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Worth the Trip

While on the other side of the world, Bermuda boasts some of the best sailing in the world—and one great new hotel.

Located on a private beach, The Loren at Pink Beach is Bermuda’s latest property.

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Fine-dining restaurant Marée at The Loren at Pink Beach.

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St. Peter’s Church in historic St. George’s.

Photo: Anchyi Wei

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Rosewood’s largest of its three pools.

Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Bermuda

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Rosewood Bermuda recently underwent a $25 million renovation, reworking its suites and rooms.

Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Bermuda

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Perhaps no other person has done more for sailing in recent history than billionaire tech founder Larry Ellison. After 2013’s dramatic events at America’s Cup here in the Bay, the erstwhile CEO took his Oracle Team USA to Bermuda to train for two years around the island. The crew ultimately came in second to the Kiwis at the 2017 America’s Cup, and it’s been estimated that Ellison has spent about $750 million during the past five campaigns.

Those big bucks make speculation over where the next yacht race will take place—not until 2021—as intriguing as potential Olympic host cities. (Rumors currently point to New Zealand and Italy.) After all, the regatta’s move to the sleepy island of Bermuda almost two years ago has boosted tourism and hotel occupancy by significant numbers and made new fans out of West Coasters willing to take the multiple flights to get there.

Shortly after landing on the island, I was lounging beachside at The Loren at Pink Beach ($395 per night). Opened in April 2017, the whitewashed modern masterpiece would fit in fine in Palm Springs. Its clean lines and crisp blank canvas of poolside parasols postured over chaise lounges are a picturesque complement to the cool cyans and deep azures of the Atlantic, which start where the infinity pool ends.

The boutique property has 45 suites and two restaurants: the fine-dining Marée; and the more casual oceanside concept, Pink Beach Club, which takes its name from the sands of the hotel’s private beach. From there, I could see yachts bobbing in the bay, and while I wasn’t planning on doing any kind of sailing, I did want to get in the water. So I booked a dive trip with Dive Bermuda, where I saw spiny lobsters during a thoroughly professional two-tank dive ($150) that included exploring a sunken tugboat and navigating mazelike coral formations. Bermuda is historic, charming and accustomed to discerning travelers, but billionaire-status reaches its pinnacle at Rosewood Bermuda (ocean-view suite $1,725 per night), especially now that the $25 million renovation is complete. Sprawled across 240 manicured acres, the golf and spa resort is large, yet feels intimate. The signature splash pad near its restaurant Island Brasserie provides the resort vibe, while the Beach Club situated on the island’s largest secluded stretch of sand plays host to an idyllic day—no ropes and masts required.

There is plenty to discover out of the water too, like the quaint downtown of St. George’s. Meander the centuries-old streets and take in charming diversions, such as the island’s perfumery, boasting Lili Bermuda. Hint: Its custom fragrance, recreated from perfume found in the 1864 shipwreck Mary Celestia, makes for a great gift—especially when you consider how the island’s treacherous outer reefs have sunk many vessels over the centuries, none more famous than Sea Venture, believed to be forever immortalized in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In fact, you can tour a replica of the ship in St. George’s.

In downtown Hamilton, the rich mélange of Bermuda’s cultural influences are on full display Wednesday nights during the weekly Harbour Nights summer street festival, where Gombey folk dancers dressed in distinctly Bermudian motifs pound out African rhythms before giving way to a British red-coated military marching band accompanied by a group of Scottish bagpipe players.

If all that sounds rather diverse for a secluded island, you’re right. Locals say nothing in Bermuda is original. It’s true—the only life here arrived either by flying, swimming, drifting or bringing a few $10 million Oracle Team USA racing boats to port. Next on Ellison’s navigation path is his new series, SailGP. Starting next month, he will fund five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wing-sailed F50 foiling catamarans. Teams from the United States, Australia, Great Britain, France, Japan and China will compete in San Francisco, New York, Sydney, Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Marseille, all with the hopes of scoring Ellison’s prize of a cool $1 million. But the real winners, of course, will be the tourists.

 

Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco 

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