There are several perfume shops in Hamilton, but I think it was at Trimingham's on Front street that I found what I was looking for: L'air du Temps. The last time I purchased this perfume was in Paris when my husband and I were first married. The prices did seem to be better here in Bermuda compared to the states.
Trimingham's also had clothing, crystal (beautiful!) and china throughout its three floors.
UPDATE: Seabiscuit at VT tells me this shop has closed...too bad!! March,2006
What to buy: Perfumes and gold jewelry are good buys in Bermuda!
What to pay: Prices for gold jewelry 30-40% less ; perfume 30%
No visit to St. George's would be complete without a visit to "The Perfumery"! Located in the quaint and oh-so charming Stewart Hall, the Perfumery has been creating and hand-bottling its own fragrances since 1928 under the brand Lili Bermuda.
The beautiful Stewart Hall is an attraction in itself as it is a 300-year old Bermuda National Trust mansion, with its gleaming white-washed exterior walls, warm wood floors and beautiful wood-beamed ceiling in the central room. To the left and right of the entrance of Stewart Hall are rooms devoted to lovely displays of all the many fragrances and products of Lili Bermuda. I would encourage all shoppers to take the time to take a guided tour of Stewart Hall and the property where interesting facts about the history and process of perfume making can be had for free.
One portion of the tour enters the rear, central room which is somewhat of a mini-museum and a video can also be viewed before proceeding through the small but lovely gardens to another small building where ingredients are mixed to make the perfumes; they are also bottled here in the small building according to the owner. It was interesting to learn that most of the exotic oils, ingredients, etc., actually come from other countries rather than from Bermuda itself. Perhaps Bermuda, being only a small island, cannot be expected to produce the quantity of flowers needed to fulfill the needs of the perfumery. The tour ends with the owner herself explaining and handing scented paper samples of each and every womens' perfume created there. It was quite an aromatic experience for those who love perfume. Some fragrances are very unique and have unique names as well -- I admit that many of my strongest memories are connected to smells and wishing to be reminded of Bermuda, I purchased a bottle of "South Water," one the many fragrances bottled here ($58 for approx. 4 oz bottle is probably comparable to other famous perfumes). However, it is worth the cost, and the perfume would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a special person if you are so inclined, and a sampler of perfumes can be had for as little as $30. Men are not left out!! There are about 7 cologne fragrances for men as well.
The day we visited, a filming crew was there -- whether for a commercial, the company's own website, or whatever, the crew was very serious about the work but actually quite enamored of themselves as well. In any case, the photo of the perfumery's owner you see here was captured as she posed for the filming crew!
Winter Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm | Summer Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm | Closed on Public Holidays. Tours Free to the Public.
What to buy: Why the perfume of course. I liked most ALL of the Lili Bermuda fragrances and it was difficult to choose just one, although I did settle on "South Water." Perhaps I should have chosen the sampler which was less expensive but contained several small bottles of fragrances which would have satisfied any mood! Perfumed lotions and others related products are also on offer.
What to pay: $30 and above.
I had priced rings in several shops, but I found a beautiful tanzanite ring mounted between two diamonds for $327.00 at Crisson's. It was the best price I had seen and I had read that jewelry was %30-40% less here in Bermuda than elsewhere. I LOVE MY RING and recommend shopping for jewelry at this shop.
A great way to keep the memory of Bermuda fresh and real is to see it in a painting. The Carole Holding Studio had beautiful scenes of Bermuda that capture the essence of the island. As we considered which size or island scene to select, we realized this was going to be a special purchase.
After much thought, we bought a small watercolor that is now hanging on a wall in our family room. I pass it every day and think of our visit there often. This was a wonderful way to remember our journey to Bermuda!
What to buy: Artwork depicting scenes of Bermuda
What to pay: The price of a small watercolor was $39.50
The Bermuda Craft Market and the Bermuda Art Center are excellent places to peruse and perhaps purchase local crafts. Some are more along typical tourist items...rum cakes, wonderful English jellies, sherry pepper sauces and such. But, ypu always have to pick up a few of those things, right?
And, there are some higher end items of interest as well. Specifically, I enjoyed the section of historic nautical maps. There were several framed maps and charts that were well over a hundred years old. Sure, they're a bit pricey, but for me, THIS is a great tourist buy.
There's also an area in the art center dedicated to the handmade Bermuda Cedar furniture of well-known local artist Chelsey Trott. Mr. Trott's handicrafts are gorgeous, but I have to admit that they were just beyond what I was looking to spend. $1000 for a table lamp isn't going to pass the "OK with the wife test". ;)
What to buy: My daughter enjoyed the jeweler on duty, as he gave her a great demo. He had all sorts of clever items for $20-$300 or so in price. Sara bought a pair of earrings.
