks amazing. I’ve never really thought about going to the “islands” before as I tend to find beach destinations a tad boring, but Bermuda seems to have everything that a “lifestyle” traveller might need. Yes please!
I’m definitely an island lover…. but it has to have soul. I have no interest in islands converted into cruise ship terminals. Bermuda definitely has retained every ounce of its identity.
London Lawyer? Uhmm…. no more BB?
Bearded Bartender and I live on opposite sides of the planet, at the moment 🙂 By the time I got to Bermuda, I hadn’t seen him in over six months and we had both agreed to see other people. Love lives are complicated when you don’t have a home base!
Just wondering if you guys fell off the boards at all? 😛
Two out of six did… not bad! They say if you don’t fall off, you aren’t pushing yourself enough!
Can’t wait to read about your diving experience in the Bermuda Triangle! xo
Thanks Amy! It’s fun racking them up! I already know what 31 and 32 will be and I have a hunch about 33. Thirty four, however, is a mystery…
“I arrived a stranger and left a friend” One of your best quotes ever Alex! and congrats on the mile stone! A buddy of mine’s father, lives and works in Bermuda. Starting to think I need to accept that invite sooner than later.
Yes you do! Taking up offers like that is one of my favorite ways to travel.
I love how often you seem to really connect and bond with locals in the places you visit. It’s awesome to know you’ve made another friend in the world. Bermuda looks amazing and it is fast becoming one of my need-to-visit places!
I’m just super lucky to meet awesome people everywhere I go 🙂 And yes, head to Bermuda — I’ll meet ya there!
as weird as it sounds, i enjoy hearing about your love life. LOL maybe cause its completely opposite of mine. anyway looking forward to a more detailed story about this new lawyer man of yours.. =D
I don’t think it’s weird at all! When I do reader surveys it’s one thing people comment that they love hearing about, ha!
Oh my gosh- I managed to sup along the shores of Gili Air without falling off but I’m not sure I’d be any good at yoga on it. I think I’m also the only person in the world who feels (just slightly) sea sick on an sup…
You’re not! I prefer to do it in flat bays — I’ve gotten seasick before when it was a little rocky! Not a nice feeling at all.
Oh now, you know I love this post! Yoga and ocean and beautiful beaches? TAKE ME THERE
This reminds me… we need to get some yoga on the schedule for Bonaire and Aruba!
Holy crap!!! Crow on a SUP board? I can barely do it on flat ground and have decent core strength…
That’s not me in the photo, but it is one of my favorite moves! Give it a try next time you’re on a board 😉
The pictures look so amazing and the food so inviting!!! Bermuda definitely looks like a great place to visit and I would love to go there sometime!
Add it to the list, Chella! I already am itching for a return.
Thanks for the article, Alex. Bermuda is a great place for holiday, and according to your article and for yoga. The beach looks like a piece of heaven!
Bermuda is the perfect place for a holiday 🙂 Beaches and yoga and yummy food a great vacation do make!
Loved Elbow Beach when I went to Bermuda. I definitely plan to go back because its such an easy flight from NYC. Hubby and I weren’t too thrilled with the dining options we hit up in Bermuda — so we will have to check out the places you went. SUP yoga looks awesome!
It is a crazy easy commute from New York… especially with immigration right in the Bermuda airport for the return flight! That’s a bummer you didn’t find the best food. I went a little research crazy but it really paid off. I absolutely loved everywhere we ate! Red was a huge splurge but Devil’s Isle was extremely reasonable, and 1609 was somewhere in between!
I LOVE SUP SO MUCH. I often dream of opening a SUP stand somewhere with both mountains and a beach, doing yoga every day, and living a relatively poor but awesomely chill and happy life. 😉
Tell me about it Shelly…. that’s my dream too! (Well, I don’t need the mountains so much 🙂 )
Im planning on getting my SUP instructor certification so that I can teach it anywhere in the world, this goes along with my plan to spend a year in 20+ degree celcius temps – chasing the sun!
I didn’t know there was a SUP instructor certification, actually! It’s great that there’s some regulation in that industry though. Good luck!
Yoga on paddle boards…. on the ocean… in Bermuda!!! What fun! I’ve always marveled at the people who have the strength and balance to do that
It’s a pretty great workout! Actually I’m headed out to do some SUP yoga again tomorrow in Martha’s Vineyard. Can’t wait!
SUP yoga looks so cool! I gotta do it 🙂
It’s my favorite! Wish I could find a class in Koh Tao…
Gorgeous pictures! It’s far away up north on its own but I’d always considered Bermuda part of the Caribbean even if its not.
Me too! It’s a colorful beachy island, after all 😉