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Trip Report Back to Bermuda

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I have been going to Bermuda at least once a year since the early seventies. In the last ten or so years I have made the trip in early December to see the Holiday Boat Parade. It is now an every other year event, but the timing still worked for me so last week I was in beautiful Bermuda. This is a lovely time to visit. Bermudians take the holidays very seriously so there are wonderful decorations and lots of holiday activities. The weather is not really beach weather; but, it is generally mild. A few days of high winds and somewhat chillier than normal temps didn't spoil this trip.

Where I stayed: I stayed at Fourways Inn. They offered a deal of stay two nights get the third free. I stayed six nights for the price of four. Merry Christmas, cmcfong. You have money left to squander on other pleasures. The room was a large one with a balcony and view of Hamilton harbor. Breakfast and a newspaper are delivered to the room every morning. Freshly baked pastries (the on site restaurant is one of the top tables in Bermuda), big pot of coffee and a platter of fresh fruit. It is presented on a pretty silver service with fine china for a lovely start to the day. This is a small property (11 rooms) with an adult atmosphere. Each room has a fridge and a microwave. Fourways is well positioned a five minute walk to the ferry, a grocery store, the bus stop or the Bermuda Railway Trail. They have beach privileges at Coco Reef. I am a repeater here and look forward to returning.

Where I dined:
Ascots: truly a favorite. They feature a very broad menu with excellent seafood choices. Service is unobtrusive, professional and friendly. Dress is smart casual. Recommended.
Splendido: most romantic hilltop setting with views of the South shore beaches. Probably the best sandwich on the planet is their lobster blt. The service is very polished and personal. Recommended
the bar at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess: I stopped in after a shopping expedition. Although I was one of only three customers, service was very poor. The food was OK but not remarkable. Not recommended.
Hog Penny Pub: A nice surprise. Last year the food was not particularly good and I was disappointed with the service. The food this year was quite good and the service was much improved. Recommended for casual pub lunch or dinner.
Mad Hatters: Well, I tried to book it because it was highly recommended by a local but it is very popular. Maybe you will have better luck. Next year I will make my reservations earlier!
Pub at the Fairmont Southampton Princess. I stopped in here twice. Once to meet a friend and once after spending a day at the Willow Stream spa (did I mention there were a couple of not so great weather days). The food was very good and the service was professional, fast and friendly. We were not rushed during a leisurely late lunch. Oh, and they have great smoothies. It is hard to beat the view from the Princess and with the added attraction of the holiday decorations, this was a good choice. Recommended.
Fourways: This is truly one of the best restaurants in Bermuda or anywhere else. The brunch is amazing and an excellent value if you want to try a wide range of food. Service is very polished and professional. Highly recommended.
Cambridge Beaches: I don't know what's going on here. Last year I had a delightful meal which was very well prepared and presented. This year the food was marginal and completely forgettable. Not recommended for now.
Spas: Since it was raining several days during my stay I spent some time in the spa at Cambridge Beaches and Willow Stream at the Fairmont Southampton Princess. I planned to book services at Samedi Spa at Newstead but did not because of the very poor service by telephone (no return of messages left, unable to answer basic questions about services, etc).
Ocean Spa at Cambridge Beaches is small and very well operated. I called before my visit with some questions and received immediate answers including a confirmation of my phone questions by email. Staff is knowledgeable and polished. The pool area is upstairs with a hot tub (which for the second year in a row was out of operation). the pool has french doors opening out on to the lawn and gorgeous sea views. It is very quiet and a lovely place to relax before a treatment. The dressing area and locker room are small but certainly adequate. There is a resting area between the dressing room and reception but there is a lot of foot traffic through here. The treatment I received this time was up to the standards set on previous visits. These therapists are very professional and I highly recommend the spa. Prices here seem to be generally lower than elsewhere on the island even though this is one of the top tier properties. They always have specials so be sure and ask.
Willow Stream at the Fairmont Southampton Princess: This is a big spa with all the bells and whistles. Beautiful indoor pool with some ocean views, outdoor hot tubs, steam and sauna, etc. The dressing area is surprisingly small and was congested (the spa is very popular with locals as well as visitors and was busy even mid week). It is kept very clean and neat. The treatments were fantastic. I will return. I did not see anything I wanted on the spa lunch menu but was able to enjoy an excellent lunch in the pub when I finished.

What I did: Not much. I love Bermuda and can happily spend the entire day just walking the railway trail or the beaches. While I stopped in the shops the days of bargains and specialties (like fabulous sweaters, china, crystal) are gone. I went on a walkabout with the Bermuda National Trust. If you are considering a visit, go to www.bermudatourism.com or friend them on Facebook for good information about lodging specials, activities, and events.
Bermuda is another world.

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