I stayed at Grotto Bay the first week of October, 2013 and had a very pleasant experience here. Contrary to a review I just read, I found the Front Desk staff, bellmen, gift shop and restaurant wait staff to be very friendly and helpful. I had a room with a private balcony and a beautiful view of the pool and beach area, and the beach, while small, is shallow and safe with little coves, rock outcrops and a wreck to explore. I felt very safe at Grotto Bay as a solo female traveller (while still always being careful), and the easy access to buses outside the main entrance to Hamilton, the capital, St. George and the beaches made travelling around Bermuda very easy. I thought the bus pass available from the Front Desk ($35 for three-day pass, weekly and monthly also available) was a great deal, as I could travel all over the island on the Bermuda buses or the system's ferries to Dockyard, St. George or Hamilton daily. The gas station nearby has the morning newspaper, as well as food and drink staples. I did not do the all-inclusive, as I already had to pay the single supplement (which drives me crazy when a hotel is not full any way - I always think they should be happy to just have another empty room rented!) and I did not consume enough food and beverage onsite to make it worthwhile. However, the restaurant prices were comparable to, and in some cases, slightly less than other Bermudian restaurants (example, expect to pay about $20.00 U.S. in any Bermudian restaurant for fish and chips). When I had dinner in the restaurant on two evenings, the food and service were excellent, and the same was true for the most part at the pool bar. The only two service issues I encountered were: (a) a female bartender at the pool bar who mixed my blended drink carelessly and didn't garnish it properly as the other bartenders had) and (b) the restaurant maître d' who on the first weeknight I wanted to eat alone in the restaurant hesitated because I didn't have a reservation, when the restaurant and hotel were clearly not full, and then tried to steer me to the more expensive of the two dining rooms (Hibiscus Room). I had to tell him that I preferred to eat in the other dining room (Palm Court).
The hotel puts on many activities for its guests. For example, one evening they had two Bermudian stand-up comics, who were very funny, on the front patio. (Weirdly, they did not have anyone serving drinks out on the patio during this time, when they could have made more money. Because it was a small audience, no one wanted to get up from the table to go inside to the bar to avoid disturbing the comedians' performance, so we all sat there for the most part without any drinks..) Another night, they had a karaoke night with the same comedian hosting it - I didn't attend, but I heard that it was very enjoyable and the comedian "Bootsie" was again very funny. The fish-feeding in the morning and afternoon was also fun.
Housekeeping of my room was impeccable, with plentiful fresh towels daily. Contrary to other reviews, the pool was very clean and again, a generous supply of beach towels was available. A Dive Shop and a place to rent snorkel and other non-motorized water sports equipment were right on site, with some non-motorized equipment included in the all-inclusive plan should you choose that. At this time of year (October), the hotel and the island are fairly quiet and peaceful, except when two cruise ships are in (Wednesday - Friday), and this is exactly what I was seeking.
While it's true that internet access was expensive ($6 per half-hour), one has to remember that it is not easily available on Bermuda, and there are only a very few Wi-Fi zones on the island. Consequently, most hotels on Bermuda charge for this service. I therefore enjoyed an "unplugged" week instead, and only used the Internet once for something that was essential.
There is one drawback for the solo female traveller (apart from the single supplement, which deters the solo traveller from also adding the all-inclusive plan), and that is Grotto Bay's lack of proximity to nearby alternative places to dine, especially at night. If one chooses not to take the all-inclusive plan, the only alternative nearby choice is the Swizzle Inn, about a two-block walk from the hotel, or an ice cream shop that was closed most of the time I was at Grotto Bay. The Swizzle Inn was an excellent choice, with great food and beverage (try the rockfish!), events like Oktoberfest and Thursday trivia nights with prizes, but I wanted to try other restaurants on Bermuda, and this required travelling at night by taxi or bus. I felt safe for the most part using the bus to and from other dining establishments at night. One exception was the main bus stop in St. George in the tourist district which is located right outside the liquor store, which is open later at night. This meant there were some local hangers-on that made a few of the tourists (including me) waiting for the bus a little nervous around 9:30 -10 p.m. at night. The police station, though, is situated very close to the location of the bus stop. Bermuda is in some ways much like any other place at the moment, with a downturn in its economy and tourism and a resultant slight increase in crime, and locals told me that one still has to be a bit careful while travelling about the island at night, and about your personal belongings on the busiest beaches (Horseshoe Bay, for example) if you are swimming or snorkelling. On days the cruise ships are in, Horseshoe Bay beach is packed, and you therefore might enjoy some of the very scenic, quieter beaches such as Warwick Long Bay Park or Elbow Beach (all accessible by bus) more.
The proximity of the airport was very convenient, ground transportation to/from the airport to Grotto Bay with Beeline transportation was very inexpensive and pleasant, and the overhead noise did not bother me at all when at the beach or pool. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and kept, and I enjoyed the sound of the whistling tree frogs every night!
Thank you for a lovely stay. Two suggestions: (a) consider offering rooms without the single supplement in off-peak seasons for solo travellers, which might sell more rooms and cause more of them to sign up for the all-inclusive plan. Otherwise the combined room night cost of the single supplement and the all-inclusive plan are more than many solo travellers are willing to pay; and (b) add some kind of unidentifying key tab to safe keys, which are very small and therefore very easy to misplace among beach bags or personal effects, with a likely high replacement cost for the guest. I misplaced my safe key twice and until I found it, was worried both times at what I might be charged for losing it.
The Ocean View rooms give a delightful view of the bay, landscaped grounds, pool and beach front. T...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.