Escaping never seemed so close…or fun Bermuda lies 500 miles off the North Carolina coast, and in places, this island of pink-hued beaches and turquoise waters seems like a world away. In other ways, it feels like home...
Bermuda, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has long been a seasonal retreat for America's bluebloods–American tourists began visiting the island to escape the winter in Victorian times. Known for its outstanding golf courses and 17thcentury architecture, Bermuda remains a preferred getaway for vacationers like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Getting there is easy, with U.S. Airways running direct flights (2 hours) from National Airport. But before you leave, don't forget to pack the official uniform of this British Commonwealth country: Bermuda Shorts.
A GRANDE EXPERIENCE ELBOW BEACH
Located on a stretch of pink sand beach on the island's south shore in Paget Parish, this 235-room hotel reflects Bermuda's traditional architecture of pastel yellow limestone exteriors with white-tiered "cake icing"roofs. Only a 25-minute ride from Bermuda's airport, Elbow Beach features a cottage colony as well as butler-serviced suites with modern Asian inspired décor. With its 50 landscaped acres and a half-mile of shoreline, the resort offers a wide array of beach and poolside services.
If you're feeling adventurous, rent mopeds onsite for island exploration or schedule a tennis match with a Davis Cup team member on the hotel's pro staff. Divers can arrange to dive 60-feet below the Atlantic's surface to the Pollock Shields, a sunken shipwreck near the resort. For a more pampered experience, treat yourself at the Spa at Elbow Beach, which can accommodate individuals as well as couples. Complete your day with dinner at one of resort's several restaurants, but be sure to dine on the balcony of the Seahorse Grill (one of island's most prestigious restaurants) before your stay is over.
Rates: $285 to $745 for double occupancy rooms depending on the season; $285 to $1,700 for suites depending on the season; Penthouse suite and cottages also available at varying rates. For reservations call (441) 236-3525 or (800) 223-7434, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.mandarinoriental.com
LOVE IS IN THE AIR CAMBRIDGE BEACHES
"Anyone can be on a honeymoon,"is the motto of Cambridge Beaches. And while that might be debatable, one thing is not...you can't help but fall in love with the resort's sparkling Gulf Stream waters and distinctive architecture. The hotel inhabits a pristine 30-acre private peninsula near the western end of Bermuda. It is dotted with pink cottages with white roofs and boasts five private beaches, a spa and a variety of activities, including reef snorkeling, sunset and moonlight cruising, as well as access to every golf course on the island, including the exclusive Mid Ocean Club.
If unique dining experiences are your forte, this is the ideal place. The resort offers visitors everything from gourmet meals in the elegant Tamarisk Room overlooking the water, to the new Star Dock Dinner, where guests may dine on the Cambridge dock, surrounded by Mangrove Bay. For couples looking for romantic magic, we recommend Private Island Dining. The meal includes a boat ride to the "Isle of TT" where a butler serves champagne and a made-to-order dinner, and then quietly slips away, leaving you and your partner to enjoy ultimate privacy.
Cambridge Beaches also offers a "Heavenly Honeymoon" program where newlyweds can enjoy seaside picnics, his and her massages at the Ocean Spa, and a sunset sail. The package includes daily breakfast, high tea, and gourmet dinners at all of the resort's restaurants. Rates: April through October $475 to $790 per night per couple. November through February $335 to $670 per night per couple. For reservations call (800) 468-7300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. cambridgebeaches.com
ANOTHER BUSY DAY IN PARADISE
If you are looking for action beyond the confines of your resort, Bermuda is ripe with opportunities, particularly in Horse Shoe Bay. Located in South Shore Park, this wide crescent of pink is arguably Bermuda's most beautiful and popular beach. Vacationing shopaholics need not worry about feeding their habit while away from home. Visit Hamilton, the island's capital, and pick up a Pucci scarf at Cecile or shop MaxMara at prices 20 percent lower than those in the U.S. For men, A.S. Cooper Man and Aston & Gunn are two upscale department stores not to be missed. Bermuda is renowned for its top golf courses. Besides the Mid Ocean Club, other great membersonly courses to explore are Ridell's Bay Golf and Country Club and Tucker's Point Golf Club. In addition, the Royal Golf Course is ranked among the world's best public courses. Since there are no car rentals on the island a moped is the best way to go if you want to explore Bermuda's 155 miles of roadways. With less than 21 square miles of land area, you can see a lot in a short amount of time–just remember to stay on the left side of the road!
IT WAS A DARK'N