There’s an unusual connection between Canada and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda’s capital. The hotel, which just celebrated its grand reopening in early July 2016 after $100 million in renovations, is named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. Coincidentally, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta’s Banff National Park is also named for the princess. For years when the two properties operated seasonally — Hamilton Princess in the summer, Lake Louise in the winter — the naming led staff to migrate between the two.
Canadian travellers have been flocking to the Pink Palace, as the hotel is affectionately known to Bermudians, since it opened its doors on new year’s day 1885. The recent updates, which include a new 60-berth marina able to accommodate super yachts, a stunning infinity pool overlooking Hamilton Harbour and internationally-renowned Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s latest culinary enterprise, Marcus’ Restaurant, are sure to appeal to the world’s well-to-do wanderlusters. Indeed, the Hamilton Princess is the official host hotel for the 2017 America’s Cup sailing race.
High-end hotel guests are sure to feel right at home. Finely appointed rooms feature panoramic views of the harbour, the courteous staff are smartly dressed in “Bermuda rig” (blazer, Bermuda shorts and knee socks) and the newly-opened Exhale Spa boasts Bermuda-inspired spa therapies and signature fitness classes. The 400-room property’s hidden-in-plain-sight gem, however, may just be its collection of more than 60 museum-worthy works of pop and modern art. (The hotel offers curated art tours.) Girl With A Balloon by renowned street stencil artist Banksy hangs unassumingly just inside the front doors. Andy Warhol’s series of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II sit behind the reception desk. And the works of the likes of Keith Haring, Tom Wesselmann and Nelson Mandela are scattered throughout the hotel’s common spaces.
One of those spaces contains another unusual connection to Canada: the former 242-square-metre Fairmont Gold Lounge is now the hotel’s main reception space, the Trudeau Ballroom, named after our current Prime Minister’s father. It’s as welcoming a sign to Canadians as the hot Bermuda sun.