Bermuda trip report

Old Jul 9th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Bermuda trip report

Just returned from a wonderful week in Bermuda. As we are from the west coast and usually go to Hawaii, this was our first trip there. DH arranged whole thing as a surprise 21st anniversary and 2nd Honeymoon for us.

Trip started out with a flight to Chicago where we spent the night before going on to Bermuda in the morning. DH's second surprise was that we flew first class the whole way. Apparently, he had found a bargain airfare that was only a few hundred dollars more than coach.

We arrived in Bermuda in the early afternoon. The first thing I noticed was that it was humid, but a lot less humid than Hawaii. We got a cab, which took us to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess for the first two nights of our stay. Our cab driver was very friendly (something we were to discover was the norm for people in Bermuda) and gave us a tour on our way to the hotel.

The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is a very nice, older hotel located just outside downtown Hamilton. Our room was great, on one of the higher floors, with a balcony and view of the harbor. The room was spotless and had all of the amenities you would expect in a Fairmont hotel. The front desk was efficient. The young concierge was very helpful, and made our dinner reservations both nights we were there. There is no beach at the hotel, but it has two pools, and the hotel has a ferry shuttle that will take you over to the Fairmont Southampton if you want to go to the beach.

I can't comment on the food at the hotel, as we didn't eat there as DH had already picked out the restaurants he wanted to try. Our first night's dinner was at the Barracuda Grill. It was fabulous - very innovative dishes, great presentation and the service was excellent. It was also our first taste of fish chowder with a little rum and sherry pepper added, absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Everyone says that Bermuda is very expensive, but we found that the prices (except for wine) were not that much more than you would pay for a meal at any nice restaurant in S.F., N.Y., or even Hawaii.

Our next day in Bermuda started with a walking tour of downtown Hamilton. After that we took one of the pink buses to the Bermuda aquarium and zoo, billed as one of Bermuda’s greatest tourist attractions. I have to say that if you’ve ever been to a really nice aquarium, such as the one in Monterey, CA, you will be sorely disappointed. Also, the adjoining zoo was kind of sad. However, I did notice that the kids that were there with their parents did seem to enjoy themselves. Close by to the aquarium, we did find Rustico’s, an Italian place where we had a very nice lunch.

We returned to Hamilton, where we did a little shopping, and then had dinner that night at the Lobster Pot. While the food and service were very good – no complaints, it wasn’t particularly innovative. Perhaps we were just spoiled by our meal the night before at the Barracuda Grill.

Our next day in Hamilton, we went shopping in the morning. Triminghams, a very large department store around 168 years old, was going out of business and had substantial sales on everything in the store. I hadn’t expected to do so much shopping, but there were such bargains that I couldn’t resist. Thank goodness it was a 2nd honeymoon as DH was very patient with me. Standing around a department store for a couple of hours is not usually on the top of his list of things to do on vacation, or any other time for that matter. After finishing shopping, we went back to the hotel, got our luggage and took another cab to Pompano Beach Resort for the next 5 nights of our stay. More on that later.
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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I forgot to mention that before we left Hamilton, we had lunch at the Pickled Onion. The place was kind of funky and the food was good, but nothing memorable. The restaurant is on Front Street overlooking the harbor, and it was kind of fun watching all of the tourists getting off of the Celebrity cruise ship that was docked there.

Arriving at Pompano, we were greatly warmly by what I guess was one of the managers. He took us on a tour of the facilities and then up to our room where DH had arranged to have a bottle of chilled champagne waiting for us. Because of our late booking, we ended up in a superior room for the first couple of nights and then moved to a deluxe ocean front room for a couple of nights. While a bit inconvenient, the staff took care of moving all of our stuff and generally made the move as easy as possible.

The two types of rooms are not that different. Both are about the same size and have the same furnishings, although the deluxe room did seem to have a slightly larger bathroom and closet. Both have wonderful ocean views even though the deluxe room is closer to the ocean. The biggest difference between the rooms is that you have to walk up quite a few steps to get to the superior rooms. However, with all the eating we were doing, we needed the exercise. While I would probably opt for a deluxe room if we return, it is not a necessity.

Without knowing what to expect, we had elected to go with the modified American plan, which included breakfast and dinner. Dinner turned out to be a five-course meal with several different choices of appetizers, soups, salad, entrees and desserts. The food was quite well prepared and nicely presented. The first night we opted to eat outside on the terrace surrounding the dining room and rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. I should also comment on the service at Pompano. Everyone we dealt with at the resort was great. They really seem dedicated to making your stay as enjoyable as possible.

The next morning we had breakfast. On three of the days we were there, we ordered off of a menu with so many choices you could have just about anything you would want for breakfast. On the other two mornings, breakfast was buffet style, although they did have omelets cooked to order. The rest of the day we spent on the beach, except for lunch, which we had at a table next to the pool.

The private beach at Pompano is small, but there is enough room for all of the guests there to be comfortable. There are plenty of lounge chairs, all the towels you want, umbrellas, and floats available. They also rent snorkeling equipment, paddleboats and kayaks. As with all around Bermuda, the water was crystal clear. The very nicest feature of the beach is that there is a sand bar that goes out a couple of hundred yards. We really enjoyed the beach during our stay. There were a few families there with small children, and with the exception of one, they were all very well behaved. The majority of people staying at Pompano appeared to either be young honeymooners or people in the 40 – 60 age group.

