Bermuda is steeped in nautical heritage – after all, it’s the birthplace of the Bermuda rig (the most commonly used mast-and-rigging in modern history) and the Bermuda sloop. Recently, Bermuda successfully hosted the prestigious 35th America’s Cup, presented by Louis Vuitton in 2017.
A sophisticated event on Hamilton Harbour, the center of the island’s sailing scene, lets attendees experience the maritime lifestyle. Consider a venue with a view of bobbing boats in the harbour at spots like the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa or the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. The Harbourfront Restaurant @ BUEI, which was awarded The Bermudian’s Product and Service Award 2014 for Best Offsite Meeting Facility, offers waterside dining or cocktails on the Dock (60 guests seated) and the Terrace (30 people). Or, host your seaworthy party on The Venetian, a private yacht for hire for day trips or private dining.
For a recent event at a waterfront restaurant, Selange Gitschner of event planning company Das Fete used nautical décor (think candles wrapped in nautical charts and mini sailboat centerpieces) and a variety of seafood (raw oysters, clams and sushi) to carry out the watery theme.
2 Cultural Immersion, Bermuda-Style
Bermuda’s rich cultural traditions can also fuel memorable events. Host an island-style meeting or party at a historic space like the National Museum of Bermuda (imagine attendees mingling amid shipwreck artefacts) or at the circa-1870 Fort Hamilton with its cannons and ramparts. In St. George’s, the romantic stone ruins of the Unfinished Church are popular for weddings but also suit events and parties.
Entertainment could include steel pan drummers or Gombey dancers, known for performances that are awash in colour and rhythmic. Multi-hued flowers and table linens that mimic Bermuda’s pastel cottages could further the theme. Das Fete has been known to hang tropical-leaf wallpaper behind the bar for a tropical-feeling backdrop.
On the menu for an island bash? Local seafood dishes like Bermuda fish chowder and Pawpaw casserole (powered by a green fruit grown on the island), all washed down with signature rum drinks like the Dark ‘n Stormy®, a Bermuda original. And if you come between the months of September and March, enjoy a succulent spiny lobster.
3 Beachfront Bliss
The island’s stellar beaches make for inspiring venues. Up to 1,500 people can party on the sands at the Fairmont Southampton. Events can also be held on the rock-studded beach at Stonehole Bay and at Elbow Beach Bermuda. And at the secluded Turtle Cove at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, you can host a beach barbecue beside the surf of Mangrove Bay. The beach and its barefoot vibe are an ideal spot for casual networking events.
On the shore, many planners let the water and sand take the starring role. But riffs on the surroundings might include centerpieces incorporating both shells and flowers or lighthouse-shaped lanterns.
Menus can take cues from the surf, too, with local seafood figuring into sea-to-table dishes. For produce, many planners rely on Wadson’s Farm for fresh vegetables and other farm-to-table cuisine. Beach barbecues are also a tasty option. And of course, you’ll want to toast the event with sunset cocktails.
4 Bermuda’s Good Nature
Increasingly, attendees want to enjoy a meeting or event without wrecking their exercise regimes or healthy eating plans. A wellness-themed event can take advantage of Bermuda venues and resources. At Grotto Bay Beach Resort & Spa, you can host a small luncheon on an over-water pergola or invite several dozen guests for yoga on the private beach. At the Rosewood Bermuda (closed for renovations January - March 2018) the pink-sand powered Beach Club can be rented for events of multiple different sizes, from a small meeting to a large cocktail reception.
Menus with a wellness spin could include vegetarian, vegan and organic options. Mocktails and juices could stand in for wine and cocktails.
Décor with an eco-conscious, natural spin might feature sustainable greenery or locally grown blooms. For a fundraiser for coral reefs, Das Fete used wee cacti in simple pots as centerpieces.
Healthy activities could include eco tours of Bermuda caves and parks, or Yoga Bermuda classes taught on a private beach.
5 Competitive Spirits
Attendees can bond over friendly competition or sporting activities with only-in-Bermuda flair. For example, event-planning company Select Sites Group can set up a “Cricket 101” session with local players in full gear who can teach the game and give tips. Or, make the action more interactive with a game of croquet – the Coral Beach Club offers a lawn dedicated to the pastime. Other spirited contests for team-building events might include limbo contests on the beach (with limbo performers showing off technique) and learning to dance with Bermuda’s famous Gombeys.