There have been substantial changes on the Bermuda hotel scene in
the past year -- most notably the change in ownership at the two
Princess properties. Other hotels continue to upgrade and enhance
their products as the island seeks to maintain its place as a
With the purchase last year of Princess Hotels by Canadian
Pacific Hotels, the two Princess properties -- Hamilton Princess
and Southampton Princess -- became part of the Canadian Pacific
There are plans for extensive investment in the properties,
including a new spa for the Southampton Princess. Meanwhile,
Michael Kaile, who was general manager of the Waterfront Centre
Hotel in Vancouver, has moved to the Hamilton Princess, and Norman
Mastalir moved from the Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta to the
Several Canadian Pacific programs are now available at the
Princess properties. For instance, Canadian Pacific's Travel Agent
Stay rate program now applies during certain periods in Bermuda.
Through March that rate is $69 per night per agent (maximum two
nights) at both Hamilton and Southampton.
Also, Canadian Pacific Club is a business travelers' program
that features guest preference profile, with information on guests
who have stayed at any of the chain's hotels; health club
privileges; 24-hour fax service with express pickup and delivery;
free access to work stations; streamlined reservations; instant
check-in/checkout; late checkout privileges; check cashing and free
Elbow Beach completed its $42 million renovation, which began
with the takeover in early 1996 by Monaco-based Rafael Hotels. The
250-room resort on 55 acres has brought what it claims are several
firsts to the island: Computerized in-room electronic minibars;
butler service; a high-speed Internet connection; a 24-hour live
video feed of underwater wrecks is on every room T.V., and the
first Clefs d'Or concierge in Bermuda.
The hotel also brought back some old traditions. For instance,
the beach fronting the resort is again reserved exclusively for
guests and members of the hotel's club; the main restaurant has
taken back the name Seahorse Grill, though with a distinctive new
menu; and a new entrance reflects the classic Bermudian design of
A dine-around program has replaced the standard hotel meal plan.
Guests receive preferential reservations and may charge their room
meals at four restaurants in Hamilton. They may also sign at The
Surf Club, a waterfront restaurant in Hamilton that is operated by
Elbow Beach and offers entertainment.
The dress code of coat and tie after 5 and at afternoon tea, has
been eliminated and guests may wear what they like. And as an
option instead of tea, guests may listen to a steel drum band on
the beach as they watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail.
The new business center offers a variety of secretarial
services, translation into 40 languages, packaging and mailing;
there are also a board room and four function rooms with views of
the South Shore.
There is now a Fun Department, which organizes races, helmet
diving, mountain biking, kayaking and golf. New at the pool and
beach are attendants offering towels and lotions, food and
beverage, dry towels, umbrellas and cabanas.
A wreck called the Pollack Shields, just offshore, is accessible
via Zodiac or shore dive.
The last piece in the renovation project is the Fritholme
Mansion, a structure on the property that will be a spa come the
spring of 1999. The 6,500-square-foot building, built in 1933 at
the edge of the resort grounds, boasts 20-foot ceilings and windows
overlooking the sea.
The spa will offer classes, resistance machines, private
treatment rooms, steam and sauna, pool and Jacuzzi and a beauty
Cambridge Beaches, a cottage colony, has a new spa that is
operating at 100% after extensive construction. The Ocean Spa
features a pool and solarium with retractable sunroof, "resistance"
pool that allows guests to swim against a current, whirlpool,
fitness center, beauty area, spa treatment rooms, cafe and
The property will offer a Millennium Escape package over the New
Year's Eve 1999 period. The five-night program begins at $3,400 per
couple and includes accommodations, breakfasts, afternoon tea and
dinner, use of leisure facilities including the spa, a New Year's
gala, ferry service to Hamilton, sightseeing, tennis round robin,
croquet and putting tournaments, wine tastings and cooking classes.
The package is available to guests arriving on December 27, 28 or
29, during which time a five-night minimum stay will be
A 12-night version for those who want to spend Christmas at the
resort begins at $6,200 per couple.
On New Year's Eve, guests will experience a "time-space" travel
tour of the 20th century that will feature a reception at the spa,
with a re-creation of the world of Lawrence of Arabia; a walk
through a "time tunnel" where music, lights and moving pictures
capture momentous occasions from the century; dinner, with a
multimedia showcase on which the century will pass in review, and
entertainment by a nine-piece orchestra.
Pink Beach Club & Cottages in Tucker's Town has embarked on
a two-year development program that will include the creation of a
residential community, with market rental units; new
accommodations, and the refurbishment of many existing rooms housed
in the Ambassador, Governor, Cliff, Shore and Bay Cottages and the
There will be a total of 19 residences of three- or four
bedrooms each. To compensate for accommodations being converted
into residences, new accommodations -- four two-bedroom suites and
seven junior suites -- are being constructed in time for the 1999
Many of the residences will be available for use by Pink Beach
Club as hotel suites; owners will be able to take advantage of a
short-term rental option to be managed by the resort. This
arrangement, according to resort executives, is a first for
Following the 1997 expansion of its beach, Pompano Beach had the
busiest year in its 43-year history with a summer occupancy of 92%.
The resort will add still more sand this March in the second phase
of the project.
After adding two new beachfront deluxe rooms last year, one more
will be added for the coming season.
Also new for 1999 will be an oceanfront wading pool to be built
next to the pool deck area. The pool is for sunbathers wishing to
simply cool off in the water while they relax, and for children.
The pool bar will have a new look. It is being expanded out onto
the pool deck and will have a more "tiki bar" (Polynesian)
The Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda will open a new business center
on April 1 to serve the large number of business travelers and
groups that stay at the property.
Also, the resort's "Just Us Kids" activities program will start
operating earlier this year -- during Easter and Spring Break.
The Reefs restaurant, Catalan, is now serving a "chef's tables"
menu rather than Spanish cuisine. That means the chef decides on a
menu depending on the availability of fresh and seasonal
Marriott's Castle Harbour has a new program of free fitness
walks that combine exercise with a tour of Bermuda, highlighting
the island's history, culture, flora and fauna. The three walks are
offered by the resort's fitness instructor. They include:Adventure Walk: This 90-minute, 3.5-mile walk goes along a dirt
path through wooded areas and offers guests a chance to learn about
natural history while seeing caves, streams and fish ponds; the
halfway point is historic Tom Moore Tavern.Vitality Walk: This is a three-mile, one-hour scenic stroll
through residential areas and natural arches. Guests learn about
history, plant life and beaches.Power Walk: The same length as the Vitality Walk, this goes to
the South Shore Beach and back. It is designed for exercise and is
for those seeking an intermediate or advanced workout. n