While on a recent excursion to Bermuda, I often felt in awe of the island’s beauty. After touch-down, a 30-minute taxi ride transported my wife and me from the airport to the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club in the nation’s capital city. Throughout the journey, I felt like I was whisking through the winding roads of a children’s pop-up storybook, with homes in bright pinks, blues, and yellows, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear ocean beaches.
The 386-room hotel, built in the 1880s, is the oldest estate in the global Fairmont portfolio. Dubbed the “pink palace”, make sure to pack your favorite pink outfits to capture glamorous Instagram-worthy shots. A favorite part of the everything-pink property was a quick jitney ride away: The Princess Beach Club. The picturesque private cove boasts soft, white sand and calm, turquoise ocean water, which is ripe for relaxation, a quick swim, or paddleboarding.
Another highlight of the property was its surprisingly deep art collection. From works by Pablo Picasso, Yoshitomo Nara, KAWS, Banksy, and more, the space resembles an exclusive museum-quality art gallery. But within the Princess Hotel, the pop culture and contemporary work immerse guests as they check in, dine at in-house restaurants Crown & Anchor and Intrepid Bermuda, and mill about the lobby. A guided tour with local art docent Lisa Howie helped me fully appreciate the eclectic and expansive collection.
The property’s restaurants also shine. For dinner at Crown & Anchor, start with a platter of crispy calamari or pumpkin soup. For a main, try the orecchiette pasta doused in creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, olive tapenade, and parmesan. The grilled salmon also impresses. Intrepid Bermuda’s ambiance sets the scene for a delightful meal. I went all in with the starters, enjoying the oysters, Intrepid Roll, and crispy pork belly; all were delectable. If you’re lucky enough for the day’s catch to be halibut, it is a must-try. The 10-ounce prime striploin was also cooked to perfection. Finally, the lemon meringue cheesecake is a dessert not to be missed.
For more low-key meals in downtown Hamilton, the Specialty Inn is reportedly a favorite of frequent Bermuda visitors Clint Eastwood and John Travolta. The Pickled Onion is another island go-to for upscale casual fare.
When I wasn’t relaxing at The Princess Beach Club, I was exploring Bermuda’s Crystal and Fantasy Caves, which hold deep underground pools of azure water, impressive rock formations, and mesmerizing ceilings with rare chandelier-style crystal clusters. The experience is incomplete without walking around the corner to the Swizzle Inn for a pitcher of the island’s signature drink, the Rum Swizzle. Pair it with the famous wahoo nuggets or conch fritters and your afternoon is authentically Bermudian. If golf is your game, the island has the world’s most golf courses per capita. The Port Royal Golf Course, home to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship golf tournament, is a popular choice. The 16th hole, situated on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is a signature view.
A final note: There’s no need to fear the Bermuda Triangle when traveling to the Princess Hotel. The enchanting island of Bermuda itself was the only otherworldly presence I encountered on my magical sojourn.
Stimulated Senses by the Sea
Jody Grant, the co-founder of Texas Capital Bank and chairman of Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, has visited Bermuda about 10 times in the last dozen years. “Bermuda stimulates all the senses,” he says. “The sea breeze, the tropical plants in beautiful English gardens, and the architecture are uniquely Bermudian. The homes and buildings are all wonderful pastel colors.” For fine dining on the island, Grant recommends Tom Moore’s Tavern and enjoys the Bermuda fish chowder with black rum. Two must-see spots, Grant says, are “St. Peter’s Church, the oldest continuously used Protestant church site in the ‘New World’ and St. George’s Town and Parish, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites—they shouldn’t be missed.”