Sun, spa, and shopping. The perfect Girls Getaway trifecta can be found on the island of Bermuda. Only 26 square miles in area, this (northern) Caribbean destination is a quick trip from Toronto but a long, long way from the routine of kids, work and making dinner.
Bermuda has two distinct precincts: Hamilton and St. George's. Hamilton offers up restaurants, high street shopping, and a wide selection of restaurants. The British influence is heavily felt throughout, including the micro Marks & Spencer store, a favorite for visitors and expats. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is centrally located, and provides accommodation within three main lodge style buildings. The two pools and hot tubs are perfectly situated for an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean and the island itself. Poolside at the Fairmont Princess in Hamilton Bermuda is a relaxing way to unwind after touring the shops of its quaint downtown.
A free ferry service is offered to residents of the Fairmont Princess, across to the Fairmont Southampton. Upon landing, the hotel's flagship restaurant, Ocean Club, has a menu that takes full advantage of the wide variety of seafood available, including the local specialty, rockfish. A trolley bus is at the ferry to meet passengers, who take a five-minute ride up the hill to the main building, and home to the acclaimed Willowstream spa, a favourite for pampered perfection.
After a spa treatment, guests are welcome to slide into the outdoor hot tubs or take a swim in the indoor pool. Wait staff are more than happy to serve up nibbles and the cocktail of your choice, while you lounge in the sun and take in the vista.
Visiting the island during the Bermuda Triangle Challenge Race (run every January) brings a physical fitness element to an escape. With the International Mile starting and finishing on the main street of Hamilton, through to the 10k run and walk the next day, and finishing up with a half-marathon to complete the triangle. Runners and walkers alike wind their way around the beautiful vistas and it isn't uncommon to see them stop to take pictures along the route.
On the other side of the island, the town of St George's offers up authentic island goods in a small and easily walkable shopping district. "Random Acts of Knitting" can be found on light poles and palm trees, which add to the vibrant colours of the town, already populated with brightly panted buildings. Lunch at local favourite Wahoo's provides for a great taste of the island with a daily menu, but most often features rockfish, done in inventive sauces and styles. Segway tours are available, and the town hall is open to the public, and has a remnant from the past present, in the gallows that are still standing in the town square.
WestJet flies to St. Lucia from Toronto three times a week. For information on Fairmonts in Bermuda visit www.fairmont.com/Bermuda
It's not just about the women; Bermuda is a favourite of men as well, with its many golf courses and rum tastings.
Gosling's Rum has been around since 1806, and offers tours to see how its famous Black Seal rum is made, and of course, tasted. This is an essential ingredient in the island's signature drink, the "Dark and Stormy". www.goslingsrums.com for more information.
Turtle Hill Golf Club, conveniently located at the Fairmont Southampton, offers a challenging18 par three hole course set amongst the natural beauty and changing elevation of the island. Lessons are available for beginners, as well as bag storage and club rentals. For those wanting a longer game, visits to Port Royal, Riddell's Bay or Belmont Hills (all championship courses) can be organized by the hotel's Golf Concierge. www.fairmontgolf.com
This article originally ran in the Metro News.