The luxury vacation rental villa of Sandymount in Bermuda is the subject of my very first luxury accommodation feature. I will admit that I am rather biased about this beautiful property, as I am the manager. For decades it was a private house, and one of Bermuda’s best kept secrets, but in 2018 I was hired by the owners to help turn it into a first-class vacation rental villa.
As a local, I have driven past the house above Bailey’s Bay dock a million times since I was born. From the road, you can’t see much, just a patch of roof and a flagpole. From the water, it appears to be just a cliff and some grassy hillside. However, when I was shown the property for the first time I was blown away. Never in a million years did I imagine the scope and scale of the property, or the beauty and rarity of the house.
The property spans 2.5 acres and has prime ocean-front views of the entirety of Bermuda’s north shore. The shades of blue are like a hue slider, ranging from turquoise in the shallow bay to the west, then deepening to indigo into the expanse of the open sea. The large pool is a focal point of the property, and perfect for entertaining and cooling off in the summer. For those cool evenings, slide into the hot tub and watch the sun melt into the sea. I’m an ocean girl, so I love to sit by the lagoon or on the cliff’s edge and scout for sea life.
The snorkelling off the property is some of the most spectacular shore snorkelling on the island. Here, parrotfish grow to prehistoric sizes, squid the size of your forearm hunt for fry, and turtles cruise by, loving to munch on the seagrass in the bay. Swimming out to the nearby uninhabited island is always an adventure.
The grounds look like a maritime museum, kitted out with whale vertebrae and antique diving helmets. The owner’s penchant for cannons may appear whimsical, but it’s an ode to the property’s history.
The History of Sandymount
The foundation of the main house dates back to Bermuda’s beginnings, around 1620. Strategically nestled on the backside of the hill, protected from northern storm winds, it started as a one-room cottage built by a privateer, or a government sponsored pirate. Bermuda was a global center for privateers and Bailey’s Bay was home to most of the infamous and feared privateers of the day. With its natural harbour protected by Bay Island and the cliffs of Sandymount, it was the perfect home for privateers. They roamed the seas as far as the Indian Ocean in their fast Bermuda sloops and would return directly to Bailey’s Bay with their bounty.
From early on, Sandymount was fortified to protect the Bay from marauding enemies following the privateers home or pillaging their houses when they were at sea. It has never been recognized as a fort by the Government, as it was a private fort. This was a deliberate move as it was also there to warn the privateers of any tax collector who may attempt to pay them a visit. With its unequaled view along the entire north shore of Bermuda, an approaching vessel could be seen miles before it could get to the bay.
The house was expanded upon in the 1700s, by first adding what is now the entry foyer and living room. And then what is now the library and the kitchen, along with a further bedroom to the west. Here you can see exposed cedar beams in the ceilings that are a hallmark of old Bermuda houses.
During the War of 1812, the plot to capture Washington and burn down the White House was plotted at Sandymount and the nearby property of Mt. Wyndam. What is now the master suite was a kitchen used to feed the soldiers of the British navy who were stationed here. In the waters in front of Sandymount, the Royal Navy assembled before sailing to battle America.
Vacation Villa and Event Venue
Sandymount is now a luxury vacation villa that never fails to leave guests wishing they could stay longer. It’s perfect for families, multiple couples, bachelor/bachelorette parties, milestone events, and weddings*. Perfect for entertaining, one of the reasons the house was opened as a vacation rental was to have as many people as possible enjoy this special property.
One of the best perks of the job is that I get to use it as a shooting location for my Instagram photos!