The maps were definitely cool. Most of the historic maps are in the $200-$500 price range.
On the less-expensive tourist end of things, tasty jars of English lemon curd (GREAT on cheese scones in the morning) were about $8. Sherry pepper sauces were about $7-8 or so. There were quite a few native batik dresses and swim cover items, most were in the $40-$50 price range.
And on the truly low end, there are t-shirts, dolls, candles and other locally-made offerings.
What to pay: See above. Depends on what you want. If you need to get some tourist stuff for friends, you can do so for $10-15 each. And if you want to furnish your drawing room with Chelsey Trott original cedar furniture, you could probably spend about $30,000. :)
My favorite place to buy souvenirs of all types was at the "Dockyard Pharmacy." It is located in a quaint old building facing the actual dockyard, yet it is very modern inside. Being that it is an actual pharmacy, it sells much of what you might expect to find in a drugstore in the US so if you've forgotten to bring along things for personal needs such as prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, personal items, health and beauty aids, then you can probably find them here. For the news junkie, you can also find local and international newspapers and magazines. Did I mention Cuban cigars? Candy, packaged snacks, peanuts, etc., are fairly reasonably priced.
This visit I noticed they have a take-out counter serving coffee, breakfast items, sandwiches, snacks, cold beverages, etc. Not sure why I didn't notice it last time through, but it is very convenient to pick up your morning coffee here or a cold beverage in the heat of the day.
However, my reason for liking the Dockyard Pharmacy so much had to do with the great variety of different souvenirs which I found nowhere else. My particular favorites were 1950's - 1960's era style travel posters which I loved, and the same images of which were also on postcards, luggage tags, and other related items. Because we didn't have to fly home after the cruise and worry about them being damaged, I purchased 2 great travel posters measuring approximately 22 x 14" which features iconic scenes of Bermuda. Though not exactly inexpensive if you include the cost of later framing them, I consider them more than just a souvenir as they are items which become part of your office or home decor -- they'd be great if you're lucky enough to have a vacation home, an office or a room devoted to travel (wishful thinking at its best).
Other souvenir items at the Pharmacy formed an electic mix ranging from artwork to seashells, seashell boxes, candy, flags, pins, toys, clothing, magnets, postcards, beach towels, hats, cutting boards and virtually anything that would evoke memories of Bermuda or the beach.
Hours of Operation:
Monday — Sunday
8am — 6pm
What to buy: Because I love travel posters, and particularly 1950's to 1960's vintage or vintage-style travel posters, the 2 which I bought here were my absolute favorite "souvenirs." I particularly like the type of artwork of that time. These items were in the US $20 range, but smaller sizes could be purchased for US $10 to $12 or so. There were 4 to 5 travel poster scenes available and the choice for me was difficult since I liked nearly all of them!! In the end the posters I picked were scenes which could not be mistaken for anywhere but Bermuda. (There are also postcards and magnets of the same artwork/scene.
What to pay: Expect to spend at least $5 and up. Both Bermuda and US dollars accepted on par value!
I don't know, maybe it's my "second career" working for ForeWord Magazine. (www.forewordmagazine.com if you'd like to know more) But, when I travel, I'm especially apt to notice local independent bookstores.
If you have a need for reading material while in downtown Hamilton, make a turn onto Queen Street and look to your left. The Bermuda Book Store has a nice little collection of bestsellers, along with titles geared to Bermuda and its history.
The folks here are friendly and helpful, and although the Bermuda Book Store isn't a very BIG bookstore, it had something in common with almost every other bookstore in the world during our July visit... they were out of the new HARRY POTTER title.
What to buy: Hmmmm, I'd try books.
What to pay: Bargains starting at only a few dollars, up through stylish and stunning art/photographic "coffee table" books for closer to $100.
Although we were docked at King's Wharf for the better part of 3 days during our stay in Bermuda, it wasn't until the last day when we felt compelled to do a little last minute shopping and visited the "Clocktower Mall". Part of the area known as the "Royal Naval Dockyard" area in the west end of Bermuda, the Clocktower Mall occupies one of the most handsome buildings on the island.
Within walking distance of both wharfs and from other buildings in the "dockyard," the Clocktower Mall has over 24 nice stores in which to shop as well as to enjoy a meal or snack. My favorite shop happened to be a woman's boutique, and the "Grand Bazaar," a store which carried lovely things from Turkey. It was hard to resist, but I did for the most part (there are additional shops to explore in the Dockyard.) At one discount clothing store (Davison's ??), I purchased a cute t-shirt on clearance for only $6. Other finds were small souvenirs for friends who collect certain items such as magnets and postcards.
