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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
Small hotels often have a private beach, gardens and pools, other luxury facilities, sports, shops, beauty salon, cycle livery, bars, restaurants, nightclub and more. They all have television. Some are on or close to Bermuda's public sector bus or ferry routes. Places to stay have been inspected and licensed, but not graded, by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the new Bermuda licensing and regulatory tourism agency, for accommodation, facilities and services. Most have lower rates during November to March.
Bermuda's official currency. The Bermuda Dollar is fixed to the US Dollar. Thus the US dollar is accepted everywhere at par. British Pounds sterling, Canadian dollars, Euros and other currencies should not be brought as they cannot be used. Most major international credit cards will be accepted from visitors, but overseas debit cards, even in the USA, cannot be used in Bermuda. Most if not all Bermuda places to stay, stores and restaurants will no longer accept traveler's checks, so they should not be bought for your Bermuda visit.
Bermuda Online (BOL) at http://www.bermuda-online.org will provide a free courtesy web link to websites of Bermuda properties when they reciprocate the link. Internet-reliant guests should check if prices include free or paid-for WIFI or wired ADSL (Broadband) available for their guests.
When space is available for the disabled - accompanied if in a wheelchair - this symbol indicates this. Always confirm this with the proprietor and note that properties in Bermuda do not conform to specific USA ADA disability standards. When a property does not state on its website it is disability-friendly by ADA or other recognized international disability standards, and also does not have either ground floor access disabled rooms and/or elevators to all floors, disabled or mobility impaired potential guests should go elsewhere.
Formerly Surf Side Beach Club. 90 South Road, Warwick Parish.. On the South (Shore) Road at the Paget and Warwick boundary, facing the ocean, this boutique hotel has its own small private beach. On No. 7 public transportation bus route, about 25 minutes by bus from Hamilton and 35 to 40 minutes from the airport. On 5 acres of landscaped oceanfrontl. Five minutes walk to Bermuda Railway Trail. Restaurants are not far.
2016. November. A major project to strengthen the foreshore of this property is expected to begin in the next week or two and be completed in February or March. The construction of a pool and restaurant area as well as extensive landscaping has already started. The initial rooms inventory is expected to be completed next summer but given the ongoing construction work the hotel will not be able to welcome hotel guests in any significant number until the fourth quarter 2017 or first quarter 2018.
2016. September 29. Ground was officially broken this afternoon on the Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences at the former site of the Surf Side Beach Club. Addressing the media and invited guests, John Bush, of the Clearwater Development Group, said he believed the project, which will allow local and international buyers to purchase units and rent them out in whole or in part through the Azura hotel management company, will be a sustainable success. “Our desire is to create something that is exciting to our visitors, but is also a sustainable hotel property, and we believe the business model we have here will make it very successful. I am, and my colleagues are, passionate about Bermuda. We believe in it. We love it. Tourism wants to work, tourism will work and I can tell you tourism will work on this site.” The resort will initially include 18 hotel residences with up to 46 hotel rooms, some of which he said have already been purchased despite only coming onto the market days ago. The first phase of the project will also include a spa and a poolside restaurant, while planning approval has already been granted for a second phase of development, bringing the number of potential hotel keys to 69. A statement by Clearwater Development Ltd explained: “One major benefit of purchasing in this development is that the hotel concessions that have been granted allow owners participating in the hotel programme to receive the very attractive purchase pricing, have land tax waived for five years, and enjoy duty free pricing on furniture, fixtures and fittings. And for overseas buyers, the property license fee is waived. The first order of business for the development team is under way and includes landscape and common area enhancements, expansion and improvements to the pool and restaurant area, and major restoration and reinforcement of the cliffs and beach area, including renovations to the sea walls and construction of elevated and protected beach areas. This initial scope of work will be completed over the next three to four months.” Many of the existing buildings on the site are set to be retained and “thoroughly renovated”, but three small buildings are set to be demolished and replaced by a new three-bedroom villa. An additional two story building, containing five 3-bedroom villas, is also planned, featuring vegetated “green” roofs to increase green space for guests. Mr Bush added that the development team behind the project was entirely Bermudian, along with the lender and 80 per cent of investors. “This is a locally done project, and we are excited about it,” he said. Michael Dunkley, the Premier, said he was gratified in not just the faith the developers have placed in the island, but what the project will mean for Bermudians. “What really gives me grounds to be confident here is that this is about opportunity for Bermudians,” he said. “Bermudians providing the vision and Bermudians to rally around and create that opportunity to move forward. We know we have faced some tough times in the past, but we are making progress. Again today we are rising together, we are growing strong together. You can take it to the bank that this government will support Bermudians who want to rise with us together, and make our paradise home everything we want it to be.” Michael Fahy, Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, noted the impressive views over the south shore, saying it was easy to understand why Mr Bush would have faith in the potential of the site. “It goes to show that with a bit of vision and a bit of confidence in the tourism market, that real tangible things can be done in Bermuda in the rebirth of tourism,” he said. He praised the work of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and its investment team in building confidence in the local tourism industry, along with Mr Bush for his confidence in the project.
