Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Stately and refined resort that may not live up to its chain name's prestige, but does provide ample amenities and service that make it one of the best on the island
A columned white-and-yellow portico entrance and sleek marble lobby filled with ornate rugs, crystal chandeliers and Bermudian bronze sculptures set a breezy-yet-understated tone at this upscale south shore resort. Accordingly, the vibe at Elbow Beach is calm and serene. In the adjacent mahogany library, for instance, a lively scene could easily ensue due to a massive flat-screen TV and pool billiards table; however, the setting remains more hushed than hectic. Children even fall in line, quietly helping themselves to tea or water before sinking into one of the library’s oversized leather couches or plodding down to the pool.
Spanning 50 acres and featuring just 98 units, perhaps it is simply the room-to-acre ratio that keeps this resort so charmingly relaxed. Following a 2010 renovation to the tune of $5.5 million, all of the rooms are set along the oceanfront hill below the resort’s main lobby. Inside, you’ll find some of Bermuda’s most spacious and modern rooms, with even the smallest units measuring roughly 500 square feet. Garden views are truly that -- luscious tropical garden settings with glimpses of the ocean just around the corner. And all units feature deep soaking tubs, massive marble showers, and a soothing, streamlined design.
Somewhat of a surprise is the fact that Elbow Beach is part of the prestigious Mandarin Oriental chain. This is a surprise not only because there are so few resort chains in Bermuda (two Fairmonts and the new Rosewood Tuckers Point are the island’s only big name options), but also because the resort, though nice, does not reflect the level of luxury that those familiar with the Mandarin brand would expect. As a result, some guests arriving with high expectations have left grumbling. However, when considered for its merits alone -- which include beautiful and spacious rooms, lush tropical grounds, an expansive beachfront, several restaurants, a signature spa, and a beautiful hilltop pool at cheaper-than-most-Mandarin-hotel prices -- Elbow Beaches truly is one of Bermuda’s gems.
On the south side of Paget parish, near all the beaches -- and all the tourists -- but a private resort-only beach keeps things relatively quiet.
Elbow Beach is one of those beaches that everyone who is not "in the know" will tell you to visit. As a result, it is crowded, as are many of the beaches located along the southern shores of the island. Luckily, Elbow Beach (the resort, that is) has its own half-mile private beachfront, and a dedicated staff does a stellar job of maintaining the peace and quiet you’ll find at the rest of the resort. This location is also ideal for those hoping to check out some of those lesser-known beaches, like Horseshoe Bay, as well as many of the best golf courses -- all of which are a 10-minute-or-less taxi ride away.
In an effort to permit as few vehicles as possible on the island, car rentals are strictly forbidden. Even locals are allowed only a single car per household -- something you’re likely to appreciate when you see the lush, winding roads that unobtrusively snake through the island. Taxis are reliable and metered according to state law, so there is no need to negotiate fares; however, rates are exceptionally high.
Those looking to save on cab fare might consider renting aat the hotel’s rental shop. While safety may be an issue for some, a local speed limit of just 35 km (about 21 mph) will likely assuage most fears. Consider the less expensive ferries and local pink-and-blue buses to cover longer distances between “the hook” (Bermuda’s westernmost island), the main city of Hamilton, and the beaches along the southern side of Warwick, Southampton, and Paget.
All rooms were renovated in 2010, and even the smallest units are large by Bermuda standards.
Bermuda’s rich history as a hideaway for the British and American elite dates back to the days when “only two days by boat” would have been the equivalent of a quick jaunt. Today, the downside, of course, is that many of the island’s original resorts show more than a few signs of wear and tear. Not so at the 100-year-old Elbow Beach, whose 98 recently renovated exteriors of the units, however, look a little less modern, with their turquoise, yellow, and pink walls needing a fresh coat of paint, perhaps. Still, even the garden view rooms boast exceptional views, not to mention patio furniture that’s a notch or two nicer than the usual plastic.feature open floor plans with posh , voluptuous soaking , and enough space to hole up for a few days. The
Several restaurants, plus a tapas and sushi bar and a nightclub, all of which are overpriced considering other area options
When it comes to restaurants, Lido is the resort’s "pièce de résistance" with a fairly well-respected reputation. It’s definitely not the life-changing Waterlot Inn at the Fairmont Southampton, but it takes a stab at a few acceptably gastronomic options, placing the emphasis on local seafood. However, the choice to prepare most plates with tinges of Mediterranean flavors seems like a misguided attempt at an international menu -- something that doesn’t really jive with Bermuda’s local cuisine.
Mickey’s Bistro is your typical beachfront café, though the menu does go beyond the usual wraps and salads with a few interesting options -- for instance, the ocean crêpe filled with brandy-scented seafood ragout and tarragon béchamel. At Blue Point, however, the menu is strictly dull -- just pizzas and sandwiches here.
On the patio outside of Sea Breeze, which features tapas, sushi, and jazzy mellow lounge music; and DEEP, which is only available for private functions and special events., there are still a few more light fare and cocktail options, including
Unfortunately, this large variety of eateries dissipates with the arrival of winter, as both Blue Point and Mickey’s Bistro are seasonal options. Even more unfortunate are the prices at all of these restaurants, which seem overtly high when compared with the island’s best dining spots.
A tranquil Mandarin Oriental signature spa, several restaurants, a beautiful pool, a half mile of private beachfront, and recently renovated rooms are among the perks at this elegant 50-acre resort. But if you are coming solely for the Mandarin Oriental affiliation, you’ll likely be disappointed, as the hotel doesn’t quite live up to its parent company’s prestige. Still, based on its merits alone, this hilltop property is one of Bermuda’s best options, outdoing similarly priced resorts like The Reefs and Pompano Beach Club.