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“Friendly and Rustic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Reef Beach Huts

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The Reef Beach Huts
Sandy Beach, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Friendly and Rustic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2011

We stayed at The Reef Huts for four days in June and really enjoyed our stay. The huts are basic, wood-framed accommodations made of local stock. Our room had a simple, clean bathroom with hot and cold water, sink and shower. The hot water is actually solar-heated and worked as well as conventional. As it was June, it was a bit hotter than usual and we had to put the fans on high to stay comfortable without A/C. There are mosquito nets to keep the bugs at bay, which worked fine for me, but my fiance didn't have as much luck with them as I did. Obviously the reef is oriented toward those who don't mind roughing it a bit, or prefer it that way. Take advantage of the can of Baygon provided to prepare your room before you go to sleep.

The key to the Reef is the lovely setting right on the beach as well as the wonderful team at the cafe. We arrived after dark our first night and couldn't see what the beach was like. We struggled a bit with the heat the first night, but when we woke up the next morning we were stunned by the beauty of the beach and sea: bright sunshine, crystal clear blue water, white sand beach, palm trees, kite surfers setting up their gear. We spent two and a half days just enjoying the weather and the beauty of the surroundings. Sea kayaks are also available to rent for the non-surfers. There are also a few bodegas on the beach to protect you from the hot sun.

The staff were charming, personable and attentive and we instantly felt at home with them. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, eggs to order, fresh hot bread, jam and butter. Simple but delicious, especially the wax apples, a local fruit that tastes a bit like star fruit. The menu is good value for both food and drinks and includes some favorite local dishes like Rotis and curries. Beers are 4-6 EC (1.50-2.50 US), Cocktails are 8-12 EC. I highly recommend their Sea Moss punch, made fresh from the yellow sea moss you'll see floating in the water. Add a shot of rum and it's even better. The cafe runs a tab so that you don't have to bother with credit cards or cash for the duration of the stay and we really liked the simplicity of this approach.

The Reef is also about a 10 minute drive from the second tallest lighthouse in the world standing at 730ft above sea level. The view from the lighthouse is simply breath taking with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. You can even see the Island of St. Vincent about 21 miles away on a clear day. The staff can arrange a tour by taxi for 20USD. If you are particularly interested in the lighthouse, not just the view 200m short of it, be firm with the driver about taking you all the way to the lighthouse.

Other reviews have mentioned the noise from the adjacent properties. We were there during the week, so it was relatively calm, but even though we went to bed early (8.30-10pm) we didn't notice any sound from the parties while in our room, and I tend to be sensitive to noise. The airport was also no problem (again, it's the low season) as there were only a few flights a day clustered around 2-3pm. 15 seconds of noise and that's it.

Overall, we highly recommend the Reef for anyone more inclined towards a rustic, personal stay in the Caribbean and we expect to be back in the future.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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18 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2011

Myself and my girlfriend stayed at the Reef Beach Huts for 9 nights at the end of April. It is worth pointing out that St Lucia had some HORRENDOUS weather that week which, if continuous in the Caribbean like it was with us bar 4 days, means there is quite literally nothing to do, especially down at the Reef.

However, having said that, there are some serious issues with the Reef that need to be addressed. Firstly , I understand that it's $60/night for a room and thus basic and trust me, I have stayed in simple huts on beaches in Central America & Africa for more like $15 a night which are FAR better.

On more than one occasion the power went down, the water stopped working, our toilet was blocked almost continuously even after requests to have it fixed, the water backed up in our shower from the drain outside (thus smelling), our room was cleaned only once and the rooms were insanely dark which means that when it rains (and boy did it rain), it is a very depressing place to be as you cant even read a book in your own room.

The main reason we went there was to learn to Kite. I'm at an intermediate level so didn’t need the basics, more the board work. However, by the time we arrived, the foreign instructors had left and the centre seemed like it was being run for the 3 local guys, who were supposed to be working there, rather than the paying guests / Kiters. In all 9 days I was there, I went out for 90mins. On more than one occasion, when the wind was good in the mornings, the local guys would go and ride for an hour, leaving the guests waiting........there is NOTHING more annoying. For the experienced Kiters, they had to pay for Kite storage, safety, launching and landing.....I don't think I saw the employees launching or landing a kite once.

Nevertheless, by far the most upsetting / annoying / oppressive factor of the stay is the fact that there is a local bar / dance hall next to the huts. For 3 of the 9 nights we were there, they had some of the loudest music I have ever heard. Don't get me wrong, I love Ibiza and loud music, but when your shack is shaking due to the base and you can't sleep through silicon ear plugs then this is totally unacceptable. I spoke to the owners about this and it seems to be a genuine problem they have with the owner of the bar renting it out for "birthday parties" but it came very, very close to ruining our entire holiday. We actually checked into a very nice hotel for our 2nd last night (this saved the holiday) and on coming back for our last night, were told at 8pm that a party would be happening.....no call / email earlier in the day to let us know so we could stay on in the other hotel. The last night at the Reef left a very sour taste in our mouths.

