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cmcfong Dec 11th, 2010 02:07 PM

Back to Bermuda
 
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.

SusanInToronto Dec 11th, 2010 07:37 PM

Sounds like a great trip!

whammy77 Dec 12th, 2010 04:27 PM

We,too,love Bermuda and try to go twice a year! (easy flight from Boston) I've been going there since the late 50's, and my husband and I have been going since the early 70s' -- a few changes! How I miss the old Front Street! But the people and the island are still much the same -- absolutely wonderful!

cmcfong Dec 12th, 2010 05:12 PM

Unquestionably the hardest change for me to accept is that giant hole where the beautiful Waterloo House stood for over 100 years. It brought me to tears to see that. But, it is still Bermuda. How I love it.

txgirlinbda Dec 13th, 2010 09:47 AM

We thoroughly enjoyed our mini-GTG with you, will be in touch once we get to England!!!

cmcfong Dec 13th, 2010 11:59 AM

The pleasure was all mine! Your companion was adorable and completely enchanted me.
Travel safely...and stay warm.

cmcfong Jul 15th, 2012 05:42 PM

topping for drshelly

drshelly Jul 15th, 2012 07:33 PM

Thank you.

This is very helpful

cmcfong Jul 15th, 2012 07:48 PM

Glad it helped. Bermuda is another world and I am counting the days till my next visit.

sassy_cat Jul 16th, 2012 08:55 AM

cmcfong, ahh I thought this was a new trip for you. Looking forward to your next trip report!

txgirlinbda Jul 16th, 2012 09:07 AM

Awww, man - I was all excited for some fresh news and updates!!

geanster Jul 21st, 2012 09:11 AM

Hi All,

I'm contemplating a Bermuda trip 2nd week in August. How is the weather at that time?
Also, I'd rather not rent a car but want oceanfront access. Is there any place you can recommend or is that just the wrong vacation to expect in Bermuda?

I want ocean view, not harbour or golf courses. :) Walking distance or a place that provides shuttles or other transportation.

Thanks for any information you can share. It's two women and going for relaxation, not adventure.

txgirlinbda Jul 21st, 2012 02:12 PM

Hi geanster -
August is hot and humid. High 80's, with humidity 70-80%.

There's no car rental on Bermuda, so you'll be limited to taxis and the bus/ferry system. Public transport is excellent.

Oceanfront access - if you want to leave your room and stroll to the beach, look at Coco Reef, The Reefs, Cambridge Beaches or Pompano. Fairmont Southampton is a nice property, but the hotel itself is situated on top of the hill, so your gorgeous ocean views overlook a (beautiful) golf course. And you'd have to walk or take the trolley down the hill to the (private) beach. Fabulous spa there. And they have a free shuttle ferry to their sister property in town, good for shopping!

Hope that helps - you might want to start a new thread if you don't get a lot of responses from this one, as old trip reports might not get lots of attention. Let me know what other questions you have!

cmcfong Jul 24th, 2012 11:04 AM

Sorry to disappoint, Ladies. I have to wait until December for my next trip (unless that lottery thing comes through!).

txgirlinbda has given you good advice, geanster. Thank goodness she saw your question!

geanster Jul 27th, 2012 05:20 PM

Thank you for this. $5-600 per night for Cambridge, the Reefs, etc. which is quite pricey. Looking for very last minute now and making contact to see if anyone has last minute offers.
I appreciated the information. Coco Reef is more affordable but looks like the rooms are outdated. have you stayed there?

I've gotten the idea that it's quite safe in Bermuda? Is the bus line fine for a couple of women travelers? Thanks again.

Odin Jul 28th, 2012 01:18 AM

We were in Bermuda in June and went to Pompano for lunch couple times. The sea is absolutely stunning at this hotel, cannot say what the rooms are like though but the sea is amazing, probably the most beautiful I've seen and I have been to alot of islands. The beach at the hotel is rather small but stunning. Try bermudarentals.com, apart from apartment rental they can help with hotels according to their website.

Bermuda has to be one of the safest places we've been to, would not walk around back streets of Hamilton at night or do stuff like that, but standing at the bus stop is definitely ok or taking a taxi to/from a restaurant at night is perfectly ok. We were careful to lock our belongings in the scooter, out of sight.

txgirlinbda Jul 28th, 2012 02:38 AM

You're not going to find deals this time of year. You might start looking at other options, you might get chepaer but you're not going to get your ocean view AND cheaper, esp last minute.

Bermuda is relatively safe, but like anywhere, you need to be aware of your belongings when you're out - bag snatchings on the street are not unheard of - particularly because the local punks KNOW that tourists let their guard down and make themselves easy targets. The bus system is fine. Taxis are better at night because you'll get dropped at your door.

Haven't ever stayed at Coco Reef, but it was a regular lunch spot for us. It's in an excellent location, at the end of their driveway is a bus stop and a grocery store.

cmcfong Jul 30th, 2012 08:08 AM

I toured the rooms at Coco Reef on my last visit. They were fine and had great sea views. If you have found an affordable package there, I recommend it.
Ted Gale rented a property on Harbor Road
http://www.bermudagetaway.com/indexBL.html# which he liked. You might take a look at that site and the bermuda rentals site mentioned earlier. Give Fiona Campbell a call if you decide on Bermuda rentals and see if you can negotiate a good price. another option is the Clairfont apartments. Not beachfront but very accessible. You might also want to join the President's club of Fairmont. I have received some good email specials for the two Bermuda Fairmonts in the past. Bermuda is a little island. Do go, but consider the possibility of staying off the beach if you are looking for a price advantage. It is very easy to reach the beach by bus. Three of my old "budget" standbys are the Rosemont apartments, Edgehill Manor, and Watercolours (a bit more upscale than the others, on the harbor). Give them a call.

geanster Aug 1st, 2012 08:26 AM

Can you tell me anything else about Cambridge Resorts?

I have an option for a waterview standard room one night and a suite for the rest of the stay.

Is there anything I need to take into consideration? It looks like a wonderful place to stay.

Flights have increased over 100% but I don't know when I'd have the opportunity to stay there again.

geanster Aug 1st, 2012 08:37 AM

I just read this... could be a problem for my mother: Had a wonderful stay at the Cambridge. The biggest problem we had was you need to be aware that there is a lot of climbing up and down hills due to location of the cottages. If you have physical problems this is probably not the place to go.


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