Fairmont Southampton - Still my Top Choice in Bermuda

100   Recommended

Gold One-Bedroom Suite
January 13, 2019 by
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Gold One-Bedroom Suite

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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Room
Gold One-Bedroom Suite

I have returned to Fairmont Southampton 10 months after the review I posted previously and I thought I would provide an update. This hotel continues to be the top choice in Bermuda in my opinion.  

Room

As noted before, I do not like the signature suite much at this hotel so I contacted them in advance regarding what could be done with a Platinum suite upgrade certificate to end up in a different room than the signature suite.  In the end I booked a Gold room and they accepted to use the cert to upgrade to a Gold suite, which is not how suite upgrade certs normally work; they were kind enough to be flexible around the standard rules to understand what I was trying to achieve, they ended up earning more revenue because I paid more for my room, and I ended up a happy customer.  Everybody wins.

This was a 6-night stay and because the suite upgrade cert is limited to 5 nights, as a result for the first night we were in the standard gold room with lighthouse view.  This room is ok but views are not as nice as those facing the ocean which sell for marginally more.  Like the hotel in general, the room is well maintained but it is showing its age. Another negative was that water pressure in the shower was abnormally low.  I had not experienced this problem at this hotel in other room types before.

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For the next 5 nights we were in a Gold suite different than the one I had last year.  In my previous review the pictures were for the Gold signature suite room type which by the way does not seem to show up on Fairmont.com (it should be priced between the Gold sea view room and the Gold one-bedroom suite).  My pictures below for this year show the Gold one-bedroom suite, which I vastly prefer to the room I had in March 2018.  First off the views are much nicer and you have a balcony in both the bedroom and the living room because both rooms are next to each other given that the design is essentially two connecting rooms.  For this reason, you also get two full bathrooms which is very convenient.  My Gold signature suite last year only had one bathroom.  The bathroom in the Gold lighthouse view room and both bathrooms in the one-bedroom suite were all identical except that I did not have water pressure issues in the suite.  The other advantage of the Gold one-bedroom suite is that since you have large patio doors in both the living room and bedroom, you get great natural light everywhere, unlike my room last year where the bedroom was quite dark.  You also get more storage space in the one-bedroom suite: there is a large walk-in closet on the bedroom side, and two more closets on the living room side.  The total size of the one-bedroom suite is a bit more than double the size of a standard room double because the wall of the living room is at an angle making the room wider near the TV than at the patio door.  There is a DVD player in both the bedroom and living room, and there is also a mini-fridge in the bedroom which was useful to store cold items without having to empty the minibar.  My overall takeaway is that they gave me quite a generous upgrade for my suite upgrade cert: not only the cert was not intended to be for gold rooms, but also they gave me the nicer suite category.  This does not go unnoticed and goes a long way to attract a repeat customer like myself even when suite upgrade certs will no longer exist thanks to Accor.

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Dining

The Gold lounge was considerably quieter in January than it was in March.  March is low season in Bermuda, but January is even more so.  Last year the lounge was quite full during happy hour but this year the lounge was more than half empty and at times we were completely alone, particularly for breakfast.  

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Breakfast in the Gold Lounge was excellent again; some items are on a rotation every day.  For example the hot options offered were a local sausage and sautéed veggies dish, banana French toast, fried eggs on hash browns, and my favorite: fish cake benedict which was wonderful.  Unlike some Marriott and Hyatt hotels where if you get lounge access you are limited to breakfast in the lounge (not the restaurant), here you can ask for a breakfast voucher in the lounge and get free breakfast in the restaurant.  This makes the price difference between a standard room without breakfast and a Gold room less than it appears especially if you would intend to pay for breakfast when booking the standard room.  On Saturdays and Sundays the restaurant has special breakfast offers for example boiled cod which was good.  

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In the evening for happy hour it is pretty much the same as last year.  Good drinks, a small hot appetizer brought from the kitchen (not self-serve) and some cold options at the buffet. Examples of appetizers served: beef and tomato skewers, mac & cheese balls, lasagna, chicken tempura + meatballs, etc.  Appetizers and drinks are still only one hour from 5pm to 6pm, but something I did not realize last year when I stayed at Fairmont Southampton is that drinks are free in the Gold lounge for one hour only as a winter promotion from around mid November until the end of March.  If you stay in other months, alcohol is available all day in the lounge but you need to pay even between 5pm and 6pm.

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There are also desserts in the lounge from 2:30pm to 4pm for afternoon tea and in the evening from 8pm to 9pm.  

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Platinum Welcome Gift

The Platinum gift this year was more of the sweet kind than the alcoholic kind.  On top of it I got two Accor drinks coupons at the bar which I did not get last year.

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Gym

The fitness gym has good variety of equipment but it is relatively old and is not exactly my favorite gym.  Back in March it was quite crowded in the morning but this time around we were almost alone, in line with the rest of the hotel being quiet.  

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Overall

Last year I noted the upcoming competition from Ritz Carlton.  This construction project was halted for several months due to funding issues (and has only recently resumed), so Fairmont remains the top choice for the foreseeable future in my opinion.  The St.Regis in St.Georges is still under construction with a planned opening in 2021 but I think they might face funding headwinds like the Ritz - time will tell. Until then, the only viable competitor to Fairmont is the Rosewood hotel.  In some ways Rosewood is better than Fairmont because it’s newer and has better hardware than Fairmont.  However location is not as good unless you are a golfer.  Also maybe Rosewood is not too bad if you don’t mind not having a beach within walking distance.  In addition the fact that Rosewood does not have a loyalty program is a turn off for me, and Rosewood does not have a lounge.  So Rosewood could work for some folks, but it is not a viable option for me. 

So in the short to medium term I will continue enjoying Fairmont Southampton and I do not see any better alternative for my purposes until 2021 at the very least.

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