Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deal of the Day

Summer may be over but for travelers to Bermuda that means lots of fair weather bargains throughout the fall, like this amazing deal from the luxurious Fairmont Southampton on Bermuda’s stunning south shore. Incredibly, rooms at the oceanside resort are 50% off for reservations through January 2011, including holiday stays over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’ll get to the details in just a bit, but first, here’s why you should consider an autumn stay at one of the island’s most elegant hotels.

You'll Sleep Soundly
The sprawling resort boasts 593 spacious rooms and suites, all of which have private balconies, marble bathrooms and elegant British colonial décor. Relax on your very own Fairmont Bed with Egyptian cotton sheets or take in the endless ocean view from the comfort of your room. You might want to leave at some point to explore the island, but your mornings, nap times and nights couldn’t possibly be more comfortable.

You'll Be Pampered From Head to Toe
By far the largest and most luxurious wellness facility in Bermuda is the 31,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Southampton. Yes, it’s that good and here's why: The spa features 15 well-appointed treatment rooms, multiple relaxation lounges, a state-of-the art ocean view fitness center, indoor heated pool, beauty salon plus private men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam inhalation rooms, sauna and signature Willow Stream Energy bath and beauty products throughout. You’ll be pampered with dozens of island-inspired treatments administered by trained professional therapists and best of all, you won’t have to book days in advance to get an appointment. Hands down, it’s the best place for a massage in Bermuda.

You'll Have Your Own Beach
In fall, the temperature tops out at a blissful 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can spend long days lazing on a chaise lounge at the resort’s private beach club. Rent snorkel gear and explore the rock formations at the water’s edge or stroll the long, private pink sand beach. It doesn’t get much better than that.

You'll Eat Well
Sure, some of the hotel’s restaurants, including the Newport Room, Wickets and the Ocean Club close temporarily during the fall and winter season, but rest assured you’ll be well fed at three of the Fairmont Southampton’s most beloved places to eat. Enjoy thin crust pizzas, tapas and other light fare at Jasmine Lounge (where you can also listen to live jazz and sip signature martinis); rustic Italian cuisine that’s perfect for the whole family at Bacci; and classic steakhouse fare, like Kobe beef ribeyes and Caribbean lobster tails, in a traditional 18th century Bermuda cottage at the Waterlot Inn.

You'll Play Eighteen Holes
With its very own oceanview Executive Par-Three Golf Course, the Fairmont Southampton is the perfect hotel to practice your swing. Take your short game to new levels and when you’re done, consider booking a tee time at nearby Riddell’s Bay Golf Club—through an exclusive partnership with the Fairmont Southampton, guests of the hotel can play Bermuda’s oldest private course.

You'll Be There In a Flash
Bermuda is less than a two-hour flight from most east coast gateways including New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Orlando and Halifax, Canada. Just under three hours away is Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. Yes, paradise is that close.

You'll Save Money
Did I mention that rooms at the Fairmont Southampton were 50% off through January? Here’s what you need to know: Moderate rooms start at $149 a night for Sunday through Wednesday stays; Fairmont rooms, which overlook the harbor or golf course, are $179 a night for stays any day of the week; and Deluxe Ocean View rooms are $239 a night, also for stays any day. There are a handful of blackout dates—for those and more about the deal, which runs through the end of January visit TravelZoo—but you must book by October 5.

So, what are you waiting for? Check into the Fairmont Southampton today!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bermuda for Budget Travelers?