Pompano participates in a dine-around program with the Reefs, Cambridge Beaches and Ariel Sands. Basically, if people from those resorts want to eat at Pompano, then Pompano guests can eat at those resorts. For our second night, we requested the Reefs. It was a mistake. When we arrived, we were greeted by a snooty Maitre’d who seemed bothered by our presence. He showed us into a large, inside dining room. When we asked if we could eat outside, he simply said no and walked off.

There were about 10 tables occupied in the dining room with only one waiter and one server. While he seemed to be trying his best, service was slow, and a couple of courses seemed like they had been sitting awhile before being served. While my entrée was pretty good, DH had skate, which was supposed to be lightly dusted with cornmeal and fried. It had a thick layer of cornmeal and was soaking in butter – pretty unappetizing. While the Reefs itself looked quite nice, I don’t think I would go back there again if I was on the dine-around program from somewhere else. To be continued.






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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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On our second full day at Pompano, DH announced at breakfast that we were going to rent a motor scooter. Now I had never been on the back of a motorcycle or motor scooter in my life, and I had already seen what the traffic was like and how narrow the roads were. I was scared to death. DH convinced me he knew what he was doing and had ridden motorcycles in his youth.

The Pompano provided a shuttle to the rental office and after watching DH ride around the track a few times, I got on and away we went. After a couple of miles, DH pointed out that I was holding him so tightly that I was cutting off the circulation to his legs. As we went a little farther, I finally relaxed a little and actually started to enjoy it, despite the fact that cars seemed to follow you so closely. We toured around, checked out the Fairmont Southampton – what a mega resort that is – went up to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and had a nice lunch at a British style pub, Henry VIII, located near the Wyndam. We then returned to the Pompano for another afternoon on the beach.

Despite our bad luck at the Reefs, we tried the dine-around program again. This time we went to Cambridge Beaches. We went by cab. I wasn’t about to do a motor scooter at night. What a totally different experience. The Maitre’D was very pleasant and gave us a lovely table on the patio overlooking the water. The food was superb and the service was excellent. If I didn’t like Pompano so much, Cambridge Beaches would certainly be the place I would want to stay.

The next day following breakfast, we jumped on the motor scooter and went to the Royal Navy Dockyard, where we picked up a ferry that took us on a 45 minute ride to St. George on the other end of the island. We did a walking tour of the old town and then had a nice lunch. Although the White Horse Tavern had been recommended in the tour books, it looked like a tourist trap and a local told us that the Tavern on the Sea had better food. It was very good and the place had a nice view of the harbor. We then jumped back on the ferry, returned to the Dockyard and went back to Pompano for a little more beach time and dinner, which again was excellent.

The next day, our final full day on the island, we returned to the Royal Navy Dockyard, checked out the shops (mostly tourist traps) and then toured the Dockyard itself. There were a lot of interesting displays representing the history of Bermuda. They also have a Dolphin Quest there where you can get into the water and swim with the dolphins. As we toured around the Dockyard, we were continued to be amazed at the fact that we had not seen any graffiti in Bermuda. More than that, as we toured through the buildings, we were amazed at the lack of security. It was quite different from any place else we have ever been.

After our tour of the Dockyard was over, we took off on the motor scooter to drive around quite a bit of the island and check out other beaches. There are a lot of lovely beaches in Bermuda. After that, it was back to Pompano and our last dinner there. The next morning was our final breakfast. We didn’t have to return the motor scooter as they come to the resort to pick them up. We checked out at 11:00 a.m. and took a cab to the airport. We were sad to be leaving Bermuda. It is a wonderful place, and the people are all so nice and friendly. We have already recommended it to our friends. We will definitely be back, and most likely will stay at Pompano again.
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Thanks for a great trip report. I am surprised the Reefs was a bad experience. We have stayed there and enjoyed it. I will look into a stay at Pompano in the future. It sounds very nice.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Great report. Thanks so much for posting.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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NotMe...it sounds like your now a BOP...Bermuda Obsessed Person... Now you know why we love Bermuda here in the Northeast.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the informative trip report. It sounds like you really enjoyed it. We haven't been to Bermuda yet, but now must add it to the list of places we should do, although riding on the back of a motor scooter sounds just a bit little scary to me.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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Glad to hear you enjoyed your escape to Paradise. I heard Trimingham's was going out of business. My favorite store. They will be missed.
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Old Jul 11th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Our first trip there is planned for the end of this month - can't wait - Thanks for the trip report !! We are staying at the Pompano, now I'm really excited. I just hope the weather is OK with all these early Hurricanes !
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. We are trying to decide between Bermuda and Hawaii for a winter va cation. We've never been to either. What do you think? We love nature and beautiful scenery. We don't like long plane rides,we fly out of Nashville. We're in our mid 50's and may take our 10 year old grandson. The motorcycle would appeal to us. Thanks
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Haney20

As between Hawaii and Bermuda, for a winter vacation, Hawaii would be your best bet. High season in Bermuda is between May and September. In winter it is cooler (in the 60s) and the water would be colder. The weather in Hawaii will be in the 80s, and the water will be warmer.

You also said you like nature and beautiful scenery. Hawaii has a lot of that. Kauai is our favorite island. There is a lot to do there with a 10 year old. In the winter, stay on the Poipu end of the island, and you should have good weather, and the water will be calmer on the beaches. Too bad it is such a long flight for you, but it would be worth it.

p.s. There are places where you can rent motorcyles on Kauai, but most people go for convertibles.
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 10:31 AM
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Thanks so much,NotMe. I didn't know the water and weather would be cool in Bermuda. I want it to be warm, Hawaii would be the better choice.
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