Frommer's Bermuda

Frommer's Bermuda

by Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince

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  • Insider advice on the best beaches; the best diving, golf, sailing & tennis; shopping at luxury boutiques and local markets and all kinds of adrenaline adventures.
  • Where to find the meals you'll most enjoy, from beachside shack to fine dining, and where to stay: from charming guesthouses that won't bust your budget, to the best
…  See more details below


  • Insider advice on the best beaches; the best diving, golf, sailing & tennis; shopping at luxury boutiques and local markets and all kinds of adrenaline adventures.
  • Where to find the meals you'll most enjoy, from beachside shack to fine dining, and where to stay: from charming guesthouses that won't bust your budget, to the best resorts.
  • Insightful commentary on Bermuda's history, architecture, local artists, and the island's flora and fauna.
  • Opinionated reviews. No bland descriptions and lukewarm recommendations. Our expert writers are passionate about their destinations--they tell it like it is in an engaging and helpful way.
  • Exact prices listed for every establishment and activity--no other guides offer such detailed, candid reviews of hotels and restaurants. We include the very best, but also emphasize moderately priced choices for real people.

Product Details

Publication date:
Frommer's Complete Series
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.84(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

Frommer's Bermuda 2004

By Darwin Porter Danforth Prince

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7645-3733-4

Chapter One

The Best of Bermuda

If you've decided that Bermuda sounds like the perfect place to relax, feel free
to start unwinding right now, because we've done all the legwork for you. Below
you'll find our carefully compiled lists of the best that Bermuda has to offer,
from beaches and dive sites to resorts, restaurants, and sightseeing-and nearly
everything else you'll want to see and do.

1 The Best Beaches

Your first priority on your Bermuda
vacation probably will be to kick back
at the beach. But which beach? Hotels
often have private stretches of sand,
which we've described in each accommodation
review (see chapter 4,
"Where to Stay"). There are many
fine public beaches as well. Here's
our Top-10 list, arranged clockwise
around the island, beginning with the
southshore beaches closest to the City
of Hamilton. See chapter 6, "Fun in
the Surf & Sun," for a map.

Elbow Beach (Paget Parish): The
pale pink sand stretches for almost
a mile at Elbow Beach, one of
the most popular beaches in
Bermuda. At least three hotels sit
on its perimeter. Because protective
coral reefssurround it, Elbow
Beach is one of the safest beaches
on the island for swimming.
Around Easter, it tends to be
packed with college students who
invade Bermuda for College
Weeks. See p. 141.

Astwood Cove (Warwick Parish):
At the bottom of the steep, winding
road that intersects with South
Shore Road, this beach is so
remote that it's rarely over-crowded.
Come here when you
want to be alone. The trees and
shrubbery of Astwood Park
provide a verdant backdrop. See
p. 142.

Warwick Long Bay (Warwick
Parish): This popular beach, on
the south side of South Shore
Park, features a half-mile stretch
of sand against a backdrop of
scrubland and low grasses. Despite
frequent winds, an offshore reef
keeps the waves surprisingly small.
Less than 60m (200 ft.) offshore, a
jagged coral island appears to be
floating above the water. There
is excellent snorkeling here-the
waters are clear and marine
life comes in close to shore. See
p. 143.

Chaplin Bay (Warwick and
Southampton parishes): At the
southern extremity of South Shore
Park, straddling the boundary of
two parishes, this small but
secluded beach almost completely
disappears during storms and particularly
high tides. An open-air
coral barrier rises from the water,
partially separating one half of the
beach from the other. See p. 144.

Horseshoe Bay (Southampton
Parish): This is Bermuda's most
famous beach, and it's one of the
best for families. Unlike most
island beaches, Horseshoe Bay has
a lifeguard on duty from May to
September. The Horseshoe Bay
Beach Cafe (441/238-2651)

offers complete facilities, including
watersports equipment rental.
See p. 144.

Church Bay (Southampton
Parish): If you like to snorkel, this
southwestern beach is for you.
The relatively calm waters, sheltered
by offshore reefs, harbor a
variety of marine life. Sunbathers
love the unusually deep, pink sands of this beach. See p. 144.

Somerset Long Bay (Sandys
Parish): The waters off this beach
are often unsafe for swimming,
but its isolation will appeal to anyone
who wants to escape the
crowds. With about a quarter-mile
of sand, the crescent-shaped
beach is ideal for strolling. The
undeveloped parkland of Sandys
Parish shelters it from the rest of
the island. See p. 145.

Shelly Bay (Hamilton Parish):
On the north shore, you'll discover
calm waters and soft, pink
sand-and you'll want for nothing
else. This beach is well known
among beach buffs, but it's rarely
overcrowded and there's always a
spot in the sun just waiting for
you. See p. 145.

