Jess and Claire in Bermuda
Posted: 15 May 2015
My colleague, Claire Meredith, and I arrived at London Gatwick and went straight to the British Airways Club Lounge where I enjoyed a lovely glass of wine and snacks, including an array of fancy sandwiches. It was a great was to chill out before the flight and with complimentary wi-fi too, the time soon passed. When we boarded the aircraft and settled in to our Club ‘pods’ we were given a lovely, chilled glass of Champagne to sip while we perused the menu. It was the smoked mackerel pate and poached lemon prawns that tempted me, then I sat back and enjoyed the selection of in-flight entertainment.
As we descended into Bermuda airport, even through the tiny plane window I caught a glimpse of what beauty awaited us. As Claire and I were driven to The Fairmont Southampton we sat in silence for the whole journey as we were completely in awe of what we saw. We stopped at Horseshoe Bay which is renowned as one of the world’s top ten beaches and I could not believe the vivid colours. The sea was so turquoise that it was like something out of a film and the stunning pink powdery sand was to die for. Even though The Fairmont Southampton is the biggest on the island (over 600 rooms), I certainly couldn’t tell on pulling up outside, as there stood a regal, pink pastel building. We checked in and were taken up to our big and beautifully furnished third floor rooms that had stunning ocean views and a large bathroom with double vanity and bath. There waiting for us both was a welcome gift of two miniature bottles of signature Goslings Rum and two cans of ginger beer so we could sample Bermuda’s world famous ‘Dark and Stormy’ cocktail. We then went to the Jasmine Lounge − that we were advised was one of the best bars on island − which had a buzzing atmosphere and a live local band playing. We ordered a cocktail and food from the American-style bar menu. We both went with the sliders − I had tuna and Claire had pulled pork, both with sweet potato fries. I couldn’t believe the size of the portions, they were extremely generous and for something so simple, the dishes were particularly tasty!
The next day we arrived at Windows on the Sound to have our breakfast and treated ourselves with Eggs Benedict and freshly made juice. We then set off for our tour of the hotel; we got to see it in its entirety, from the club lounge to the Italian restaurant, Bacci. We then met with our Guide for our trip, Chris, who was so informative − I think I know more about Bermuda now than I do the UK! We then arrived at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa and were met by Richard Quinn, the General Manager, who really lights up the resort. He is such a character and gets to know each guest like the back of his hand. We saw the ‘repeaters board’, where the name of every returning guest is written, as well as the newly renovated Pool Suites that have a private pool with stunning views over the ocean. We enjoyed lunch at Tucker’s , the poolside restaurant, where I enjoyed the staple ‘fish sandwich’ which did not disappoint, we could have sat and listened to Richard all day, but we had to move on.
We departed Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa and made our way to the Masterworks Museum with our Guide, Chris, with a few stop offs on the way including Somerset Bridge which is the smallest drawbridge in the world. We then made our way to Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton and Chris had some stories to tell! There is a 92-year-old man, Johnny Barnes, who every morning from 5.30am to 10.30am, without fail, greets every single car coming in and out of the city. There is a little island roundabout which he used to stand on (he has been doing this for sixty years), but there has been a bench and handrail built for him so that he can still continue to welcome everybody. They have even honoured him by having a statue made of him in Hamilton.
We checked in to The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and my One Bedroom Suite had a separate lounge area and huge bathroom with sunken bath and separate shower. We were very kindly given club access and had a few drinks in the club lounge and then, on our driver’s recommendation, we strolled into Hamilton and ate at the locals’ favourite restaurant, The Lobster Pot, where we both had Coquilles St Jacques which was to die for.
The next day, after breakfast at Harley’s restaurant, we met our Guide who showed us around this city hotel. We saw everything from the newly under construction Presidential Suites to the 1609 restaurant with uninterrupted views of Hamilton Harbour. We then departed Hamilton to the Swizzle Inn − another great bar in Bermuda. It was like nothing I’ve seen before, every inch of the ceiling, table, walls and chairs were covered in signatures − everybody that has ever been in the Swizzle has to make their mark. I, of course, left my business card pinned on the mirror − it was amazing to see business cards from all round the world. We were ordered to try the world famous ‘Swizzle’ cocktail which not until our last day did we realise its main ingredient is three types of rum! We ordered a pitcher and nachos, we went with the junior portion, however it was still the biggest plate of food I have ever seen!
We then went to Crystal Caves and had a guided tour; it’s a fascinating attraction, made up of pristine white stalactites covered in crystallised soda straws that are affixed to the roof of the cave. We then check in to Rosewood Tucker’s Point. As soon as you drive up to this hotel you see the grandeur of the surroundings and the private houses on this estate look like something out of a movie. We were met on arrival with a glass of fruit punch (non alcoholic) and straight away you can feel the true beauty of this stunning hillside location, with its breathtaking views over the ocean. We were then escorted to our Manor House Deluxe Queen room; even though we were on the first floor our view from our room was amazing. Stunningly decorated rooms, still very traditional and Colonial, but so elegant with free standing bath and double doors into the bedroom to take in the views. We spent what we had left of our day on our balcony soaking up the sun and the views. That night we ventured out to Tucker’s Bar where we had a light snack (as we had eaten so much at the Swizzle Inn) and we both had the tuna tartar which was gorgeous.
On our penultimate day in this beautiful destination, we enjoyed breakfast at The Point which is the fine dining restaurant next door to Tucker’s Bar. There is an amazing historic story behind the mural here. It was originally commissioned by Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan American World Airways and hung in the Sky Club of the Pan Am Building in New York. When the building closed in 2005 it was auctioned and Juan’s son Ed was sadly outbid, but by a stroke of fate the winning bidder withdrew and Ed acquired the artwork, transporting the panels to Bermuda to grace his own venture, Tucker’s Point. We then met up with our Guide the lovely, Ed, who showed us around this serene resort. The first stop was SENSE, a Rosewood Spa® with its reflecting pool (an iconic image that is used on the key cards) and wide array of spa brands including the famous perfumery in St George, Lili Bermuda. They also have a unique shower experience ‘The Silver TAG Shower’ that has computer-controlled shower heads that customise the water temperature for different parts of the body, all operated by touch screen. There are only seven of these in the world and Tucker’s is the only hotel to have one in the western hemisphere. We then took a buggy to the Beach Club, as soon as you get a glimpse of the setting you are mesmerised. We had lunch at Sur Mer of Chicken Mango Salad which was recommended by the General Manager and was amazing − probably the tastiest salad I have ever eaten and one of the best views I have ever seen. We then visited St Georges, the original capital of Bermuda, with plenty of quaint little shops and history. We then went to Tobacco Bay which is a huge tourist attraction and a firm favourite with the cruise ship visitors, as the bay is extremely shallow and protected from the wind. That night, as it was our last, we treated ourselves with dinner at The Point at Rosewood Tucker’s Point, where I had some of the freshest fish I have ever eaten. I had a gorgeous salmon starter, followed by the ‘catch of the day’ with king crab risotto and Greek yoghurt parfait to finish.
On our final morning, we enjoyed another gorgeous breakfast at The Point and packed our cases. On the way to the airport we went to see The Reef’s, which is a gorgeous family-run resort in an idyllic setting with stunning views. Then with heavy hearts, we departed for the airport and set off for home.