Earlier this summer, we spent a long weekend in Bermuda for a good friend’s stunning wedding at the Rosewood Bermuda. I’ve referred to this episode of the Women Who Travel podcast before, but this wedding was one of the examples of times that we’ve gotten to plan a trip around a friend’s nuptials. Seriously, there’s nothing better than a wedding to give me an excuse to plan a vacay (that’s why we went to both Healdsburg and Carmel-by-the-Sea!).
But, of course, you know I also can’t resist an excuse to write a travel guide, so those of you who have been considering a trip to Bermuda, you’re in luck. Bermuda had it’s hey-day during the glamorous 1950s-1960s when travel was a luxury and the fashionable East Coast set was jetting and cruising across the Atlantic, but it seems that millennials are rediscovering this tiny and colorful island in the middle of the ocean.
A LITTLE ABOUT SPENDING A WEEKEND IN BERMUDA
Bermuda is a colorful island that is hands down the cleanest, most pristine place that I’ve visited. The locals are friendly, the pink beaches are picture-perfect, and the rum swizzles are strong. It’s an easy long weekend trip from anywhere on the East Coast and, while it’s a small island, there are several different areas that you can visit (tourists can’t rent cars, so choose where you want to go and stick with it!). We stayed in Hamilton, but you can also stay in St. George’s, Southampton, Warwick, Pembroke, and Elbow Beach among others.
And, a literal note on spending: Bermuda is expensive. Everything has to be imported, so don’t expect to find many budget-friendly options. We went in expecting to spend money—and we did. (Funny enough, the one steal throughout our trip was when Adam found a lone Barbour jacket on clearance for $80 in an upscale mens’ store—and it was his size!)
HOW TO GET TO BERMUDA
Okay, so Bermuda is NOT in the Caribbean. Maybe all you geography experts realized that, but I 100% assumed it was much, much further south. In reality, it’s in the Atlantic Ocean, parallel with the Carolinas. Yes, that means it’s a hop, skip, and a jump away from the East Coast—you’re looking at less than 2 hours to most cities in the mid-Atlantic.
We had a direct flight from DCA to BDA on American Airlines. It seriously couldn’t have been easier, which is probably why I ran into multiple people I knew on our flight—and, no, they weren’t headed to the same wedding.
WHERE TO STAY IN BERMUDA
Bermuda has no shortage of resorts, but we were going the budget-friendly route, so we found a charming boutique hotel right on the outskirts of downtown. The Royal Palms is about half the price of most of the resort rooms you’ll find, yet it’s everything you could want in an island hotel—plus, one of the best restaurants on the island, Ascots Restaurant, happens to be there!
Housed in a former private home (I would have LOVED to see this as one house!), the beachy-pink Royal Palms has 32 rooms spread between two buildings on its tropical grounds. I couldn’t get enough of walking through the palm tree and twinkly-light lined sidewalks listening to the tree frogs chirp in the evening. We stayed in one of the smaller rooms, yet it had plenty of room for a 3-night stay and you seriously couldn’t tear me away from the window seat.
An extensive buffet breakfast was included in our stay, which was clutch given how expensive Bermuda is—though, perhaps, I could have done without waffles every day. Hey, when on vacation, right?! We were on-the-go throughout most of our trip, but we did make time each afternoon for at least a quick dip in the pool on the hotel grounds.
If you do want to go to the resort route, the Hamilton Princess, often known as the Pink Palace, is a perennial favorite, and Rosewood Bermuda is a splurge-worthy destination for a special occasion. And, if you decide to stay on another part of the island, my friend Monica Dutia wrote a review of The Reefs in Southampton.
WHEN TO GO AND HOW TO PACK
Because Bermuda isn’t a tropical island, it doesn’t stay hot year-round. This isn’t your New Year’s destination if you’re looking to lay out on the beach drinking pina coladas. You’ll want to go between April and October for a traditional island vacation.
So, what should you pack? Clothes to stay cool in. Baby, it’s hot outside. I was in sundresses, a straw hat, or a bathing suit 90% of the time I was there (remember, I also had to get dolled up for a black-tie wedding). However, because it’s a British colony, Bermuda also has a sense of formality, so, if you want to get dressed up, island-style, for dinner, you won’t look out of place.
WHAT TO DO DURING A WEEKEND IN BERMUDA
As we left Bermuda, Adam and I both agreed that we’d love to do a three-day weekend where we pick a resort and just hang out there and relax in the beauty of the island for a few days (neither of us is a big beach person, but we could appreciate a long weekend—particularly when it’s so close!). However, we kept ourselves going on this trip, and still had things on our list that we didn’t get a chance to check off.
- One morning, we got up early and took a ferry to the Royal Navy Dockyard. A bit touristy, yes, but it was cool to see the islands and the dockyards from the water. And, it led us to our next destination…
- I can’t recommend a visit to the National Museum of Bermuda enough. The museum tells the story of Bermuda from its earliest days, when it was founded as a British penal colony, through its role in World War II, and on to present day. I knew nothing about the island’s history and was enthralled by both the exhibits, as well as the historic building itself.
- If you’re into shopping, you’ll find plenty of it in Bermuda. From resort wear to British brands, there are shops lining the waterfront (and aptly named) Front Street in Hamilton.
- The bride and groom whose wedding we went to brought all the guests together on Sunday to go out on a boat for the day and, not surprisingly, there’s no better way to see the turquoise waters that surround the island than by boat. While we know I won’t get in the water (sharks!!), I did have a blast paddle boarding around the crystal clear waters.
Things we didn’t get to, but would like to visit next time: Crystal Caves and more beach time!
WHAT TO EAT IN BERMUDA
To be honest, if you’re looking for a culinary adventure, you’re not going to find it in Bermuda, so my restaurant recommendations will be limited. But, we did have the best wedding food that either of us has ever had at the Rosewood, so I’m imagining their restaurants are top-notch. When it came to other meals, here are a few we enjoyed:
- Devil’s Isle: serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, this cozy spot has great seafood (see pictured below!) and a warm, slightly nautical ambiance. It gets busy, but try to grab a seat in the front window for prime people-watching.
- Marcus: this recommendation comes with reservations. We didn’t love it. But, it was recommended by so many people that I’m including it here just in case you’re staying at the Hamilton and want an easy dinner option. Food aside, the view is wonderful and the art collection is amazing.
- Mickey’s Bistro: We wanted to find somewhere right on the pink sand beaches to have one last meal before departing the island. There aren’t many spots right on the beach, but this one, at Elbow Beach Resort, is.
- Bulli Social: this place was just what we needed when we first strolled into Hamilton starving. Still not sure how poutine is a Bermudian thing, but I’ll take it.
A FEW LAST TIPS FOR A WEEKEND IN BERMUDA
Like I said, Bermuda is the easiest weekend trip you’ll find if you’re looking for paradise within close proximity to the East Coast, but expect to pay a premium for that convenience. If you’re a first-timer traveling, it’s a spot that will make you feel like home—everyone speaks English and most places take American dollars. Plus, the cleanliness and order certainly help ease anxious travelers.
Have more questions about planning a trip to Bermuda? Feel free to leave a comment or reach out! I’d also love to hear other recommendations because we will 100% be back!