It could be the sensuous blue-green waters, coral pink sandy shores, warm, friendly people, or it’s deliciously British-influenced culture, but you just can’t beat Bermuda for delivering one of the best vacations on the East Coast.
Maybe you didn’t get to take a summer vacation? Or you’ve heard that Bermuda is outrageously unaffordable? Whatever your reason for not visiting this magical place before, the fall is a great time to experience Bermuda at a discount.
According to Bermuda’s Director of Tourism Billy Griffith, not only does the island offer great travel specials in the fall, the weather is still balmy enough, with most days in the low 70’s, to enjoy a wealth of activities.
“Autumn in Bermuda is a wonderful time for visitors to enjoy our nearby island,” says Griffith. “Fall weather on the island is especially perfect for enjoying recreational pursuits outdoors. Our hotels offer great rates in the fall and with school back in session, it’s an excellent time for a romantic escape as well.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m in!
Considered by some to be a Caribbean destination, Bermuda is actually located only 600 miles off the coast of South Carolina. This means a quick two-hour flight from New York, Philadelphia, or Washignton puts you in paradise in no time. Plus, there’s no need for foreign currency as Bermuda matches the U.S. dollar for dollar. Did someone say duty free? Time for a happy dance!
A number of major air carriers, including American, Continental, JetBlue and US Air offer direct flights to Bermuda’s only public airport, LF Wade International, from all major airports in the New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington areas.
A quick look online of Expedia and Orbitz showed round-trip, coach class fares ranging from $300 to $500 plus tax. Since summer is Bermuda’s high season, the further you get into fall, the better the deal. And don’t forget your passport! You can’t get in without one.
Car rentals aren’t allowed for visitors to the island. But Bermuda’s excellent menu of transportation options makes it easy to get around.
After you’ve proceeded through customs and grabbed your bags at this totally manageable airport, you’ll be directed to the exit. The minute you step out the double doors to the outside, a sea of people will be at the ready to help you with transportation. Don’t be distracted by the blue green water view; get in, get going and you’ll soon be on your way.
Many island hotels offer airport transfers as part of their service, so be sure to ask if there is a separate fee for it or part of your package when booking your reservation. A number of public shuttles are also available, that can be pre-booked or secured upon arrival. Bermuda Tours Management, a private tour company on the island, provides transfers to and from the airport to hotels, rental homes and cruise ships.
For a party of one to six people, a ride from the airport’s east end to hotels located in the main city of Hamilton, costs $39. This is per vehicle, not per person, so the more you share the ride, the better the deal.
Another option is Bermuda’s thriving taxi service, which usually has many cabs on hand waiting to welcome you to the island. Clean, safe, and easy to flag down all over the island, they’re definitely a step above the usual cab service at U.S. airports.
A sample fare from the airport to a hotel in Hamilton, can run you about $35. My family has relied on Bermuda Radio Cabs for many years with excellent results. Grab one outside the airport or arrange pick up at any location at: 441-295-0041.
Since Bermuda is just 21 square miles long, public ferries and buses help make it easy and inexpensive to get around. It’s said that half of all visitors to Bermuda use the bus system to get around as it’s a great way to see the island. Why not you?
Just flag down a bus on a number of well-marked routes located all over the island including stops just steps away from many popular hotels and you’ll be travelling like the locals do in air-conditioned or in the ferry’s case, “airy” comfort.
An unlimited three-day pass, for use on the island’s bus or ferry system, allows you to travel through multiple island “zones” for just $28. Buses only accept tokens or exact change. Ferries do not accept cash, so you must have a ticket, token, or pass to go by boat.
For schedules, maps, tokens and other info, stop by your hotel’s front desk. They’ll be happy to help you.
WHERE TO STAY
There are a plethora of hotel choices in Bermuda, with a range of styles and price points. From small, family-owned cottage colonies, to exclusive resorts, to intimate inns, there’s sure to be one that will meet your needs.
This fall, Bermuda is offering its Endless Summer Promotion at select participating hotels. Book travel between now and October 30th for travel through the end of October (in some cases through November), and you’ll get the 3rd, 4th or 5th night free at select hotels.
Review the list of participating hotels and make sure to note the fine print, as some hotels offer services that others do not, such as meals, golf, tea, etc. as part of their rate. Other limitations and black out dates apply so review carefully. For more information, check the website Go to Bermuda.
