Bermuda offers a wide choice of lodgings, ranging from small, casual guesthouses to large, luxurious resorts. Facilities vary greatly in size and amenities within each category.
Choosing the Place that's Right for You
Accommodations in Bermuda basically fall into five categories:
- Resort Hotels: These generally large properties are Bermuda's most lavish, offering many facilities, services, and luxuries -- but also charging the highest prices. The lowest rates, usually discounted about 20%, are in effect from mid-November to March. The large resorts usually have their own beaches or beach clubs, along with swimming pools; some have their own golf courses. It's cheaper to choose the Modified American Plan (MAP) dining option than to order all your meals a la carte. However, if you go the MAP route, you'll be confined to the same dining room every night and miss the opportunity to sample different restaurants.
- Small Hotels: This option might be just the right fit for those who hate megaresorts. Bermuda's small hotels offer the intimacy of upscale B&Bs, but with more facilities. At a small hotel, you might feel more connected to the island and its people. Another plus? They're often cheaper than the big resorts.
- Cottage Colonies: This uniquely Bermudian option consists of a series of bungalows constructed around a clubhouse, which is the center of social life, drinking, and dining. The cottages, usually scenically arranged on landscaped grounds, are designed to provide maximum privacy and are typically equipped with kitchenettes for preparing light meals. In many of the cottage colonies, breakfast isn't available; you can go out, or buy supplies the night before and prepare your own meal. Most colonies have their own beaches or swimming pools.
- Housekeeping Units: These cottage or apartment-style accommodations (often called efficiencies in the U.S.) occupy landscaped estates surrounding a main clubhouse. All of them offer kitchen facilities -- perhaps not a full, well-equipped kitchen, but a kitchenette at least where you can whip up snacks and breakfast. Most offer minimal daily maid service. Generally, housekeeping units are simpler and less expensive than cottage colonies.
- Guesthouses: These are Bermuda's least expensive accommodations. The larger guesthouses are old Bermuda homes in garden settings. Generally, they've been modernized and have comfortable guest rooms. Some have swimming pools. A number are small, modest places, offering breakfast only; you may share a bathroom with other guests, as well as have to "commute" to the beach.
Another option is renting a villa or vacation home. Villa rentals are like renting someone's home. At some, you're entirely on your own; others provide maid service. Most are on or near a beach. It is generally safe to consider this an expensive option.
Private apartments offer fewer frills than villas or condos; the building housing the apartment may not have a swimming pool or even a front desk. Apartments are available with or without maid service.
Cottages, or cabanas, offer the most independent lifestyle in the category of vacation accommodations -- they're entirely self-catering. Some open onto a beach, and others surround a communal swimming pool. Most of them are fairly basic, consisting of a simple bedroom plus a small kitchen and bathroom. For the peak summer season, make cabana reservations at least 5 or 6 months in advance.
Several U.S. and Canadian agents can arrange these types of rentals. Bermuda Realty, Atlantic House, 11 Par-la-Ville Rd., Hamilton (tel. 441/292-1793; www.bermudarealty.com), specializes in condos and villas and can arrange bookings for a week or longer.
Rates & Reservation Policies
The rates that we list are "rack rates" -- the rates you'd be quoted if you walked in off the street. These are helpful for purposes of comparison, but almost no one ever pays the rack rate, especially at the big resorts. By booking a package deal that includes airfare, or just by asking for packages and discounts at the hotel when you make your reservation, you can usually do much better. At small hotels and guesthouses, the rates quoted here are much more likely to be accurate.
All room rates, regardless of meal plan, are subject to a 7.5% tax, which will be tacked onto your bill. A service charge (10%-15%) is also added to your room rate in lieu of tips. Keep in mind, the service charge does not cover bar tabs. Note: The rack rates we list include tax and service charge unless otherwise noted. However, we strongly encourage you to confirm what the rates include when you reserve, to avoid any misunderstanding.
Bermuda's high season is spring and summer. Most of Bermuda's hotels charge high-season rates from March (Easter is the peak period) through mid-November. A few hotels have year-round rates, and others charge in-between, or "shoulder," prices in spring and autumn. If business is slow, many smaller places shut down in winter.
For the purposes of grouping hotels, any hotel with most rooms costing more than $400 is very expensive, with expensive in general being rooms costing $300 to $400 a night. For the most part, moderate rooms rent for $200 to $300 a night, with anything costing under $200, believe it or not, classified as inexpensive.
Note that some hotels offer a wide range of rooms. For instance, one guest at the Elbow Beach Hotel might be paying a price that can be categorized as "moderate," whereas another might be booked at a "very expensive" rate -- it all depends on your room assignment. So even if you can't pay $400 per night, it might be worth a call to see if a cheaper room is available.
You may see some unfamiliar terms and abbreviations used to describe rate plans. AP (American Plan), sometimes called "full board," includes three meals a day. MAP (Modified American Plan), sometimes called "half-board," includes breakfast and dinner. BP (Bermuda Plan) includes full American or English breakfast. CP (Continental Plan) includes only continental breakfast (basically bread, jam, and coffee). EP (European Plan) is always cheapest -- it includes only the room, no meals.
Package Deals -- Buying a package is the way to go; you can save hundreds over what you would pay by booking your hotel and airfare separately.
Hotel Dining -- Chances are, you'll take more meals at your hotel in Bermuda (where you can't rent a car) than you would in other destinations. Although you're generally out and about for lunch, many visitors don't care to hire an expensive taxi or take a bike or motorbike along Bermuda's narrow roads at night in search of a spot for dinner. As a result, you're often stuck at your hotel for meals, and therefore you might want to consider food options when deciding where to stay.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.