Make a Splash in Bermuda
The island of Bermuda is a self-governing British Overseas Territory. Isolated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and some 900 miles north of the Caribbean (contrary to popular brief). The island was once used as a base by pirates to loot foreign ships and the sea is still the focus of any holiday here. However, Bermuda remains largely overlooked by some holiday makers, despite its year-round sunshine, daily direct flights from the UK and just a four-hour time difference.
With just one car allowed per household, no car rental and a speed limit of around 20mph, it's as easy to jump on a boat to get to the other side of the island as it is to drive. It's also a doddle to arrange everything from a sunset rum tasting cruise to a trip to see the spectacular coral reefs in a glass bottomed kayak.
The peaceful parade of boats gliding by even provided the ultimate Instagrammable backdrop for my hotel, with bedrooms overlooking the water and the infinity pool with uninterrupted views across the harbour. To catch the jaw-dropping sunset at its best, book into the brand new open-air 1609 Bar and Restaurant for the best fish tacos you will ever eat washed down with the island's national drink, a rum and ginger beer cocktail known as the 'Dark 'n' stormy'.
If you can drag yourself away from the poolside drinks service, the hotel is less than five minutes walk to the capital Hamilton with its restaurants, shops and a ferry terminal serving the rest of Bermuda. Take one to the Royal Naval Dockyard to join a bicycle tour along the disused railway trail for the best introduction to the island's unique history. Mine was led by a guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Bermudian and took us past Scaur Hill Fort with its abandoned cannon and panoramic views and over the world's smallest drawbridge, just wide enough to allow the mast of a sailing boat through at 32 inches wide.
Of course, no trip to Bermuda would be complete without time lazing on one of the endless beaches, with their powder soft pink-tinged sand and turquoise water. The hotel (Hamilton Princess & Beach Club) offers a regular shuttle to their exclusive Beach Club on the South Shore, hidden away in a sheltered cove and boating beach service, heavenly water hammocks, paddleboards and serene, still water.
Make time to follow the coastal trail along the cliff to the idyllic Horse-shoe Bay as well, to see Bermuda at its wild and beautiful best. Just be sure to choose a day when there's no cruise ship visiting the island, flooding the beach with sun-seeking day trippers. Avoid them and you can feel you have a little corner of paradise all to yourself.
The adventurous can even hire a mini-catamaran from reception staff. Who provide maps and send you out for the day to explore the island from the water. A quiet morning boat trip would involve a spot of snorkelling, some envious gawping at the palatial pastel-coloured houses along the coast and perhaps even a sun-baked picnic on board.
The most daunting moment of one of my boat trips was when the captain said, "You have just entered the Bermuda Triangle," pointed out minutes later as we cruised towards an innocent-looking expanse of vivid blue water. "Want to jump in and have a swim?"