2016. June 13. $2.5 million on concessions were approved for the former Surf Side hotel complex to support a proposed $35 million revamp. The property closed in 2015 due to the downturn in the economy and difficulty finding investors. However, Junior Tourism Minister Mr Kenneth Bascome said that Bermudian developer John Bush III is interested in upgrading and redeveloping the Warwick site to create a new luxury residential hotel property — Azura Bermuda. Mr Bascome said that Mr Bush has made a commitment to invest $20 million in the acquisition of the property and the first phase of development, and the second phase is expected to cost between $13 and $16 million. “The developer has redevelopment plans that will add 12 new suites and six new hotel residences that will potentially increase the Azura Hotel capacity to 69 keys, or 138 people with the potential for more as the configuration of the suites are either studio, one, two or three bedrooms,” he said. The first phase of development, hoped to be completed in time for the America’s Cup next summer, will include converting the old rooms and readying new rooms to create a 48-room hotel, with further rooms being added in a second phase of development.
3 Stonington Circle, South Road, Paget Parish, Bermuda PG 04. Phone (441) 236-5416. Fax (441) 236-9766. Formerly Stonington Beach Hotel. 32 ocean view rooms and 2 one-bedroom ocean-front suites. The real estate is owned by the Bermuda Government and is leased to the current operator. It first opened in 1980 as a training ground for students at the Bermuda College (a junior college, awarding associate degrees). Name changed June 2003 to reflect the Coco Beach name of its Tobago-based Bermudian property owner and land leaseholder John Jefferis who once managed the nearby Elbow Beach Hotel. Overlooking the ocean and with a shared - by Elbow Beach - gorgeous private beach (it used to be public Elba Beach (named after the island where Napoleon was first exiled and escaped from until the original Stonington Beach hotel was built), complete with superb boiler reefs, one of the very best of all Bermuda beaches. Less than a ten minute drive from the City of Hamilton and on the # 2 and # 7 bus routes. With tennis courts, bar, two restaurants and a fresh water pool. In January 2008 a Bermuda Government-issued Special Development Order was granted in lieu of normal planning regulations, for an additional 66 luxury holiday apartments. The latter are for sale to non-Bermudian as well as Bermudian buyers and can be leased back to the hotel for transient visitors for six months of the year by mutual agreement in accordance with local legislation. In May 2010 the Bermuda Government pledged to ensure publicly paid consultants will stay at the Coco Reef Resort while visiting Bermuda on official business.
2015. May 23. He is celebrating 50 years in the hospitality industry, yet Coco Reef owner/operator John Jefferis is showing no signs of slowing down as he announces an expansion of the hotel and the opening of a new restaurant. Mr Jefferis, who opened the doors to Coco Reef in 2004, is now looking to build 36 new condominiums and ten luxury residential villas on the eastern side of the Paget property. He has already obtained a special development order and expects that the first villa could be open as soon as February 2016, while he hopes the entire project will be completed within four years. More imminently will be the completion of a tapas and wine bar, and art gallery a short walk away from the hotel in the old Trimingham's building near Modern Mart. He hopes the restaurant, which will carry Caribbean and South American artwork, as well as some local art, will be open by October and could create up to ten new jobs. Mr Jefferis’s first job in the hospitality industry was a stint as a pot cleaner in a fish and chip restaurant in London aged 15. Some 50 years on, he has gathered many accolades. Moving to Bermuda in 1970, Mr Jefferis took a job at the Belmont Hotel, having completed an internship at London’s prestigious Savoy Hotel. He went on to become the youngest general manager in the hotel’s history before becoming managing director at the Elbow Beach Hotel and Development Company. While there, he instituted the first international toll-free reservation lines and introduced a hotel levy, a controversial move that was followed by the big hotels in Bermuda. As a past president of the Bermuda Hotel Association, Mr Jefferis was the driving force behind the Island joining the Caribbean Hotel Association, for which he later became president. In 2003, he acquired the lease for the Stonington Beach Hotel, which he opened in 2004 as Coco Reef, and in 2008 he won the Caribbean World’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism and Travel. Asked what the most valuable lesson he had learnt in his career, Mr Jefferis said: “You should strive to make every customer feel like a king and feel special. It is also important that general managers must meet all the guests; that is our policy.”
