Three Bermuda Resorts for Exclusive MICE Events
The manor house suite at Rosewood Tucker’s Point comes with a terrace, offering waterfront views of Castle Harbour.
Earlier this month, we looked at how Bermuda was boosting its MICE appeal. Then Hurricane Gonzalo struck, downing trees and affecting travel and transportation. In the weeks following the hurricane, The L.F. Wade International Airport and the causeway—the main road serving the airport—both reopened and are operating normally. All of Bermuda's hotel properties are open and welcoming guests, and buses and ferries are running on normal routes and schedules. Before the hurricane, International Meetings Review toured Bermuda and came back with hotel options for unique event and incentive options. And although the three upscale resorts we toured were unique in their own right, this trio had one attribute in common: privacy was not hard to find.
Elbow Beach Resort
Elbow Beach Resort spreads itself over 50 acres, creating an environment where anyone can find peace and quiet even if the property is full to the max. There’s always a place to escape to, whether it’s finding one of the hammocks that are tucked away amongst the resort’s gardens or watching the sun go down while sipping a local cocktail at the pool bar. Hint: Between 5 and 6 p.m. is the best time for that.
There are 98 rooms and suites here. We stayed in room No. 610, an Ocean View Junior Suite that affords both ocean and garden views with a king-size bed and flat-screen LG TV. The room’s veranda provides guests with what is virtually their own backyard. The best feature of the room, like many at this resort, is its easy access to the beach and close proximity to the resort’s main swimming pool, spa and fitness center.
For intimate events, the resort has 4,500 square feet of indoor event space covering five function rooms that can accommodate board meetings to grand receptions for 200 people. Guests can also gather outdoors for a barbecue on the private beach, a poolside reception under the stars or a garden cocktail party.
Local experiences: Event attendees looking to venture off property will find a couple of exceptional options for relaxing just a few minutes away, including the much-underrated Warwick Long Bay Beach. While most advisors will recommend the island’s famous Horseshoe Bay, we think Warwick is a far better option simply because of the privacy it affords. You will find other tourists there, but nothing compared to the scores of people covering every inch of sand at Horseshoe Bay. In fact, our visit to Warwick was one of the very few times we were able to photograph the beach with just the ocean and the sand—zero people. Tip: There is a small vender outside Warwick that sells light snacks, soft drinks and hot dogs. Umbrellas and beach chairs can be rented here as well, so no need for VIPs to lug too much to the beach.
Another great option to blow off some steam is the nearby Swizzle Inn. Like Warwick, it is about a five-minute drive from Elbow Beach. There are two Swizzle Inns on Bermuda. The one near the airport is more popular since it is the original, but the one near the resort definitely had a healthier mix of tourists and locals.
New Rooms: During our stay, we sat down with Ed Burns, the owner’s representative of the Elbow Beach Resort, and learned of the hotel’s plans to add 35 new rooms that are expected to be the property’s new highest room category.
There are about 130 rooms in the main building of the hotel that have been closed off for some time, says Burns—70 in the front of the building and 60 in the back. Burns says the plans call for wiping out the 60 in the back—“because who wants to look at the back of a building”—and then dividing the 70 rooms in the front into 35, which would create huge, 800-square-foot rooms overlooking the ocean.
Rehanna Palumbo, director of sales and marketing for the property, tells us that a model room could be ready by December. The rooms are expected to be fully complete by the second half of 2015. Advisors looking to arrange a stay at Elbow Beach should reach out to Palumbo.
The Fairmont Southampton is said to have the largest guest rooms in Bermuda.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point
IMR also toured Rosewood Tucker’s Point, a haven for affluent families on holiday.
There are four categories of rooms here and five categories of suites. We were told one of the most popular options is the Two-Bedroom Villa Suite. Overlooking Castle Harbour, these suites are housed in three independent buildings separated from the Manor House. Each consists of a living room and two connecting deluxe bedrooms. Nice Touch: The living room has a wet bar, shower bath, dining table and a sitting area with a fireplace.
