The history of Elbow Beach spans the twentieth century, beginning in 1908 as a simple guest cottage and now, the 98 room resort is renowned as one of the world's great landmark properties.
Elbow Beach began as the first hotel on Bermuda's spectacular South Shore. Never had anyone built on the beach before and locals were sure the tiny guesthouses would wash away with the first hurricane. However, Mr. R. B. Johnson, the British owner, had only great success over the ensuing 16 years with the newly burgeoning tourist trade of visitors who wished to stay in close proximity to the island's famed pink sands.
In 1924, Johnson sold his guesthouse to Mr. Harold H. Frith, who realised he was purchasing the finest hotel site on the island, Frith renamed the hotel Elbow Beach Surf Club and over the next twenty years he reinvested his earnings to eventually expand the hotel to 200 rooms, adding two wings and the front entrance area. Guests, who then arrived by ship, disembarked in nearby Hamilton and were transported to Elbow Beach Surf Club by private ferry or horse and buggy.
During World War II, the hotel was closed down and used by the Wartime Supplies Commission as a storage warehouse for grain and meat and some sections were later used by the U.S. Navy. After the war, Mr. Frith lacked the capital to properly refurbish the hotel and, after a severe illness, sold the Elbow Beach Surf Club in 1947 to the soon-to-be Sir John Moore.
Sir John added the swimming pool and beachfront cabanas in 1959 and leased the present-day cottages from Bermudian, Dr. W.E. Tucker. He upgraded and added more facilities over the next two decades, including the center and east wings, ocean-view lanais, tennis courts and restaurants.
In 1991, the hotel came under private ownership and closed for five months while a major renovation program was completed.
Today, Elbow Beach, Bermuda is an intimate luxury island resort. Guests enjoy personalized service and privacy is assured. Elbow Beach has recaptured the spirit of when it was the grand dame of Bermuda, a quality resort with a sense of place and history with the most modern operations.
Elbow Beach, Bermuda overlooks the sparkling blue waters of South Shore and is within close distance of Hamilton - Bermuda’s capital. Elbow Beach is a brilliant assemblage of 98 rooms and suites spread amongst 50 acres of lush manicured gardens that gently slope down to a signature pink sand beach.
Guests will be delighted to find that 98 guestrooms are gracefully arranged along paved paths that wind through a tamed jungle of subtropical flora, exotic plants and manicured green lawns. The guest rooms and suites herald a distinct Bermudian ambiance with pastel interiors, tile and wood floors, open-beamed ceilings and private patios.
Nestled around the temperature controlled 25-metre swimming pool, the fitness room, poolside spa cabanas, Reef Clubhouse and spa inhabit the Garden level of the hotel. The business centre is directly behind the majestic lobby.
Elbow Beach is managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, lies on the south shore of Bermuda in Paget, seven minutes from downtown Hamilton, Bermuda's capital, and 30 minutes from the airport in St. George's.
Interview with the staff:
What type of food do you serve?
Innovative and fresh. There is a strong focus on seafood due to our location. Our four restaurants offer a variety of options for guests.
Any special, personalised touches in the bedrooms?
Each of our guestrooms have personal espresso machines and iHome docking stations. We also offer luxury toiletries in our guestrooms; Shanghai Tang Mandarin Tea in our guestrooms and Acqua di Parma in our suites.
What type of guest do you feel would enjoy the Elbow Beach Experience the most?
Most guests. Our Adventure Camp Program and The Wreck Centre at Elbow Beach provide an abundance of activities for families and our pool also has a shallow area for children. With its central location, Elbow Beach is just 7 minutes from the main city of Hamilton... perfect for couple’s that want to shop, dine out and enjoy the nightlife. Elbow Beach is also a very romantic location for couple’s with a variety of dining options, private couple’s spa suites at The Spa at Elbow Beach and guestrooms with private terraces for relaxation. Our “The Resort” Buyout Package and unique approach to meetings make us ideal for corporate business. In keeping with the current trend of creating "Out of the Box" meeting spaces.
Elbow Beach is promoting the utilization of a variety of interesting spaces around the resort property for meetings and events. We have over 50 acres of potential meeting spaces, that all slope gently down to our signature 1/2 mile of private pink sand beach. In our eyes, anywhere can become a meeting and event space depending on what the group is looking for. The wooden deck at our Mickey's Beach Bistro (Bermuda's only restaurant directly on the beach) was recently used for a group, a guestroom can be converted into a private boardroom, our Library Lounge doors have been frosted so that the room can be turned into a private meeting space, a party or event can be held on our tennis courts. There are so many options, and Elbow Beach is happy to accommodate unique requests whenever they are made.
Elbow Beach is also working with the trend of "Turning Meetings into Experiences". We are currently partnering with other organisations around the island to provide interesting off-property function & meeting spaces and activities for groups that stay at Elbow Beach. Unlike other islands, Bermuda is completely accessible to all that visit, and we embrace the idea of the whole island of Bermuda being the resort. For example, we have currently partnered with the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club to give Elbow Beach guests access to this exclusive member’s only club. The club is just a short 5 minute drive from Elbow Beach and offers amazing Hamilton Harbour view meeting/function space and lawns for our groups to hold their events. The marina itself has a fabulous lawn and covered terrace for fun group events and the club will also be able to provide exciting and unique group activities such as sailing and dinghy racing for team building. We have also partnered with the National Museum of Bermuda and Commissioners House in Dockyard to give our guests yet another option for their events. These unique spaces include 360 degree views from the western most point of the island of Bermuda as well as amazing historical and cultural sites and structures. The museum’s Executive Director, Edward Harris, is available to do private tours for our groups of the museums many fascinating exhibits.
In addition to Elbow Beach’s own diverse array of meeting and function space, we feel these new additions give our groups the best of what Bermuda has to offer for their event or meeting.
What's the best time of the year to visit?
Our high season is from May to September, but October and November are also gorgeous. The temperatures and humidity drop a little, but the water is still warm due to the fact that it has been warming all summer. Plus, you can get some great rates and special offers outside of season.
In terms of interior design and architecture, who were the designers or companies involved in delivering what guests experience today?
There is no one definitive designer and we’ve had several architectural companies working on the property since the 1950’s. They are as follows:
- 1950’s Lublin McGaughy Associates (Norfolk VA)
- 1960’s McGaughy Marshall & McMillan (Washington DC)
- 1970’s Kaufmann Mitchell & Associates(Hamilton Bermuda)
- 1980’s Cooper & Gardner Architects & Designers (Hamilton Bermuda)
- Barker & Linberg Associates (Hamilton Bermuda)