Tobacco Bay (St. George Parish):
A popular stretch of pale pink
sand, this is the most frequented
beach on St. George's Island. It
offers lots of facilities, including
equipment rentals and a snack bar.
See p. 145.

John Smith's Bay (Smith's Parish):
The only public beach in Smith's
Parish is long and flat. It boasts the
pale pink sand for which the south
shore is famous. There's usually a
lifeguard on duty from May to
September-a plus for families.
There are toilet and changing facilities
on-site. See p. 146.

2 The Best Outdoor Pursuits

See chapter 6, "Fun in the Surf &
Sun," for details on arranging any of
these activities.

Golf: Known for its outstanding
courses, Bermuda attracts the
world's leading golfers (and those
who'd like to be). Over the years,
such luminaries as President
Eisenhower, President Truman,
and the Duke of Windsor have hit
the island's links. Rolling, hummocky
fairways characterize the
courses. Many avid golfers come
to Bermuda to "collect courses,"
or play them all. Some holes, such
as Port Royal's notorious 16th, are
"from hell," as golfers say: Both
the tee and the hole are high on
cliff edges, with the rich, blue sea
a dizzying 30m (100 ft.) below.
See "The Best Golf Courses,"
below, for our top picks.

Boating & Sailing: Yachters
around the world agree: Bermuda
is one of the world's top boating
destinations. Many people forget
that Bermuda isn't one island, but
an archipelago, with all kinds of
nooks and crannies waiting to be
discovered. With the fresh wind of
the Atlantic blowing in your hair,
you can embark on your own voyage
of discovery, exploring Great
Sound and its islets, including
Long Island and Hawkins Island.
Tiny, secluded beaches beckon
you to put down anchor and relax
awhile. If you're a novice, try
Mangrove Bay; it's protected and
safer than some of the more turbulent
seas. See "More Fun in the
Water" in chapter 6.

Diving: If you're happiest under
the sea, Bermuda has what you're
looking for. That includes the
wrecks of countless ships, underwater
caves, rich reefs, and, during
most of the year, warm, ginclear
waters. All around the island
you'll find a kaleidoscope of coral
and marine life that's the most
varied in this part of the world.
Many scuba experts consider
Bermuda one of the safest and
best places to learn the sport. Seasoned
divers will not be disappointed
either-Bermuda has
terrific diving areas for experts.
Depths begin at 7.5m (25 ft.) or
less, but can exceed 24m (80 ft.).
Some wrecks are in about 9m (30
ft.) of water, which puts them
within the range of snorkelers. See
"The Best Dive Sites," below, and
"Scuba Diving," in chapter 6.

Biking: You can't rent a car on
Bermuda, so you might as well hit
the road on two wheels. Most of
the island isn't great cycling terrain,
because the roads are narrow
and the traffic heavy. We suggest
that you head for the Railway
Trail, the island's premier bike
path. The paved trail, which follows
the former route of
Bermuda's railway line, runs
almost the entire length of the
island. See "Other Outdoor Pursuits:
Biking, Horseback Riding
& Tennis," in chapter 6.

Horseback Riding: Guiding a
horse through the dune grass and
oleander, especially at South Shore
Park, is an experience you won't
want to miss. Because this sport is
restricted to supervised trails on
Bermuda, it can be all the more
memorable-you'll have the gorgeous
seascapes all to yourself.
Horseback-riding centers guide
you on trail rides through the best
of the countryside, and to beautiful
hidden spots along the north
coast. See "Other Outdoor Pursuits:
Biking, Horseback Riding
& Tennis," in chapter 6.

3 The Best Dive Sites

The following are some of the most
exciting shipwreck and coral-reef
dives. See chapter 6, "Fun in the Surf
& Sun," for more information about
dive outfitters.

The Constellation: This 60m
(200-ft.), four-masted schooner,
which wrecked en route to
Venezuela with a cargo of glassware,
drugs, and whiskey in 1943,
lies in 9m (30 ft.) of water off the
northwest side of the island, about
13km (8 miles) west of the Royal
Naval Dockyard. The true story of
this ship inspired Peter Benchley
to write The Deep. See "The
Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

The Cristobal Colon: The largest
known shipwreck in Bermuda's
waters is this 144m (480-ft.)
Spanish luxury liner; it ran
aground in 1936 on a northern
reef between North Rock and
North Breaker. It lies in 9m to
17m (30 ft.-55 ft.) of water. See
"The Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

The Hermes: This 50m (165-ft.)
steamer ship rests in some 24m
(80 ft.) of water about 1.6km (1
mile) off Warwick Long Bay on
the south shore. It foundered in
1985. The Hermes, the Rita
, and the Tauton (see
below) are Bermuda favorites
because of the incredible multicolored
variety of fish that populate
the waters around the ships. You'll
have a chance to see grouper, brittle
starfish, spiny lobster, crabs,
banded coral shrimp, queen
angels, tube sponge, and more. See
"The Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

L'Herminie: A first-class, 60-gun
French frigate, L'Herminie was 17
days out of its Cuban port, en
route to France, when it sank in
1838. The ship lies in 6m to 9m
(20 ft.-30 ft.) of water off the west
side of the island, with 25 cannons
still visible. See "The Diving
Sites," in chapter 6.

