Dining

Why This Is the Year of Summer Fridays in Bermuda

Legendary hotel Hamilton Princess offers a new option for weekend getaways
Photo credit: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club

Between the unseasonably cold weather and the frenetic pace of modern life, the onset of summer is definitely a welcome change this year. But if you haven't had a chance to think about your summer plans yet, don't worry—Bermuda's luxurious Hamilton Princess hotel has a fresh way to weekend this year. New this season, the destination hotel has debuted its version of a vacation rental, the Shades of Pink Suites program, which lets you book one of the hotel's spacious suites for up to nine weekends at a special price.

First opened on January 1, 1885, the Hamilton Princess was one of the first luxury hotels on the island and played a major role in setting the tone for what Bermuda would become. Over the past century, the hotel has retained its iconic status on the 21-square-mile island known for its pink sand beaches, trademark dressy casual shorts and enticing cocktails like the rum swizzle, Bermuda's national drink.

 

 Seussian though it may sound, the secret to the perfect rum swizzle is to mix it with a swizzlestick—which grows on a swizzlestick tree, an aromatic tree also native to several Caribbean islands. Bermuda is not technically in the Caribbean, though. It's much closer, at just 90 minutes by plane from the East Coast, which is one reason why it's surged in popularity of late as a place to weekend in style without the hassle of beachgoer gridlock or overbooked restaurants.

 

For all its grandeur, the "Pink Palace," which is a five-minute walk from downtown Hamilton, has evolved with the times. It recently underwent a splashy $100 million renovation that included revamped interiors, an Exhale Spa, a modern art gallery and a Marcus Samuelsson restaurant. A short distance from the hotel, you'll also find the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park, which has 18 miles of hiking and biking trails along former train tracks.

When you check in, you'll notice a series of brightly colored Andy Warhol prints of Queen Elizabeth behind the reception area. Take those as a reminder to keep your eyes on the walls: Along with several Warhols, the hotel's impressive collection includes pieces by Banksy, Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons and more, both in the gallery and around the hotel. 

Settling into a home-away-from-home on Bermuda also comes with carefree perks like a car service that picks you up and drops you off at the airport and luggage storage and laundry service for leaving clothing and belongings until the next weekend. Although if you don't have time to pack, you can shop right from your room for sunglasses, hats and bathing suits. 

The hotel has also been at the forefront of a fun new addition to the island: the Twizy. Launched last year, these adorable, two-seat electric cars are perfectly sized for bouncing around between beaches and checking out local restaurants like Art Mel's Spicy Dicy for fish sandwiches served on raisin bread.If you'd rather stay away from the wheel, you can always catch the hotel's pink Jitney to the private beach club or kick back in a cabana by the pool. Either way, there's still time to have your rum cake and eat it too.

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