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Grotto Bay Beach vs. Fairmont Southampton w/kids 6&7

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Hello Fodorites,

I am seeking input from my wise fellow travelers here about 2 options that we are considering for a one week trip to Bermuda in early July. We are evaluating between Grotto Bay Beach vs. Fairmont Southampton. The initial pricing with discounts is in a similar range. However, I suspec that Fairmont would ultimately cost more b/c water sports are not included, kid program is much more $$ etc.

Here are some considerations:
1 family with 2 boys aged 6 and 7.5
2 grandparents (77 and 72 - both active and able to manage stairs

My boys are super active (and a bit rambunctious). We would plan to do watersports, visit some local sites, spend some time at the beach etc. My boys are beginner swimmers. They like to boogie board close to shore but we don't necessarily have to do that this week. I am Ok with some waves but avoid rough waves.
My older son has celiac so we need solid gluten free options. I know that the Fairmont is fantastic on this front but Grotto seems to be accomodating as well so we can probably take that factor somewhat out of the equation.
We will probably use the kidcare or a sitter for small blocks of time (2-3 hrs; not every day) - mainly so that we can have dinners in peace. My parents are with me so I have some help with the kids.

Grotto Pros:
Watersports included
Like the idea of cottages vs. big hotel
Caves look fun
Walking distance to other eateries
I get the impression that this is a more intimate place and family friendly
water calmer vs. south end of island

Grotto Cons:
I heard that the rooms are so-so (we don't need fancy - hopefully they are a decent level)
Is the beach not as nice as South shore?

Fairmont Pros:
Higher end rooms and property?
Amazing Gluten Free service (sounds like OK at grotto - so maybe not issue)
Extensive kidcare program
are the beaches in the south better?

Fairmont Cons:
Get the sense that they charge you for lots of incidentals
Kidcare program is $50 per kid per visit vs. $5 per kid per visit.
prefer mid or small size establishments vs. convention sized hotels
get the feeling that they are more impersonal/ less friendly???
I heard that the water might be rough -- I am OK with some waves - are we talking really rough? I have beginner swimmers - of course adults would be in water with them

Thanks, in advance, for any advice!!!


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