Clocktower Mall History ~ Even if you're not a shopper, you can admire the architecture and history of the Clocktower Mall Building, notable of course, because of its prominent, symmetrical 100-foot towers with lighted clocks. Built in the 19th-century to function as administration offices for the British Royal Navy, the building has been beautifully restored and has found a new use. The walls are said to be 3 ft. thick! "Incidentally, don’t be confused by the Clocktower’s “one-handed clock”. While the South Tower is indeed a regular clock, the North Tower is a tide clock that was set each day to mark high tide – vital information for sailors based in Dockyard who needed to avoid the treacherous local reefs to ferry supplies and munitions to ships in the harbour."
There are a wide range of fine shops here at which you are sure to find something you like. Some of the shops you'll find are: A.S. Cooper & Sons, Ltd. which features fine fashions; Dockyard Linens and Gifts with many items for the kitchen; The Fair Trade Bermuda Shop, where “trade is aid,” for exotic, one-of-a-kind items from Bermuda and around the world, including arts and crafts, instruments, Asian eccentricities, clothes, and household furniture; "The Perfume Shop" which sells all famous name perfumes AND at duty-free prices; The Littlest Drawbridge Gift Shop selling "unique handmade gifts from Bermuda featuring the aromatic Bermuda cedar treasures, including boxes, pens, goblets, vases and bowls, as well as sachets, cedar essential oils and incense cones... authentic Bermuda bags with cedar handles, jewellery, Cuban cigars and Royal Naval Dockyard souvenirs"; "Crisson Jewelers" sells fabulous, fine jewelery. There are lots more stores of course but some of the ones mentioned may or may not be there when you visit due to current economic reasons.
The Clocktower Mall is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, during the summer season (April through November) and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter months.
What to buy: At the Clocktower Mall, if money was no object, the fine ladies clothing would have been my choice. However, artwork by Bermuda artists and crafts people were equally appealing. If you want to cool off on a hot day, try "Nannini 's Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Parlour." This little ice cream parlor offers 16 flavors of ice cream along with sundaes, milkshakes and maybe even a few gelato choices reflects a gone-by era. Also, the owner is very nice!
OK, one more shopping tip on books... this one is for the historic town of St. George on Bermuda's east end. This is literally a little "cellar" shop, located a few steps below the street level on Water Street in old St. George.
There are items of interest to tourists, including nautical and historical titles. And, the Book Cellar has a delightfully musty little collection of used and darn-near antique books as well. For the true bookworm in your group, it's worth a stop.
And, if it happens to be raining outside, as it was when we were there, it's more than "any port in a storm", so to speak. Please leave your umbrella by the door.
What to buy: Books, local items of interest. And you should especially look through the used collection for that undiscovered gem.
What to pay: From little more than a dollar to $50 or so. Most of what's for sale here is quite inexpensive.
Does anyone remember the old "Saturday Night Live" skit? The two old Scottish guys running a store and they always say "if it's not Scottish, it's CRAP". OK, just reliving my young adulthood.
There are several fine stores in both Hamilton and St. George that feature the finest in Scottish tartan clothing and haberdashery. You'll pay a pretty penny for such items, but you'll be getting the best woolen garments and cloth in the world.
What to buy: Coats, wraps, winter wear (!!!), slippers, socks, etc.
What to pay: It won't be cheap. But, it'll be excellent quality.
The Irish Linen Shop in Hamilton has now been in business for well over 50 years, and they advertise that they have one of the most diversified collections of linen in the entire world. While I am FAR from a linen expert, it's easy to see that the collection of finery on Front Street is something very special. It reminded me of fancy shops I'd visited in Switzerland.
What to buy: The Irish Linen shop stocks one of the worlds most diversified linen collections, which includes 'Damask' from Ireland and Yves Delorme bed linens from Paris. And of course, they stock a varied selecdtion of "real Irish linens". They feature bed and table linens, accessories, and heirloom infant outfits and such. My parents would call this "an old ladies shop", and to some extent, it could be true. But, if you enjoy exploring the best in the world on anything, visiting the Irish Linen shop will add to your personal knowledge and repertoire.
What to pay: There is a wide variety of prices, and as you'd guess...this is quality stuff and is NOT cheap. From the ILS's website, here's a bit of pricing comment:
When asked the price of a tablecloth, the answer given is “From $50 to $3,650.00”!
The owners of the shop also enjoy completing special requests or challenges. This place IS all about quality and personal service.
And from a historical standpoint....MY mom bought a little linen "suit" for me at the Irish Linen Shop back in 1957, when we lived in Bermuda. I was one year old at the time.