I don't want to be too negative and there are some positives. The beach is beautiful (in the sun), its lovely seeing the locals hanging out and swimming, some of the staff at the Reef (especially Shelly, Elisa & Vincent) are fantastic and the food / drink is cheap, albeit OK in taste.

In short, the weather is a massive factor. We checked into a nice hotel for one night and were left wondering why we didn't stay there for the whole holiday. I think it’s great to be staying in basic cheap rooms on the beach but you have to get the balance right. The rooms have to be clean, the toilets have to work and you HAVE to be able to sleep at night, otherwise it is just torture.....quite literally.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rootshair, Manager at The Reef Beach Huts, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
It's an unfortunate truth that when hundreds of guests pass through your facility every season, once in a blue moon, you "lose" one. Nice as this couple were, and hard as we tried - as we always do, and even harder when we realized things weren't going well - we just couldn't turn this one around, especially as we were not made aware of most grievances until an email received at 11pm on their last night.
The weather was truly awful that week, with huge thundering rain storms during what is normally the dry season. So the opportunity for kite surfing lessons was greatly reduced, and with other pre-booked guests also lined up for lessons, time on the water was necessarily short for everyone. The guys who work at the kite centre came in early some mornings, before working hours, to get some personal kiting in. Obviously, it's annoying for a guest chomping at the bit to have a go, to see that, and a little flexibility on our part with working hours might have saved the day. But by the time we were made aware of this, it was too late to fix. The same goes for the toilet not flushing properly. One of the staff checked this out during the week, used a plunger, and honestly believed it remedied. Management was only told late on their last night that it had never flushed properly. Subsequent removal of the toilet bowl by a plumber, after their departure, revealed that a glass make-up bottle had fallen into the loo so that it appeared to to flush OK when tested. It can happen.
As for the water and power situation: St Lucia sustained severe damage to its watersheds during hurricane Tomas, last October (our worst storm in 30 years). During heavy rains, the mains (pipe-born) water is shut down for several days to prevent mud from clogging up the water company's filters and pumps. We have back-up water tanks at The Reef so guests can shower and flush and the restaurant can function, but the system relies on an electrical pump (hot water continues to be fed through gravity). Disruptions in electrical service are pretty rare in St Lucia, but can occur for brief periods if lightning has struck a pole somewhere. I don't recall if this was the case during their stay, but it's possible power may have been down for brief periods. It can happen anywhere.
One point I would like to make, though. The loud music from neighbouring bars is a long-standing problem we battle with at The Reef. The local police are finally realizing the value of tourism development in the south, and at least ensure that noise pollution gets closed down at 2am, but there is no denying that from time to time, we are powerless in the face of the disregard of our neigbours (one of whom incidentally owns Juliette's Lodge hotel, 1 mile upwind...). We are never notified of such parties ahead of time, but always try to warn guests as soon as possible, help make arrangements for alternative accommodation if required, and do not charge for that night at The Reef. It is true that on the evening in question, this couple was told about it only at 8pm... because that was the time they returned to The Reef from a stay elsewhere on island (Ladera Resort as it turned out, where rooms cost between US$380 and US$680/night plus 18% - that's 7 to 13 times more expensive than The Reef: hard to compete with that!). When we received an email at 11pm complaining about the noise, we called and spoke with them, apologized, did what we could with the authorities, and arranged to meet the following morning to discuss matters further. So it happened. We refunded them for 3 nights, again apologized, and also immediately followed up with the centre staff concerning their criticisms there.
As I said, you win some and, unfortunately, once in a blue moon, you lose some. It was sort of a perfect storm of bad circumstances, and we all felt genuinely sorry that their holiday had been a disappointing one.
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Richmond, Virginia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2011

My dad and I stayed here for a week for the windsurfing and Kite surfing. The staff was wonderful, anywhere you stay that has someone who goes by the name "mama" you know you're in for a treat. The rooms are basic with the option of 1 bed or two singles attached to a bathroom with a shower and toilet. Lock boxes are located in every room for personal items. There is a ceiling fan in each room and no air conditioning. The weather was very comfortable when we were there and there really was no need for an a.c. anyhow.

The beach is beautiful with soft white sand and the water is Carribbean...no need to say more. Most of the tourist sites on the island are toward the north end so it's a very quiet beach with the exception of the occasional flight taking off from the airport and Sunday when all of the locals come to party on the beach. This was one of my favorite days because many of the locals will ride their horses up and down the beach and into the water...the local version of a pimped out Honda civic cruisin the strip with neon lights glowing underneath. We also sat on the beach and watched some guys playing a pick up game of cricket next to the water while the rest of the crew had music playing and a barbecue going about a half mile down from the Reef.

