Rosewood Bermuda Is A Place You Should Visit Now
I’ve always had a special fondness for the spot now occupied by Rosewood Bermuda. This lush site surrounded by golf courses and the mansions of CEOs such as Michael Bloomberg in the eastern end of Bermuda was a traditional, proper hotel in a particularly scenic destination that I first visited as a teenager when it was known as Castle Harbour. In recent years, though, as Rosewood Tucker’s Point, it was looking a bit dreary as it was being shopped to prospective buyers. Now, though, with that new owner in place, and a $25 million renovation unveiled in June, it looks sharp and contemporary while retaining the sense of tradition for which it and this pristine, pastel cottage dotted island are known.
You see the change as soon as you enter the lobby, now furnished as are the 88 rooms, with white couches in clean lines and accent pieces in turquoise and navy in place of the previous edition's faded pink florals. A new addition in the lobby is the open air Conservatory Bar and Lounge, specializing in gin cocktails, in the space of the former enclosed library where no one ever went.
The restaurants have also all been redesigned in both design and menu with the biggest change in the signature restaurant now known as Island Brasserie. Before it was The Point with a staid décor and equally staid menu. Now, one aspect of the room remains the same—the 80 foot long mural commissioned by Pan Am founder Juan Trippe depicting the world’s major ports in the 19th century that previously graced the walls of Manhattan’s Sky Club in the Pan Am Building. (Trippe’s son Ed, who previously headed up the development of Tucker’s Point, bought the mural at auction and installed it here.) But the furnishings around it such as blue leather banquettes offer a modern touch. And the menu ventures more into local dishes such as St David Shark Hash, jerk chicken wings and mini Bermuda Benedicts on codfish cakes among the starters and pan seared rockfish with glazed bananas and crisp fried fish with island peas and rice among the main courses.
Down at the beach, reached by shuttle from the main building, The Beach Club Restaurant features Bermuda fish chowder and lighter dishes such as fish tacos. The restaurant at the golf course, Sul Verde, always Italian, now concentrates on the region of Campania.
Sports are a big deal on the island—its six world class golf courses spread on its 21 square mile size represent the most courses per capita in the world—and this resort’s two courses plus the neighboring Mid Ocean Club are a major draw for guests. Since the new owner is a tennis fan, that sport is also being given greater emphasis with court resurfacing planned and a new arrangement with Cliff Drysdale Tennis which judging by my teacher, has talented personnel. Given the island’s location, off in the Atlantic 665 miles east of Cape Hatteras,North Carolina, golf and tennis are major draws in the fall and winter when it’s too chilly for the coral infused pink beaches.
The island has always been known for those photogenic beaches. It hasn’t been known for its food—but that’s improving and there are local spots that should be explored. You can go local with the full codfish breakfast at a local diner such as Paraquet or creative and more international at Village Pantry. Wahoo’s in the Colonial town of St. George’s promises and delivers an award winning version of the dark, rich island classic Bermuda fish chowder along with other catch of the day specials and Art Mel’s, a Bermuda fish sandwich on raisin toast with tartar and hot sauce. You can get a history lesson on the island, the local gossip and a cheddar scone, piece of gingerbread, coconut cake or whatever else she happened to make that day (she also takes requests from customers for the next day) at Alaina Trott’s The Bridge Trading Post, in a reopened post office where her father used to work. (The mailboxes are still outside and now in use again.) Or you can do what the locals do and grab a “steak and take” (a brisket hero) from Green Lite Café & Eatery.
More refined dishes are found in the new restaurant Huckleberry at the Rosedon Hotel ; luscious dishes such as grilled Spanish octopus with caponata, toasted pine nuts and salsa verde as designed by the group behind Village Pantry and its sister restaurant Devil's Isle in Hamilton. A recent import to the island is also turning out some delicious dishes—if you know which restaurant to choose. The chic, contemporary hotel The Loren at Pink Beach which opened last year is utilizing the New York catering company Great Performances to create and prepare menus using local ingredients. Upstairs, in their gastronomic, enclosed restaurant Maree, the menu is a three course prix fixe and nothing I had--plain crabmeat and avocado, dry rockfish-- was noteworthy. Several couples got up once they saw the menu and went downstairs to the more casual, a la carte menu Pink Beach Club. At a late lunch on another day, I understood why: the menu was simpler and the ingredients given more opportunity to shine, as in a poke bowl of just caught local tuna. It's also open air, allowing you to watch the waves of the wild Atlantic crash against the rocks and the pink beach. In other words, a perfect Bermuda experience.