It was back in September 2009 when the New York Times Travel section published my story, 36 Hours in Bermuda. In case you missed it I covered the island’s best and brightest: Dinners at Mickey’s and Port O Call, golfing at Port Royal, happy hour at Newstead, snorkeling at Church Bay, plus a handful of others like scoping out paintings at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art or where to get Bermuda’s best fish chowder (for my money, it’s still a toss up between Hog Penny and the Lobster Pot; discuss). Well, it looks like the Grey Lady has struck again, this time with a story from it’s newest reporter, Seth Kugel, who recently took over the Frugal Traveler column from budget-traveler extraordinaire Matt Gross. Frankly, I never thought Bermuda had a chance of landing in the column titled "Hurricane Season, Bargain Hunting in Bermuda," what with $40 dinner entrees and hotel rooms hovering around $250 a night, but Kugel does point out a few inexpensive winners. He raved about The Commissioner’s House in Dockyard, a bonafide piece of nautical history that I love taking visitors to and for $2.50, you can’t get a better view from the top of Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, a site that he also seemed to enjoy. I also agree that the island's public bus system is one of the best and cheapest ways to get around. But the rest of the story just seems, let’s say, a bit off. Who comes to Bermuda for bacon and egg toast at Angeline’s, then has the gall to call it “soulless?” Or a hamburger lunch at New Traditions, a meal he later called “mediocre?” The one meal he did enjoy was at Breezes at Cambridge Beaches, a dinner he didn’t even pay for, which makes sense since there’s no way the beachside restaurant’s $31 sea bass fits within his Frugal Traveler budget. And what about that room he rented on the east end? I’m sure it’d be great for college kids or backpackers, but that’s just my point. The island doesn’t cater to college kids or backpackers. Or even budget travelers for that matter. Look, there’s nothing wrong with attempting to squeeze more value out of your vacation dollar—as a former editor of Budget Travel magazine, saving money while on the road has long been one of my tenants of travel—but Bermuda’s not really a budget travel paradise. It’s just paradise. Period.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Back: Scotland

You might've noticed a serious lack of posts about Bermuda last week. Well, that's because I was in Scotland, covering the golf-crazed nation for Outside Television. If you're at all into fine single malt whiskeys, coastal links golf courses and towering medieval castles, I strongly encourage you to head on over to my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside, and read all about my trip to Scotland. If not, well, that's fine too. I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming. In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Got Ziggy?

It’s Monday, which means you’re probably angling for something to do this weekend. If you’re into warm weather, cool drinks and reggae superstars like Ziggy Marley then why not consider Bermuda? That’s right folks, it’s time for this year’s Bermuda Music Festival, a three-night event that kicks off on Thursday with none other than the world-renowned son of Bob. Those who were reading last year might remember my report from the 2009 festival’s first night, which included an electric performance by Wyclef-I-wanna-be-president-of-Haiti-Jean and Erykah-neo-soul-diva-Badu. (Wanna see for yourself? Watch this 50-second YouTube video for a small taste of Wyclef’s high-energy act). Then there was night two when Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Michael McDonald, Patti Austin and Siedah Garrett were joined by the Bermuda Mass Choir for a rousing rendition of We Are the World. And finally, night three when Siedah Garrett, who wrote many of Michael Jackson’s tunes, got the crowd to its feet with her performance of the MJ hit Man in the Mirror. This year’s lineup is solidly in the R&B corner—after Ziggy on Thursday, singers Angie Stone and Estelle perform on Friday, then Grammy-Award winner Toni Braxton takes the stage on Saturday—and the festival will make its debut at a smaller, more intimate beachside venue at the luxurious Fairmont Southampton. So, how do you get your tickets? For single night, two-night or three-night passes check out BDATix. And if you’re flying in—because roundtrip airfare from New York is $289 on American Airlines this week and gets only incrementally higher from other east coast gateways—visit the Fairmont Southampton’s deals tab for Bermuda Music Festival hotel packages (three-night stay plus three nights at the festival for $929). As for me, well, I'll see ya at the show!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Like Bermuda? Bookmark These Sites Now!

Spoiler alert: Bermuda Shorts isn’t the only website where you'll find island news and tropical updates (but it is the only site where you’ll find me, so there). One of my favorites is, an excellent site for, well, Bermuda news and one that kept the island constantly updated with diligent live blogging and up-to-the-minute photos during Hurricane Igor. Then there’s, a website run by the Bermuda Department of Tourism that often posts hotel deals and airfare sales from its various industry partners (like the Compliments of Bermuda offer, where you get every third night free at 15 island hotels and resorts; deal!). If you’re searching for something to do while you’re on the island, don’t miss the cleverly named Updated daily by island ex-pat Claire Hattie, the site includes various events like this Saturday’s Keep Bermuda Beautiful Marine Clean Up and the BUEI Weekend Film Series, which will screen documentary films at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute every weekend beginning September 26.

