“Americans on their way to
heaven call at Bermuda
and think they have already
                                                                                                                – Mark Twain
delicate water-colored islands of Bermuda are among the most beloved islands in
the world.
Under a “pink cloud of oleanders,
the idyllic islands of Bermuda are framed by a shimmering turquoise
ocean.  Homes painted in pastel colors, and topped with white lime-washed
roofs, line the flawless spun-sugar beaches of these breathtakingly beautiful

The picture-postcard, lime-washed
rooftops serve as purification plants for the Bermudian’s water supply. 
The fact that there are no rivers or streams on the island makes Bermuda
dependent on rainfall for water. If Bermudians run out of water, they simply
have to buy it.

Bermuda’s islands may be small, but
they are very diverse in landscape.  Every bend in the road reveals new
vistas.  Composed of lava, coral and sandy limestone, the Bermuda islands
are built on the summit of an extinct volcano.  The soft limestone, which
is used for building, hardens when exposed to air and becomes more durable each
year.  The eight miles of sweeping pink beaches are a result of countless
centuries of surf crushing and grinding the pink shells and coral.
Contrary to common errors, Bermuda
is a secluded paradise in the Atlantic Ocean (not the Caribbean), some 650
miles off the coast of North Carolina. Actually, this 21-square mile area,
which we collectively call the island of Bermuda, is a chain of approximately
138 small islands, connected by causeways and bridges.
And, contrary to another
misconception, the Bermuda islands are quite different from the Caribbean
islands.  They are less tropical, cleaner, more formal and more
expensive.  If it’s reggae and beach barbecues you crave, head for the
Caribbean.  But if you desire superb golfing, fine shopping, gourmet
dining, pristine pink beaches, and upscale hotels on a manicured island,
Bermuda is for you.
My home-away-from-home in Bermuda
has always been the Hamilton Princess. This palatial “Pink Palace”, the
reigning Grande Dame of Bermuda hotels, is Bermuda’s oldest hotel (1885). 
It was named in honor of Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, who is
credited with putting Bermuda on the map as a tourist destination. For more
than a century, the Hamilton Princess has been the hotel of choice for
discriminating guests including Mark Twain, Sir Winston Churchill, and Prince

The Hamilton
Princess, Bermuda’s first waterfront hotel and the island’s only luxury urban
resort, personifies what Bermuda is all about…courtesy, quality, and
the hotel’s Mediterranean-style bistro, serves up one of the most spectacular
views in Bermuda along with a memorable ginger and black rum confection
called  “Chocolate Dark and Stormy”.
Afternoon tea at the
hotel’s Heritage Court is a tradition that incorporates old English charm with
the tropical setting of the island paradise of Bermuda.  From the British
silver tea sets and Belgian fine china to the Italian fine woven linen, this
elegant afternoon tea has been ranked one of the “Top 10 Best Afternoon Teas in
the World” by the Gostelow Report.
A most civilized custom on a most civilized island.
A different kind of Tee
Time is also available at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess’s sister hotel the
Fairmont Southampton Princess.
Reigning from
atop Bermuda’s highest point, and located on a majestic 100-acre estate, The
Fairmont Southampton Princess has been one of the island’s premier luxury
resorts since it opened in 1972. 
For golfers wanting to whack the
little white ball around, yet have time left for sun and sand, the answer is
found on the 18-hole, par-3 course, at the Fairmont Southampton Princess. 
The 2,630-yard links are challenging enough for most recreational
golfers.  Atlantic breezes, rolling fairways, deceptive distances, more
than 60 strategically place traps, sizeable water hazards, and lofty elevated
tees, combine to give a challenging round.
Nature gave Bermuda the climate and
terrain for challenging golf courses long before the game was ever
invented.  Bermuda golf is an unhurried, unmitigated pleasure, calculated
to test your mettle.  Some of the water hazards just happen to be the
Atlantic Ocean. With distracting wide-sky and blue-sea scenery, it is difficult
to keep your eye on the ball.
Surrounded by a turquoise blue sea,
little wonder that water sports make up a good deal of the daytime activities
in Bermuda.  On, or in, the water you can make a splash with swimming,
diving, snorkeling, whale watching, or boating.  
If you don’t have your own boat to
take you in and out of Bermuda’s hidden coves, there are several other modes of
transportation by which you can explore all the parishes on the island.
The government operates an
efficient, inexpensive ferryboat service that is very relaxing.  The
laid-back, non-hustling Bermudians have an easy -going attitude about
time.  They keep the clock at the ferry terminal in Hamilton five minutes
slow—so you won’t miss the boat.
The taxi is the most convenient, but
by far the most costly means of getting around the island.  Courteous and
knowledgeable drivers are proud to show you their jewel of an island.  But
be aware of the rates in advance. 
The friendliest way of seeing the island is
on the funky pink or blue buses.  For under $5 you can visit the 17th
century town of St. George’s, quaint, rural Somerset, or points of interest
such as Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, the Maritime Museum, the Botanical Gardens and
the world’s smallest drawbridge.  The latter, which connects Somerset and
Southampton, has a 22-inch “draw” section that opens just enough to
let the tall masts of ships pass through.  This distinctive feature had
made the Somerset/Southampton drawbridge the smallest drawbridge in the world.

The most popular, and by far the
most dangerous means of transportation (one which I don’t recommend), is the
motor-assisted bicycle or the motor scooter.  They hum along the left side
of the road, minding the 20 mph speed limit…often detouring for a magnificent
view or ducking out for a secluded swim.  The idea is great, but so is the
accident rate among inexperienced tourists operating these vehicles on
“the wrong side of the road”. 
The most romantic mode of
transportation is a horse-drawn surrey with fringe on the top.  They
clip-clop along at a leisurely pace as jets whisper into the island’s
International Airport. 
Take your pick.  It matters not
how you see Bermuda…just as long as you see it.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning
Travel Writer and a Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in MARIEMONT,