Guestrooms at Elbow Beach Resort have been updated with fresh decor and new flooring. // © 2015 Elbow Beach Resort
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Even the rain couldn’t hide the island’s beauty. Despite morning-long showers that edged into the afternoon, the Bermudan waters still glistened, and moods were hardly dampened. Especially mine.
For my first trip to Bermuda, I was expecting another typical island experience. I was wrong. The Atlantic island — whose closest neighbor, Outer Banks, N.C., is 665 miles away — is a tranquil destination filled with British charm and sophistication, all jam-packed on a territory that’s about 20 square miles.
I stayed at Elbow Beach Resort, the second-oldest property in Bermuda. When the resort opened 107 years ago, it was the talk of the island, with a constant circulation of Saudi princes and British royals and dignitaries visiting in the ensuing years.
Today, the resort is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, newly minted in April 2014 as an independently run hotel after 14 years as a Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group property. According to Ed Burns, general manager of Elbow Beach Resort, the hotel is in store for a few more large renovations ahead of the 2017 America’s Cup, the prestigious international sailing tournament.
“Mark my words, this hotel will rival some of world’s finest, most luxurious spots,” Burns said.
So far, several room and suites have been updated with fresh decor and new flooring, and all guestrooms are set to receive the same treatment in coming months. Newly renovated meeting rooms, opened in the fall, feature direct ocean views. The resort’s 10,300-square-foot indoor event space has an adjacent private terrace, the perfect backdrop for a cocktail party or reception. Plans are also in the works for additional dining options and to convert the main building’s shuttered rooms (nearly 130 units were closed in 2009) into luxurious rooms and suites.
The boutique hotel lies on 50 acres and includes a half-mile of private beach, where the colors varied from really blue to super-blue during my stay. Each of the 98 guestrooms — referred to as cottages due to their secluded, home-like environment — are decorated with a tranquil beige motif accented by turquoise decor, mirroring the beach environment found about 100 yards from every front door.
Excellence drives the hotel’s dining options. The casually elegant Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Lido, encapsulates the cool vibe for which Elbow Beach Resort strives. Soft lounge music and acoustic versions of pop classics are piped through the speakers, and the floor-to-ceiling windows remind guests that the Atlantic Ocean beckons apres dining. Mickey’s Beach Bistro is open seasonally and literally defines toes-in-the-sand dining. When it’s open, lunch and dinner menus are available; evenings here allow diners to enjoy a meal under the stars.
The spa is said to be one of the best on the island, and after my jaunt there, I can see why.
Intimate and Asian-inspired, The Spa at Elbow Beach includes a private suite with a balcony and a luxurious granite soaking tub for two. Also on offer are treatments from ESPA-trained therapists.
As I learned throughout my stay, the island is known for its beautiful beaches, sophisticated tastes and British-inspired hospitality. Elbow Beach Bermuda encompassed all that and more.