11 April 2008

The Trad Hotel on the Trad Island

I fell in love with Bermuda on my first visit. It was England...but with sun. The taxi ride from the airport to my hotel in Hamilton was magical. It was a Friday afternoon and all of the traffic was coming toward us. Men on scooters in blue blazers, Bermuda shorts, kneesocks, Rep ties and sunglasses. Quick images of the ocean outside my taxi window framed by flowers and pink houses with electric blue shutters and bone white roofs. The humid breeze was soaked up by my dry, five below zero with the wind chill flesh. This place is so Trad and I haven't even discussed Dark and Stormies yet.

I stayed at the Hamilton Princess. I was on business and it was where everyone else was staying. A nice pool. Horrible food but only idiots and the lazy ate at the hotel. I was introduced to Dark and Stormies at the hotel bar. Barrits Ginger Beer and Goslings Black Seal Rum. With a lime. Somehow this drink manages to taste like Bermuda. I was invited to tea by some locals at Waterloo House. A charming little hotel between the Princess and downtown Hamilton pictured above.

I'm sitting in the courtyard drinking Lapsang Souchong and nibbling McVitties digestive biscuts and wondering why I'm staying at the Princess when I can be staying at Waterloo. I am on expenses. What do I care. And so I started staying at Waterloo when I could. It's small. Only 30 or so rooms and tends to fill up fast. And that's the reason it is to be closed.

"Not as good as it was but better than it will be." Remember that.

Bermuda, God bless her, has managed to keep most Yanks out of her knickers due to some serious employment and real estate laws. But Bermuda has gotten the whiff of money. Insurance money. Quiet and serious stuff. It seems the footprint of the Waterloo is too small for a 30 room hotel. As it is, this charmer sits between multi-storied midrises whose tenants count insurance company money. Waterloo will close this July based on information just passed to me by a good friend. She will be replaced with office space more in line with the value of the land.

I am in mourning. Maybe the best thing about getting older is knowing that everything wonderful will be shit canned by some ass hole with an accounting degree. By the time I'm my father's age nothing will be left. "Not as good as it was but better than it will be." I'm translating that into Latin and putting it on all my Polo shirts.


Anonymous said...

Now, Now. Stiff upper lip and all that. The Hamilton Princess will still be there with its Dark and Stormies. Just take a scooter out for dinner!

tintin said...

Actually, there's a nice Curry within walking distance. Scooters are far too dangerous after dinner.

Mom on the Run said...

Not on the water, but the Rosemont across the street from the Princess is lovely. I think Bermuda is so pleasant because of the insurance/reinsurance, etc. business. Low unemployment, no annoying island people pestering you, little petty crime. We left our luggage on the front porch of the Rosemont for half the afternoon with no cares. Try doing that in the Bahamas or Jamaica (ick, not that we'd ever want to go there anyway).

We had dinner at the Waterloo and I thought it was charming. Delicious duck.

We go on a lot of free trips courtesy of insurance companies, but the standard question we always ask is "would I spend my own money to come here?"

Bermuda...definitely, yes. I'd go again in a heartbeat. And the short two hour flight is icing on the cake.

Mom on the Run said...

I meant the Rosedon. The Rosemont is behind the Rosedon. So confusing.

tintin said...

The Rosedon is lovely. And I have stayed at Rosemont as well. Not nearly as "nice" but run by wonderful folks and a real bargain.

I agree with you about the free "insurance" subsidized trips. But soon they'll be nothing left but insurance offices.

Was it Twickingham's that sold their huge store on Front St? Now insurance offices. The insurance game has fed me well but who wants to see Hamilton taken over with office space while places like The Waterloo are torn down.

Mom on the Run said...

Oh, I agree with you on that score. In Atlanta, nothing is sacred, but we've managed to find a little corner of the world here that values the past.

I hate to see all the things that make Bermuda unique go away, but I do like the fact that the vast majority of the people there are employed and don't depend on hassling travelers to make a buck. We have friends who live there on assignment with an insurance company, and although it's not an easy place to live, they've decided to stay awhile longer.

If only they could find a balance, but unfortunately, like everywhere, everybody wants to take their opportunity to make a buck.

tintin said...

"The Rock" is a much sought after assignment with insurance types. I tried many times to get a job there without success. Some of the lucky ones who did get there complained...about how small it was, the insurance community, the locals, the limited night life, blah, blah, blah. Amazing. These same people love the Olive Garden.