55 White Sands Road, Paget Parish, PG 05, Bermuda. Formerly White Sands Hotel and Cottages. The property has 24 rooms. P.O. Box PG 174, Paget PG BX Bermuda. Fax (441) 236-2486. It has nice rounds and gardens. It overlooks spectacular Grape Bay, a spectacular private beach for guests, guests of nearby Grape Bay Cottages and approved local residents.
Not presently taking guests. In May 2010 it was announced that the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) had rented the Grape Bay Hotel on the South Shore in Paget for an indefinite period. Instead of paying guests, the property now houses nurses, mostly from abroad, while King Edward VII Memorial Hospital upgrades the current nurse's accommodation at the hospital. It is a fair walk from the hotel to bus routes 7 (going west, not east and 8 ).
1 Harbour Road, PG 01, or P.O. Box PG 176, Darrell's Wharf, Paget, Bermuda. Reservations at Inverurie can be made on 232-5700 or at inverurie.bm. This luxurious waterside alternative to a hotel, with convenient and quite frequent ferry service weather permitting to the City of Hamilton just 2 miles away re-opened in September 2015 after a $5.5 million major makeover. Re-designed with the executive traveller in mind. Owner is Phillip Ackeroyd. A hotel-like alternative for business executives. Right on the water’s edge. Every room and/or suite has spectacular views of Hamilton and the harbour. Building has five one-bedroom suites, which come with a kitchen, separate lounge, a double bathroom and walk-in closets. There are also ten large executive rooms, and these feature a galley kitchen with coffee maker, microwave, kettle, toaster and sink. Inverurie is only ten minutes away from town by taxi or ferry. Each suite and executive room is styled specifically for business people with all the luxury and amenities they would expect. It is anticipated most guests will stay for a week or more and it is hoped the suites will attract long-term visitors for six months to a year. Each suite features a fully-equipped kitchen so guests can eat in. When they prefer to eat out it’s only a short stroll to Blu, Fourways or Beau Rivage. Inverurie provides a continental breakfast in the privacy of the suites and rooms and on request will stock the kitchens with whatever groceries the guests choose. Rooms and suites come with a fully-stocked refrigerator/bar, a laptop safe, Smart TV and a work station with a G-link to connect electronic devices.
Earlier history. Once the site of the famous and original Inverurie Hotel, a huge Bermuda favorite in the 1950s and 60s, on Hamilton Harbour, then the Palm Reef Hotel, later, the Wharf (opened July 10, 2002 as a 15-suite boutique hotel)
27 Harbour Road, Paget Parish PG 02. Phone (441) 236-6060. Fax (441) 236-2296. On the harbor’s edge overlooking the city of Hamilton. Built from the remnants of two once-elegant Bermuda hotels called Newstead, once a 19th century colonial manor, then a hotel, and the former Belmont Manor - a less luxurious but also spectacular in water views 20th century hotel circa 1920 - plus the rebuilt Belmont Golf Course near the latter. The full service resort destination has 104 hotel rooms and 74 residential units. It offers amenities such as an 18-hole golf course, located nearby at Belmont, a world class spa, two tennis courts, infinity pool overlooking Hamilton Harbour, two restaurants (including Beau Rivage), room service, concierge service, housekeeping service and bell service. It combines traditional Bermuda architecture with new Bermuda design. Also offers part ownership of luxury suites to non-residents. Guests at the facility can travel to and from Hamilton by a private water ferry, run throughout the morning and evening. Some Newstead guests may qualify to use the Elbow Beach Hotel's private beach facilities via a shuttle service.