Clearly each website has its individual value, but the new-and-improved is one stop shopping for all of your Bermuda needs. Relaunched this week after a complete overhaul, the site features comprehensive listings to popular island attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels—perfect for visitors looking for a bit of inspiration—plus an entire section devoted to locals. Called The Onion Patch, it’s where all of us islanders can get information on current events, off-island travel and even movie times at local theaters. Even better is Local, a new sub-site that lists just about every business on the island—shops, restaurants, you name it—and directs users to real time online ratings and GPS enabled turn-by-turn directions, kind of like Google meets Trip Advisor for Bermuda (that's a screenshot above). Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Hey, if you ever need a blogger—ya know, someone with over a dozen years of experience in the tourism and travel industry with the journalism credentials to boot—you know who to call. In the meantime, I’ll be right here in my corner of the web so don't forget to bookmark me too: Bermuda Shorts, for MOST of your island news and tropical updates.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ouch! Phil Disses Bermuda

So much for Mickelson. Despite my last ditch effort to get the Masters champion to Bermuda—an open letter to Phil explaining why he should come play the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal—Lefty has officially shut the door on any hope of seeing him in October. According to multiple reports across the web, Mickelson is choosing not to play the Grand Slam because of “a hectic late-season schedule and a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis,” so says ESPN’s Golf Blog. I understand if the guy is hurt, but the whole thing sounds fishy to me. After all, Mickelson is slated to play the Ryder Cup on October 1 plus two events in Asia before calling the season quits. Which begs the question: Why does Phil hate Bermuda? For starters let’s consider Rex Hoggard’s reasons on the Shag Bag, a Golf Channel blog that suggests, among other reasons, that Mickelson’s skipping the Slam because, “the San Diego Chargers are at home that week, Tiger Woods plans on being in the gallery and he doesn’t look good in Bermuda shorts.” Possible, but my guess is that he’s really not into beautiful island destinations less than two hours from most east coast gateways. Whatever. Looks like I’ll be cheering for Ernie Els this year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Storm Report: Hurricane Igor

Well, after three days spent indoors—including about 20 hours without power—I'm happy to report that Bermuda was largely spared after being walloped by Hurricane Igor this weekend. There's lots of coverage and photos over on, but for a more personalized report of the storm head on over to Outside Television where I've written all about Hurricane Igor on The Life Outside. For now, the skies are blue and the sun is shining. Just the way I like it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

STORM WATCH: Hurricane Igor

Thanks to Bernews and NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock, this is a satellite image of Hurricane Igor, the giant storm that's making its way towards Bermuda and will likely wallop the island with a direct hit sometime Sunday night or Monday morning. I'm not sure what's in store for the island—a weatherman, I am not—but for an up-to-date account of what's happening on the ground, be sure to check in here for all of your Hurricane Igor news and information. For now, the air is humid and the waves are high and we're all hunkering down for a very wet weekend.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Open Letter to Phil Mickelson

Dear Phil,

It’s been widely reported that you have yet to accept Bermuda’s invitation to play this year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which will be held on October 18-20 at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton. Bermuda’s own Royal Gazette reported that you might not come despite winning this year's Masters—a move which according to some, may doom the tournament’s chances of ever returning to the island—as did pundits on Golf Digest’s Local Knowledge blog and on Golf TV earlier this week. Everyone’s talking, Phil, but no one really knows what you’re gonna do. So in case you’re still on the fence about joining Graeme McDowell, Luis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer at this year’s Grand Slam in Bermuda here are a few reasons why you should play Port Royal this October.

