by Stephen Jermanok
Enter the tall wooden doors of the 133-year-old Fairmont Hamilton Princess and you stroll into a lavish two-story lobby with its requisite grand fireplace and chandeliers. On one of the sofas sits a sculpture of Mark Twain, one of the many luminaries who have stayed at this celebrated hotel since it opened in 1885. Just beyond the lobby is the spot considered the best on Bermuda to have afternoon tea. It’s like walking into a bygone era of British colonialism, one that’s been recently refurbished with $35 million upkeep.
Located on the shores of Pitt’s Bay in the heart of Hamilton, the main hub of Bermuda, you would expect the Hamilton Princess to cater primarily to business travellers and couples. Yet, a growing number of families are booking rooms at this comfortable abode. This is especially true of families with young children whose kids are happy to be swimming at the new, heated freshwater infinity pool or older teenagers who like the appeal of the many shops and restaurants that line Hamilton’s streets.
An added bonus for families is the free 25-minute boat ride from the hotel to their sister property, the Fairmont Southampton. This is the island’s largest resort, with a golf course, beachfront location, children’s camp, tennis courts and spa. Guests are welcome to spend the day at the Southampton and then return to Hamilton for dinner that evening. It’s the best of both worlds. Spend your day on the putting greens or beach and return to Hamilton, which has a far better selection of restaurants and live music venues.
In Spring 2015, the Hamilton completed a $100-million renovation, which included updates to guestrooms and suites in the Gazebo wing of the hotel, two new restaurants and the addition of a new Princess Beach Club and marinaon the sand at South Beaches, as well as a kids’ club (for Princes and Princessess) that includes playgrounds and a tennis program. The Princess now showcases a fun and eclectic collection of contemporary art – kids will love the giant-sized sculpture of Miffy in the lobby.
Our Editor Loves
- Prime location
- Free ferry to sister property, the Southampton
- Celebrated history of the hotel
- All Inclusive Rates
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 410 guestrooms have harbor, city or garden views. Cribs, connecting rooms, rollaway beds or a mini-fridge are available upon request at no additional cost.
The guestrooms feature king, queen or double beds, a desk with Internet cable, flat-screen TVs and a good-sized closet with bathrobes, Keurig coffee makers, safe, iron and ironing board. The marble-tiled bathroom features a shower, bath, and Miller Harris products.
For additional space, choose one of the 33 one-bedroom suites with a separate living room and sofa bed, and private balcony or terrace.
Fairmont Gold rooms and suites are located on the second floor, with their own separate reception area and concierge. Enjoy a hot breakfast and afternoon snacks in an opulent salon. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is include for Fairmont President's Club members.
In Spring 2015, the 88 guestrooms in the Gazebo wing of the resort received an update, with all new furniture, fixtures and equipment, and upgrades like Wi-Fi.
For many years I’ve stayed at this establishment. It’s simply stunning. The staff is very attentive. The rooms are spotlessly cleaned. Enjoy the artwork that’s all throughout, including a Picasso. The location is perfect for my needs.
This was my wife and my first visit to Bermuda. We went with 3 other couples. The hotel was fabulous. The hotel was very clean. It had excellent amenities. The restaurants and bars were excellent on the property. The staff was incredible. They been over backward for you. Service was excellent. Look forward to going back. The hotel is located near down town. Excellent location to walk to other restaurants and bars and activities.
Beach and Pools
The hotel has two pools, one freshwater, one saltwater, that line the harbor. Since the freshwater pool is heated, the children will be spending the bulk of their time here. On the harbor, a boat run by the hotel offers snorkeling in the morning hours. This is in addition to the ferry that will drop you off at the Fairmont Southampton.
Head down to the pink sands beach on a nice afternoon. A water sports facility offers snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing opportunities. The kids will take walks to nearby Horseshoe Bay to find sea shells and learn how the sand gets its pink shading, go on nature scavenger hunts, build sand castles, and venture off with naturalists from Bermuda Audubon Society in search of blue birds.
Princess Beach Club
In summer 2015, the Princess Beach Club opened with water sports and beach amenities, as well as food and beverages for guests of the resort to enjoy. A complimentary beach jitney is available to take guests to and from the beach club.
At the Hamilton Princess, don't miss afternoon tea from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Heritage Court. English tea is served with finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones topped with sweet clotted cream.
At the Sister Resort-Fairmont Southampton
At the sister resort, Southampton, you can set up a tee time to play a round, grab one of the tennis courts or visit the Willow Stream Spa for a treatment. The Explorers Camp is available for children ages 5 and older daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Crown & Anchor
The Crown & Anchor lobby restaurant and bar, formerly the Heritage Court, opened in May 2015 after a full renovation. The restaurant and lounge serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with both indoor and outdoor seating available.
The harboside restaurant from chef Marcus Samuelsson opened in late-May, 2015, and features an open kitchen with a wood burning barbecue pit and a bar. There is outdoor seating on a larger terrace that allows guests to dine with views of the hotel's marina. Lunch and dinner will be served daily from 11 a.m. to midnight.
1609 Bar & Restaurant
1609 Bar & Restaurant features open air dining and harbor views in a resort casual setting. Ceviche, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads are some of the menu items.
Children 5 years and under eat free off the children's menu while children ages 6-11 eat for half price off the regular menu.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Babysitting is available for an additional hourly, and can be booked through the concierge desk.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access is included with Fairmont President's Club membership, which is free to join.
The Art of Smart Timing
While the Hamilton Princess is busy year-round with business travelers, families should head here in the summer, when the weather is best. The price for a room might be at its peak, but you want to swim in the ocean when the water is warm. Remember Bermuda is not Barbados. Come here in the winter and you'll be reclining on chaise lounge chairs wearing your jeans and polar fleece jacket. The island lies 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
For people on the East Coast, Bermuda, in season, is a quick, non-stop flight away. As the Bermuda Tourism Board states, in two hours you can go from business to bathing suit.
Since the hotel is a major hub on the island, it's no problem catching a taxi, who line up outside. Most of the time, however, you'll be walking to the restaurants and shops in town or taking the ferry over to the Southampton.
For Mom and Dad
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess hosts the best happy hour on the island. Late afternoon on Fridays, locals stream out of work and congregate on the hotel patio overlooking the harbor. Listening to live music, they down favorite Bermuda cocktails like the Dark and Stormy and Rum Swizzle.
Call up the Spa and arrange an hour-long couples massage overlooking the harbor, complete with a glass of champagne.