Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, A Fairmont Managed Hotel

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On January 29, 1883, Princess Louise arrived on the pink sand beaches of Bermuda aboard the H.M.S. Dido. As the daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, her arrival on the island colony drew great fanfare and the following years saw waves of wealthy tourists flocking to Bermuda. Princess Louise referred to the island as “a place of eternal spring,” and is said to have greatly enjoyed her stay.



Left: The arrival of Princess Louise in Hamilton, Bermuda (January 29, 1883); Right: Princess Louise circa mid 1880s.

Her visit to Bermuda was mostly due to her fragile health that continued to plague her following a terrible carriage accident. On February 14, 1880, the carriage carrying the Princess overturned during a harsh winter storm, throwing off the coachman and footman. Panicked, the horses took off running with Louise trapped inside and dragged the overturned carriage for more than 400 yards. Louise was knocked unconscious when she hit her head on the iron bar supporting the carriage roof. Later, the doctors who attended Louise remarked that it was a wonder her skull was not fractured.



1904 view of eastern Hamilton Harbor and Paget Parish from Pembroke Parish, where the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is located. In the background is the highpoint known as "Trimingham Hill" where Princess Louise occupied a private residence during the winter of 1883.

With its sunny and refreshing weather, Bermuda was an excellent choice for the Princess’ recovery, but also an unusual one as the island was not prepared to host numerous upper-class travelers. Princess Louise’s visit popularized the trend for wealthy North Americans to escape to Bermuda’s mild climate during the winter months, sparking the robust tourism industry of modern day Bermuda.



Left: The Princess Hotel staff circa 1885; Right: Front Entrance of The Princess Hotel circa 1900.

Bermuda’s most famous luxury hotel began construction that same year, and The Princess Hotel officially opened on January 1, 1885. Named after Princess Louise, the hotel quickly garnered a reputation among socialites as well as wealthy leisure travelers, political figures, and businesspeople looking for a luxurious island retreat. While the official name of the hotel has since changed to the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, locals still lovingly refer to this pink palace as “The Princess.”



Left: The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club Gingerbread Moongate; Right: The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club Moongate located on the hotel's Flagpole Terrace.

Today, guests can also enjoy Bermuda’s warm winters just like Princess Louise. The hotel has even taken to creating their own holiday traditions to delight guests during the winter season. For instance, each year the Hamilton Princess constructs a massive Moongate made of over 300lbs of gingerbread. Inspired by the classic symbol of Bermuda which represents good fortune, the Moongate spans the hotel lobby creating the perfect gateway to the rest of the hotel’s festivities.

This has been a History Mystery.
For more fun facts, trivia, and historic highlights, check out our History Mystery pages for Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. Subscribe to our newsletter below and follow us on social media to play along.

Question: Which historic hotel was named in honor of Queen Victoria’s daughter?

  1. Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, A Fairmont Managed Hotel
  2. Fairmont Empress
  3. Le Régina Biarritz Hôtel & Spa - MGallery by Sofitel
  4. Queens Hotel Cheltenham
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