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Bermuda for the Shoulder Season

Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Nov
17
2010

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 on 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, the 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 (late October, November and pre-holidays December and then April and early May) travelers 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 in just four months) I was delighted to realize the flight to Bermuda was a mere two hours from JFK and with a departure time of 11am, deliciously convenient to nap times and void of the early morning rush.
Upon landing we sailed through customs and hopped a taxi direct to our destination; the estimable <a href=”http://www.tuckerspointhotelandspa.com” target=”_hplink”>Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa</a>. I had heard from pretty much everyone who had 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 adages are indeed true. I was smitten at first glance (particularly with the restaurant, which would make an enviable location for a rehearsal dinner and the locker rooms at the spa, whose english pale blue and cream color scheme was equally tranquil and fresh!)
What I hadn’t yet heard though, was how Tucker’s Point is for kids. Mind you, my child is young and thus kids club doesn’t quite yet pertain, however, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scoping it out. I was very pleased to see multiple children squealing and scampering in the pink sand 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. I was also thrilled to learn that the hotel offers sailing lessons for kids out of their impressive water sports area which also includes kayaks and small motor boats available for rent making private water excursions with the family a feasible treat. In fact, there were so many families during this 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 villas 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 the holidays.
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<em> Bermudaful Holiday Escape </em>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. If its one of the 64 Manor House hotel rooms that appeal, I highly recommend those in the corner tower,  #17 on each floor.
Curious about such deals, 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 <a href=”http://www.bermudatourism.com/compliments” target=”_hplink”>Bermuda Tourism site</a> 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.

Tucker’s Point

Bermuda

November 12-15

The brilliant beach club - where I easily wiled away two straight days

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.

Bermuda-3

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

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

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

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

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….!

Posted in: Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Wednesday, November 17, 2010 No Comments

Tuscan Honeymoon Perennial

Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Italy

Jul
31
2010

Locanda dell’Amorosa

Sinalunga, (just outside Siena)


h-home

Though it can no longer be deemed a Hideaway given its immense popularity – particularly among honeymooners –  Locanda dell’Amorosa maintains the sentiment (and personalized service) of a tucked-away gem beckoning lovebirds with its secluded, romantic setting in the Sienese countryside. From the long, cypress lined driveway to the crumbling Tuscan exterior adorned with pink azaleas, Amorosa delivers postcard-style scenery right away.

With just 27 rooms nestled within a bonafide historic estate (some of the buildings date back to the 1300s), Locanda Amorosa actually delivers the coveted, old-world, Italian charm that one fantasizes about when booking her trip. The property even has its own delightfully, cavernous restaurant (the estate’s former stables) and elegant, consecrated church, making Amorosa an ideal, intimate wedding venue. In terms of the best gift ideas to your best man, you can find this here bullets2bandages.org

view from a room through the courtyard to the church

view from a room through the courtyard to the church

Unlike other Tuscan hamlets, Amorosa (as the regulars call it) is inviting during all seasons, particularly Fall and Winter when the traditional country decor – fireplaces, exposed beam ceilings, tile floors, seems extra cozier. Divided between the old manor house and the former worker’s residences, the guest rooms are individually decorated, each featuring its own combination of antiques, garden views and Tuscan countryside palettes. Those in the former farmers quarters tend to lean more towards the rustic, with working fireplaces and exposed ceilings while those in the manor house were finished later and as a result have a slightly fresher, updated feel.

*If you’re a bathroom snob (which, I most definitely am) then I recommend choosing a Manor Room or one of the suites. (Number 32 has a nice, spacious bathroom) But if it’s typical Tuscan country details like brick arches, fireplaces and beamed ceilings, choose room 45 on the second floor of the loggia area.

One of the more romantic suites

One of the more romantic suites – A “Special Suite”

If it’s your first time visiting Tuscany and you’re searching for a spot with that quintessential Italian charm but with easy access to the major sites, Amorosa (as the regulars call it) is the perfect spot. Just fifteen minutes drive from Siena and a ten-minute bike ride to the center of Sinalunga yet still surrounded by views of casino en ligne farmland and vineyards of the Val di Chiana, Amorosa provides a hamlet within the countryside with easy access to play online slots and those sought-after, Italian village spoils (nightly gelato).

But, beyond the ideal location for touring, Amorosa also offers its own signature, historic charm, which keeps the couples swooning and the regulars returning. With some of the buildings dating back to the 14th century having survived two world wars (a crumbling stone wall stands testament to the nearby bombs that tore through the area during the second world war), the hotel has an austerity along with a sense of calm that permits guests to relax and be inspired simultaneously. Of course, elegant elements like the fragrant mediterranean gardens and lovely outdoor pool add to the sense of tranquility.  NB: A spa is in the works though nothing concrete has been done yet.

images-4

Further heralded for its cuisine, Amorosa features two dining establishments. First, and more notably,  the fine dining restaurant, Le Coccole dell’Amorosa, whose seasonal menus reflect the local fare and vegetation while the arched, stonewall interiors guarantee languid meals tucked into the various cozy, fire-lit corners. (The terrace is open during the warmer months and can be equally as atmospheric though not as private)

images-3

The second is Amorosa’s  Osteria wine bar, located right next to the church. Ideal for those afternoon hunger pains, the Osteria serves a delectable cheese plate (don’t miss the local pecorino cheese, smoked sausage and organic honey) along with the Borgo’s private label wine and homegrown produce. Be sure to ask the staff for a tour of the hidden, wine cellar and private tasting room – its one of the oldest in the area and has yet to be modernized (sterilized) allowing it that musty, authentic feel. The Osteria is also the setting for breakfast – a delightful buffet with homemade cakes, croissants, fresh fruit and eggs made to order. The place can fill up so its best to get there early for the better tables down in front.

FINAL WORD: Try not to be ruffled when you note everyone around you is also on their honeymoon. Rather, take pride in yourself for having the savvy to have booked the best room.

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Posted in: Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Italy

Published by Meg, Saturday, July 31, 2010 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.