Many moons ago, I was a 20-something study abroad student in Australia when I decided to train down to Melbourne for the weekend. I was by myself, and what felt like an adventure at the time of booking soon became a stressful few days. I quickly realized that while I loved to travel with a friend or group of friends, solo travel wasn’t my thing. I had a hard time venturing out to dine alone and recall racing out of a movie theater when the film was over, worried that someone would see me by myself. The horror! I’m not sure what my angst was about, but I highlight this story only to illustrate how far I’ve come.
Solo travel has become my favorite way to travel. Perhaps it’s a result of family life, motherhood, generalized chaos, and/or the desperate (albeit temporary) need to get a break from it all….but I now look forward to vacations where nobody joins but me and a stack of books.
From recent trips to British Columbia where I spent days hiking into the mountains, reading, and cooking out of a mini fridge and induction oven….to Portland where I made plans with friends with whom I’d been long out of touch…..I find that solo travel resets me and recharges my batteries like nothing else, making the effort of tackling work/kids/homework/afterschool activities all the more dignified.
Earlier in June I was invited to visit The Loren Hotel at Pink Beach in Bermuda, 4 days of bliss that felt more like 4 weeks. When I mentioned that I’d be visiting The Loren on my Instagram page, one of the first comments was that The Loren was one of the most exciting developments to happen in Bermuda in the last 25 years.
THUS….I knew that I’d be in for a treat. Namely, the most stunning ocean-front infinity pool that I’d ever laid eyes on, an intimate setting with attentive service, captivating architecture, and solitude! While some resorts tend to pack in the patrons, at The Loren, one of the most distinguishing features of the property is the relative absence of loud boisterous crowds. Sure, you’ll run into groups of people dining at The Pink Beach Club, The Loren’s signature cliffside restaurant, but aside from mealtime, people are few and far between. That perfect cliffside lounge chair right beside the pool? That’ll almost certainly be waiting for you whether you drag yourself out of your room at 8am or 12pm.
And maybe that’s the reason for the relative privacy….each ocean-facing suite at The Loren is so luxuriously comfortable, it’s nearly impossible to pry yourself away from your own private terrace each day. In fact, my plan for my first full day in Bermuda, after making the decision to guilt-free pamper myself to my heart’s content, was to do a quick beach walk, long enough for housekeeping to yank my bedsheets back into submission, refill my Malin + Goetz toiletries, fluff my SFERRA towels….and then come back to my terrace, put a bottle of Prosecco on ice, and order mountains of room service to pick at all day. With the exception of a few birds who tried to sneak a bite of my warm chocolate chip cookies, I didn’t see a living being until dinnertime. I read, napped, edited photos (you know that you love your job when you choose to work during your downtime)… It was bliss.
On my second full day in Bermuda, I decided to check out more of the island. The concierge at the front desk steered me towards a number of beaches and also recommended that I check out Hamilton, a 20-minute drive from the resort. I had grand plans to rent a Twizy, an electronic mini car that’s a cross between a golf cart and a scooter, which is popular for those wishing to explore the island a little more intently. But alas, I gave into full relaxation mode, slept in, hit the easy button and ordered a cab to take me into town instead.
Bermuda itself is a stunning island, in true Caribbean fashion, surrounded by turquoise waters and, speckled with palm and mimosa trees, dotted with homes in every shade of pastel. Unlike other islands, Bermuda’s coastline is defined by its famous pink beaches, the result, as I learned from the hotel’s driver Sam, of a miniscule marine organism – foraminifera –a single-celled protist which dies in the ocean, gets washed ashore, and thus stains Bermudian beaches a deep blush rose. If you haven’t dug your toes into Bermudian sand, it’s worth the visit just to experience it for yourself.
On my last night at The Loren I was treated to a special parting dinner; a tasting of the chef’s plates along with a selection of the resort’s favorite wines. As I peered out over the ocean, the sound of crashing waves beneath my feet, I was treated to crispy shrimp rolls with mango puree and fresh microgreens, succulent pork belly topped above a bed of asparagus risotto and slick with apricot glaze, local rockfish with a golden sourdough crust and mounded with pea shoots; surf & turf featuring filet, medium-rare, grilled shrimp and confit potatoes…and to top it all off, a glass of sauternes while I dunked fried churros into the most oozingly delicious salted caramel sauce.
Had you peeked at the woman dining solo that night at The Pink Beach Club, tuckering into her meal, blissfully unaware of anything but the sound of sea crashing on sand….you would never have guessed that she’d once been too afraid to dine alone. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s wisdom, maturity, or the ever-present need for a break, but that girl had it made. And for the record, she’s very much looking forward to her next solo adventure. Thank you to The Loren for treating me to such a memorable stay. I sincerely hope to be back one day…
This post was sponsored by The Loren Hotel at Pink Beach. All opinions are my own.
Jess you had me at stack of books. Then I read on. What a beautiful spot – the hotel, the food, everything…
I haven’t been to Bermuda in decades. That’s going to change.
Love this Jess – your photos are stunning and I love reading your stories always so well written! Bermuda is on my list now. And perhaps solo !