Arriving at the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda, was a royal experience—the stately flamingo pink building towers above its surrounds and the harbor, and inside bellhops and well-dressed guests bustled to and fro, clacking along the marble-tiled floor. Something delicious wafted through the air.
The Hamilton Princess is a five-star, privately owned, Fairmont-managed property. The hotel first opened in 1885, the year after Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise visited and became the inspiration behind the building’s “princess” name.
The Princess’s current owners bought it in 2012 and have been slowly renovating it ever since. Now, the luxe hotel features newly redone guest rooms, two outdoor pools, three on-site restaurants, a spa, a 60-berth marina, a retail corridor, and a private beach just a short ride away.
The Warhol-esque portraits of Queen Elizabeth behind the check-in desk turned out to be real Warhols, forcing me to come to grips with the magnitude of the art collection at the Princess—a Picasso in the lobby, a Haring on the way to the restroom.
And the art collection throughout the hotel is equally amazing. The private collection of the owners, the compilation could belong to a gallery—but here, the works are presented in a lived-in way. Pieces from other modern and pop art giants like Henri Matisse, René Magritte, David Hockney, Banksy, Anish Kapoor, KAWS, and Takashi Murakami make this one of the most impressive art collections you might see outside a museum.
The hotel is large, with 400 guest rooms in total, including 45 suites and 13 junior suites. Guest rooms, while all newly renovated and similarly outfitted, come in variations—Fairmont rooms have bathtubs, while Garden View, Harbor View, and Bay View rooms all have private terraces. The top tier Fairmont Gold rooms and suites are in their own private wing and come with designated concierge service and access to the private Fairmont Gold Lounge, which includes a patio and daily continental breakfast, afternoon tea, desserts, and an honor bar.
Accommodations have upscale modern amenities like walk-in showers, Nespresso coffee machines, and Bluetooth speakers. I loved starting my mornings off slowly with a coffee on the private balcony of my Signature room overlooking the harbor.
The Princess is an easy five-minute walk from pedestrian-friendly downtown Hamilton. About the size of downtown Newport, Rhode Island, Hamilton has endless attractions like restaurants, shopping, and nightlife—but you’ll have to leave the property only if you really want to.
Since the hotel is located in the heart of Bermuda’s capital, it doesn’t have a beach on-site—a drawback remedied in recent years with the purchase of a private beach club in Southampton. The hotel’s jitney shuttles back and forth from the beach several times a day, and the exclusive beach club has restrooms, umbrellas, towels, cabanas, seasonal food and drink service, walking trails, a white sand beach, and a crystal clear cove for swimming.
More on amenities: One of the hotel’s pools is an infinity pool with a hot tub, and the other is for adults only—both are heated and have harbor views. The adults-only pool is right outside the fitness center and spa area. The Exhale spa offers fitness classes and a full menu of facials, massages, body scrubs, and nail services.
Between the hotel’s three restaurants open to the public, and the marina with dozens of berths, the property feels like a bustling, comfortable community meeting space. But head to one of the pools, sit in a cabana overlooking the harbor, or relax on your room’s terrace, and you’ll feel worlds away from the hubbub of daily life. The hotel provides a perfect jumping off point to easily explore the rest of Hamilton or the entire island, but I had everything I needed at my fingertips to just unwind quietly at the Princess.