Taking a flight to Bermuda to get some sunshine and turquoise blue waters sounds pretty good in the middle of winter.
For some, it’s about grabbing a Dark ‘n’ Stormy that blends rich Gosling’s Rum with the spice of ginger beer with a lime twist. Maybe it’s eating fish chowder and rockfish. For adventurous sorts, there’s more than 100 shipwrecks that can be explored by scuba diving here in the Caribbean, the cliff jumping and rock climbing from Admiralty House and the infamous crystal and fantasy caves with their chandelier rock formations.
Regardless of when you go, Bermuda can be a lot fun.
We caught up with Simon Boden, the newly minted director of sales and business development for Bermuda Tourism Authority, to get his suggestions and a better understanding of the “Bermy slang.” Crank up the heat, put on some Bermuda shorts and start relaxing.
What are some of the cool experiences Bermuda has to offer?
When you come to Bermuda, you have to get on the water. I’m a sailor and a team regatta is a great team-building activity but also for seeing Bermuda. One of the best places to go is the Great Sound in Hamilton Harbor, where the America’s Cup was held. There are so many islands—138 to be exact—in Bermuda, and it’s a great way to experience so many different parts of the island. You don’t have to race between markers, you can race between islands and different points of interest. We don’t see people dive in groups as much, but the reefs here are all very alive with fish and coral.
What are some other great activities you recommend?
Water-based activities are always very desirable. You can ride a catamaran or snorkeling. There are jet skis and fly boarding where you are strapping on water jets to your feet. It’s like you’re flying, but you are standing up with water jets coming out of your feet.
Where else can you go?
You get a great history lesson by going to the Crystal Caves, which were discovered a long time ago by two boys and is often included in a bigger tour that includes St. George, the original capital of Bermuda, tied in with lunch at a local restaurant. The food scene in Bermuda is developing—the fish sandwich is big: It’s cod, usually with coleslaw, a sauce, and served on raisin bread. There’s also fish chowder and fish cake.
What are some other ideas for meeting and event planners who are hosting larger groups?
Do a group dine-a-round. Select 10, 15 or 20 different restaurants and then split up into smaller groups to have more intimate dinners. People can choose from different restaurants which makes for a different offering than one large banquet. It also makes it easier to deal with groups on a more personal level.
How did you end up in the Bermuda and in the hospitality industry?
I was born in Bermuda to British parents who answered job advertisements in the paper. They met there and I was born. Bermuda has always been home to me. I went to a university in England and came back to Bermuda. I did an apprenticeship at Fairmont Hamilton Princess, which is now Fairmont Southhampton and spent 14 months doing everything there. I loved it.
What’s new in Bermuda that planners should know?
We have a new airport, which is scheduled to open in the middle of 2020 and will make it easier for groups to travel here. In the last couple of years, we now have more than 100 commuter minivans that carry 10 to 14 people, which is different than it used to be. We can now move any size group around. That’s important because we don’t have any big buses per se which are often found in other places. In the past we relied on taxis. This makes transportation and the movement of groups a little bit easier and quicker.
A lot of people call Bermuda “The rock.” What Bermy lingo do you like to use?
“Ace boy” is one of my favorites. That’s your favorite friend like “Yeah, ace boy. Yeah, he's my ace boy” or “Hey, ace boy.”