2014. September 30. A US business tycoon bought up the Newstead and Belmont Hills golf course. Now hedge fund manager Larry Doyle — who already owns the old Lantana property — plans to upgrade both the golf course and the hotel, with a new clubhouse at Belmont Hills and more rooms at the Belmont on his agenda. And he added that prices for fractional ownership at Belmont would be slashed to as low as $99,000 for eight weeks. Mr Doyle, who has been linked with the properties for three years, said: “We are very bullish about Bermuda.” He declined to discuss the price of the twin properties — but it understood it could be as high as $18 million. Mr Doyle said: “In fairness to the banker and receivers, they got me to pay more than I would have liked — but I still believe I have a very marketable property with the best location in Bermuda. I’m very happy.” The news ends uncertainty over the Newstead and Belmont sites, which have been in receivership for three years. New York-based Mr Doyle said he planned to concentrate on the Newstead in Paget and Belmont in Warwick before tacking the Somerset Bridge-based Lantana. Mr Doyle added: “First things first — we’re going to aggressively market the fractional units that are there just now. They will start as low as $99,000 for eight weeks. Existing owners will get the deep discounts. but we will be discounting for new buyers as well. Any money that’s going to go into it will be the golf course. We’re exploring building a new clubhouse and that’s probably where our energy will go to initially. There is a phase we might want to develop and build at Newstead before we do Lantana. It doesn’t make much sense to redevelop Lantana before selling off the fractional units already built at Newstead. There is talk of raising the tennis courts and adding on more rooms — Newstead is only a 60-bed hotel. If we could take that up to 90 or 100 rooms, it would be a much more efficient hotel.” The property developer and managing director of hedge fund and mutual fund managers Horizon Kinetics also controls real estate investment company Katierich Asset Management. He bought the Lantana site several years ago while on vacation in Bermuda and snapped it up despite the resort having closed more than a decade ago. Mr Doyle added that, once the site is redeveloped, it would share service like ferry and limousine services with the Newstead/Belmont operation. “I control both properties now, so it will be much easier to hammer out these details.” It is understood that the present Newstead site, which opened in 2008 just as the worldwide recession hit, cost around $70 million to build. Former owner Kevin Petty, who masterminded the redevelopment of Newstead and Belmont between 2001-2008, was in charge when Butterfield Bank put it into receivership. Mr Petty said: “I’m very sad — I’m also realistic and I think Larry Doyle is a decent gentleman who I hope will be able to operate it successfully. It’s a great property and I left my soul there.” He added that the global recession, which started in 2008, saw plummeting occupancy rates. But he said: “I really believe it was the right thing for tourism and for Bermuda. It’s a sad moment for me — my whole life was put into that thing. But, between debt and timing, it really wasn’t to be.”
Pompano Beach Road, Southampton Parish. Phone (800) 343-4155 in the USA or Canada or (441) 234 0222 directly. 75 rooms. A spectacular location, in gorgeous turquoise waters, for the non-disabled. Local family-owned since 1956, Managing Director Tom Lamb III and his brother Larry are owners. Bermuda's first fishing club, named after the pompano game fish then prolific. Offers dramatic ocean views from the main clubhouse and all guest rooms. With two fine restaurants, pool, its own private South Shore beach, fitness center, bar and more. The two tennis courts are clay. It is on its own private road well away from all the noise of traffic, so it offers peace and tranquility. The 8 bus route is on the main Middle Road a mile away and if you stay here a courtesy shuttle bus from the hotel will take you there or collect you to and from the bus stop at the junction of Middle Road and Pompano Beach Road.
Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke Parish. P. O. Box HM 290, Hamilton HM AX, Bermuda. Phone (441) 295-1640. Fax (441) 295-5904. Toll free in USA 1 800 742 5008. 44 rooms. Photo above is the main house, there are other units. Operates 365 days a year, offering all guests "Old English Bermuda Charm." An old former Bermuda colonial home, owned by the Kitson family with a lush and immaculate garden setting amidst flowers of every color. Featuring comfortable and pleasant guest bedrooms in the main house and wing. Price includes a full breakfast every morning delivered to each guest room or private porch. Also offered is traditional English afternoon tea at 4pm in the main house, including finger sandwiches and homemade Bermudian cakes and cookies. The swimming pool is fresh water and one of the few in Bermuda to be heated in winter. It is a pleasant leisurely 15 minute or so walk to the City of Hamilton and its public transportation ferry terminal and/or buses for the western and eastern parishes. With quality furnishings, mini fridges, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi in the public rooms.