One of the largest resorts on the island participating in the Endless Summer Promotion is the Fairmont Southampton Resort and its sister hotel in Bermuda’s capital, the Fairmont Hamilton Resort. The Fairmount Southampton is located towards the west end on Bermuda’s South Shore, with award-winning restaurants, pools, tennis, beach, golf and some of the best views of Bermuda anywhere.
The Hamilton Princess, located in Bermuda’s bustling capital on Hamilton Harbour, is a pink shaded alternative that appeals to those who like to be close to shopping, sightseeing, restaurants, transportation, and city life. For guests of either hotel, there is a complimentary ferry service, offering scenic rides across Hamilton Harbour, between the two resorts.
This is a nice value added service as a taxi could run you about $30 each way if you decide to cab it to town or head out to the beach in Southampton. How many times can one appreciate that on a vacation?
A quick search on Hotels.com and other travel sites provided a great rate at the Fairmont Princess Hotels. Rates start for moderate rooms, per couple, at only $199 per night for three nights, not including taxes, fees and gratuity.
The Pompano Beach Club, a smaller, family-owned cottage colony located directly on the blue green waters of Bermuda’s south shore, is a 2012 Winner of Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Award for Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean. Pompano is also participating in Bermuda’s Endless Summer Promotion.
Only steps away from this year’s home of the PGA Grand Slam at the Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Pompano’s location on the cliff’s edge, gives the illusion of being on a cruise ship. When you look out its endless windows, the tropical water is directly below. You can’t get any closer than this!
For travel from October 25th thru November 30th, a three-night stay is $1,334 per couple, including breakfast and dinner daily and required taxes. My family and I experienced their “American Thanksgiving” banquet last year in November and we loved how intimate and special the owners made this event feel for us. Of course, looking out on the ocean, while digging into Roast Turkey was pretty divine.
And here’s a real special for our readers! Just mention Woman Around Town at the time of your booking and you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of wine in your room, welcoming you to the resort! Go to the Pompano Beach Club website for more information.
The Grotto Bay Beach Resort, a smaller hotel, located across from the airport on a private cove beach, also participates in the Fall promotion. A quick look at Cheap Caribbean features a three-night air/hotel package for just $680 per person. Be sure to check out their real life natural grotto area, formerly home of a rocking disco. Swim in crystal clear waters of an underground cavern if you dare!
Want to live like a local? Bermuda Rentals has been providing low-cost vacation solutions to visitors for a number of years. If you’re looking to live self-contained, with kitchen, grill, pool, gardens and privacy, a rental may be a great economical option. A quick search on the Bermuda Rentals site found a modern and clean one-bedroom apartment for two, on the waterfront, at $185 per night.
WHERE TO EAT
Like most resorts, restaurants can be quite expensive. But then again, what vacation destination isn’t considered expensive these days?
Fortunately for visitors to Bermuda, the hotels on the island have great in-house restaurants that offer a plethora of delicious choices right on site. But if you’d like to go out on your own, here are some local tested favorites.
Portofino, located on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton, is a small, intimate Italian eatery that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. Their playful wait staff, large menu of delicious homemade classics, with entrees priced from $10 to $25 make it a great reliable stop for what I like to call a little “Italian Penicillin.”
For pub food, go directly to the Swizzle Inn, located in Warwick or Bailey’s Bay. Stepping into this old world scene is a step back in time. Try their specialty, a Rum Swizzle, made with Bermuda’s very own Gosling Rum. Just remember – there’s a reason the sign at the Swizzle reads: ”Swizzle Inn, Swagger Out” – They pack a wallop.
Looking for some nightlife? Check out Henry the Eighth’s, a rollicking British flavored restaurant that’s been a hit for many years. Beyond the standard pub fare, try a local dish that gets even landlubbers asking for more, the Bermuda Fish Chowder, with a touch of sherry peppers. Then, get ready to put on your boogie shoes, when nightly entertainment kicks off the late night fun.
LAST MINUTE TIPS
A number of special events are scheduled in Bermuda in the fall, including a John Lennon tribute concert and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Check out Bermuda’s travel site, Go to Bermuda, for more info.
Scooters are available for rent by visitors and can offer an inexpensive way to get around. Just remember, you’ll be driving on curvy, sometimes narrow roads and must always wear a helmet. If that’s not enough, also note in Bermuda, one drives on the left side of the road. For more info check out Oleander Cycles.
Bermuda includes a 15 percent gratuity on restaurant bills and a 10 percent service charge on hotel bills. Check your bill when paying to make sure you don’t double tip. (Unless you want to that is!)
Last but not least Bermuda is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. So don’t forget to set your watches ahead an hour.