The Reef has an exceptional food and drink menu, very reasonably priced as many locals hang out here as well, with the option to sit under the shade of trees while you stare at the water and eat (oh yeah...and check your email via the wi-fi connection). Breakfast was included in the price of hotel and was enough to hold you until dinner. I couldn't tell you the number of people we met who made the Reef their last stop before going to the airport on their way out of town.

The winds are perfect for those looking to try some wind or kite surfing (mostly side shore winds with a protected bay so you won't end up in Brazil)...I suggest giving the kite a try, it takes a short time to learn the basics of the kite, you actually have a great time learning, and it's a much less physical activity than windsurfing. Anyhow, the staff is wonderful and there to help get equipment in and out of the water and can give you any training you need as well.

The owners of the Reef went out of their way to make our stay as nice as possible. With only four rooms they want to make sure their guests are happy. You can sit and talk and get to know them which makes your stay there that much more enjoyable. In my conversations with Jolien (one of the owners) I felt her deep love of the community and her sense of responsibility to the local community. This is a personal touch you don't get when you stay at mega resorts and something truly unique you don't find too often when traveling anywhere.

To sum up...you should make the Reef your hotel of choice if you can live without flat screen tv's and want a truly relaxing vacation. Great spot, I can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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UK
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2010

Reef Kite and Surf huts

I stayed here for two weeks. The huts are basic and cheap...exactly what I was expecting. The huts are behind a great cafe and the kite/windsurf centre.

I went for the kitesurfing and didn't find much wind (50% days)...but them's the breaks eh!! The instruction and equipment were excellent, people...food...piton beer and rum made up for the unlucky lack of wind! Would visit again :)

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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UK
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2008

Reef Kite and Surf huts

We stayed here for two weeks in late winter 2008. The huts are very cheap and basic (cold water showers only) but adequate. It's a lovely position right next to an amzing beach with all the kitesurfing and windsurfing you could want. It's also right next to the airport which is slightly alarming at first but not really a problem as there are only a few flights a day. Other than that, there's not a lot around, Vieux Fort isn't really geared up for tourists and there are few places other than the onsite cafe to eat. A hire car would be good though the buses are fine as long as you come home early (before dark is best) Must say though that the café at the Reef is excellent, especially the daquiris and fish! And having free wifi there is useful too.

I would recommend the huts at the reef to anyone who is not bothered about luxury - they were a lot better than camping! But there are a few things I wished I'd known:

The noise from beach parties at the weekends was awful. Earplugs made no difference and the parties went on until 3 or 4. Fair enough, people like to party, but I just wished I'd known so we could've gone somewhere else for those nights.

The mosquito nets were in a sad state, and we got quite well bitten for the first few nights. If you have your own I'd bring it along.

We went for the windsurfing and I didn't really find it ideal for me. I am definitely still at the early stages and the sea was not as flat as I had expected, making uphauling difficult and tiring. The winds are excellent tho, lovely strongish cross-shore. And the water temperature is just lovely. I was a bit intimidated by the shorebreak and the slightly dubious safety cover. Having said that my more skilled boyfriend thought it was just right and if you can waterstart, are not a wimp like me about sometimes wanting to be rescued, and are ok with a bit of a shorebreak it's great. I wouldn't recommend it for a total beginner or novice though.

Can't comment on the kitesurfing but they all looked like they were having a ball! The guys at the hire shop are more into kite surfing than windsurfing but the windsurf gear was in pretty good condition and there was enough choice and gear to go round. The staff member who specialised in windsurfing was also v sweet and helpful though we felt the others were only really interested in the kiters.

Well I think that's pretty fair. I didn't see any reviews of this place when I was looking for places to stay and windsurf, so I hope this is useful for someone. Enjoy St Lucia!

  • Stayed February 2008
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
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r00ts, manager at The Reef Beach Huts, responded to this review, November 13, 2008
Yep, that's pretty fair indeed! Just wanted to add that we do try to warn guests ahead of time if there is a beach party next door, and will help to arrange alternative accommodation if so desired (and in that case we do not charge for that night at The Reef). Although the law says no noise after 2AM, we can only control so much. As for the mosquito nets, we always have spare ones in stock! That's generally a good rule when you're unhappy about something: mention it! 9 out of 10 times, we will be able to fix it.
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Additional Information about The Reef Beach Huts

Address: Sandy Beach, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Vieux Fort Quarter > Vieux Fort
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Vieux Fort
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Looking for a place to stay? The Reef Beach Huts offers cheap & cheerful accommodation to kiters and non-kiters alike, in rooms located within a courtyard under the sea grape trees, on the roadside of the beach cafe. The rooms are secure, measure 4x4 meters, each room has its own shower and toilet and you can get two single beds or one double (140cm wide). There is no air-conditioning, but all rooms have electric fans. There is a kettle to make hot drinks but no fridge. There is free wireless internet which usually reaches into the rooms also. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef Beach Huts Hotel Vieux Fort
The Reef Beach Huts St. Lucia/Vieux Fort

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