Grotto Bay Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Hamilton Parish, Bermuda

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • All rooms feature private balconies or patios
  • Private beach with a shipwreck dive site just off the coast
  • Dive center offers water sport rentals and boat excursions
  • Unique, enchanting grottos located on property
  • Three restaurants featuring excellent local fare
  • All-inclusive rates are available
  • Exceptional rates considering the amount of amenities received

Cons

  • Wi-Fi for a fee
  • No elevators; stairs required to access most rooms
  • Fitness center is tiny
  • Rooms are small, outdated, and show signs of wear
  • Beach is rocky in areas and can quickly become crowded

Bottom Line

The private beach might be rocky and the rooms might be small, but lovely grounds and magical grottos give this 21-acre resort a special mystique of its own. And though its airport-side location isn’t the best, an impressive roster of amenities -- including a small spa, basic fitness center, tennis courts, three restaurants, and two bars (including one poolside) -- makes for one of the island’s best deals.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Enchanting grottos and plenty of amenities save this 201-room resort from run-of-the-mill status.

Grounds
Grounds

The real appeal at this 21-acre resort is not the pool (average), the rooms (small), the beach (rocky), or the location (near the airport), but rather the massive subterranean caves found throughout the property. Here, crystal-clear water is surrounded by dark and looming stalactites and stalagmites, and echoes of gently lapping water bounce from rock to rock before falling flat. Though dank and dark inside, the crystalline water below is cool and invigorating. Weekly cave crawls explore the grottos’ vast nooks and crannies, and guests are free to swim and snorkel on their own. The spa’s only treatment room can also be found in one of the grottos for a unique experience.

The rest of the resort is, by comparison, somewhat less enchanting. The 201 guest rooms spread out across 11 three-story colonial style buildings are identical save for the views, which range from undisturbed and expansive to obscured and partial, and the beds -- two doubles or one king. Decor is fairly standard with unexceptional beds dressed with a few small pillows and bright tropical patterned comforters. The small bathrooms were renovated in 2010 with lots of marble and modern fixtures; however, if anything, they only serve as a stark contrast to the aging condition of the rooms, which appear to have changed little in the last decade.

The grounds are flourishing with tropical fruit trees, hibiscus, birds of paradise, and bougainvillea, and a grand lawn overlooking the ocean is home to a family of chickens. From here, the views of the resort are quite lovely, with pink and yellow colonial buildings in the foreground and Grotto Bay’s turquoise waters in the background. Down by the water, the beach is rocky in areas, and tightly packed lounge chairs fill up fast. The pool is equally average, with a nearby restaurant, pool bar, and Jacuzzi -- none of which are worthy of much praise. Still, the sheer number of amenities, and the fact that they are well maintained, is impressive given Grotto Bay’s affordable rates, which are far lower than hotels like the Rosedon and Royal Palms, which have no beachfront and very few extras to speak of.

Inside the main house, which includes a lobby, dark business center, meeting area, and two restaurants, the look is a cross between old English cottage and quasi-contemporary, with yellow and tan leather dominating the overstuffed couches and chairs, and light wood plank ceilings and hardwood floors lending an almost cabin-like feel.

Of note is Grotto Bay’s claim to be the only all-inclusive resort in Bermuda. This assertion is false on two fronts -- the resort is not all-inclusive in the traditional sense, rather, there is a meal plan option at a higher nightly rate. Additionally, several other resorts on the island, including Pompano Beach Club and Cambridge Beaches Resort, provide similar plans as an additional option to overnight rates.

 Location

Close to the airport, but air traffic noise is not an issue

Less than a handful of resorts are found on the eastern shores of Bermuda, most likely due to the fact that the airport occupies a good portion of the region. As a result, most of the island’s best outings are quite a distance away. Still, a few exceptional sites -- including additional caves, the aquarium, and a shipwreck located just off the resort’s beachfront -- are located nearby, and unless you are staying here or at the nearby Rosewood Tucker’s Point, you might not have the chance to experience them. Additionally, the resort rents out mopeds on-site, allowing guests to bypass expensive taxis -- just be careful, as the roads leading to and from the airport are the island’s busiest.

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’ll likely 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 a moped, the islanders’ preferred mode of transportation. 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 and Southampton.

