Reed Travel Features senior editor Felicity Long sampled the
children's program at Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda with her
5-year-old daughter, Chloe. Her report follows:
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Once considered a formal, rather sedate
destination, Bermuda has made a well-organized effort to attract
families in the past year, most notably with its Camp Bermuda
program for children.
Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda saw the writing on the wall long
ago, however, and has been wooing kids for years. The resort, which
boasts three beaches that guests can walk to, offers a Just Us Kids
program designed to help children have fun while parents get a
well-deserved break. The programs are offered June 15 to Sept. 9
and are complimentary except for off-property excursions.
We sampled the program, designed for children ages 3 to 12, and
found it to be fun and creative. We also liked the program's
flexibility, allowing Chloe to participate in the activities she
most liked while spending time with me during other parts of the
The program offers coloring and movies at the beginning and end
of the day, but the bulk of the activities are much more
interesting and involve outdoor play. The highlight for Chloe was
the supervised swimming, which was offered almost every day,
weather permitting, at either the pool or the beach. Other
activities are cooking, feeding fish, building sand castles,
hunting for treasure and putting on a talent show. Another
highlight is the birthday celebration of Myrtle, the hotel mascot,
which takes place every Thursday.
Chloe, who is well traveled and has panned an occasional
children's program for being "too boring," loved the Just Us Kids
program, made friends and enjoyed the staff. And, like any parent,
because she was happy, I was relaxed and able to do a few things on
my own, knowing she was not watching the clock for my return.
Parents with children ages 1 to 2 are welcome to enroll their
children in the Just Us Kids program as long as they accompany
them. Parents of teens also can take part in a Just Us Teens
program, designed for the 13- to 17-year-old set. Teen activities
include kayaking, volleyball, bowling, mountain biking, miniature
golf, fishing, snorkeling and dance. A skin-care session for teens
is available at the property's European-style spa. Programs are
available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; evening sessions run from 6:30 to
Chloe and I also found the property to be family friendly and
enjoyed the proximity of the beaches and pools, the variety of
restaurants and the friendly ambience. In addition to the outdoor
pools, we discovered that the so-called indoor pool -- it is really
outdoors but covered with a glass dome -- was wonderful during a
short rain shower. We also took advantage of the snack bar/cafe
located off the main lobby for unscheduled ice cream and pizza
stops when dinner seemed too far away to wait.
If the property has done a good job in making families feel
welcome, it may be because it is family run, according to president
and managing director Joseph Violi. "In recent history, the family
market has been important, because it is an extension of the family
that runs and owns the resort," Violi said. "Basically, we're fun
on the beach, and we try to exude a feeling of exactly that."
To make parents feel comfortable, Violi said, management
deliberately has refrained from setting dress codes in the hotel
restaurants, unlike some of the island's other well-known
properties. "Especially in the summer, we want to attract kids," he
Sonesta Beach Resort, (800) SONESTA.