I’m on a plane and a Humphrey Bogart film is playing on the seat next to me. I think of the photos on the wall of the Mandarin Oriental Elbow Beach Resort Bermuda and smile. To be alive in those days. To have been at the 1925 party with the hair and dresses on the patio.
And I see the property on a stunning November day with the turquoise water calling me to get down to the beach. After a grueling walk (don’t wear heels) I set foot on the famous Bermudian ‘pink’ sand and looked both ways aver the half mile of private beach. Somehow as a mom, happiness came and went before the guilt set in and I trundled up to met the director of Communications, Sophie Dier. (Not to worry – working with the therapist on that. Carry on feeling awesome).
A tour of the property revealed that there is a zen-like mixture of feminine and masculine. The warm tones and high tech features of the library open up to well groomed bougainvillea and soft sand. Rooms are opulent and uncluttered as well as larger than the original hotel’s suites. Recently altered into a more exclusive and intimate resort, the rooms have been renovated with modern luxuries. Suites boast sliding ‘doors that separate the pullout Great room from the master bedroom and large walk-in closets would make the biggest shopaholic jealous. Not that I look there first or anything. The big shocker for me was the weather. Bermuda is so far north that I expected it to be cool. But no. Even in November, bikini-clad women with perfect abs lay on the beach.
For kids there are some extraordinary programs. The Clubhouse on the property provides games, crafts, tech and childcare for kids ages 6-12. I was uber-excited about the Kids Adventure Camp, which embraces the unique character of Bermuda and sends kids off-property to ‘study and explore various characteristics’ of the island. One day they might snorkel and find indiginous fish and another they might visit local caves. If you’re a diver you will be thrilled that the kids’ adventure club can certify your prodigy (while you dive the awesome shipwrecks around Bermuda yourself)! The resort (owned by Mandarin Oriental) also offers fab rates for family vacation packages (including aquarium passes and babysitting hours).
Many guests would opt not to leave the premises, so there are many choices of restaurant. Meeting the chef at The Lido I was impressed – not only for his vegetarian risotto and bolognaise on my pasta, but that, after 27 years (the day he was married), he finally shaved his famous mustache in support of the Mandarin Oriental’s Movember efforts (Note the MO tie-in). The other eateries include Mickey’s (seafood), Blue Point (light bites), Sea Breeze (tapas/sushi) and the Deep Lounge and Nightclub.
And then there was the spa. All I can say is – private room. Private locker, WC, bath, shower, table and safe. Not that I used it. I was too relaxed to think anyone would steal anything. I did a 2 hour Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa treatment, where the therapist determines what you ‘need’ and has the skill and talent to tailor your service as required. The beginning and end of treatment are bookended by a chime and by the end I was no longer fluish and sniffly. I was wrapped, scrubbed, smeared in thick creams and left the building with soft skin and mellow muscles. (Now I wasn’t stumbling because of my stilettos).
Looking at photographs on the walls, I wish that college weeks would come back. Roaring ‘20s parties and ‘60’s honeymoons fit for kings. (My parents did that). Bermuda is a re-discovered oasis only 2(ish) hours from all of the east coast of the Atlantic, and is gaining serious tourist traction. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the hunks in Bermuda shorts, ties and knee socks that frequent the bars of Hamilton after a busy day of finance.