When Mark Twain wanted to escape the winter chill in Connecticut, he boarded a steamship and headed for the balmy climes of Bermuda. “Life continues here the same as usual. There isn’t a flaw in it. Good times, good home, tranquil contentment all day and every day, without a break. I shouldn’t know how to go about bettering my situation,” he wrote in a letter in January 1910, during his last visit to the Caribbean island.

Twain made eight trips to the tropical paradise and could often be spotted at the elegant, harbor-side Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel, which opened on January 1, 1885, and was referred to as the “Pink Palace” after a visit by Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria. Today a life-size bronze statue commemorates Twain, who enjoyed smoking cigars on the hotel’s veranda and reciting poetry to fellow guests.

Three decades after Twain’s final Bermudian voyage, naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming slumbered at the Pink Palace after it became a British counterintelligence outpost during World War II. The scribe later set portions of the James Bond page-turner For Your Eyes Only on the island and is said to have taken inspiration for the predator-filled aquarium in the villainous Dr. No’s headquarters from the enormous fish tanks that once graced the Hamilton Princess’ bar. —Shannon McKenna Schmidt

[Photo ©Fairmont Hotels & Resorts]