Arriving at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda was a royal experience—the stately flamingo pink building towers above its surroundings and the harbor, and inside bellhops and well-dressed guests bustled to and fro, clacking along the marble-tiled floor. Something delicious and expensive-smelling wafted through the air.
The Hamilton Princess is a five-star, privately owned, Fairmont-managed property in Hamilton. The hotel first opened in 1885, the year after Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise visited and became the inspiration behind the building’s “princess” name.
The Princess’s current owners bought it in 2012 and have been slowly renovating it ever since. Now, the luxe hotel features newly redone guest rooms, two outdoor pools, three on-site restaurants, a spa, a 60-berth marina, a retail corridor, and a private beach just a short ride away.
The Warhol-esque portraits of Queen Elizabeth behind the check-in desk turned out to be real Warhols as I came to grips with the magnitude of the art collection at the Princess—a Picasso in the lobby, a Haring on the way to the restroom.
And the art collection throughout the hotel is world class. The private collection of the owners, the compilation could belong to a gallery—but here, the works are presented in a lived-in way. Pieces from other modern and pop art giants like Henri Matisse, René Magritte, David Hockney, Banksy, Anish Kapoor, KAWS, and Takashi Murakami make this one of the most impressive art collections you can find outside a museum.
The hotel is large, with 386 guest rooms in total, including 45 suites and 13 junior suites. Guest rooms, while all newly renovated and similarly outfitted, come in variations—Fairmont rooms have bathtubs, while Garden View, Harbor View, and Bay View rooms all have private terraces. The top tier Fairmont Gold rooms and suites are in their own private wing and come with a designated concierge service and access to the private Fairmont Gold Lounge, which includes a patio and daily continental breakfast, afternoon tea, desserts, and an honor bar.
Accommodations have upscale modern amenities like walk-in showers, Nespresso coffee machines, and bluetooth speakers. I loved starting my mornings off slow with a coffee on the private balcony of my Signature room overlooking the harbor. Another elegant touch—the bathrooms have Le Labo toiletries in the scent Rose 31 (remember the pink exterior of the building?).
The Princess is an easy five-minute walk from pedestrian-friendly downtown Hamilton. About the size of downtown Newport, Rhode Island, Hamilton has endless attractions like restaurants, shopping, and nightlife—but you’ll only have to leave the property if you really want to.
Choose from three on-site dining options in the summertime—the breezy 1609 Restaurant & Marina Bar, offering a seafood-heavy lunch and dinner menu, closes for the offseason. Other dining spots are the casual all-day eatery Crown & Anchor, a contemporary venue with both indoor and outdoor dining that serves a buffet breakfast all the way through a late-night menu, and the newest dining concept, Intrepid, an upscale steak and raw bar spot.
Intrepid was named after one of the hotel’s more prominent guests: Sir William Stephenson, Ian Fleming’s inspiration behind James Bond. During World War II, Stephenson, code name “Intrepid,” headed the Allied Forces’ Atlantic censorship station located in the Hamilton Princess. Now a refined steakhouse with elegant Art Deco decor, Intrepid served my most memorable meal of the trip—a flavorful hamachi crudo, a super fresh halibut filet, and a lemon cheesecake for dessert.
Since the hotel is located in the heart of Bermuda’s capital, they don’t have a beach on site—a drawback they remedied in recent years with the purchase of a private beach club in Southampton. The hotel’s jitney shuttles back and forth from the beach several times a day, and the exclusive beach club has restrooms, umbrellas, towels, cabanas, seasonal food and drink service, walking trails, a white sand beach, and a crystal clear cove for swimming.
The jitney to and from the beach takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and the benefit of the commute is the quiet seclusion when you get out to the seashore, and getting to see a bit more of the beautiful island. In November the water was chilly, but the picturesque turquoise water and the bright sunny weather made it all worth it.
Because of its central location right in Hamilton, the Princess sees a ton of business travel. They have several function rooms ranging from traditional ballrooms with chandeliers to smaller boardrooms, and are currently adding four more function rooms geared towards events with 40 to 80 guests. Besides a steady flow of business guests, the Princess welcomes an increasing number of couples and families, drawn to its upscale amenities and great location.
More on amenities: One of the hotel’s pools is an infinity pool with a hot tub, and the other is adults only—both are heated with harbor views. The adults-only pool is right outside the fitness center and spa area. The Exhale spa offers fitness classes and a full spa menu of facials, massages, body scrubs, and nail services.
Between the hotel’s restaurants open to the Bermuda public, and the marina with dozens of berths, the property feels like a bustling, comfortable community meeting space. But head to one of the pools, sit in a cabana overlooking the harbor, or relax on your room’s terrace, and you’ll feel worlds away from the hubbub of daily life. The hotel provides a perfect jumping off point to easily explore the rest of Hamilton or the entire island, but I had everything I needed at my fingertips to just unwind quietly at the Princess.
For more information, visit thehamiltonprincess.com