Spring Break: Bermuda
Even if your mind is on the green, it’s the blues of the water around the island of — that mesmerizing mix of azure and turquoise and aqua — that will take your breath away. The water, the beaches, the lush vegetation … it all makes for views from each of the island’s well-known courses (there are eight in Bermuda’s 21 miles — the most golf per square mile in the world) that make Merion look like the Jersey Turnpike. But man cannot live on tee alone, and nor should you: Some of your happiest hours will be spent letting soft-voiced masseurs soothe sore muscles on heated tables and sipping Rum Swizzles (the national cocktail) while an apricot sun sets over the Atlantic.
HEAT INDEX: The average temperature is in the high 60s and low 70s for March and April.
STAY: The elegant but easygoing Elbow Beach (below right), a recently revamped Mandarin Oriental mini-resort on the South Shore, sits on 50 acres of beachside property and falls right in the middle of all the courses. (Bonus: You’re a quick jaunt from the famed Port Royal course, home to the PGA Grand Slam for the past two years.) Other reasons to love it here? Sprawling ocean-view suites, moped rental, a nearby shipwreck for diving, a gloriously private state-of-the-art spa (try the two-hour body scrub/massage/mineral soak combo), and a concierge who will arrange tee times at any course. All this, plus the balmy breezes we’re all craving after a frigid winter. From $325 (mid-winter) to $3,295 per night.
DO: If you can’t play all eight courses, at least make sure to golf the biggies: Port Royal (below left), Mid Ocean Club and Tucker’s Point. (Set up tee times through your concierge or via Toateebermuda.com.) Plan to stay a bit longer at Tucker’s, where, in addition to the beautiful Roger Rulewich course, you’ll find a gentleman’s barber shop and an 18-head shower — part of the spa’s aqua therapy — that you won’t soon forget. And lest you lose sight of the fact that you’re in a tropical paradise, you should visit the historic Royal Naval Dockyard for snorkeling, which is fantastic here, thanks to all the nearby reefs. Then rent a Jet Ski at the Dockyard’s Snorkel Park Beach for a guided island tour.
EAT: Elbow Beach’s Lido is your spot for the postcard views and the stellar seafood you want from your beach vacation, and Mickey’s Beach Bistro & Bar is popular for an alfresco lunch or drink by the waves. But you’d be remiss to not make a special trip to Beau Rivage, a French bistro with the acclaimed French chef Jean Claude Garzia in the kitchen. (Ask for the chef’s table, and watch the master make your apple tarte tatin.) The lively Hog Penny Restaurant & Pub — with its wahoo skewers and jerked salmon—is another longtime local favorite spot for a solid meal and a Rum Swizzle.
GET THERE: Bermuda’s basically just off the coast of North Carolina, so it’s a quick and easy nonstop flight — with your passport — from PHL right into the airport in St. George’s.
STAY: Elbow Beach, 60 South Shore Road, Paget, Bermuda, 441-236-3535, mandarinoriental.com/bermuda.
DO: Port Royal Golf Course, 5 Middle Road, Southampton, 441-234-0974, portroyalgolf.bm. Mid Ocean Club, Harrington Sound, 441-293-0330, themidoceanclubbermuda.com. Tucker’s Point, 60 Tucker’s Point Drive, Hamilton Parish, 441-298-4000, tuckerspoint.com. Snorkel Park Beach at the Royal Naval Dockyard, 441-234-6989, snorkelparkbeach.com.
EAT: Lido (Elbow Beach), 441-236-9884, lido.bm. Mickey’s Beach Bistro & Bar, 441-236-9107, lido.bm/mickeys. Beau Rivage, 27 Harbour Road, 441-232-8686, newsteadbelmonthills.com. Hog Penny Restaurant & Pub, 5 Burnaby Hill, Hamilton, 441-292-2534, hogpennypub.com.