The Princess Hotel opened in 1885 and was Bermuda’s first large, world-class hotel. It was named after Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. Her visit to the island in the winter of 1883 brought international recognition and helped promote it as a major tourist destination.
The hotel is steeped in history. Mark Twain was a regular here and Ian Fleming drew inspiration for his novel Dr No whilst sitting at the hotel’s bar. In 1939 the hotel’s basement became the secret home to British intelligence agents who intercepted and analysed communications en-route between the US and Europe.
Nowadays, the hotel’s Hamilton location makes it popular with business visitors and tourists appreciating the benefits of the city.
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess boasts 410 rooms and suites. Although none can be classified as inexpensive, there’s a variety to suit different budgets. Standard amenities include an en-suite bathroom, work desk, air-conditioning, cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, hairdryer, iron, and safe. WiFi is available for an additional fee.
Deluxe Rooms are the cheapest and are located in the historic main building. Rooms vary slightly in size but average 375 square feet. They don’t have balconies and offer city views. Step up to a Deluxe Room in Bermudiana House and you’ll get a private balcony with a view of Hamilton Harbour or Pitts Bay. Rooms are slightly larger at 400 square feet. Signature Balcony Rooms in the Gazebo Wing are the next category up and feature a larger balcony (100 square feet) with a full view of the harbour.
Upgrade to the Fairmont Gold floor for a higher level of service. Guests staying on this exclusive floor enjoy more luxurious rooms and access to the elegant Fairmont Gold Lounge. Fairmont Gold Rooms average 380 square feet and feature marble bathrooms, opulent furnishings, a choice of one King or two double beds, and a garden view. Fairmont Gold Suites average 550 square feet and offer a King-size bed, a separate sitting room, a marble bathroom with tub and shower, and a water view. The Fairmont Gold Lounge serves a complimentary breakfast, coffee and tea throughout the day, and cocktail canapés in the evening.
The Hamilton Princess offers more leisure facilities than any other hotel in the capital. Guests can choose between 2 outdoor pools; one saltwater and the other freshwater. The fitness centre features a multi-gym, running machines, and exercise bikes. There’s also a small day spa and quality stores such as Crisson and the English Sports Shop. Further leisure options, including a challenging par-three golf course and private beach, are available at the Fairmont Southampton. A complimentary ferry departs several times per day.
As mentioned previously, the hotel is a favourite amongst the travelling business community. A business centre, located in the hotel’s grand marble lobby, features computer workstations, a printer, and a fax machine. There’s also an HSBC ATM in the lobby.
There are two restaurants at the hotel. The dinner menu at Harley’s features steak and seafood dishes such as the Bermuda Triangle (grilled swordfish, blackened tuna, and tempura lobster tail), Grilled Veal Porterhouse, and Roasted Rack of Lamb. Enjoy indoors or, if the weather’s good, al fresco on Harley’s Terrace. Every afternoon the colonial-style Heritage Court hosts an extravagant afternoon tea.
If you need a change of scenery or menu there’s a huge choice of restaurants and bars nearby. Leave the hotel and walk along Pitts Bay Road towards the city centre and you’ll pass the Flying Fish seafood restaurant. After a couple of hundred yards you’ll see Bermudiana Road on the left. Walk up here for the Little Venice, Portofino, L’Oriental, and the Lobster Pot. Alternatively, carry on along Pitts Bay Road until you reach Front Street. Hamilton’s main street offers a wide range of venues such as the Pickled Onion, Flanagan’s, Port O’ Call, Docksider, and Rosa’s Cantina.
The Hamilton Princess is also great venue for both wedding ceremonies and receptions. The Flagpole Terrace is the most popular location for ceremonies and offers spectacular views of Hamilton Harbour.
Getting around the island couldn’t be easier. Hamilton Ferry Terminal is just 500 yards east of the hotel. You could catch a ferry here to Dockyard and, in the summer months, onto St George. The main bus station can be reached on foot in around 10 minutes. Buses leave here for all areas of the island. Scooters can be hired from Smatt’s Cycle Livery, right outside the hotel entrance. There’s also a taxi rank at the hotel.