The brilliant beach club at Tucker's Point
I’ve just returned from what might have been the easiest travel experience to a clear blue water paradise I’ve yet to find – Bermuda. Yup, that colonial island known for its constant breeze, pastel shorts, Goslings dark rum and the inevitable scooter mishap has quickly jumped to the top of my list of where to head when the temperatures threaten nasty and the memory of summer’s flip-flops and sand between your toes has dimmed beyond recognition.
Of course, with Bermuda, timing is everything and it’s definitively not the destination for the dead of winter (January, February, even March) however, its popularity in early fall and early spring make it ideal for Shoulder Season travelers (late October, November and pre-holidays December and then April and early May), who will delight to find hotel deals, uncrowded beaches and eager restaurants.
While this past weekend wasn’t my first time to Bermuda, it was my first time as a Mom. Having already logged a few trips with my newborn son (the plight of a travel-writing mum – his passport is already four stamps full) I was thrilled to realize the flight HGH to Bermuda was a mere two hours from JFK. And with a departure time of 11am it’s deliciously convenient to nap times and absent of the early morning rush.
Upon landing we sailed through customs and hopped a taxi direct to our destination; the estimable Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa. I had heard from pretty much everyone who has already been that Tucker’s Point was a triumph; it’s rooms luxurious, its spa soothing, the gift shop well-sourced and the Point restaurant incomparably elegant with original murals from the old Sky Club. I can now personally attest that all of those accolades are indeed valid. I was smitten at first glance (particularly with the restaurant, which would make an enviable location for a rehearsal dinner and the Spa’s locker rooms, whose tailored, English pale blue and cream color scheme was equally tranquil and fresh.)
The Point Restaurant with its terrace views out to Harrington Bay and glorious, original murals
I was also similarly pleased with my visit to the SPA. The aloe massage and honey bee scrub, the spa’s signature/indigenous treatment, assured my vacation-y state-of-mind, even if the honeybee scrub was a bit too sticky for my liking. After the scrub I was ushered into the spa’s headlining, Silver TAG Shower Experience (one of only three in the world! Pictured below.) where faucets galore spray alternating temperatures of water at all points of your body according to your chosen program. I chose SHAPE, which promised to tackle cellulite and firm up weakened muscles and though I’m saddened to report that my gluteus maximus still looks rather weak, the shower was indeed invigorating and guaranteed there wasn’t a trace of honeycomb left on my body prior to my massage. For the aloe-soaked treatment, I was lucky enough to have Pakul, a native Thai, as my specialist, who keenly tackled my sore shoulders and lower back. Afterward, clad in my plush robe, I laid down in one of the cushioned chaise lounge chairs lining the spa’s separate lap pool and allowed myself a few more indulgent moments of relaxation (with an US Weekly in hand, of course).
The illustrious TAG Silver Shower
What I hadn’t yet heard or read about at Tucker’s Point, though, was how it is suited for kids. Mind you, my child is young and so the Kids Club doesn’t quite yet pertain. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scoping it out for future reference. I am happy to report that I witnessed multiple children squealing and scampering in the pink sands of the attractive and well-appointed Beach Club. There was even an impressive sand castle constructed with the help of the club’s buckets and tools. As sailors, My husband and I were thrilled to learn that the hotel offers sailing lessons for kids out of their Castle Harbor water sports area, which also includes kayaks and small motor boats available for rent, making private snorkeling excursions with the family a feasible treat. In fact, there were so many families during this past November weekend, happily enjoying the beach club and use of the four separate pools, especially the one specified children’s pool at the Beach, that I quickly inquired after the hotel’s twenty four villa rooms and fractional condo availabilities for next year – thinking it might just be the perfect spot for my husband and a few friends with kids to sneak away before or in between the holiday madness.
A Tucker's Point Superior Room with views of Castle Harbour
When I went to look into rates I found out that there’s a fantastic shoulder season promotion offering every third night free for guests visiting between November 26, 2010 and January 5th, 2011. It’s called the Bermudaful Holiday Escape package and rates start at $375 per night and include a commemorative, hand painted Tucker’s Point Christmas ornament as a holiday keepsake and a festive eggnog and Christmas cookie amenity upon arrival. I must say, its awfully tempting, even if I already do have Christmas plans with the family…
TUCKER’s TIP: If its one of the 64 Manor House hotel rooms that appeal over the villas then I highly recommend booking those in the corner tower, #17 on each floor. They offer the most panoramic views and have wonderfully spacious decks allowing for comfortable meals and all-day lounging on the terrace. If those are booked, then book a Poolside Deluxe which includes a reserved, cushioned daybed by the pool, which more than compensates for the ground-level views. But if its views you’re after and the tower is booked, then Superior Room 11 will do just fine with its dead center perspective across the sparkling blue waters.
The poolside deluxe daybeds
Curious about such deals in general and already swayed by Bermuda’s accessibility, I checked in with the Bermuda tourism board and learned that other hotels on the island also offer enticing shoulder-season specials; including this Bermuda-wide offer from the Bermuda Department of Tourism that guarantees every third night free when booking a minimum three-night stay between November 15, 2010 and March 15, 2001 at 16 participating hotel properties. The accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to beach clubs and historic beach-front properties, so you can’t go wrong, while rates range from approximately $125 – $460 per night. Check out the Bermuda Tourism site for more info.
So, while the over-water villas of the Maldives will always beckon with exoticism, the crystalline waters of Bermuda are similarly brilliant and the plane ride is far more approachable, especially with impatient little ones. I know I’m sold. And I haven’t even touched on the spectacular GOLF….!