Fairmont Southampton - Older Hotel in Bermuda but Remains Good Choice For Now

100   Recommended

Signature Suite
March 20, 2018 by
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Signature Suite

Liked:
Location
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Room
Signature Suite

I have stayed at Fairmont Southampton in the past but since nobody commented about this property recently, I thought I would do a proper review. 

February-March is low season in Bermuda and I found a very good rate sub-200 USD per night for 2 nights and then added a free night cert to make it 3 nights.  Given that we can receive a new set of certs with only 2 stays in the first six months of 2018, I have plenty of suite upgrades for the next few months so I used one here. 

I had a nice Platinum gift waiting for me in the room: ginger beer and Bermuda black rum, so I enjoyed my Dark & Stormy on arrival. 

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Location

If you are in Bermuda on vacation and you like the beach, the location of the hotel is great.  You can pre-book the shuttle bus from the airport for $15 each way that takes you directly to the hotel ($30 round-trip).  It is much cheaper than a taxi.  If you are in Bermuda for business, most people go to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess instead because it’s in town.  There is a boat that can bring you from one Fairmont to the other. 

 

Room

With a suite upgrade cert you get the signature suite.  This room type is just a bit larger (55 sq m) than the regular Fairmont room (41 sq m) and there is no wall separating the bedroom from the living room.  I would say the room is fine, but nothing special.  It is certainly not the best hotel to use of a suite upgrade cert.  However given that I have plenty for 2018, I did not care much to burn one here.  Dollar-wise, in low season by sampling some dates, the signature suite is $60 more than the Fairmont room, and in high season I can see rates around $700 for the Fairmont room and the suite goes for $100-$150 more.  I would say this is indicative that the suite upgrade is not worth as much as some other hotels.

This hotel shows its age (1970s) but has been well kept.  However you cannot change the fact that the room has low ceilings.  Also the view from the signature suite is not exactly the best because the window is besides the working desk; you have to turn to the left to have some water views. 

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The standard rooms on that side of the hotel are all facing the ocean, but the suite is in the crooked angle of the building so facing the other way (see picture of the exterior of the hotel - about middle of the building). 

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One consequence of this is that your balcony is less private and more exposed to a few other rooms looking at you.  The shower is in the bathtub which is a mild negative for me.  There is a large closet in the bathroom which can be convenient to some. 

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Water from the tap was fine on the day of my arrival, but on the morning of day 2 there was a lot of air coming out of the faucet with water “exploding” from the tap and it was brown-ish so I was not going to drink from the tap.  In addition there were no complimentary water bottles in the room. 

One issue with the signature suite is that it’s next to the elevator.  In some hotels it’s no big deal, but I could hear a bit of noise from the elevator shaft during the night.  I asked reception the next morning if I could be moved to a different room but unfortunately all signature suites are at the same spot on every floor: next to the elevator.  They were nice enough to upgrade me for free to a Gold floor suite.  The bedroom in that room is separated from the living room by French doors, and the living room is larger overall than the signature suite.  Also the balcony is facing the ocean so the views are nicer. 

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The other difference with the signature suite is that the bathtub is much larger so taking a shower feels less cramped than the regular size tub in the signature suite.  The Gold suite is away from elevator and I had good sleep there. The downside of this room is that the only window is near the entrance so you do not get natural light at all in the bedroom.

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Dining

My rate included breakfast so I went to the restaurant on the first morning.  Instead of the traditional boring North American style breakfast, I was pleased to find local options such as salted fish and turned cornmeal. 

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However 20 minutes after I sat down a server came by my table to inform me that I was on the continental breakfast plan so I would have to pay $12 extra because I took hot food.  I guess I should have known the “breakfast rules” because after double-checking, indeed my reservation said continental breakfast.  But I think they should inform the guests what is included in their breakfast before sitting down.  In addition, cappuccino is at an extra charge.  The restaurant is very nice and has views of the Great Sound.  I had a table by the window which was great. 

On the second and third mornings, since I was on the Gold floor I had breakfast in the lounge instead.  Selection is more limited than in the restaurant but it was fine.  Hot options were bacon, Portugese sausage, and quiche. 

You can have desserts in the lounge during the afternoon.  The lounge also has evening canapes from 5pm to 6pm.  They had a few veggies with dipping sauce self-serve, and a mini-burger with corn bread that they bring to your table (not self-serve).  It should be treated as a mini-appetizer only – forget about having something close to a full meal here. 

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They have free alcohol during that hour and I found the quality of drinks to be excellent and above average for a hotel lounge.  I thought one hour only is a bit stingy however.  You can pay $15 for a glass of wine at other times during the day.  They also have sweets from 8pm to 9pm. 

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The lounge has great ocean views and some tables on a terrace outside.  It’s a nice place to relax at any time during the day.  I would also note that staff is very friendly and helpful in the lounge. 

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Overall

Bottom line, I recommend the hotel obviously since I am a repeat customer.  However I would note a few things.  This is Bermuda so do not expect everything to be perfect.  I could understand if someone paid $700 for a room in July but experienced a few issues, that they would be upset.  There is not much competition in Bermuda so while this Fairmont is not perfect, I personally think it’s still better than elsewhere.  In addition, as mentioned above I would not use a suite upgrade cert unless you have more than you can use.  If you do not have a cert upgrade, given that the suite is simply a larger room which comes with noise issues, I would not recommend paying $60-$150 more for that room.  I would personally prefer a regular room and save the money.  If you are willing to pay extra, I believe at this hotel the Gold floor is more valuable than the signature suite.  Most rooms on the Gold floor are 41 sq m like standard rooms, but the Gold floor is nice.  A Gold room seems to be $170 more than standard rooms for most dates, so if your rate for the Fairmont room does not include breakfast and if you intend to be in the lounge either in the afternoon or evening, in my opinion a Gold room is better value than paying extra for a signature suite. 

As a final note, keep in mind that there is a Ritz Carlton under construction not far from Fairmont Southampton.  When complete it will provide significant competition to the Fairmont.  I am not sure I will continue to recommend the Fairmont once a newer luxury hotel is open, in addition to the fact that starting next year we will no longer benefit from FPC free night certs to bring the cost down; a free night cert in high season in this property is quite significant.  Also, a St.Regis is also being built on the other side of the island.  While not nearly as advanced as the RC, the StR will further put pressure on the Fairmont.

 

 

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