In November, when Bermuda was selected as the host of the 2017 America's Cup sailing race, the owners of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont Managed Hotel (formerly the Fairmont Hamilton Princess) must have been smiling.
One month earlier, the hotel had opened the 60-berth Princess Marina, the only full-service marina in Bermuda and one capable of accommodating both small boats and superyachts.
"We knew it'd be very popular in general, but with America's Cup coming, it takes it to the next level," said Suzanne Wenz, a regional director at Fairmont.
The marina is part of a $90 million renovation the Hamilton Princess has been undergoing for more than a year, one that enables the 130-year-old property to take advantage of its top asset: its harborside location in Bermuda's picturesque capital.
As part of the first phase of the project in summer 2014, the hotel opened 1609 Bar & Restaurant, an open-air pavilion perched on the corner of the property overlooking the harbor, as well as a new infinity pool also facing the water.
The second phase of the renovation, expected to be completed in May, will see the opening of Marcus', a harborside restaurant in partnership with chef Marcus Samuelsson, as well as newly designed landscaping that also takes greater advantage of the water views and access.
The hotel expects the marina to bring the boating and sailing community to the property. Anyone docking at the marina has signing privileges at the hotel's on-site restaurants, and a marina concierge assists guests with anything from destination information to making restaurant reservations or island excursions. The hotel will also provide picnic baskets for day trips and onboard catering for events and gatherings. Tours via kayak, stand-up paddleboard or personal watercraft are offered, as are activities such as parasailing.
A variety of outdoor activities center on the harbor and marina. A new twilight, harborside cigar experience will include spirits pairings, live jazz and a tapas menu. Seasonally, the hotel will host Marina Nights on Fridays, putting lounge seating alongside the harbor and offering a full bar, outdoor grill and DJ.
Its lobby restaurant will also become more outdoor-facing when it is renovated and reopens as the Crown & Anchor, featuring indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Beach Club opening
Also this summer, the Hamilton Princess will open the Princess Beach Club on the island's south shore, where hotel guests can lounge, swim and snorkel. The beach will have a bar and restaurant, dressing rooms and watersport activities, including diving, personal watercraft and paddleboarding. Vans will provide access to the beach club, 20 minutes away.