Weekend in bermuda - trip report

Jul 6th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,560
Weekend in bermuda - trip report

Yes, we found our moongate and took a repeat photo from our honeymoon - thanks to all who responded to my question on that! Arrived with no issues via US Air thru PHL. Hotel was Grape Bay Hotel and was supposedly just renovated. Our room must have been missed!! When I arrived at our hotel at the designated check-in time, the room was not ready (this is a 24 room hotel). I waited 2 hours for the room!! Not a happy camper at that point, but what the heck, I was on vacation. We paid extra for an deluxe ocean view room...yes, we could see the ocean but the immedate view was of the restaurant roof top and the cracked, peeling sidewalk and wall behind it as well. what the heck, I'm on vacation! Took a shower, it leaked and the entire bathroom floor was flooded, the sink faucets were very loose and also flooded the countertop when used and the toilet had to be jiggled to reset each time. I'm on vacation....why is nothing working as planned??? Registered my concerns with the front desk and headed out for a cab to Hamilton. DH was arriving quite late that night so I had a couple of hours to just walk and try to remember what it was like many years ago. First, the traffic is very intense. Even the roundabouts are backed up and the cab driver said there was a possibility of allowing tourists to rent cars in the future!! Not a good idea. Triminghams and Smiths are out of business and there are a lot of boutiques on Front Street with familiar names - Max Mara, etc. Not the same quaint British atmosphere we loved. I had dinner at the Hog Penny - excellent pasta and glass of wine and headed back to the hotel. DH arrived around 11pm and we crashed.

Day 2 - Pouring rain but that did not stop us. We grabbed a shuttle to Oleander Cycles and rented scooters. the young man immediately assumed that we would want only one and instructed my husband on all the workings. When we explained that we wanted 2 scooters, he went thru the process again for me and again and again. OK, I'm blonde but not that stupid. Took off on our respective scooters and stopped in Hamilton for breakfast. Walked a bit, shopped a bit and then headed out to the Royal Dockyards. The day was brightening up a bit weather wise. We made our way from one end of the dockyards to the other. Sampled the rum cakes...and ended up at the Frog and Onion pub just as the world cup match between Portugal and UK was going into penalty kicks. Great fun to watch! It was again pouring rain by the time we left so we bought ponchos and gutted it out. Tried to have dinner at the hotel that evening but were told the restaurant was booked with a large group. The place was vacant and the group was not arriving for another 90 minutes but they refused to seat us. Hey, this is vacation!!! So, we hopped on the scooters and went to the Swizzle Inn. Not too crowded, good pub fare and the excellent swizzles they are known for!

Day 3 - Bright and sunny!!!! On the scooters and off to St Georges. Since this was Sunday, many shops were closed. We lost our way and found so many little winding roads and hidden treasures that would have been missed otherwise. Had lunch at the White Horse - right on the water and so pleasant. It was some sort of celebration day for Portugal so we stayed for the parade and given their recent success in world cup, it was on steroids! Stopped at a couple of beaches on our way back, drove thru the ramshackle and deserted ex-Club Med/Holiday Inn/whatever hotel on the shore (such a shame to see!!!). Back to the hotel and off to dinner at Tom Moore's Tavern. Truly a highlight with outstanding food and service. DH had grouper and I had a mushroom studel that was fabulous. Back at the hotel, we tried to sit on the balcony and enjoy the 'view' but the restaurant staff was taking breaks just below us and smoking. Ughhhh

Day 3 - A mixed bag weather-wise. We headed up the south shore road and had breakfast at Le Paraquet. Its a little local type place with good food and quick service. From there, to Gibbs Lighthouse and then on to the Royal Dockyards again to pick up some glass we'd bought. Had a quick soda there and took the ferry over to Hamilton. Lunch at Flannagan's (nice view and again, decent food). Zipped out to Tucker town and found the most incredible beach....Windsor. Huge, quiet and only 5 of us there. Vegged out and then wound our way back towards the hotel. Dinner that night was at Elbow Beach (our honeymoon hotel). So nice, excellent food, romantic. A great way to end the trip.

Day 4 - returned the scooters and off to the airport.

Comments - Grape Bay was not a place I'd ever return to. The room was shabby, staff was indifferent and their idea of a continental breakfast was a joke. Most of the people we talked to who were also staying there were not pleased but had made plans at the last minute as had we. No maintenance was done even after we told them twice about the problems in the bathroom, manager was not on duty over the weekend at all or even accessible.

Bermuda is expensive - expect $50 for lunch at a pub with no liquor. There are no free refills on soda or iced tea - and those are about $4 each to begin with. A 15% gratuity is added automatically. Petrol for the scooters was about $4/liter - very pricey. A cab to hamilton was $10 each way, the airport about $30.

Shopping is not quite what we remembered. The British atmosphere is still there but many shops carry the same US Brands as we'd find here - Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. Very congested, much more commercialized.

yes, we will return within a few years. However, this time, we'll stay at either Elbow Beach or rent an apartment.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,080
Thanks for posting your report, cmeyer. It echoes what I have heard about Grape Bay. What a disappointment, but your attitude is great! Glad you had a good visit. Happy anniversary.
cmcfong is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,098
we could see the ocean but the immedate view was of the restaurant roof top and the cracked, peeling sidewalk and wall behind it as well. what the heck, I'm on vacation!

Love the great attitude cmeyer! It goes well with what seems like a Murphy's Law vacation.

I'm glad you didn't hold this potentially bad experience against the whole island of Bermuda and cross it off your list of future vacation spots!
JAGIRL is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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We really love Bermuda having been there three times before but always stayed at Elbow Beach. This was a bit of an eye opener....the hotel description sounded ok but the reality was quite different and it wasn't exactly cheap.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,567
Thanks for the trip report. We've never been to Bermuda, would love to. Quick flight from NJ for us. Sorry about the hotel! I must say you have a much better attitude about it than I would! Thanks again for posting.
caribtraveler is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 240
A very nice report. Next time you might want to check out tripadvisor.com so at least you have some other guests opinions before you stay in a new place. In fact, it would be very helpful to others if you would post your comments about Grape Bay on that site.
NotMe is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,334
We love Bermuda and will be going for the 11th time by a cruise ship.. NCL Majesty which stays docked in St. George.. We have our hotel (clean room--sea views), our food and can eat out if we like anywhere and those who want to rent mopeds can do it.. and there is nothing like those little windy roads for walking in St. George. Yes, Bermuda isnt what it used to be...it's changing and not for the better....As long as the Swizzle Inn is there... life will be good.
ParrotMom is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 423
'Sorry to hear that you had some disappointment with Bermuda as well as some high spots. Quick comments:

Yes, read Tripadvisor.com for any hotel insights. I find it easier, and more extensive, than fodors.com.

A reminder to anyone visiting Bermuda: remember that this is a small rock in the middle of the Atlantic (well okay, a number of coral islands and rock.) The point: the island is too small to seld-sustain the number of people who live and visit here, so much has to be imported. That affects room rates, the price of restaurant meals, etc. Further, while there are income disparities, you don't find the grinding poverty that exists on some Caribbean islands. This means that prices will not be cheap on Bermuda. However, they can be acceptable if you want a lovely stay.
madameX is offline  

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