Where to Eat
Rock Island Gourmet
Here’s the place for killer raspberry scones, paintings by local artists, and north-shore gossip, a block from the waterfront. 48 Reid St., Hamilton, Pembroke; 441/296-5241; breakfast for four $18.
This diner-style hangout, within walking distance of the Elbow Beach hotel, has thick chocolate milk shakes, roast turkey sandwiches, and fish chowder delivered to lime-green Formica tables. 68 South Shore Rd., Paget; 441/236-9742; lunch for four $40.
The Frog & Onion Pub
The cavernous former barrel-making factory at the Dockyard attracts families who come for the very British fare (pasties, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie) and large game arcade—bloody brilliant! The Cooperage, Dockyard, Sandys; 441/234-2900; lunch for four $76.
The Waterlot Inn
Steak and chops are served in a cozy beamed room at this 17th-century dockside residence. Despite the grown-up setting, the waitstaff is amazingly attentive to children, cheerfully cutting meat, spreading napkins across laps, and suggesting, with a wink, that they polish off their vegetables. Fairmont Southampton, Middle Rd., Southampton; 441/238-8000; dinner for four $240.
This casual restaurant has been dishing up chicken cacciatore, cannelloni, and 18 kinds of pizza for more than a quarter century; get here early for a prime people-watching table on the terrace. 20 Bermudiana Rd., Hamilton, Pembroke; 441/292-2375; dinner for four $120.
Mrs. Tea’s Victorian Tearoom
Nibble scones with clotted cream under the gaze of British royals, whose portraits grace the walls of this storybook National Trust cottage. 126 Main Rd., Sandys; 441/234-1616; afternoon tea for four $56.
Fairmont Hamilton Princess
Named for one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, who visited the island in 1883, the hotel presents afternoon tea with the works—tiered stands, polished silver, and eggshell porcelain. There’s also a sweet version for little girls called “princess tea for princesses”; participants get a strand of plastic pearls and a fancy hat. 76 Pitts Bay Rd., Hamilton, Pembroke; 441/295-3000; afternoon tea for four $110, princess tea $25 per child; reservations suggested.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Tea Room
After a 185-step climb to the top of the cast-iron beacon, Bermuda’s highest point, repair to the keeper’s house for a cup of Earl Grey and baked beans on toast, or, later in the day, ice cream sundaes and frozen drinks. If you come between February and May, be on the lookout for migrating humpback whales. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, 68 St. Anne’s Rd., Southampton; 441/238-8679; breakfast for four $50.
On the Horizon
Given the fact that Bermuda hasn’t seen a resort open in 35 years, the scope and pace of the island’s current building boom is astounding. Developments include golf-centric enclaves such as Tucker’s Point Club, on 200 east-end acres, which has fractional-ownership villas and is completing an 88-suite Georgian-style hotel with in-room fireplaces and soaking tubs. Also in the works: a very un-Bermuda-like complex being developed by Jumeirah, the audacious Dubai-based firm known for its architecturally arresting properties. Their 300-room Jumeirah Southlands Resort, on 37 acres of south-shore beachfront, will showcase glass-walled, two-story suites built into sea cliffs. Meanwhile, the former Club Med property, vacant since 1989 and since then the object of several failed schemes, may finally be resurrected in the form of a St. Regis hotel, giving sleepy St. George’s Parish a much-needed marquee property. Today Bermuda has about 6,000 hotel beds; its pro-tourism premier, Dr. Ewart Brown, has said his goal is to have 10,000 by the year 2010—which should give traveling clans plenty to choose from.
Meg Lukens Noonan, T+L Family’s expert on islands and ski resorts, is based in Hanover, New Hampshire.