Since Ashley Harris launched Hidden Gems of Bermuda in 2013, her tour company has become one of the island’s go-to options for women looking to unwind during their vacation. “Getting outdoors is not only one of the greatest ways to enjoy Bermuda’s beauty,” says Harris, whose trips visit peaceful Banyan forests and secluded blue grottos, “but it’s an amazing way to reconnect with girlfriends.”
Harris isn’t the only island entrepreneur opening doors for the island’s female visitors. From indulgent spa treatments to bespoke bicycle tours, the 21-square-mile island is awash in hands-on experiences to pamper the body and invigorate the soul—all just a two-hour flight from the east coast.
Here are some great ways to unwind in Bermuda.
Relax in Natural Peaceful Spots With miles of pink sand coastline and open green spaces perfect for exploring, Bermuda’s natural environment is enough to keep you busy for days. At the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, explore 36 acres of tropical foliage, including large groves of endemic species like cedar and palmetto trees, which the park was originally created to protect in 1898. Explore its specialty gardens—like the sensory garden for the blind with fragrant plants galore—then stroll past its colorful flowers that inspired John Lennon to write his final album in 1980. (There’s a statue commemorating his music located at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, also on site.)
When you’re done, make a beeline for Elbow Beach, a blissful stretch of sand just five minutes away, where long walks up and down its turquoise coastline are an invigorating way to end your day.
Enjoy Female-Led Activities Thanks to a trio of women who’ve created three quintessential island experiences, Bermuda can be seen, tasted, and smelled through the lens of a local. At the Bermuda Perfumery in historic Town of St. George, join head perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone as she helps you create your own signature scent. Choose from island-inspired botanicals like cedarwood, spring freesias, and sweet loquats, then blend your very own eau-de-toillete in her circa-1730’s Bermuda cottage workshop.
Also in St. George’s are the food and history bicycle tours led by local historian Kristin White from her bookstore, Long Story Short. From the seat of your own bike, you’ll explore centuries-old forts, winding cobblestone alleys, and Bermudian delicacies like fish cakes. And for a real taste of adventure, book an excursion with Hidden Gems, a company run by Ashley Harris, who takes guest on interactive eco-tours to pristine natural sites across the island, like wildlife-filled forests and stalactite-laden caverns.
Come for Spa Month Visiting in February? Take advantage of Bermuda’s Spa Month, when you can head to the island’s top spas and indulge in dozens of affordable body treatments, some of which start at $99. One option is the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Southampton—a 21,000 square feet facility with an ocean-view fitness center, steam rooms, and an adults-only pool with waterfalls and hot tubs. Here you can try the 60-minute “Touched by the Sol” treatment, which includes a re-mineralizing foot scrub followed by a foot, hand, and shoulder massage.
At Exhale, a modern spa at the recently renovated Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, try a Power Facial, which begins with an exfoliating mask to prepare your skin for detoxification, and concludes with either Cool Beam or ultrasonic therapy. And at the Rosewood Bermuda, you’ll find Sense Spa, where you can book the “Match Me If You Can” botanical treatment. This includes a full-body dry-brush exfoliation incorporating the healing properties of the whimsically named local plant of the same name.
Enjoy the Food Scene Foodies rejoice: Mid-January is a great time to visit Bermuda. That’s when dozens of restaurants unveil affordable, island-inspired menus during Restaurant Weeks. Held from January 16 through February 2, 2020, this program features prix-fixe, two-course lunches and three-course dinners at some of the island’s top spots, including Barracuda Grill (for fresh, local seafood), Devil’s Isle (with locally sourced vegetarian specialties) and Marcus’ (Caribbean-style comfort food from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson).
In addition to special menus, you can also participate in interactive classes hosted by some of the island’s top female chefs and bakers—like Kamilah Cannonier, a pastry chef and owner of Sweet Saak Bakery in St. George’s, who hosts workshops to teach her secrets for baking scones, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and more.
Discover more great reasons to unwind in Bermuda during the winter—and all year long—at gotobermuda.com.
—By David LaHuta