The course is that good. There may be seven golf courses on Bermuda but Port Royal is easily the island’s finest with sweeping ocean vistas, breathtaking tropical landscapes and one of the greatest holes in all of golf. Originally designed in 1970 by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course recently underwent a $14.5 million renovation spearheaded by original design team member Robert Rulewich. The result? TifEagle greens for a consistent roll, tranquil new lakes supported by a state-of-the-art irrigation system and stunning Atlantic Ocean views from nearly every hole. The course was also extended by 281 yards—now at a total of 6,842 yards, it’s Bermuda’s longest and most challenging course. If that’s not enough to get you on a plane then consider teeing up on Port Royal’s signature hole, the 238-yard par-three 16th, with nothing but the Atlantic between the tee and the pin. Wanna see it for yourself? Then check out this video I shot and edited from last year’s Grand Slam.

Guaranteed cash. This is not a winner takes all tournament, so whether you come in first or last, you’re guaranteed a payday. First place wins you $600,000, second gets $300,000, third nets $250,000 and fourth earns $200,000. Not too shabby for two day’s work.

Veggie dishes at House of India. Reports have been flying about how you’ve recently turned vegetarian to help battle your arthritis. Congrats! Although I’m sure it’s been hard staying away from your beloved burgers. Don’t let a tournament keep you away from your new diet—just have one of your underlings bring you take out from House of India, where you can get some of the best Indian food in all of Bermuda. I love the mixed vegetable curry, saffron rice and warm garlic naan but there are lots of great veggie dishes to choose from. And if all else fails you can always grab a salad at Port Royal’s ocean view restaurant, 64º (try the arugula with vanilla poached pear, blue cheese and caramelized pecans; it’s to die for).

You look great in pink. We all know what a staunch supporter you’ve been of your wife and mother’s battles with breast cancer. I sincerely applaud your strength and courage and wish your family the best, but just think of the exposure you could give to this horrible disease if you were to don Bermuda’s famed pink jacket after winning it all. Forget about ribbons. This is a pink blazer from the English Sports Shop we’re talking about. It looked great on Lucas Glover last year and it’ll look even better on you.

The crystal trophy was yours in 2004. It can be yours again. 'Nuff said.


David LaHuta

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where Art Thou Phil?

It looks like Bermuda’s own Ruth O’Kelly-Lynch—a local reporter at the Royal Gazette—has been stirring the global pot of golf media these days. Her recent article titled “Grand Slam on its last legs?” has been picked up and commented on by Golf Digest’s Local Knowledge blog and by Golf TV, both of which agree with the reporter’s theory that if the PGA Grand Slam of Golf’s biggest draw doesn’t accept his invitation this year (that’s Masters champion Phil Mickelson if you’re wondering) the tournament may not return to Bermuda. Reports O’Kelly-Lynch: “When asked if [the tournament] would be back next year Dr. Brown [Bermuda's premier] said: ‘We hope so. The PGA is working hard to make sure we have a marquee name for this year's tournament. I would probably have bet my house that we would have had Tiger [Woods] within the four-years and I would have been wrong. We are in talks about next year but we are going to wait and see what happens this year. If we don't get a good deal this year we will have to renegotiate.’” It’s an unfortunate report considering the year-end tournament is such an anticipated event on the global golf calendar. Sure, we’d all love to see Phil tee one up on Port Royal’s 16th hole, where there’s nothing but the turquoise Atlantic between the tee and the pin, but if he doesn’t come it’s hardly a deal-breaker. Should Mickelson decline the event to which Graeme McDowell (U.S. Open), Luis Oosthuizen (British Open) and Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship) have also been invited, an offer would be given to runner up Tiger Woods. Assuming he’d also decline, an invitation would then be extended to Ernie Els, a formidable champion with three major titles under her belt. No doubt we’d all love to see Phil in Bermuda—and really, Phil, if you're reading, you should definitely come play; if you're still unsure then tune in tomorrow when I explain to you why—but I say the tournament is way stronger than one player alone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Life Outside

