If boutique bliss is what you’re seeking, the new
Newstead Bellmont Hills Resort & Spa (27 Harbour Rd., tel. 441/236-6060, reservations [at] belmonthills [dot] com, www.newsteadbelmonthills.com, $425 d, two-night minimum stay), promises harborfront serenity in an ultra-contemporary setting. Opened in 2008, it is the first new hotel to be built on the island in the last 35 years. Basic 450-square-foot “Deluxe” suites, calmly inviting with their oatmeal decor, have double beds, Bose sound systems, flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet access, IP phone service, and views of the harbor, which sits just feet away. Upgrades to “Studio Deluxe” include king beds, small kitchens, more space, and a waterfront balcony. One-, two- and three-bedroom suites have Jacuzzi tubs.
The property’s amenities include the Samahdi spa, Beau Rivage restaurant, two tennis courts, and an infinity pool that had Bermudians oohing and aahing even at the concept stage. Room and concierge service are also available, and a water taxi (7:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Sat.) can ferry guests across to Hamilton or to sister property Belmont Hills Resort & Golf Club. Under a special arrangement, Newstead guests are also able to use the Elbow Beach Hotel’s private beach facilities, accessible via a complimentary shuttle.
The fine Mandarin Oriental Elbow Beach Hotel (60 South Shore Rd., www.mandarinoriental.com/bermuda, tel. 441/236-3535, toll-free 800/223-7434, starting at $475 d) has poured millions of dollars into a redesign of many of its 235 rooms and suites over the past two years, but a bigger makeover is forecast. The hotel plans to shut down for up to two years for redevelopment—but not until at least 2010, the management promises. The 60-acre seafront property is one of Bermuda’s premier resorts, offering a wish list of amenities, including a deluxe spa, five top-rate tennis courts, a climate-controlled pool, fitness center, putting green, beauty salon, lobby shops, a summer-season Kids’ Club, a scuba outlet, and five restaurants. Among its rooms and suites, the hotel has 104 cottages set in the lush grounds, one- and two-bedroom beachfront suites, and a spectacular split-level penthouse ($4,000 per night), with Jacuzzi and private patios, where Arab sheikhs have stayed.
Luxury suites come with LCD flat-screen AV systems, limestone bathrooms, feather duvets, and private sundecks. More economical rooms in the main building include those facing the rear garden, available with king or twin beds ($475), high-speed Internet, 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, in-room safes, bathrobes and slippers, hair dryers, and Molton Brown beauty products. The property’s beach is its crown jewel, stretching outside the hotel in a pristine, half-mile arc linking to next-door Coral Beach. Between them, a public access section makes this a popular spot in the summer, but the hotel’s beach facilities (deck chairs, umbrellas, pedal boats, kayaks, snorkeling, showers, and changing rooms) are reserved for paying guests.
For anyone seeking a little more solitude than a hotel or guesthouse can offer, Grape Bay Cottages (Grape Bay Dr., off South Shore Rd., tel. 441/236-2515, fax 441/236-1194, 1–4 people $345 Apr.–Nov., $270 Nov.–Mar.) may offer the perfect solution. Two cottages, Beach Crest and Beach Home, each with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living/dining area, and one bathroom, sit on ultra-exclusive, absolutely tranquil Grape Bay Drive (address of millionaires and bigwigs, including the former U.S. consul general). Especially popular in summertime, the cottages lie just a few minutes from private Grape Bay Beach, and each has its own small garden and barbecue for self-catering. Other amenities include cable TV, phones, and air-conditioning.
Government-owned Coco Reef Resort (Stonington Circle, College Dr., off South Shore Rd., tel. 441/236-5416, fax 441/236-0371, www.cocoreefbermuda.com, starting at $490 d) is an oceanfront resort with 60 units plus two one-bedroom suites, including a lobby with a 50-foot atrium and crystal skylight. With far fewer facilities or high-end amenities, the property isn’t in the same league as neighboring Elbow Beach Hotel, but rates are slightly lower and the beach outside is shared with the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Coco Reef has two free-use tennis courts, a heated swimming pool overlooking the ocean, a bar and restaurant, and wireless and high-speed Internet service in the lobby, bar, and terrace areas. It continues to serve as a training ground for students of hospitality enrolled at Bermuda College, a junior college next door that awards associate’s degrees.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition