Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A 100-year-old mansion-hotel with plenty of charm, but few amenities
The Rosedon is one of those hotels that doesn’t seem like much on paper -- no beachfront, no restaurant, no fitness center, no spa -- and yet it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with this early-1900s mansion-hotel. The allure is almost certainly in the details, from a breezy white-and-blue veranda leading into a grand hall marked by a double-height window overlooking lushly landscaped gardens, to a proper sitting room and library filled with antique furnishings like gilded porcelain bird figurines, ebony Louis XV-style chairs, and restored classic-crown moldings.
Located at the top of a hill, the hotel is a Hamilton icon with its all-white facade and royal blue awnings. Inside the main house are just nine rooms, which have been lovingly restored to their original grandeur with frilly pillows, ornate vanities, and crystal chandeliers. These rooms have the most character of the 44 units -- the remainder of which are scattered around the pool and gardens, having been added over the last half-century. Unlike many hotel rooms in Bermuda, whether dating back 10 years or 100 years, all of the Rosedon’s units feel new and clean with well-cared-for interiors and recently renovated bathrooms.
The rest of the hotel is simple. While there is no restaurant on the grounds, there is a small kitchen from which guests can order set meals for room service throughout the day. Daily breakfast is included in the rate, and a few honor bars around the grounds ensure that a grumbling stomach can find fast relief. Nightlife is next to nil here; however, those in search of a quiet evening that seems straight out of the 1920s will find comfort in the library, where a Dark and Stormy from the honor bar awaits.
Aside from a lack of amenities, the Rosedon’s biggest drawback is its pool. Though pretty and surrounded by stunning gardens, it is small, crowded, and quite loud, and the number of lounge chairs is insufficient for the amount of traffic the area sees in a given day.
For those looking for a chic home base while exploring Hamilton, the Rosedon is hard to beat, especially for the rates, which are significantly lower than those at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess across the street. However, if amenities are of high priority, you may be better off abandoning the Hamilton area altogether for one of the Southampton beach resorts like Elbow Beach or the Fairmont Southampton, both of which are less expensive but lack the unique charm of the Rosedon.
Within walking distance of Hamilton and the ferries -- but no beachfront
Bermuda is a unique island in that it has a well-established culture outside the run-of-the-mill tourist spots. As a result, the city of Hamilton is a must-see attraction, with plenty of restaurants, bars, historical monuments, and high-end shops to occupy an afternoon. The Rosedon is within walking distance of all of Hamilton’s greatest offerings, including the ferry terminal that takes passengers to still more destinations like the Royal Naval Dockyard and Little Sound for access to Southampton’s beaches. For an expedited trip to the beach, the hotel’s shuttle runs throughout the day to Elbow Beach, a coveted though somewhat crowded locale. Additionally, a moped rental outpost is just a few blocks from the hotel.
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.
Each room is unique -- but, unfortunately, the most charming units are the ones without balconies.
Despite some areas of the hotel dating back to the first decade of the 1900s, Rosedon’s rooms are all spacious and clean, with unique design elements. The nine units in the main mansion are preferable for their vintage touches -- for instance a grand crystal chandelier in the bathroom in room 44 is simply breathtaking. The newer units, however, located in annexes surrounding the pool, include breezy patios and balconies as well as grand four-poster beds. Across the board, the bathrooms are especially noteworthy, with marble counters, heated towel racks, soaking or Jacuzzi bathtubs, and posh Kingsbridge London toiletries.
A small but pretty pool and an elegant main house
This 44-room Hamilton hotel centered around an early 20th-century mansion is all about ambiance, from the grand circular drive flanked by stunning gardens to the beautifully restored interiors of the main house. Of course, amenities are scarce at this boutique property -- it lacks a fitness center, spa, and restaurant -- but a small pool, beautiful and unique rooms, and an authentic English charm give it an edge over similarly priced hotels in the area. Still, if you simply must have a beach nearby, consider heading to a different neighborhood altogether, as the closest sand and surf is a good 10-minute drive away.