Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Stunning cliffside setting on one of Bermuda’s best private beaches -- but the property itself is dated and worn
This pretty pink hilltop resort has one of Bermuda’s most engaging histories, with three generations of the Lamb family running the property since its debut in the 1950s. Originally a posh fishing club, today the Pompano Beach Club is a charming cliff-side retreat with one-of-a-kind details at every corner -- from the Coral Reef Café’s handmade mosaic tiling created by the founder’s daughter, to the labor-of-love attentiveness that comes with a devoted family staff.
Located just beyond one of Bermuda’s best golf courses, Port Royal, Pompano rests along Whitney Bay on the island’s southwestern edge. Here, the beach is particularly exceptional due to a sprawling reef and sandbar that keeps the water shallow for more than 50 yards. A sizeable private beach tends to fill up with guests. However, several isolated inlets are perfect private hideaways, as are a few floating decks just a short wade away.
The higher you climb in this vertically stacked hotel, the better the views get. Starting at the base where there’s an impressive boathouse and a small beachfront bar hut, each set of stairs reveals another fabulous layer -- from a pair of Jacuzzis and more lounge chairs, to an observation deck, to a large kidney-shaped pool with killer vistas that stretch for miles.
Unfortunately, once inside, there's little that can measure up to the views. Sure, the kitschy island decor in the lobby, restaurants, and lounges has a distinct charm, but there’s no hiding the fact that this property is, frankly, old. Throughout, the carpet is faded with stains here and there, and the furniture is shabby. Likewise, in the rooms, the furniture borders on tacky with white wicker and floral patterns dominating the design. And though the bathrooms appear to be somewhat newer and a few updates like iPod-enabled alarm clocks can be found, overall renovations are still needed to elevate the rooms to the level of some of the island’s nicer and newer hotels, such as Elbow Beach Resort and Newstead Belmont Hills Resort. At least every room has a balcony -- almost all of which feature incredible ocean views -- to remind you exactly why you came to Bermuda in the first place.
Adjacent to an award-winning golf course, with many attractions a short drive away
Set atop a glorious hill along the southwestern edge of Bermuda, the Pompano Beach Club edges the world famous Port Royal Golf Course, which has hosted numerous PGA tours. The cliff on which the resort perches is possibly the most breathtaking on the island. This hilltop spot, however, makes it difficult to walk anywhere other than the adjacent golf course. Luckily, Pompano provides free transportation to most of the nearby attractions, like the Rockaway Ferry, which carries passengers to downtown Hamilton. Additionally, on-site moped rentals are a good deal for guests wishing to forgo taxis altogether.
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 fares 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.
A letdown when compared to the incredible outdoor surroundings
None of the rooms at Pompano Beach Club are huge, which isn’t all that uncommon for Bermuda. The newest buildings, completed in 2005, are comprised of Deluxe Rooms and are located to the right of the main driveway, just before the front entrance. These rooms have the best and least obstructed ocean views, as they are closest to the water. They also have the newest and most spacious bathrooms. Still, all units have dated décor, so be prepared for old-school wicker furniture, unsightly floral patterns, standard carpeting, and tube TVs.
A handful of dining options and a dine-around program that allows guests to sample other resorts’ restaurants
At the Ocean Grill restaurant, double-height windows with ocean views that start just inches away make it hard to concentrate on the menu. If you can take your eyes away from the jaw-dropping scenery though, you’ll find a menu with a few distinctly Bermudian plates. The spiced Pompano filet is an ideal choice (the resort is named for this fish found predominantly on its shores) as is the Bermuda fish chowder, which features a blend of fresh local fish and is served with Bermuda Black Rum.
Less formal is the Cedar Room, whose dark cedar paneling lends a fisherman’s (if somewhat dated) ambiance. Like the Ocean Grill, fare is heavily influenced by the ocean’s offerings. Unlike the Ocean Grill, reservations are not needed and outdoor dining is available.
Lighter fare can be found at the Coral Beach Café, where a massive powder blue tile mosaic features an undersea-inspired mural. The fare is simple and does well to keep kids happy with sandwiches, burgers, and virgin frozen drinks. A double-sided bar with pool service also allows guests to drink and dine without straying too far from their lounge chairs.
Guests who choose the all-inclusive Carousel dine-around plan receive breakfast and dinner at either of the two restaurants; however, lunch and drinks are not included. The meal plan also includes dinner in the restaurants at nearby Cambridge Beaches and The Reefs resorts.
This 75-room resort’s hilltop setting is one of Bermuda’s most stunning. Consequently, all of its major amenities -- three restaurants, two bars, a lounge, a pool, three Jacuzzis, a boathouse, a game room, a small spa, and a fitness center – feature expansive ocean views and quick beach access. But killer vistas aren’t enough to save the dated decor and worn furnishings in the rooms and communal areas, which are in dire need of updates. Rates are higher than at some newer resorts with better rooms and amenities.