I have a separate tip describing the artisan demonstrations at the Dockyards Glassworks. And as I mention in that tip, I'm always in awe of glassblowers. Such a graceful craft.... if it weren't a certainty that I'd end up with 3rd degree burns all over my body, I might give it a try myself.
The Dockyard Glassworks has a wonderful selection of "classy glass" for sale. Plates, pitchers, objects d'art, jewelry. They have it all. And, it's all so beautifully colorful.
If you visit the shop first before watching them working in the studio, you'll probably find the prices a bit high. However, once you get an additional feel for the intensive labor required to create these treasures, you'll be more willing to summon your American Express. :)
What to buy: They have all sorts of things, from heirloom quality objects d'art to simple glass jewelry.
At the low end of the scale, there are little glass frogs, fish, etc. priced from $10-$25 or so. You know the item style...filled with color sand, etc.
Or, looking more at plates, pitchers, glasses and such, you're talking more into the hundreds of dollars. It all depends on what you buy.
What to pay: $10 up to hundreds of dollars.
This a very convenient place for cruise ship passengers to shop, especially if they are docked at the Dockyard and have a short day before departure.
There are a variety of boutiques and stores in the cobblestoned mall. Everything from artwork to crystal, perfume to Cuban cigars, photography to funky clothing, gifts and souvenirs for all ages and tastes is sold here.
We ate lunch in the mall and then browsed in the shops before we took the ferry back to Hamilton. I remember there being a place where you could look up your family tree. However, I did most of my shopping at the Bermuda Craft Market and in the big stores in Hamilton.
What to buy: Some of the stores are:
An A.S. Cooper & Sons Ltd. branch store. Discover ladies’ fashions and accessories, gifts, souvenirs, as well as fragrances at duty-free prices. (234-4156)
The Fair Trade Bermuda Shop is the place to find exotic, one-of-a-kind items from Bermuda and around the world, including arts and crafts, instruments, Asian eccentricities, clothes, and household furniture. (232-7781)
Duchess Boutique, where you can find the latest women’s trends — clothing for all ages: shoes, accessories and handbags. In addition, you can find lingerie, a fine line of shimmering makeup and Crave by Duchess body oils and lotions, which are made locally. (234-3824)
The Perfume Shop offers exclusives including Chloé, Ed Hardy, Guerlain, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Versace, plus exquisite favourites from Burberry, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Givenchy, Lacoste, Van Cleef & Arpels, Yves Saint Laurent, plus many more to suit any taste, all at duty-free prices! (405-0006)
Sidekicks has authentic jerseys, bags, flags, scarves, balls, hats, banners and full soccer gear, from the popular teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Barcelona and more. It also carries Bermuda National Team jerseys, Bermuda T-shirts, Bermuda Hogges and Island Soccer League team jerseys. (232-7433)
Dockyard Linen & Gifts
Littlest Drawbridge, The
Ice Cream Parlour
now the best place to buy Bermuda shorts
What to buy: Bermuda shorts
I was told the place to go for Bermuda shorts was Triminghams but they are gone after 163 years in business. The Bank of Bermuda will acquire the building for redevelopment.
This is a sad day for Bermuda, the locals say Bermuda without Triminghams. Imagine that. But I was directed to get my Bermuda short at the English Sports Shop.
You see I had very specific instruction on my Bermuda shorts I was told he best quality Bermuda Shorts have a three inch hem and hand sewn, to hang correctly –and heaven know you would want to hang correctly. Shorts made by Daks of London in Hong Kong were recommended. Proper constructed Bermuda shorts are pleated have one pocket on each side and one on each side of the bottom. They are form-fitting, designed essentially for and can look very good on the slim or medium-built person. Much to my dismay however I was informed by the very nice sales person that Bermuda shorts with HUGE waists and bottoms – well it would be far far better to go with lightweight long trousers. So at the end of the day no Bermuda shorts
What to pay: $50
Occupying part of what was once the cooperage, this large stone building dates from 1831.
We went here right after we left the museum. All of the things were locally made and there are people who demonstrate what they do.
Candles, cedar work, ceramics, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, miniature furniture, quilts, wearable art, dolls, paintings, glass blown images and much more.
What to buy: I thought of buying a model of a bus for my grandsons, but thought it was too expensive. I got a nice Bermuda bag with iris on it for my mom, and some clothes for my grandchildren. In 2004, I got an iris pin and an iris cross stitch for my mom, and a hair ornament for my daughter.
Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; opening times may vary on Sundays and public holidays. There is no entrance fee.
The Frog and Onion is also in this building