Who we are: My brother and I visited. It was his first trip, for me probably the fiftieth or so.
Where we stayed: We stayed at Fourways Inn on Middle Road. I am very partial to this property and have stayed here probably about ten times. It is small, quiet and has a very charming ambiance. We were upgraded to a two room suite with private patio overlooking the pool and gardens. Breakfast is included in the rate and is delivered to the room. It is a generous pot of coffee or tea, fresh fruit (melons, grapes, pineapple) and six pastries (croissants, muffins, and sweet rolls).
Fourways is located an easy walk from the grocery store (handy as rooms have microwaves and fridge), the bus stop, the ferry stop (Darryl's Wharf) and the Bermuda Railway Trail. The beach is about a twenty minute walk from the hotel. Beach privileges are at Coco Reef Hotel.
Transportation: I rented my bike from Mrs. Thomas at Elbow Beach Cycles. Although I have been riding for well over forty years, Mrs. Thomas thoroughly checks out her renters before permitting them to leave the property. I find her refresher safety course helpful. She is very professional. She or one of her staff picks you up at your hotel.
My brother preferred not to ride a bike. He and I bought transportation passes . We took the ferries primarily but did use the bus a couple of times when it was raining (I do not like to ride my bike at night or in the rain, so I rely on the super public transportation system Bermuda offers for those times). We also enjoyed many long walks along the Bermuda Railway Trail.
Where we ate:
I think the best meals I had were at Fourways, Splendido at Horizons and the Tamarisk Room at Cambridge Beaches. All three were really exceptional. Ascots is an old favorite of mine as well. The meal there was very good and the service was excellent. Blu is also quite good. I missed a return there my last visit, so was glad to be able to be accomodated this trip. The HogPenny which I have enjoyed for years was not really up to snuff. Service was fine but the food was pretty bland. We tried Mad Hatters which I had heard a good deal about. It is fine but the menu is overly ambitious. There must have been fifteen specials on for the night. Service was slow and not very polished. I thought the food was fairly ordinary.
Spa: I went to Cambridge Beaches Ocean Spa. I have tried a number of spas in Bermuda and I like this one best. It is quiet and the service staff are very professional. The setting is lovely. I highly recommend calling to inquire if there are specials being offered. Thanks to a poster on this forum I was aware of several.
Bermuda Passport: This is a complimentary discount coupon booklet offered by a number of hotels off season. I called Bermuda Tourism to find out what the benefits of the passport were. Because the person who answered the phone did not know she agreed to call me back after she checked. When she did call all she could say was that it contained "discount coupons for a variety of restaurants and shops". Actually it is pretty comprehensive and worth checking into if your hotel offers it. It had spa, shop, restaurant and cycle discounts.
Highlight of the week: The Bermuda Holiday Boat Parade. I think almost eighty boats were entered. It was great fun and the fireworks were great. I plan my December visits particularly so I can attend the boat parade. It was a big disappointment to have it cancelled last year.
Bermuda is changing and like most old fogies I hate some of the change. There were a number of reports about the increase in violent crime. I was repeatedly warned against walking alone in the evening. Litter which used to be very uncommon, is noticeable. The people on bikes seem to be trying to intimidate or scare other drivers. I think I was the only driver doing the speed limit, the bikes are very fast. One thing which really struck me was the noise from car radios. I guess the saddest thing was seeing the Waterloo House as it is being torn down. I stayed there many times and I hate to see it go.
But change is inevitable and I hope that some of the new construction and businesses will help Bermuda thrive as tourism declines. I for one will be back. It remains my favorite island in the sun and it is another world.
Best wishes for the holiday season.