CONVENTION CENTERS & FACILITIES
Elbow Beach (4,500 square feet of event space); Fairmont Hamilton Princess (19,000 square feet); Fairmont Southampton (30,000 square feet of meeting and event space); Rosewood Tucker’s Point (9,172 square feet of indoor meeting space)
A PINNACLE AWARD GOES TO:
• Bermuda Department of Tourism
There are a myriad of beautiful, tranquil islands to visit across the globe. With so many from which to choose, why consider Bermuda?
We spoke to the island’s top hoteliers to learn what makes this particular destination a surefire winner for meetings and incentives.
Bermuda is astonishingly close to the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and ease of access was mentioned by everyone Successful Meetings spoke with as a primary selling point for the island.
“What surprises many first-time visitors is how close Bermuda is to the rest of the world,” says Jamahl Simmons, director of public relations at the 593-room Fairmont Southampton. “Bermuda is accessible, with direct flights from most of the major gateway cities. You can board a plane in New York after breakfast and arrive in Bermuda in time for lunch.” New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, are about two-hour flights from Bermuda.
For Midwest-based incentive groups, for which flights would be slightly longer, Wendy Zapach, director of marketing at the 88-room Rosewood Tucker’s Point, recommends a two-destination program. “A fantastic trip would be to pair it with New York—three nights in New York for a shopping getaway and then Bermuda for three or four nights to relax. It’s something really special,” she says.
While Bermuda is certainly a fantastic summer destination, its weather is ideal for incentive travel in the fall—and value opportunities exist in autumn.
“Mid-September to mid-April you can do tremendous programs on a budget,” says Randolph Wilcott, director of sales and marketing for the 98-room Elbow Beach, Bermuda, managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Nearly all outdoor activities, including golf, can be enjoyed year-round, and Bermuda doesn’t shutter its seasonal offerings until roughly early November. But a bonus for those who are sensitive to humidity is that it tends to drop in October.
“People have this idea that Bermuda has a winter season,” says Zapach. “And while it’s not 85 in January or February, it’s about 70, so it’s a very temperate climate. You leave New York, where it’s 17 degrees, and 90 minutes later you’re in 71 degrees.”
3. The Locals
“Perhaps the most important factor that separates Bermuda from other islands is the warm, welcoming, and friendly personality of Bermudians,” says Simmons. “The people of Bermuda consider tourists their personal guests and are known for going above and beyond to ensure that visitors to the island have a fantastic time.”
Zapach adds: “Everybody is very well educated, well traveled, and articulate. When you get in a taxi, you are getting in a taxi with someone who is well spoken and a real ambassador for the island.”
And Wilcott says that “Bermudians are probably some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered. They go out of their way to ensure that your experience is a memorable one, because what’s most important to the local folks is that you come back.”
Bermuda is a golfer’s paradise. “A lot of golf destinations have a ton of golf courses, but they are an hour away. Not on Bermuda,” says Zapach, noting that everything is within a 30- to 40-minute drive and that the island’s Mid Ocean Club “is a bucket list course.”
Since 2007, Bermuda has hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf event, in which the winners of the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship compete for a $1.35 million purse. The 2007 and 2008 events were held at the Mid Ocean Club, and since then the events have been hosted by the Port Royal Golf Course.
“Bermuda has more golf courses per capita than any country in the world, making it extremely appealing for incentive groups. And all of the courses feature spectacular views,” says Suzanne Wenz, regional director of public relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which has two hotels on the island, the Southampton property and the 410-room Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Fairmont guests can play at an executive par 3 course and at Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club, the oldest course on the island.
Golfers can choose from seven championship courses on the island and will encounter a variety of challenges they probably will not find at their local country clubs or public courses—including winds coming off the Atlantic and firm, slow greens because of irrigation management.