  • 10-minute drive to the Bermuda International Airport
  • 1-minute walk to dive shop and snorkeling (located on-site)
  • 15-minute walk to Crystal Caves
  • 7-minute drive to Tucker’s Point Golf Course
  • 10-minute drive to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, & Zoo
  • 10-minute drive to Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
  • 15-minute drive to the Botanical Gardens
  • 20-minute drive to downtown Hamilton
  • 20-minute drive to Belmont Hills Golf Course

 Rooms

201 identical rooms with private balconies and ocean views being their only perks

The Standard Room
The Standard Room

Scattered across the resort, 11 Bermudian colonial-style buildings create a charming salmon- and gold-hued neighborhood. Inside, however, all 201 rooms are virtually identical, and though bright walls and bedspreads add a cheerfully tropical touch, the overall theme is outdated. Bland tile flooring, ultra-firm beds, and old wicker furniture are run-of-the-mill. On the bright side, newly renovated bathrooms add a few small luxuries in the way of marble floors and modern fixtures. Particularly nice are the private balconies and patios, all of which have at least a partial ocean view.

  • All units are around 250 square feet. The only variation from room-to-room is the view from the balcony and the size of the bed, which can either be a king or two doubles.
  • Private balconies or patios with full or partial ocean views
  • 27-inch flat-screen TVs
  • Bathrooms, all are small, with few towels, shower/tub combinations, and dated wall-mounted hairdryers
  • Run-of-the-mill toiletries
  • Beds are creaky, and bedding is coarse.
  • Basic, no-frills mini-fridges and coffeemakers
  • Room service only includes pizza and a limited restaurant menu.
  • Wi-Fi requires a daily fee and is scattered -- some rooms don’t get a signal at all.

 Features

An impressive quantity of amenities for one of the lowest rates on the island

Grotto Caves
Grotto Caves
  • An extensive roster of daily activities for both children and adults, including cave swimming, fitness classes, nature walks, and games
  • A private beach is small and crowded, but has its own dock and a shipwreck site within swimming distance
  • Four tennis courts (two lit for night play)
  • A large free-form swimming pool with swim-up bar and adjacent Jacuzzi
  • Beautiful grottos with underwater activities and guided exploration walks
  • Spa with single treatment room located within one of the grottos
  • Lush grounds with expansive lawns, volleyball court, and lush gardens
  • Dive shop with paddleboats, windsurfing equipment, sailboats, and snorkeling and diving gear rental, as well as boat excursion reservations
  • On-site moped rentals
  • A small boutique with snacks, clothing, beach accessories, and souvenirs
  • A game chest in the lobby
  • Small, dark business center with just two dated computer stations and printers
  • A poor Wi-Fi connection is only strong in the lobby and requires a fee.
  • Coin-operated laundry facilities
  • A tiny fitness center with just three cardio machines, a few weight machines, and no dumbbells or stretching mats
  • View Full List of Amenities

 Food

Three restaurants and two bars, but cuisine is similar across the board

Palm Court Dining Room
Palm Court Dining Room

Though Grotto Bay claims to be “Bermuda’s only all-inclusive resort,” it is, in fact, not an all-inclusive property in the strictest sense. A free continental breakfast is served at the Rum House Bar in the Palm Court each morning; but beyond that, unless you have purchased one of the resort’s meal plans, you’ll be shelling out cash each time you eat.

On property are two indoor restaurants -- the casual Palm Court, which provides free daily afternoon tea and has a nautical-themed bar, and the fancier Hibiscus Dining Room, where full hot breakfasts and elegant dinners are served. Located between the pool and the beach is the Bayside Bar and Grill. All three of these restaurants have similar menus -- no ethnic or specialty cuisine here -- though the Bayside Grill has themed buffet dinners twice weekly. There's also a basic pool-side bar with swim-up seating.

  • Three restaurants and two bars
  • All-inclusive rates available

 Bottom Line

The private beach might be rocky and the rooms might be small, but lovely grounds and magical grottos give this 21-acre resort a special mystique of its own. And though its airport-side location isn’t the best, an impressive roster of amenities -- including a small spa, basic fitness center, tennis courts, three restaurants, and two bars (including one poolside) -- makes for one of the island’s best deals.

Things You Should Know About Grotto Bay Beach Resort

Address

  • 11 Blue Hole Hill Baily's Bay, CR04 Bermuda

Room Types

  • Oceanfront Deluxe
  • Oceanfront Superior
  • Oceanview Deluxe
  • Oceanview Superior

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Rosewood Tucker's Point Hotel & Spa
Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Royal Palms Hotel
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 201
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Hamilton Parish, Bermuda
Address: 11 Blue Hole Hill Baily's Bay, CR04 Bermuda
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