It's Tuesday—you know what that means. I'm blogging for Outside Television on my small slice of the web called The Life Outside. In case you've missed it, my weekly blog has featured stories about acclaimed underwater photographer Wes Skiles (who sadly passed away last month), tales of meeting mountain climber-turned-humanitarian Greg Mortenson, plus recaps of recent trips to Telluride, Aspen and Smoky Mountains National Park. Today I'm talking about SCUBA diving, and not just anywhere, right here in beautiful Bermuda. As you'll see, I got to explore some of the island's most amazing shipwrecks and coral reefs, and took some pretty cool pictures to boot. Interested? Then head on over to and read all about my latest adventure about diving in Bermuda. And if you're wondering, that's the wreck of the HMS Vixen—just one of more than 300 shipwrecks found in Bermuda's waters.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Storm Watch

Here we go again. Last year the biggest storm to threaten Bermuda was Hurricane Bill, which as most of you know by now passed the island by with barely a whisper. This year however we’ve seen a parade of tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes march through the alphabet and onto Bermuda’s doorstep: Alex and Bonnie graciously stayed away but Colin, Danielle and Earl have all threatened serious damage with Fiona and Gaston currently in our sites. The latest report from the National Hurricane Center has Tropical Storm Fiona passing directly over Bermuda sometime late tonight or early Saturday morning (see projected path above). Not quite a hurricane, Fiona is expected to bring heavy winds and rain but with hope should spare much of the island. And luckily for Bermuda, Gaston has already been downgraded to a tropical depression, which really just means conditions will be as good as they get for surfers hoping to catch a few waves at Horseshoe Bay. Be sure to tune in on Monday to see how it all turned out—in the meantime, I'm headed to the beach. Surf's up!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Got Google Voice?

Ever travel overseas only to get charged exorbitant roaming fees by your cell phone carrier for calls made to friends and family back home? It happens all the time: Your plane lands on an international tarmac and suddenly you’re chatting away with a certain someone back home while AT&T or T-Mobile collects a huge payout for roaming fees. And don’t let Bermuda’s proximity to the eastern U.S. fool you. Even though the island is less than two hours from most east coast destinations, cell phone calls made from Bermuda will definitely cost you when you get home. That’s why I’m such a big fan of Google Voice. The brand new service from the Internet search giant lets Gmail users make free phone calls to the U.S. and Canada from all overseas destinations. That means if you can wait until you get to your hotel’s business center—or with hope, access a free Wi-Fi signal at your vacation property—that call back home to say you’ve arrived safely is 100% free, at least through the end of the year that is (although calls to the U.S. and Canada will cost just a few cents per minute starting January 1, 2011). Live here in Bermuda? All the more reason to consider ditching that pricey Cable & Wireless bill for all of your international calling needs. Happy chatting!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

From the Deep

Lots of news from the mid-Atlantic today: “Where the Whales Sing,” a documentary film that traces the migratory patterns of humpback whales through Bermuda over a three-year period won “Best Emerging Underwater Filmmaker” at this year’s BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California. Shot and edited by Andrew Stevenson, the film originally premiered at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in March and paints a unique portrait of marine life. Want to see for yourself? Check out this video of humpback whales breeching off Bermuda’s south shore also shot by the Stevenson himself. In other news, famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle is reportedly in Bermuda with TIME magazine environmental columnist Bryan Walsh to study the Sargasso Sea. Writes Walsh on TIME’s EcoCentric blog, “I'll be diving with Earle in the Sargasso Sea, the vast gyre of in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that is home to the sargassum, the free-floating seaweed that is a floating nursery for aquatic species like eels. Officials and scientists in Bermuda are pushing to make the Sargasso Sea the first protected area on the open seas. Given that most of the ocean is beyond the control of any single nation, we'll need to forge new legal strategies if we're going to protect the ocean where it really needs the help.” Well then, keep up the good work! Finally, areas to the east and west of Bermuda have officially been closed to fishing due to an unusually large population of black grouper, which are gathering there to spawn. Reports the Royal Gazette, the Marine Resource Section of the Department of Environmental Protection has found hundreds of black grouper in the area in addition to Nassau grouper, which are a protected species. Considering the fish will likely be there until November, fishing has been banned in those areas until the 29th of the month. And that’s your latest news from the deep.