SLEEPING Southampton has some wonderful properties, including the Fairmont Southampton, a pink beauty on a hill overlooking the south shore. There’s a great beach and it’s adjacent to marvelous Horseshoe Bay. Rooms in October from about $330. I stayed at a casual but adorable spot in the village of St. George’s called the Crooked Elbow, close to a couple of very nice beaches and only a short walk from shops and pubs and restaurants. It’s got lots of space and goes for about $150 a night in high season, with a five night minimum.
DINING St. George’s has a couple of places on the waterfront, including Tavern on the Sea (decent food; great views). The online reviews are good but at dinner in St. George’s I found Wahoo’s Bistro only adequate. The Waterlot Inn, affiliated with the Fairmont Southampton, is a stunner. I had a three-steak tasting menu that was $60 but it beat the heck out of the bland stuff they’ll give you at Ruth’s Chris. The service is terrific and the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream will have you singing with joy. Looking for a bargain and some Caribbean flavour? Stuff yourself at the Jamaica Grill in Hamilton with jerk chicken, rice and peas and other Jamaican delights in a fun, neighbourhood style joint. Mickey’s sits on the edge of Elbow Beach and you can dine a few inches from the sand. They do a lovely grilled seafood platter with scallops, shrimp, salmon, local fish, octopus and tender calamari, plus veggies and mashed potatoes, for about $40.
DRINKING The Dark and Stormy has ginger beer, dark Gosling’s rum (no other kind counts) and lime juice. Folks rave about Bermuda’s Rum Swizzles but I found the one I tried at the famous White Horse Tavern in Bermuda too sweet. In the main town of Hamilton, the Pickled Onion is a sleek affair that wouldn’t look out of place in Yorkville. When I was there drinks included Pink Panties and The Black Banana. Flanagan’s Irish Pub on Front St. in Hamilton has reasonable prices and a nice second-storey patio that looks out over the harbour.
DOING Bermuda is famous for reefs that have caused many a shipwreck; bad if you’re a sailor but great if you’re a diver. May to October offers the best chance for calm, clear water and is the best time for swimming, especially on exposed south shore beaches. You also can try horseback rides or rent bikes or mopeds, which are everywhere. It’s not quite like riding a Harley but it’s a ton of fun and not at all expensive. Oh, okay, you’re a golfer? There are courses galore, none more famous perhaps than Port Royal, where they hold the annual PGA Grand Slam event, featuring the winners of golf’s four major tournaments. Climb the Gibbs Hill lighthouse for fabulous views of all Bermuda’s islands.