Travel: Wake of the Storm

The only thing you need to know for a perfect Bermuda vacation is this: You should always be close enough to the ocean to see the waves foaming on the sunset-pink sand.

It’s not too hard to do.

After a nonstop two-hour flight from Philadelphia, I’m standing on the second-story balcony of my cottage at Pink Beach Club & Cottages, not more than 20 feet from the shoreline. Later, seated in the resort’s grand hotel-style dining room, I have a clear view through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Even motoring along the South Road toward secluded Church Bay on a rented red moped, I can see the waves—if I dare look over the cliffs while trying to steer according to British road rules.

The Bermudians, some of them, yes, in Bermuda shorts, are not quite as enamored of the ocean. The island is still on the mend after Hurricane Fabian, in fall 2003. Fabian brought the waves too close for comfort—my second-story suite was underwater; the 10-foot windows in the dining room bowed with the wind. When the storm passed, virtually every resort on the south shore found its bedrooms buried in pink sand.

But now, 19 months later, Fabian’s legacy is beautifully rebuilt resorts and wider swaths of warm sand. At the family-friendly Pink Beach Club, 16.5 acres of suites, painted “island pink,” have been refreshed with classic British furnishings and newly landscaped grounds perfumed with oleander and hibiscus. The resort also expanded its in-suite spa services, meaning you can get a massage to the soothing sounds of the sea.

The nearby championship golf courses Mid Ocean Club and Tucker’s Point, where you might see multimillionaire neighbors Ross Perot and Michael Douglas teeing off, have similarly recovered. And seven miles away, on the north side of the island, the tiny metropolis of Hamilton, gourmet food shop Miles Market (look for rum cakes and British marmalades), casual lunch spot the Pickled Onion (try the corn fritters), and sleek seafood mecca La Coquille, rode out the storm with little ill effect.

In fact, the closest I came to feeling the wrath of Fabian was while seated at Pink Beach’s pool-deck bar, watching the waves and drinking one of Bermuda’s signature cocktails, a mix of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and ginger beer: the Dark and Stormy.

»Pink Beach Club & Cottages, Tucker’s Town, 800-355-6161; Winter room rates from $415; Summer room rates from $490.
»The Pickled Onion, 53 Front Street, Hamilton; 441-295-2263.
»La Coquille, 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke; 441-292-6122.
»Miles Market, 96 Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton; 441-295-1234.