The Marie Celeste: This paddle
wheeler sank in 1864. Its 4.5m-(15-ft.-)
diameter paddle wheel,
off the southern portion of the
island, is overgrown with coral
standing about 17m (55 ft.) off
the ocean floor. See "The Diving
Sites," in chapter 6.

The North Carolina: One of
Bermuda's most colorful and
well-preserved wrecks, this English
sailing barkentine foundered
in 1879 and now lies in about
12 m (40 ft.) of water off the western
portion of the island. The
bow, stern, masts, and rigging are
all preserved, and all sorts of
vibrant marine life call the wreck
home. See "The Diving Sites," in
chapter 6.

The Rita Zovetta: A 180m (360-ft.)
Italian cargo ship, lying in 6m
to 21m (20 ft.-70 ft.) of water off
the south side of the island, the
Rita Zovetta ran aground off St.
David's Island in 1924. It's a
favorite with underwater photographers
because of the kaleidoscope
of fish that inhabit the area. See
"The Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

South West Breaker: This coral-reef
dive off the south shore, about
2.5km (1 1 / 2 miles) off Church Bay,
has hard and soft coral decorating
sheet walls at depths of 6m to 9m
(20 ft.-30 ft.). See "The Diving
Sites," in chapter 6.

Tarpon Hole: Near Elbow Beach,
off the south shore, this dive's
proximity to the Elbow Beach
Hotel makes it extremely popular.
The honeycombed reef-one of
the most beautiful off the coast of
Bermuda-is known for its varieties
of coral: yellow pencil,
elkhorn, fire, and star. See "The
Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

The Tauton: This popular dive
site is a British Royal Mail steamer
that sank in 1914. It lies in 4m to
12m (10 ft.-40 ft.) of water off
the north end of the island and is
home to numerous varieties of
colorful marine life. See "The
Diving Sites," in chapter 6.

4 The Best Golf Courses

All four of these courses are 18 holes.

Belmont Golf & Country Club
(Warwick Parish): Scotsman
Emmett Devereux designed this
par-70, 5,282m (17,331-ft.)
course in 1923. It has been challenging
golfers ever since, especially
on its par-5 11th hole, a
severe dogleg left with a blind tee
shot. Trade winds play havoc
with the listed lengths. Critics
complain that the layout is "maddening,"
yet they continue to
return for new challenges. The
grass is dense thanks to a modern
irrigation system. See p. 155.

Fairmont Southampton Golf
(Hamilton Parish): This is a
par-54, 2,454m (8,052-ft.) course,
with elevated tees, strategically
placed bunkers, and an array of
water hazards to challenge even the
most experienced golfer. One
golfer said of this course, "You not
only need to be a great player, but
have a certain mountaineering
agility as well." See p. 156.

Port Royal Golf Course
(Southampton Parish): This public
course ranks among the best on
the island, public or private; in
fact, it's one of the greatest public
courses in the world. Jack Nicklaus
apparently agrees-he's fond
of playing here. Robert Trent
Jones designed the par-71,
6,003m (19,695-ft.) course along
the ocean. The 16th hole is the
most famous in Bermuda; photos
of it have appeared in countless
golf magazines. The hole is situated
on a dramatic oceanside cliff
with stunning views-one wrong
hit from the club and your ball
will go flying into the ocean
below. Greens fees are relatively
reasonable. See p. 156.

St. George's Golf Club (St.
George Parish): One of the
island's newest courses-and one
of its best-this par-62, 3,697m
(12,129-ft.) course was designed
by Robert Trent Jones. Within
walking distance of historic St.
George, it lies on a windy headland
at the northeastern tip of
Bermuda. Although you'll enjoy
panoramic vistas, your game is
likely to be affected by Atlantic
winds. The greens are the smallest
on the island, at no larger than
7.2m (24 ft.) across. See p. 157.

5 The Best Tennis Facilities

The Fairmont Southampton
(Southampton Parish): This is
Bermuda's premier destination for
avid players. Its tennis court complex
is not only the largest on the
island, but also is maintained in
state-of-the-art condition. The
deluxe hotel, one of the finest on
Bermuda, offers 11 Plexipave
courts. The courts are somewhat
protected from the north winds,
but swirling breezes may affect
your final score. See p. 158.


Excerpted from Frommer's Bermuda 2004
by Darwin Porter Danforth Prince
Copyright © 2003 by Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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