I love traveling over Thanksgiving. We typically leave first thing in the morning on Thanksgiving day, when the airport is less crowded, and stay through the Monday after the holiday weekend. This year, we decided to visit the beautiful island of Bermuda for our family vacation, and stayed in the gorgeous Fairmont Southampton Bermuda. This stunning resort overlooking the ocean offers so much for families. I’d definitely recommend staying there if you’d like to have a Bermuda family beach vacation. You could easily spend your whole vacation on property, although there’s so much to see outside of the resort as well.
Review of the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, Bermuda
Located just 2 hours by plane from Boston, Bermuda is an easy vacation for East Coasters. Although it’s often mistakenly identified as a Caribbean island, Bermuda is actually located more north, in the Atlantic. It’s off the coast of North Carolina, so it isn’t necessarily as warm as you may expect. During our November family vacation, the temperature was in the high 60s and low 70s. That location also means that it never get too hot in the summer, and is rarely over 90 degrees.
Location of the Fairmont Southampton Hotel
The Fairmont Southampton is one of two Fairmonts located on the island. This particular property is in the parish of Southampton, and is right by the beach. The other Fairmont, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, is located in the capital city of Hamilton.
After we went through customs and retrieved our luggage, we got a cab outside of the airport. Rental cars aren’t offered on the island, so cabs, shuttles, or private transfers are your best options for getting to your hotel. There’s a taxicab line right outside the airport, and it only took a few minutes for us to get in the cab and be on our way.
Our cab driver accepted US dollars (as they all do) but didn’t take credit cards (most do not). He gave us a wonderful guided tour of the island as we headed to the resort. It took about 30 minutes to get there, and cost about $50 US/Bermudian dollars (the value of the Bermudian dollar is pegged to the US dollar, so they are always the same). Along the way, he pointed out various tourist attractions and restaurants that we may consider visiting during our vacation.
While rental cars aren’t available on the island, there are new, small electric vehicles. Called Twizy cars, these vehicles can be rented at the Fairmont Southampton. They accommodate two people – one in front of the other – so they aren’t really practical for families.
The Fairmont Southampton is located on the Western side of the island, in the Southampton parish. The resort is on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Horseshoe Bay beach, as well as the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
Amenities at the Fairmont Southampton
The resort offers so many fabulous amenities for families. During our visit, we spent much of our time on property. Although we did venture out to see a few local attractions, there was so much for our family to do right at the resort.
In my opinion, the private beach at the Fairmont Southampton is one of the best amenities that it offers. This gorgeous beach offers a surf shop, towel hut, beach cafe, chairs and umbrellas, and locker rooms. The shop was closed during our trip because it was the off season, but the chairs and umbrellas were still there.
The private beach is a bit of walk down the hill from the resort, but there’s a free shuttle that travels every 15 minutes between the two locations. We never waited very long for the shuttle. Once you are down at the waterfront, you can also walk a short distance to the public Horseshoe Bay Beach, which is regularly rated as one of the best beaches in the world. We did that a few times, because it’s a stunning place to take photos.
In season, you can book a Bermuda Dive excursion, or rent items like stand up paddleboards, snorkels, and kayaks. They weren’t available during our late fall trip, but are offered in the warmer months.
Right by the private beach, you’ll find 6 hard court tennis courts. They are complimentary for hotel guests to use, and rentals of tennis racquets and balls are available. You can also book a private or semi-private lesson, if you’d like to improve your game while you are visiting the resort.
The Fairmont Southampton is home to the Turtle Hill Golf Club. Guests can take a shuttle to the golf course, but we found that it was pretty easy to walk. This 18 hole, par 3 course is regularly rated as one of the best golf courses in the world.
Golf clubs and carts can be rented from the clubhouse on property. Private lessons are also offered for guests at an additional fee.
