For those Americans who usually spend their summers in France, Italy, or Greece, it is natural to wonder where in the world you can travel this August, considering that your handy U.S. passport won’t get you into Europe. New Yorkers especially may feel that they need an escape from the city, as they were one of the first to lock down in the early days of Covid. These travelers, who are noticeably reticent to visit other states not located on the East Coast, are feeling particularly at a loss. Where does that leave us? Allow us to propose a novel idea: Bermuda.
Bermuda, as you may not know, is a mere 90-minute flight from New York City. While it seems far away and tropical, thankfully it is not. The island nation, which is a British Overseas Territory, has had an exceptional response to the pandemic. As of July 1st, they’ve opened up their borders and their gorgeous shores to travelers, including those shunned elsewhere - Americans.
Getting to Bermuda during a pandemic is not as difficult as one might imagine. Before you pack your bags and board a Jet Blue or Delta flight, here’s what you need to know.
The guidelines to enter Bermuda may continue to evolve, but current rules state that you need to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within seven days of landing on the island. Once you disembark at the airport and go through customs, travelers are required to take an on-site Covid-19 test. While this traveler thinks the nurse could have been a bit more gentle on her nasal passageway, the safety and procedural clarity that the officials at the Bermuda Airport provided was exceptionally reassuring. The whole process takes about 45 minutes total, which means you’ll be sitting relaxing in no time.
Travelers are required to quarantine in their hotel rooms until airport officials email the Covid-19 exam results. Results are also emailed directly to the travelers' accomodations. Bermuda officials advise this will take between six and eight hours, but for us, it took closer to ten. This means that it is essential to choose your Bermuda hotel wisely.
While we were quarantined for ten hours, we sat in our private cabana, ate delicious linguine ai frutti di mare, looked out at a gorgeous pool, and beyond, the sea. We lazed in a supersized bath, lounged on a California King, and in general did not feel as though we were being required to stay in one place - and that is because we decided to stay at the Rosewood Bermuda. In addition to enjoying the hotel’s recently renovated room for ten hours straight, the Rosewood also offered us a peace of mind that many travelers during this time crave. Once we emerged from our room, we were happy to discover a gorgeous resort, and dozens of hand sanitizer stations positioned anywhere one may touch something. Pushed a button in the elevator? Don’t worry, there’s hand sanitizer. Open up the door to the Island Brasserie for breakfast? Hand sanitizer. Off to the pool? Hand sanitizer, and a friendly employee to greet you and take your temperature.
While sitting by the Rosewood Bermuda’s two pools with a rosé in hand is highly recommended, it’s worth exploring what else the Tucker’s Point resort has to offer. The Beach Club is a private enclave featuring one of the largest private pink-sand beaches on the island, and is also home to the property’s best restaurant if you are in the mood for fresh seafood. The golf course is a welcome challenge for regular players, and the tennis courts offer a great way to work up a sweat.
While the quaint towns of St. George and Hamilton (Bermuda’s capital) are usually bustling, the streets of both were quiet. Bermuda first-timers should still take a taxi to St. George, and relish the opportunity of seeing colonial-era architecture sans the usual droves of cruise ship tourists (word has it that the ships will not return until 2021). For any American with a passport and a desire to get out of town - Bermuda should be high on your list.