It isn't often that you go on a vacation and your expectations are met let alone surpassed; however, this was our experience in Bermuda and at the Newstead Belmont Hills (NBH).We have never been truly surprised by a trip, but pictures and words do not reflect the quality of the hotel, beauty of the island, or the friendliness of the people.
After reading a few of the reviews I expected some customer service issues with people being on "Island Time", but this was not our experience with every single hotel staff person going out of their way to make our stay special and one to remember. They were all warm, informative, and professional. If we had a delivery (Flowers), an issue (A missing frying pan), or if we called for late night room service (Very good overall - Fish & Chips!) they were prompt and/or fixed the problem with no fuss. One maintenance professional, Charles, even worked over time to secure a patio door for us without complaint! While, Jasmine, at the front desk, and all the bellmen were smart, friendly, and helpful as well.
The NBH is one of the more modern and recently built hotels on the island, which means that its rooms are up-to-date and well thought out. All the rooms have views of Hamilton Bay (Stunning). We had a very large one-bedroom king suite with two-baths and a galley kitchen - so we could cook given the very high cost of food. It was tastefully decorated, very clean, and came with two separate porches (End units) which provided even more room so that our family of four (Two teens) had plenty of privacy and space! A NYC condo owner or renter would kill for this apartment. There are less than 75-units onsite and this makes access to the infinite pool, bar, restaurant, workout room, tennis courts, and spa easy with no fighting for spots or chairs for the pool. We heard of travelers complaining about the over crowding at the larger hotels adding to their stress, but not so at the NBH.
Note that the hotel is under bankruptcy protection after the impact of the recent recession, some rumored mismanagement/debt issues and, possibly, due to its location. As mentioned, it sits on a hillside, above the bay, across from Hamilton and about a mile, up hill, from the beach at Coco Reef Hotel (Dated) This latter issue may just be a marketing problem for new management because, to my mind and our experience, it is perfectly located for an active couple or mobile family. You have the best of both worlds, beach or city, only five minutes away by a hotel operated shuttle or ferry ride (Gratis, but tip for the service if you like.) If you are staying at a hotel on the beach you do get the early morning or evening walks along the surf, but you are land locked otherwise and must rent a scooter ($40 daily and challenging.) or pay cab fare ($15 plus one way) to go elsewhere. For us it was worth the trade-off in mobility and options.
Yes, you may have to wait 20-plus minutes for the shuttle at busy times, but it worth it given the Coco Reef Beach is private, has two-tiers of seating, is rarely busy and has unique rock formations that attract fish (Snorkeling) and limit rough waters. What a first impression and view! As a NBH guest you have access to their beach chairs, umbrellas, pool, and food service. Though, before you go, ask the NBH front desk staff for a "pass" and beach towels. The adjacent beach is Elbow and is also private with just open water, sand and no rock formations. When I say private I mean for all the adjacent hotel guests and not for the cruise ship patrons that flock to and over crowd Horseshoe and other beaches. There are three hotels in all on this strip of beaches and the hotel guests end up walking up and down the sand and chatting to each other (Bermudians rub off on people). Moreover, the hotel beach amenities (Mickeys Restaurant at Elbow Beach) and their beach equipment rentals (Snorkels, rafts, etc.) are taken of advantage by all.
There were only a few quirks with Bermuda including no rental cars allowed (They drive on the left side and on very narrow and sharp roads), Hamilton's stores shut down promptly at 5 pm and all day Sunday (A' la the 1950's), the NBH shuttle/ferry services have limited hours (The municipal ferry service and taxis can supplement these down times though), and food is crazy expensive (Bread is $5 a loaf, etc.). However, on the way into check-in buy the cab/shuttle driver a drink and tip generously for him to wait for you as you do a quick food stop. You can also walk the half mile from the hotel (Watch yourself on busy roads and must cross over twice for sidewalks) to the store for food and exercise. We found both the roasted chicken and baked goods made daily all excellent - Portuguese English Muffins and Scones were awesome!
We have been to other islands before and all timeshare owners claim or rationalize that their island is the best, but we ran into so many experienced Caribbean travelers on the this trip and all stated that Bermuda was their very favorite - beautiful, civilized (safe), and friendly! Let's see "Paradise" is only two hours or less by plane from the East Coast and, depending on your fight time, netting you an additional half a day on either end of your trip to relax on the beach. I guess a handful of billionaires, hundreds of millionaires, and sixty-thousand happy Bermudians can't be wrong?
An end unit suite provides two porches and added space and privacy!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.