Willow Stream Spa
If you want to relax and refresh during your family vacation, book a treatment at the Willow Stream spa. This full service spa offers all of the treatments that you’d expect, including facials, body treatments, body massages, salon services, and couple treatments.
The spa, which is for adults only, also offers an indoor swimming pool with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, shower and locker room areas, and an outdoor deck. Spa meals can be booked if you’d like to eat healthy food during your day at the spa.
Although we love the beach, my family also enjoys some pool time during our family vacations. The Fairmont Southampton has a gorgeous outdoor heated pool that overlooks the waterfront. There’s also a jacuzzi and a kids’ pool surrounding the main resort pool. Towels are available right by the entrance.
While the pool front burger bar was closed for the season, servers were walking around the pool area offering food and beverage service from the burger bar menu. We loved sitting by the pool.
The lower lobby level of the resort offers an old-fashioned game room. Every night after dinner, we headed down there and enjoyed a few games. The room, which is available for resort guests, includes pool, ping pong, and foosball. Kids under the age of 16 need to be supervised, so we enjoyed some games together as a family.
Kids over the age of 5 can enjoy the Explorers Camp Kids’ Club for an additional fee. The club is open regular hours during the busy summer season, but on a request only basis during the winter. There’s also a toddler room right outside the kids’ club. It’s open to all toddlers staying at the hotel, with adult supervision. Private babysitting can also be arranged through the kids’ club.
With so many activities available for families in Bermuda, you may need help figuring out what to do and how to get there. The resort has a concierge desk that can help with reservations, bus tickets, directions, and tickets to local attractions. We asked for advice a few times and found everyone to be helpful and friendly.
The complimentary resort shuttle can take you down to the beach, to the golf course, and to the Waterlot restaurant area. There’s also a ferry boat that takes guests to Hamilton from the Waterlot area. One day, we took the ferry into town for some shopping and lunch. It generally runs 2 to 3 times a day, depending on the time of year. While Hamilton is accessible by cab, it’s so nice to take the ferry to get there.
The Fairmont Southampton offers several shops on property. In addition to specialty shops including a golf pro shop, a tennis shop, and a spa shop, there’s also a gift shop selling essentials. On the mezzanine level of the resort, you’ll find several branches of local Hamilton shops. These stores offer the same merchandise as the larger stores, with the same prices. These shops are a great way to get some souvenirs without having to travel into town.
Within the spa, you’ll find a nice-sized fitness center. It offers various cardio and strength machines. Fitness assessments and personal training can be arranged for an additional fee.
The Fairmont Southampton Bermuda also offers activities for adults and families.
Have you heard of footgolf? This family sport is offered on the back nine holes of the Turtle Hill Golf Club. During Thanksgiving weekend, it was offered at 4pm. Footgolf involves kicking a soccer ball into a hole on the golf course. We chose to skip the golf course, and walked around the course on our own.
Footgolf is lots of fun, and was a great way to get some exercise on our trip. It’s free, unless you want to rent a golf cart. I’d definitely recommend it for those families with tweens and teens. It’s harder than you’d expect, so little kids may be frustrated.
Yoga is offered on a regular basis right by the spa pool. An additional fee applies.
During our visit, the resort offered a full schedule of family friendly and adult activities. These included beer and spirit tastings, movie nights, walking tours of the property, and a trip to the Royal Naval Dockyard. We weren’t able to take advantage of too many of these activities, but we loved having the option during our trip.
Restaurants at the Fairmont Southampton
The Fairmont Southampton offers so many restaurants right on property. You don’t even have to leave to eat off site if you don’t want to. If you dine at a restaurant at the resort, kids aged 5 and under can eat free when you are at a buffet or when they order from the kids’ menu. Those aged 6-12 can take advantage of the children’s menus, or get 50% a regular menu item. There are some exclusions to this policy, including room service.
Here are the restaurants that you’ll find on property.
