Here’s why they’re smiling in Barbados and Bermuda:
- Delta Air Lines’ new nonstops from Atlanta and JFK may bring Barbados 33,000 additional visitors annually from the United States. “We are thrilled to welcome Delta Air Lines to Barbados,” says Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc’s CEO William Griffith. “With 160 seats on each airplane and new connectivity through the Atlanta gateway, Delta will now connect Barbados to approximately 220 destinations worldwide. There has never been a better time to visit Barbados, and with the ease of the new nonstop flights, we look forward to welcoming many more travelers to our sunny shores.”
- Meanwhile, the decision to hold the 2015 America’s Cup World Series Racing Event (in October) and the 35th America’s Cup (2017) in Bermuda has spiked interest in this destination. “America’s Cup and Bermuda are a perfect match on so many levels, from our sailing heritage and lifestyle to the profile of our audiences and experiences,” says Victoria Isley, chief sales & marketing officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority. “It’s the perfect catalyst to mark the next chapter in Bermuda’s storied tourism industry and it will have a significant and lasting impact.”
Conveniently, both islands offer top-drawer golf, hotels and spas. So shall we play a few rounds? We can recover with a massage.
Coral Reef Club
The casually elegant, 88-room Coral Reef Club doesn’t have its own golf course, yet it’s a splendid destination for golfers. For starters, its concierges book tee times at Sandy Lane’s three golf courses, two of which, The Country Club and Green Monkey, are Tom Fazio beauties. The par 72 Country Club features sea views and has hosted the World Golf Championships World Cup; the 7,343-yard Green Monkey is arguably the most expensive golf course ever built. They also get guests onto two other courses ranked among the best in the Caribbean: the 7,045-yard Royal Westmoreland, right next door, has a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. layout with ocean views, tricky greens, and equally tricky green monkeys. The next course over, Apes Hill, perches 1,000 ft. above sea level, and its meticulous grooming is matched only by that of the players.
Indoors and outdoors converge at the spa, with its reflecting pool, waterfalls, outdoor couples pavilion, and treatment rooms with private gardens. Typical of the treatments are the Caribbean Calm Massage and the Lemongrass and Ginger Rub. New this season: Wellness Retreats.
Guests enjoy watersports (good onsite snorkeling, too) on a fine beach, and there are pools, a dive shop, nightlit tennis, and a children’s playground; a complimentary supervised program for kids runs during summer, and there are sitters year-round. The elegant, open-air restaurant offers perfectly prepared fish and meats plus a vegetarian menu, and guests who book M.A.P. may eat at some other luxury hotels.
Rooms and suites and the two kitchen-equipped villas are in low-rise cottages with private balconies/terraces and white furnishings for a cool, relaxed elegance. An unusual amenity: Coral Reef Club has four singles rooms. Rates for doubles start at $476 per night, including breakfast. Agents get 50 percent discounts on stays in summer, based on availability.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point
This resort on the northeast coast is home to one of the best courses on an island full of great ones: the par 70 Tucker’s Point Golf Course. Redesigned in 2002 by Roger Rulewich, the layout features elevated tees, sea views, and fast TifEagle putting surfaces. Bonus: The concierge also arranges tee times at nearby Mid-Ocean, another world-famous course.
The 12,000-sq.-ft. Sense spa’s relaxation areas include a reflection pool and a garden where guests can choose botanicals for treatments. Not only is the menu of wellness and beauty treatments a long one, but the therapists customize treatments instead of operating on auto-pilot. There’s a sparkling fitness center and, on the lawn, yoga and Pilates classes.
Guests also enjoy a pink-sand beach, diving and other watersports, tennis courts, running and walking trails, and (of course!) croquet and a moped-rental center. The headliner of the three restaurants, The Point, offers both traditional and creative cuisine, tasting menus, an encyclopedic wine list, and walls featuring the murals that once graced New York’s famed Pan Am Club.
The smallest rooms and suites occupy 520 sq. ft., and every unit has water views, a balcony or terrace, an oversized bathroom, WiFi, and Rivolta Carmignani bedding. Rates are lowest in winter; a room whose rack rate is $324 in January costs well over $800 in summer. The 10 percent commission rises to 15 percent for Rosewood Elite agencies.
The resort’s Turtle Hill Golf Club is a rarity: an executive course (2,684 yards) that makes golfers’ bucket lists. The Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship is held here, and Golf magazine has named Turtle Hill one of the best par 3 courses on Earth. This Fairmont’s guests also have preferred access to Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club, a 1922 beauty laid out on a peninsula.
The hilltop hotel’s 31,000-sq.-ft. Willow Stream Spa, long voted “Best Spa in Bermuda,” features a spiffy fitness center (first-rate trainers, too), a salon whose beauticians can do anything, gardens, waterfalls, steam rooms, and stunning views from the pool and deck. Therapists achieve the spa’s goal, rediscovering one’s energy, through expert massages, aromatherapy, sea scrubs, mineral baths, and other techniques.
Guests at the Fairmont Southampton also have use of a large pool, a beach club with a dive shop and watersports rentals, and a kids’ Explorers Camp. Eight restaurants serve a variety of cuisines, and room service is available 24/7.
The 593-room resort has the island’s largest guestrooms, 74 of which are Fairmont Gold lodgings. All rooms and suites have balconies, marble bathrooms, Keurig coffee makers, and a sophisticated contemporary look. Rates start at $289; agents who join Fairmont’s Famous Agent program earn points for gift cards, hotel stays, or charitable donations.
New Golf Courses in the Bahamas and St. Kitts
They’re smiling in the Bahamas and St. Kitts, too. When Baha Mar opens later this spring, not only will it add 2,200 hotel rooms to Nassau’s inventory, but TPC at Baha Mar will give the Bahamas its only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a 7,189-yard, par 72 instant classic with superb sporting and environmental credentials. (844) 800-2242; bahamar.com
Guests at the new Belle Mont Farm, part of the sustainable Kittitian Hill development, have access to Irie Fields, “the world’s most edible golf course.” Forget conventional fairways; this Ian Woosnam course weaves through organic farmland and orchards. Not only do caddies counsel players on which club to pick, they also advise them on which fruit is ripe for picking. (855) 846-3951; bellemontfarm.com
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
Sandals LaSource Resort & Spa, Grenada (August 2014)
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc: visitbarbados.org
Bermuda Tourism Authority: gotobermuda.com
Coral Reef Club: coralreefbarbados.com
Fairmont Southampton: (800) 441-1414; fairmont.com/southampton or famousagents.frjhi.com
Rosewood Tucker’s Point: (888) 767-3966; rosewoodhotels.com/en/tuckers-point-bermuda