Apparently it is the women who choose the colour of the houses in Bermuda. And when wandering around the city in a taxi, on a bike, on the back of a scooter, you get the feeling the Bermudian ladies love their pastels. The palette includes lime greens, Wedgwood blues, canary yellows, and a panoply of pinks. This hilly landscape, dotted with sherbet-coloured houses, is contrasted with the island’s famous pink-sand beaches and the clear blue waters that draw legions of divers and snorkellers. With the highest concentration of golf courses in the world, golfers are equally spoiled. As expected, the locals do sport Bermuda shorts, often with a blazer and almost always with knee socks. But it is those same friendly Bermudians who give this island its true swagger.
A British island territory located in the North Atlantic Ocean at about the same latitude as Charleston, South Carolina, Bermuda has long had the reputation of being a vacation spot for the well-heeled. Tycoons like Silvio Berlusconi and Michael Bloomberg own palatial residences on the island, and when I asked my cab driver who might be the island’s most famous resident, without missing a beat he answered, “Michael Douglas.”
Despite draws like Crystal Cave, the most famous of the many subterranean caverns, and exquisite beaches like Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda struggles a bit with its identity as an old-school, old-money island. Yet there is plenty to offer travellers searching for a magical setting, culture, and fabulous food.
Accommodations range from the swanky, boutique hotel–style Newstead Belmont Hills overlooking Hamilton Harbour to Rosewood Tucker’s Point, located above the coral-pink beaches of Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. Fabulous, granted, but for a true taste of the dream Bermuda getaway, look no further than the cottage-colony resorts. With 94 cottages and suites in Sandys Parish, Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa offers individual lodgings as well as four private beaches, a spa, tennis courts, and water sport excursions that will take you well beyond the hotel’s exclusive, 30-acre peninsula setting on the southwest tip of the island.
A Bermudian breakfast is a must, and at the Paraquet Restaurant in Paget Parish that means eggs with a fish cake, avocado, and banana, or salt cod made with tomatoes and onions then served with potatoes and banana. But save room for the best lunch on the island: a fried fish sandwich at Woody’s Sports Bar, served with tartar sauce on toasted raisin bread.
For dinner, choose Marcus’ Bermuda, a terrific new restaurant by New York–based star chef Marcus Samuelsson located in the luxurious Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont managed property right in the heart of Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital city. Other top tables include Hamilton’s swish Devil’s Isle, where you can enjoy superb grilled local wahoo fish served on a bed of risotto. For a real local flavour, try the grilled Bermuda lobster plate at the aptly named My Favourite Place restaurant in St. George’s. Choose a table on the terrace overlooking the King’s Square, sip a few cocktails, and soak up the scene and the sunshine.