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A couple questions for first timers

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Philadelphia...
posts: 2
A couple questions for first timers

Hello All,

We are heading down to Bermuda for the first time and I had a couple questions.

1- From what I understand the currency is the Bermuda Dollar but they take US Dollars. Should we just bring a lot of cash or take money out from an ATM machine or hit a bank there? What's the best way to handle walking around money? I'm guessing we can just pay by a VISA for dinner but I've heard mixed stories about getting charged extra to the cards.

2- We were original staying at 9 Beaches which is now closed for renovations and we will now be staying at the Fairmont Southampton. Is their any tips that anyone has for this hotel? We were going to get a scooter but it sounds like we don't need one for the Fairmont since they have a lot more options for traveling compared to 9 Beaches.

I think that's about it I've read the posts about restaurants and a few other things so I think we should be good.

thnaks

Greenville, North...
posts: 134
reviews: 1
1. Re: A couple questions for first timers

No currency exchange between the US Dollar and Bermuda Dollar on the island, so if you wish to use cash it's nice and easy, expect some Bermuda change from time to time. The Hotel front desk will be happy to change it back to US Dollar before you leave. Some credit cards will still charge a 3% "exchange rate" if you use it on the island. Our regular Visa did not, but our Visa Debt Card did. You will want to check with your policy by calling the # on the back of your card to know for sure.

There was recently a post concerning Scooter rentals and safety so I won't get into that here, but if you can handle them there is no better way to get around. The Fairmont Southampton has a wonderful shuttle that runs till midnight taking you from the front door down to the beach, it's only a 3-5 minute bus ride. There is also a shuttle service that will take you to the sister hotel in Hamilton, but you are limited to the ferry schedule. There is always a line of Taxis parked outside the hotel, and the islands public transportation system (Busses) are not a bad way to get from place to place.

Personal tip:

Request a mini-fridge and once you have it, pick up some things from the market for breakfast, snacks and evening drinks on your balcony listening to tree frogs. Having a quick breakfast in your room will let you get out and about as early as you please for beautiful weather, and the best beach spots.

Having recently returned from a weeklong stay at this hotel I need to post a trip report, but in the meantime if you would like more info, I'm sure you'll get other posts replied here or you can send me a Message, I'd be happy to provide more feedback.

USA
posts: 23,804
reviews: 3
2. Re: A couple questions for first timers

>>>1- From what I understand the currency is the Bermuda Dollar but they take US Dollars. Should we just bring a lot of cash or take money out from an ATM machine or hit a bank there? What's the best way to handle walking around money? I'm guessing we can just pay by a VISA for dinner but I've heard mixed stories about getting charged extra to the cards.<<

As noted BOTH Bermudian and US currencies (bills & coins) are accepted interchangeably in Bermuda (stores, services, restaurants, taxis, buses, etc). So you may use either currency as convenient. The only 'catch' to this is that you will usually receive Bermudian as change. This makes no difference during you stay...but Bermudain currency is most definetly not accepted at your local gas station or supermarket at home...so on your last day try to use up what Bermudian currency you still have and ask for US currency in change. Bermudians will understand and try to comply IF POSSIBLE. Carrying US cash for walking around cash will usually suit.

It's worth noting that Bermuda may be one of the last places on the planet where conventional US denomination Travelers Cheques (Amex, Visa. etc) are still widely accepted the same as cash (hotels, stores, shops, services providers, restaurants, bars, etc). Since US denomination TCs may often be available from your local bank or to AAA members, conventional TC's are still a viable '..security..' option for Bermuda travel.

As noted the '..Bermuda loohole..' for '..foreign useage fees..' by credit card issuers (usually in the 2 1/2%-to-3 1/2%) is being or already has been closed. You must check with your own individual credit card issuer(s) DIRECTLY to find out if it applies to your card(s). You should also notify your credit card and ATM/Debit card issuers of your intention to travel to Bermuda...so that any withdrawal, charges that you transact in Bermuda do not trigger the card's fraudulent use security protocols/procedures and freeze your account(s).

YOUR local, home bank will charge a '..foreign useage fee..' (usually a fixed-dollar amount..$3-to-$5 per transaction) for ATM withdrawals and Debit charges in Bermuda. As you might expect (except for a few ATM's in the restricted Departures portion of the Bermuda airport) ATM's in Bermuda will dispense Bermudian currency.

>>>...staying at the Fairmont Southampton...<<<

A few previous posters have complained of unexpected charges added to their bills in the form of a '..Resort Levy..' ($9.65 per person/per day) and '..Gratuity..' ($10.20 per person/per day) and '..Taxes..' (7.25% Gov't Hotel Tax). These charges will be clearly and prominently published on the rate card...so don't be surprised when you receive your statement at check-out.

If you've scrolled through this forum, then you're probably aware of the varied discussions about modes of personal transportation in Bermuda. Rental motor scooters will usually be the most convenient, flexible and fun...but not for everyone. Purchasing a Transportation Pass for Bermuda's excellent public transportation system (public buses and feries) will be the most economic and provide great 'raised platforms' to see Bermuda as you go. Taxis tend to be expensive.

Greenville, North...
posts: 134
reviews: 1
3. Re: A couple questions for first timers

Adding a small bit of info KDKSAIL's post reminded me of; I don't typically stay in resort hotels so I was unfamiliar with (but expecting) funds to be held on the credit card you use at check-in. They will put a hold on an amount of funds equal to $100 / night with that credit card. These funds are to secure incedental room charges such as phone, minibar useage and anything you choose to bill to your room.

If you book through Expedia.com, there are no additional fees due at checkout, as it's included in the price you paid Expedia.com.

Philadelphia...
posts: 2
4. Re: A couple questions for first timers

Thanks for the responses.

I did read the thread about the scooter safety and about other forms of transportation. We have the breakfast package so we thought about getting food and a mini fridge but we might not need it since breakfast is paid for.

We also did book through expedia so that takes care of the check out issue.

Cover_Luker--

Which beach did you go to and was it crowded? I know the hotel has its own beach but I've read of others going to more secluded beaches.

Thanks again everyone.

Greenville, North...
posts: 134
reviews: 1
5. Re: A couple questions for first timers

I wasn't speaking to any beach in particular. But on our beach days we were happy we got to the places we visited early, because even our out of the way places had a fair number of visitors.

The Southampton's beach is fairly large and it wasn't too hard finding chaise lounge chairs, but if it's busy don't expect it to be quiet.

Warwick Long Bay is always pleasant. Plenty of beach to get away from any groups there. Church Bay is hit and miss, it's not as picturesque so large crowds don't hang out there, but it's got the best [snorkeling : ease of access] ratio. Both of these beaches are minutes away from the hotel on South Road.

6. Re: A couple questions for first timers

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