As tourism to Bermuda began to wane in popularity in the 80s and 90s, my age contemporaries began flocking to the Caribbean and Mexico for their beach vacations. The recession of 2008 was nearly a death knell. Posh hotels and resorts in Bermuda that were once trendy tourist destinations fell into disrepair, and new business investments and developments were few and far between.
Bermuda is back!
So imagine how delighted we were to recently return for a long weekend and to find the island vibrant and welcoming, obviously refreshed but still retaining its traditional charm – a mix of British history and Bermudian traditions.
Shaped like a fishhook, the ”island” is actually a chain (archipelago) of seven major islands. Only 1½ miles wide, its endless shoreline is lined with dramatic cliffs and small coves. Wherever visitors find themselves, they’ll happen upon secluded beaches with pink sands and infinite opportunities to enjoy most types of water sports.
It’s a place where everyone has a boat or knows someone who does, so sailing events and races have a long tradition.
But the recent selection of Bermuda to host the 35th America’s Cup for the first time has been a game-changer – literally and figuratively. Albeit on a smaller scale – the impact is reminiscent of how Barcelona’s hosting of the 1992 Summer Olympics changed that city forever.
Qualifying and practice events have been going on for months leading up to this legendary international race – but the 35th America’s Cup will take place on Bermuda’s Great Sound between May 26th and June 27th.
The excitement of the America’s Cup has generated excitement among locals, visitors and investors alike, which is proving to be a real boon for tourism.
Transformation of “The Pink Palace”
One example of this transformation is the recent $100 million facelift of the 130-year-old Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. This legendary property sits on picturesque Hamilton Harbor, within easy walking distance of downtown restaurants and shops.
Affectionately nicknamed “The Pink Lady,” the luxury resort has newly renovated rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art 60-boat marina, an infinity pool overlooking the harbor, and a full-service spa.
As part of the renovation, the property developed a partnership with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has taken over the helm of its signature restaurant, Marcus’.
An easy weekend jaunt…
We had forgotten how close Bermuda is to the East Coast, less than a two-hour plane ride from New York.
There are so many reasons, old and new, to visit Bermuda but the America’s Cup provides a perfect excuse to plan a vacation getaway coinciding with this historic event.
What’s appealing to the over-50 traveler?
- Bermuda’s proximity to the East Coast makes air travel easy.
- The sophistication, rich history and low crime rate of Bermuda will be particularly appealing to discerning over-50 travelers.
- The island offers opportunities for both relaxation and soft adventure.
- English is the official language.
- Temperatures are temperate throughout the year.
- Like England, driving is on the left side of the road.
- Because of the risks entailed in left-sided driving (especially with numerous rental mopeds also on the roads), visitors are not permitted to rent cars. (There are plenty of taxis, however.)
- Food and lodging are relatively expensive but many accommodations offer discounted packages.
- Bermuda has an active hurricane season between June and November.
Learn more about The America’s Cup
IF YOU GO
As the host hotel for the 2017 America’s Cup, the Hamilton Princess has launched a time-limited “America’s Cup Match Package” (available June 17-18 and 24-25). It comes with two spectator boat passes for one of the matches during the finals.
Be sure to get the whole scoop on the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda, published on FlightNetwork!
*All photo credits: Jerome Levine (except lead photo)
The author’s visit to Bermuda was hosted by Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
Share GOT on Pinterest!