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Planning Your Client's Trip To BermudaFebruary 8, 2008 By: Joe Pike Home-Based Travel Agent
Top picks for accommodations, dining, tour packages and activities
Hotels: The Fairmont Southampton (www.fairmont.com/southampton) sits at Bermuda's highest point and is the largest hotel on the island. The resort has seven restaurants, two bars, a private beach club, two pools (one indoor and one outdoor), a par-3 18-hole golf course, six tennis courts, a health club, a spa, sauna, a dive shop, moped rentals, a children's program in the summer, a business center and 24-hour room service.
Rates start at $469 per night for May. The best rooms are the split-level Duplex Suites, Lilac and Begonia. Comprising 1,600 square feet each, the suites are corner units on the sixth-floor Fairmont Gold concierge level. The bedroom loft overlooking the ocean is furnished with a four-poster king bed. There's a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, separate glass-enclosed shower and double sinks.
Call 800-441-1414 or 441-238-8000; ask for either Peter Frith, director of sales/associations, or Shelley Meszoly, area director of sales and marketing.
Royal Palms (www.royalpalms.bm), one of the most sought-after small hotels on the island, is just a five-minute walk from the city of Hamilton. Guest rooms were once the living rooms, parlors and bedrooms of a grand private house. All are spacious, sunny and comfortably furnished, decorated throughout with rich fabrics. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and an outdoor pool.
Rates start at $266 per night (April to November) and are subject to 10 percent gratuities and 7.25 percent tax. All rates include continental breakfast buffet. Agents can call co-owners/managers Richard Smith and Susan Weare at 800-678-0783 or 441-292-1854.
Elbow Beach (www.mandarinoriental.com/bermuda), named after the private stretch of pink sand where it stands, is a luxury full-service resort with seven restaurants, two bars, a nightclub, an outdoor pool, a putting green, five all-weather tennis courts (two lit for night play), a health spa with a whirlpool, sauna, watersports (including deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, kayaking and windsurfing), a summer children's program, a business center and 24-hour room service.
Rates start at $455. The premier unit is the oceanview Caprice Cottage, which can accommodate up to four guests and is set among gardens. It offers complete privacy, with two bedrooms, 21/2 bathrooms, a combined sitting/dining room with fireplace and an ocean-facing balcony. Agents can contact Cindy Gable, director of sales and marketing, at 441-236-3535.
Bermuda's former Wyndham resort is being demolished to make room for the Southampton Beach Resort, a five-star hotel expected to open in 2010 on the 32-acre oceanfront site. It will be the first full-service hotel built in Bermuda in decades, and will feature 150 rooms, a spa and fitness center, several pools, restaurants and shops.
Tour operators: Certified Vacations (www.certifiedvacations.com) is offering a $300 air credit on Continental Airlines with select packages to Bermuda booked by March 27 for travel through March. A three-night minimum stay is required. Participating hotels are Coco Reef Resort (www.cocoreefbermuda.com), Grotto Bay Beach Resort (www.grottobay.com), Elbow Beach, Fairmont Southampton and Fairmont Hamilton Princess (www.princessbermuda.com). For reservations, call 800-301-3800.
Island Destinations' (www.islanddestinations.com) "Suite Deals" for travel through March include air from New York, and as a bonus, clients can deduct $300 as an airfare credit. The package at Cambridge Beaches (www.cambridgebeaches.com), a resort with five private beaches, starts at $1,975 double for a three-night stay in a cottage suite with private patio and continental breakfast daily. At Elbow Beach, lead price is $1,645 for double occupancy on a three-night stay in a junior suite with private balcony and ocean view. Contact Claire Arrindell, sales and operations manager, at 914-833-3300, ext. 108.
Other wholesalers that package Bermuda include GoGo Worldwide Vacations (www.gogowwv.com), Travel Impressions (www.travelimp.com), TNT Vacations (www.tntvacations.com) and Costco Travel (www.costco.com). Agent contacts are as follows: At GoGo, call Mark Benson at 201-934-3818; for Travel Impressions, Nicole Durham at 631-845-8000, ext. 2062; call Jamie Labaire at TNT, 617-638-3372; for Costco Travel, call Jolene Schuerman at 425-657-1945; at Certified, call Lavette Jackson, 954-522-1440, ext. 3359; and for Island Destinations, call Harry Hughes at 212-476-9451.
Attractions: Spiceland Trail Rides, www.spicelandsriding.com, 441-238-4241.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, www.bermudalighthouse.com, 441-238-8069.
Crystal Caves, www.bermuda4u.com/attractions/bermuda_attractions_crystal_caves.html, 441-293-0640.
Golf courses, www.bermudagolf.org.
Dining: At the Ariel Sands hotel (www.arielsands.com), which is owned in part by actor Michael Douglas, the alfresco restaurant Aqua features Bermudian and international recipes, local entertainment and a great wine list. Tell clients to try for a table overlooking the sea in this setting suited for moonlight dining. It's one of the few restaurants in Bermuda where you can dine literally steps from the water. Main courses range from $28 to $39. Reservations are required. Call 441-236-2332.
Fresco's Restaurant and Wine Bar (www.bermuda.com/frescos) is a longtime favorite on Bermuda. Located in an early-1900s building with a vaulted ceiling and thick stone walls, this spot feels like a European wine cellar. A trellis-covered courtyard in the back holds a handful of tables for alfresco dining. The dress code is casual and the atmosphere is relaxed. The menu changes monthly, and there is a selection of more than 160 different wines from around the world. Prices for main courses run about $20-$29. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Call 441-295-5058.
The Swizzle Inn (www.swizzleinn.com) is the oldest pub in Bermuda, dating back about 300 years. It is also the home of the famous rum swizzle drink. Clients may want to try the Swizzleburger or such pub classics as fish and chips, conch fritters or shepherd's pie. The restaurant is located in Bailey Bay, near the Crystal Caves. Meals cost around $10 and up. Call 441-293-1854.
Resource: Bermuda Department of Tourism (www.bermudatourism.com). Travel agents can reach Earlston Dill, business developer manager (who heads the Bermuda Specialist program), at 800-223-6106, ext. 233, or [email protected].
U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality to enter Bermuda and re-enter the United States. Visit the U.S. State Department's web site, www.travel.state.gov, for more information. For downloadable passport application forms, passport fees and other information, go to www.usps.com/passport.