24 Rosemont Avenue, Pembroke Parish, HM 05. 32 room boutique hotel including some small suites with kitchenettes. Telephone 1 441 292 1854. A 90 year old converted gracious estate. The boutique hotel also caters to both business visitors looking for a nice place to stay near the Island's numerous businesses. With two pink-painted former manor houses set in lush gardens with access to a private pool and lounge area. It has been a guest property since the early 1960s, although the buildings date back more than a century and were formerly private homes. Owner managers since 1991 are Susan and Nick Weare who bought the property in the 1980s. With its own "Ascots" restaurant for guests and the general public. Quality furnishings, mini fridges, flat-screen TVs. Within 10-15 minutes walking distance to the City of Hamilton. Inland, with a fresh water pool. Buffet continental breakfast available as an option. Not on a bus route. In early 2014, the hotel was named at the top destination in the Caribbean. It won the coveted title from the world's biggest travel site, TripAdvisor, in the 2014 Travelers Choice Awards. The awards were granted based on the reviews and opinions of TripAdvisor users. The hotel and its iconic restaurant Ascots hire more than 30 people.
South Road, Southampton Parish. Phone (800) 742-2008 in the USA or Canada or directly at (441) 238-0222. Fax (441) 238 8372. Taxi fare from/to airport from $35 per taxi for 1-4 passengers or from $45 for 5-6 passengers. A beach resort nestled into coral cliffs above a private pink beach. With three gourmet restaurants, bar and fitness center. The 2 tennis courts are plexi-pave. On the 7 bus route. Owned by David Dodwell, Minister of Tourism. (He also owns a hotel on Nevis, Caribbean). The USA's Travel & Leisure magazine has voted this hotel as best in in the Caribbean region. Also has The Reefs Club, a Private Residence Club (PRC) with 19 two-and-three bedroom residences all with unobstructed ocean views and features a spa on the patio of every unit. The PRC is located immediately west of The Reefs property. Residents also have access to an infinity pool, whirlpool, club lounge and state-of-the-art fitness centre. The PRC units are fractionally owned, meaning there are ten owners per unit. When a unit is purchased the owners get to select the dates they will be residing there, but also have the right to use the unit whenever it is free. Owning at a luxury fractional development such as this is essentially the only feasible way for foreigners to own real estate in Bermuda, due to a government policy that restricts the amount of real estate that can be sold to non-Bermudians. Because of their affiliations with hotel properties, private residence clubs are not affected by these regulations.
The Reefs beach
126 Somerset Road, Sandys Parish MA 06, Bermuda. Established in 1960.
May 2017. Six years after it closed its doors, the Willowbank Hotel reopened. The 56-year-old hotel enjoys stunning ocean views in Sandys and is expected to be busy during the America’s Cup period and beyond. Glenn Jones, director of public and stakeholder relations at the Bermuda Tourism Association, said: “Our chief executive officer Kevin Dallas and our chief product and experiences development officer Pat Phillip-Fairn visited Willowbank this week and were delighted to see a property on the eve of a new beginning with a team of staff and managers motivated to welcome visitors very soon. “Our expectation is that Willowbank will reopen its doors formally on May 1. It’s especially good news to have additional hotel inventory online ahead of the America’s Cup.” The 64-room hotel closed in November 2011 during the economic downturn. It was a family-run Christian hotel, which also had a conference centre. The closure of the hotel has continued to be lamented online at websites such as TripAdvisor, by former guests asking if it will ever reopen. During the past few years the conference centre has been used occasionally, however, the hotel remained closed. The property has undergone refurbishment and the expectation is it will reopen for business in the early part of May. A website for the hotel at Willowbank.bm currently advises visitors to check back for updates. Mr Jones said: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is encouraging Willowbank to reposition itself as a 64-room family hotel, leveraging its secluded beaches, green space and the surrounding neighborhood which has a family-friendly feel — all while remaining true to the hotel’s original mission. “The team here on-island and in New York will work with Willowbank to assist with its reintroduction to the Bermuda hospitality industry. “We’re excited about what they’ve done so far and look forward to the opening in about six weeks.” The Royal Gazette has approached Willowbank regarding the reopening and is awaiting a response.
Closed on November 30, 2011, with no indication as yet whether it will reopen and if so, when. Was a nice hotel with 67 rooms, all with balconies and non-smoking. On six acres of manicured grounds. Owned and operated by the Willowbank Foundation. Registered Bermuda Charity # 433. Was a Christian spiritual retreat complete with devotions for those who wish them. On bus routes 7 (Dockyard) and 8. 2 private beaches, water views, tennis courts, heated (in winter) outdoor pool. Before closure, room rate included breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner. There was no bar. A place for spiritual and physical rest, and fellowship. Had WIFI.
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