When the British sailing ship The Sea Venture wrecked on a tiny island in the Atlantic in 1609, England’s loss quickly proved to be a fortuitous accident. Once the “dreadful storme, an Hell of Darkness,” as one of the survivors wrote in his diary, had passed and most of the ship’s complement sailed on to the fledgling colony of Jamestown, Virginia, a few adventurers remained and settled what is now the beautiful island of Bermuda.
Four centuries later, this lovely sub-tropical archipelago of 181 islands that are warmed by the Gulf Stream has cast off its turbulent beginnings and become a magnet for jetsetters and honeymooners seeking a fun, relaxed, romantic, and sophisticated escape.
Located 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina, an easy two-hour flight from many U.S. East Coast cities, Bermuda successfully blends luxe hotels and resorts with top-notch dining, golfing, spa-going, and shopping in an alluring vision of coral pink sand beaches, rainbow-colored villas, and emerald green golf courses.
No need to hire a car for exploring, as taxis, buses, and ferries are both plentiful and reasonably priced.The island’s original railway track, linking the East and West Ends of the island, is now a wonderfully scenic walking and cycling trail, and several island cruises operate from Hamilton, Bermuda’s bustling capital.
Not surprisingly, the island’s unique and iconic pink sand is the major draw. The best beaches lie along the south shore; Elbow, Church Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Jobson’s Cove, and Warwick Long Bay beaches are all gorgeous settings to sink your toes in the powdery sand, swim in aquamarine water, and enjoy a sunset cocktail.
It seems only fitting that an island born of a “dreadful storme” should name its national drink the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a lip-smacking cocktail comprising Gosling’s Black Seal Rum topped with Bermuda ginger beer and a wedge of lime. Rest assured, apart from an occasional rain cloud, it’s the only dark and stormy thing you’ll see on this extraordinarily beautiful island. gotobermuda.com
Where to Stay
Perched on one of the island’s best pink sand beaches, Elbow Beach Bermuda is a world-class resort with 98 rooms and suites nestled in 50 acres of lush gardens. Part of the Mandarin Oriental portfolio, the hotel offers five restaurants and bars, the tranquil Spa at Elbow Beach, and a free-form swimming pool with five brand new Poolside Spa Cabanas.
60 South Shore Road; 441-236-3535; mandarinoriental.com/bermuda.
Where to Eat
Enjoy cocktails, dining, and dancing at the Rumbar and Victoria Grill.
29 Victoria Street, Hamilton; 441- 296-5050; victoria-grill.com
Have a fun pub lunch at the boisterous Swizzle Inn, then walk to the spectacular Crystal Caves
3 Blue Hole Hill; 441-293-1854; swizzleinn.com
Coconuts at The Reefs is the perfect rendezvous for a romantic dinner overlooking the beach
56 South Road; 441-238-0222; thereefs.com
What To Do
Explore quaint and historic St. George’s, located at the East End of the island, as well as its beautiful St. Peter’s Church.
Shop for souvenirs at the Royal Naval Dockyard, now home to many unique and talented Bermudian artisans.
West End; 441 234 1709; thewestend.bm
Tee off at Rosewood Tucker’s Point and Port Royal, two of the island’s top 18-hole golf courses.