A luxury retreat in a land of palm trees and pink-sand beaches
By Jill Becker
The island of Bermuda is known for its spectacular pink beaches. But there’s something else that’s pink on this idyllic, 20-square-mile sanctuary that deserves equal recognition: the gorgeous Fairmont Southampton resort.
Situated atop the second highest point on the island, the 593-room lodging stands out as a beacon of luxury amid a 100-acre estate that includes an 18-hole executive golf course and its own private beach.
Bermuda’s largest hotel, and also boasting the largest rooms on the island, has everything you need and more for a tropical getaway. Each room includes a balcony affording panoramic views, a marble bathroom, walk-in closet and traditional British colonial decor highlighted by beachy accents.
Opened in 1972, the Fairmont Southampton has attracted a host of notable guests over the years, from Bill Cosby and George H.W. Bush to the Saudi royal family—fun fact: the latter had fresh lamb’s milk flown in each day during their stay. The man behind the hotel was an American shipping magnate named Daniel Ludwig, who also owned its sister property, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, for a while before both were bought by Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1998 and then taken over by Fairmont the following year.
Southampton’s sister hotel is a historic property dating back to 1885, but it’s located closer to the main hub of Hamilton, so it’s frequented more so by business travelers rather than those here on vacation. Even so, it’s the Fairmont Southampton itself that features the country’s largest convention and meeting facilities, so it’s still perfect for a destination wedding, company retreat or any other occasion requiring catering and other services.
Given its full-service 31,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa, it’s also ideal for a girlfriends’ getaway. You could easily while away an entire afternoon at the spa, enjoying some of its many health- and beauty-oriented treatments, having lunch by the indoor pool, sunning yourself on a chaise by the outdoor hot tub, detoxing in the sauna, or working out in the fully-equipped fitness room. In addition to group exercise classes, the spa offers a free early-morning yoga class down on the beach and can also set you up with a private trainer.
The Southampton does include a supervised kids’ program called Explorer’s Camp, so you may run into some little ones at the pool, the game room, or elsewhere on the grounds, but it’s easy enough to find some peace and quiet, especially if you opt for a room on the Fairmont Gold level, which accommodates a more mature, less-family-oriented crowd. Guests staying on the Gold level enjoy their own private check-in and concierge, as well as a special lounge serving free beverages (adult and otherwise), a deluxe continental breakfast, and a selection of hors d’oeuvres throughout the day.
Speaking of food, the Southampton enjoys a handful of eateries ranging from poolside to posh. One of them, the popular Waterlot Inn, is located at the bottom of the hill, next to the Fairmont’s waterside lounge the Dock, and is reachable on foot or by regular hotel trolley service. Menu standouts here are the prime aged steaks and chops, but you also won’t want to miss the melt-in-your-mouth onion rings (made with Bermuda onions, which are slightly sweeter than the ones you’re used to), made-to-order Caesar salads and a decadent dessert called sticky toffee pudding. Recently opened on the lobby level of the hotel is the Newport, a lively gastropub featuring a charcuterie station and fresh raw bar, along with a notable selection of handcrafted draft beers. By the way, if you go, be sure and try a Dark and Stormy or a Rum Swizzle, the island’s signature cocktails, both of which contain the locally made Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. (Word of warning: They’re stronger than they taste.)
But try not to indulge too much if you can help it, because you’ll want to be bathing-suit-ready to hit the beach and enjoy those beautiful pink sand beaches.
Fairmont Southampton Bermuda
Bermuda is one of the few places in the world where visitors cannot rent a car to get around. (You can rent mopeds.) So you have to take a taxi to the hotel. The cab ride from the Bermuda International Airport to the hotel will take about 35 minutes and cost about $40.
Fun ‘Been There’ Tip…
Want to have high tea at the hotel’s sister property, the historic Fairmont Hamilton Princess? There’s a free ferry that shuttles guests between the two hotels. It takes about 25 minutes each way and offers a scenic glimpse of the island.
-Photos Courtesy Fairmont Southampton Bermuda
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