Good to know for incentive travelers with families: The sofa converts into a queen bed for added sleeping capacity. The bedrooms have teester beds and walk-in closets. The living room and bedrooms open onto expansive balconies furnished for al fresco dining and relaxing with waterfront view of Castle Harbour. Villa Suites are accessed via the 77 steps of the Castle Harbour Grand Staircase.
CEOs may want to book a Poolside Deluxe Room. There are eight of these rooms at the property and they each come with a private poolside cabana at one of the hotel’s four swimming pools. Two pools can be found at the property’s main building and the other two are at the hotel’s private Beach Club. Note: The Beach Club’s Sur Mer restaurant is the only dining option at the hotel that is exclusively for VIPs.
In addition to 9,172 square feet of indoor meeting space (with terraces, a beach and lawn), the resort can accommodate up to 400 people for receptions. Meetings can also incorporate satellite conferencing and HD projection.
There are three restaurants here—including The Point, which offers international cuisine made from fresh local ingredients, and Sur Mer, simple al fresco dining overlooking the beach. We dined at the elegant Italian restaurant, Sul Verde, and feasted on the amazing “Mare E Monti” (bacon wrapped angus tender-loin, grilled jumbo shrimps, Tuscan cabbage, garlic butter sauce). We were attended by at least three servers at this elegant restaurant, which has a classic ambiance with dimmed lights and even a fireplace.
Advisors looking to make special requests for VIPs should reach out to General Manager Paul Telford (441-298-4000).
The Fairmont Southampton
We found The Fairmont Southampton to have a strong mix of business and leisure guests. The hotel is said to have the largest guest rooms in Bermuda, with 593 accommodations, including 11 junior suites, 23 one- and two-bedroom suites, two split-level duplex suites and two penthouse suites.
In addition, it has 74 rooms on the Fairmont Gold floor, a unique lifestyle experience offering luxury accommodations, service and amenities, including private registration and concierge, plus a private harbor-view lounge where clients can enjoy complimentary breakfast each morning, afternoon tea and canapés every evening.
The Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Southampton, voted “Best Spa in Bermuda” for more than a decade running, is perhaps one of the hotel’s strongest selling points: Clients can unwind with deep heat, hydrotherapy and massage, or try a round of sweat therapy in the sauna and steam rooms, a pampering in the on-site salon or simply relaxing amid the property’s landscaped gardens. Tip: If the Bermuda weather isn’t cooperating, the hotel also has a huge indoor swimming pool.
There are eight restaurants at the resort, including the very popular, AAA Four Diamond award-winning Waterlot Inn, which is housed in a large, traditional Bermuda cottage. Note: This is perhaps the ritziest dinner clients can have on the island and usually calls for the male to wear a jacket and tie and the woman to wear a formal dress.
For a more casual restaurant option, we suggest the beachfront Ocean Club. This is where we dined. The food was amazing (get the tuna tartare), but the views of the beach and water, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a rainbow like we did, put this dining experience over the top.
This resort is one of the top picks for large-scale meetings and events, and can accommodate up to 1,500 attendees across 25,000 square feet of event space. The convention and meeting facilities are reportedly the largest in Bermuda, and include more than a dozen meeting rooms including the multimedia Mid-Ocean Amphitheatre. There are six meeting rooms in the main lobby, three of which can be turned into one big ballroom.
The resort is also home to perhaps the most popular golf course in Bermuda, the Turtle Hill Golf Club at The Fairmont Southampton. Here, golf enthusiasts will enjoy myriad bunkers and two water hazards, as well as three tee options on each of the 18 holes. Ranked one of the top five par-3 courses in the world by Golf Magazine, Turtle Hill is well equipped to accommodate golfers of all skill levels.
Advisors looking to make special requests for VIPs should get in touch with Karen Corburn, director of travel industry sales.
The Fairmont Southampton’s Windows on the Sound restaurant affords guests scenic views of the ocean.