Windows on the Sound
This breakfast restaurant offers beautiful views of Bermuda. It typically offers a breakfast buffet and a la carte menu all week long. On weekends, you can enjoy a typical Bermudian breakfast. We generally eat a light breakfast on vacation, but did decide to have breakfast on our last day. There are loads of delicious items to choose from.
We also ate on Windows on the Sound on Thanksgiving evening. The restaurant was open for a special Thanksgiving buffet. It was expensive, but included traditional Thanksgiving specialties (including the best stuffing I’ve ever had), as well as shrimp and sushi.
Exclusively open from Thursday-Sunday in the summers, the Ocean Club offers seafood specialties in a beautiful environment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open during our trip, because the menu looks fabulous.
Do you love steak? The Waterlot Inn, located a short distance from the resort right at the docks, offers beautiful views and delicious food. It’s a fine dining establishment, so it’s probably best for a special dinner.
Wickets Coffee Bar
If you love your morning coffee, you’ll want to head down to Wickets Coffee Bar, located in the lower lobby. It offers specialty coffees and grab and go food. There’s a Keurig coffee machine in each guest room, but Wickets is a great option if you’d like more premium coffee.
The Burger Bar at Wickets
This poolside cafe is open seasonally. Even when it’s not open, you can get items from the menu from the poolside servers. There are two menus that rotate daily, so you can eat there daily and have lots of different options.
Boundary Sports Bar and Grill
On our last night in Bermuda, we dined at the Boundary Sports Bar and Grill, which is located right by the golf course. It’s surprisingly kid friendly, and is lively and fun.
Jasmine Cocktail Bar and Lounge
One of my favorite meals on our trip was at the Jasmine Cocktail Bar and Lounge, located right in the lobby. This comfortable lobby bar offers small plates including ceviche, salad, and flatbreads.
Bermuda features a surprising amount of Italian restaurants, and the Fairmont Southampton has their own. Upon entering Mediterra, you’ll feel like you are in a completely different space. The food is delicious, and there are lots of great options for kids.
Rooms at the Fairmont Southampton
We booked our trip at the Fairmont Southampton Bermuda through JetBlue Vacations, but we still had different room options to choose from. There are 593 rooms at the resort, including deluxe rooms, suites, duplexes, and penthouse suites.
We had a Fairmont room, which offers a partially obstructed view of either the Atlantic or the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Those rooms offer a number of amenities including private balconies, Keurig coffee makers, Le Labo bath amenities, flat-screen televisions (which get US tv stations), complimentary WiFi, comfortable beds, and beautiful coastal decor. I enjoyed taking my coffee out on the balcony to view the sea each morning.
You can also choose a room with a better view, including rooms with a lighthouse view or a sea view. There are also moderate rooms with no view. If you don’t plan on spending much time in your room, this may be a good idea because you can save money.
There are also Fairmont Gold rooms available. These rooms, which are on their own floor, include a lounge with a separate concierge and a complimentary continental breakfast. Only those guests staying in Fairmont Gold rooms have access to this lounge, so it’s relatively quiet.
Tips for Visiting the Fairmont Southampton
Credit cards, including American Express, are accepted at the hotel. I’d recommend bringing some US dollars with you, as most of the cab drivers we encountered didn’t accept credit cards.
If visiting during a busy time, you may want to make advance reservations at the hotel’s busier restaurants. These can be made online at OpenTable.
Gratuities are generally included in the restaurant checks, so pay attention to that when signing the slips.
Towels are available at both the pool and the beach, so you don’t need to bring along your own.
When flying back to the United States from Bermuda, you’ll go through US customs at the Bermuda airport. I’d recommend leaving for the airport a little early.
Cabs lined the street in front of the hotel, so they were very easy to find.
Take advantage of the free boat transportation to Hamilton. It’s cheaper than a cab, and a fun ride.
If you do want to rent a Twizy car, do it early. There aren’t many of them, and they do book up.
Check out the Fairmont Southampton website for more information.
See our guide to Bermuda vacations.