Beach Blanket Bermuda

Mandarin Oriental operates Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Mandarin Oriental operates Elbow Beach, Bermuda

For each ‘Planner’s Pick,’ Prevue interviews a planner for their choices of compelling, high value destinations

Executive Assistant
Boston, MA

Propriety is something cherished in Bermuda. Men typically acknowledge each other by surname until the requisite amount of familiarity is established, and correct manners are taken for granted. Golf and gardening are passions, and when one islander was caught throwing refuse in the wrong place, his name was published in the newspaper. Crime is non-existent. Pollution is almost likewise. To keep it that way everyone rides scooters and no family is allowed more than one car, not even the Prime Minister.

“Bermuda is spotless, I mean it’s like perfect!” says an enthralled Miki Brown, who organizes one of Sapient’s reward trips every year to Mandarin Oriental’s 235-room Elbow Beach, Bermuda. The accommodations are divided between a traditional hotel building with a curvilinear pool on the cusp of an oceanfront hill, and a smattering of private cottages dotting the 50 acres leading to the sea.

Why Elbow Beach?

“From the second you get out of the car, the impression is so beautiful and everyone is smiling and so accommodating. You just want to take a big ocean breath,” says Brown.

We understand. Elbow Beach does that to you. It is a full-service resort but feels like an expansive, severely well-to-do estate home with a geographical drama of royal proportions. That, or the kind of place where knighted rock stars take a date. “And it’s one of the only hotels with a beach that’s private, and that piece of beach is breathtaking,” concludes Brown.

Typically, Sapient’s group averages about 40 people, and the schedule of events is very simple: a welcome event by the pool or beach, a celebratory awards event, and one offsite meal. No surprise but Brown books Four Ways Inn for the offsite dinner, in operation since 1727, where presidents and secretaries of state have dined. We would recommend the Tzar Nicoulai osetra caviar before the New Zealand lamb carved tableside, but that’s not exactly putting ourselves out there. Go early for drinks in the Peg Leg Bar.

Did Brown’s group rave about any island food?

“The [dark & stormy] chocolate souffle, wow! It’s not necessarily island food, okay, but it is sooo good,” she says.

Bermuda isn’t exactly a roadside barbecue fish ’n fixins style island, but there’s no shortage of comfort food in the array of English-style pubs. The Hog Penny Pub is entirely too much fun and an island classic for locals and visitors alike, serving Vietnamese chicken drumetts and Welsh rabbit before the live band and singalongs start.

During the rest of the trip, the Sapient group went shopping along Front Street in the waterfront capital of Hamilton. Others wandered through 400 years of maritime history at the Dockyard and charming World Heritage town of St. George’s. Some did a harbour cruise, others golfed at one of the prim green courses for which the island is famous. And some didn’t go very many places at all, except one of the spa’s six private treatment suites.

“With Bermuda, there’s fantastic flexibility and everyone is so kind and wants you to be happy,” says Brown. “Yes, and the ties and Bermuda shorts too, that always gets me. I love that!”