Bermuda travel is supposed to resume on July 1. It’s not the only tropical paradise you can go to; Antigua and Barbuda is open right now, and other Caribbean destinations are supposed to open in July too. But Bermuda is incredibly beautiful, and, while it’s not an all-season destination, it’s going to be tropical enough between July and September (and warm and pleasant until the end of October).
The island’s reopening gave me an opportunity to scroll once again through the photos of my amazing 4-day Bermuda journey in 2013. Armed with 4 free Chase Fairmont credit card nights and a zillion AA miles, we had an incredible trip, spending our days between Fairmont Hamilton Princess and Fairmont Southampton, both fantastic properties (Fairmont Hamilton Princess is closed until August 1, 2020). Given a choice of destinations that are open or will reopen soon, I would happily go back to Bermuda, because, seriously, 4 days is not nearly enough if you want to explore the island. Honestly, we didn’t see much, having spent our 4 days entirely at the beach or pools.
Bermuda COVID-19 Situation (6.22.2020)
- Confirmed: 146 (+2)
- Recovered: 132
- Deaths: 9
Bermuda COVID-19 regulations
The Bermuda travel protocol is short, and I’ll just paste it here entirely.
Pre-Departure — Prior to departing for Bermuda, travellers should:
- Obtain a certified negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure
- Ensure they have appropriate health insurance
- Wear face masks when travelling to the departure airport
- Wear face masks and practise physical distancing at the departure airport
- Complete a traveller screening form and arrival card
In Flight — During flight, travellers should:
- Wear a face mask while on the plane
- Practise social distancing to the extent possible
Upon Arrival — Upon arrival, travellers should:
- Undergo COVID-19 testing at airport or accommodation (turnaround time eight to 24 hours)
- Follow safety protocols, including wearing face masks, undergoing contactless temperature checks, and using hand-sanitisation stations
- Stay quarantined at hotel/accommodation until COVID-19 test results are delivered
- Have temperature taken twice per day and results recorded
Departure — Travellers must:
- Undergo a pre-boarding health screening in the form of a temperature check if your destination jurisdiction requires
Just because Bermuda travel is going to resume on July 1, it doesn’t mean you can get there on July 1. Delta has loaded flights starting July 14 from/via Atlanta; JetBlue begins on August 1 from/via New York (JFK) and Boston; and American on August 18 from/via New York (JFK). Here is what you can expect to pay.
Delta Atlanta to Hamilton: Cash
Delta Atlanta to Hamilton: Miles
JetBlue New York to Hamilton: Cash
JetBlue New York to Hamilton: Points
American New York to Hamilton: Cash
American New York to Hamilton: Miles
As you can see, mile values are atrocious on all airlines, so as much as it hurts me, I’d pay cash, quite honestly. Also if you can wait until August, then JetBlue is a clear winner on all metrics: price, schedule, and social distancing. In fact, I’d go further and pay a few extra bucks for Even More Space in an exit row. Shouldn’t be much.
Where to stay
Any which way you slice it, Bermuda travel is super expensive. Unless you’re one of the visionaries who had enough guts to buy a lifetime Fairmont Platinum status for $2K (does Accor still honor those?) years ago, I wouldn’t blow $500+ at Fairmont Southampton, no matter how fabulous that hotel is (it is). But if you don’t mind — wow, what a hotel! Probably the best in Bermuda, at least until St. Regis is up running.
It might look a bit dated, but that’s 2013. Fairmont Southampton has undergone a few renovations since then as far as I know.
As I’ve mentioned, the sister Fairmont property, Fairmont Hamilton Princess, is set to reopen in August, and there is a free ferry circulating between the properties. Fairmont Hamilton Princess is beautiful too, and it’s in Hamilton, but there is no beach, of course. Fairmont Southampton, in the meantime, has an excellent beach next to the Horseshoe Bay Beach — considered to be the best beach on the island.
Still, if you can get a better deal at Fairmont Hamilton Princess, I would take it since you have access to the beach loungers at Southampton. And a ferry ride is actually quite pleasant on its own.
And the pool at the Princess was open 24/7 regardless of what the regulations said. My daughter loved her night swims more than anything else about the place.
So how would I go about getting lodging on an island where 2-3 star properties command a $200 price tag?
I know I may annoy some people by advocating dumping hotels in favor of rented properties, but for Bermuda travel it’s more like a necessity than a choice. Rentals are still expensive, but there are plenty of choices under $200, many with pools, and you can cook your own food, too. Eating out is costly too in Bermuda, and you’ll save a small fortune by cutting down on some of your restaurant meals.
Just do yourself a favor and don’t limit yourself by searching Airbnb only. Check at least some other aggregators like Booking.com and HomeAway for vacation rentals; Airbnb isn’t always the cheapest option.
When we went to Bermuda, the only option was scooters, but that’s no longer the case. You can rent an electric vehicle, although there is only one car rental company on the island. The car you can rent is a funny-looking two-seater with enough charge to last for a day or 2.
If you do go in July, the rental fees start at $40 plus a mandatory $10 insurance fee. In August the fees rise to $99 per day (plus $10 mandatory insurance).
Bermuda is re-opening for tourists on July 1, but realistically, you won’t be able to fly there before July 16 (at least according to the current airline schedule). Delta is the first U.S. airline to begin flights on July 14, to be followed by JetBlue (August 1) and American (August 18).