I am sure that there are a lot of other people out there like us that really make decisions based on trip advisor reviews, so we hope that you find this one useful in picking your next vacation spot. We normally write our reviews on the plane home, so we have time to get in depth :).
Bermuda is a great place - nice beaches, a VERY friendly island (similar or better than Aruba we thought), and awesome views of secluded cove beaches (just east of Horseshoe Beach). We loved it. Sooo close to the East Coast too - upset we did not come here sooner!
We are not very picky people, but definitely like good service, great food, and like to have a good time where we are going to get a good overall “value” for the money we spend – even if we splurge. We dine out at nice restaurants at home, know good food, service, etc. This resort met our expectations overall, more so for the service than the food though (but the food is good - 4* we would say).
In general, The Reefs is a GREAT place to stay. The service is just awesome. It really is - staff goes out of their way to help you. We saw reviews saying the opposite, not sure if those people stayed at The Reefs! Art, if you read this from the resort - thanks for making dinners extra special for us! It is a very upscale place - half the men have jackets on at dinner for example (not a requirement to wear one). It is a slightly older demo as well - mostly late 30s+ it seemed (does not really matter too much to us), probably because it is an expensive hotel.
We have been to some nice places in the past few years (Sandals Regency St Lucia, 9.5/10 rating, honeymoon part 1), (Jade Mtn in St Lucia, 11/10 [yes “11”], honeymoon part 2), (Lady Hamilton Grand Palladium Jamaica, 7.5/10), (Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana, 9/10 rating), (Riu Palace Cancun, 6/10 rating), and most recently (Riu Aruba, 8/10 rating). We think that * THE REEFS * is up there with all of those at an 8.5/10. Ratings are just among these resorts we have recently stayed at - and in our opinion only.
: CHECK IN :
Very smooth. Normally if you get to a resort before 2pm your room will not be ready. It is normal with most resorts. But, we lucked out and ours was. Incredibly friendly staff.
: THE RESORT :
The resort is very nice. It is set up on a small hill overlooking a cove with reefs in the water - just like the pictures you see. There are two sides to this resort - the Hotel side and The Club side. You cannot (really – we walked right in to check it out) use the pool at the Club side if you are staying on the Hotel side (which we think the Reefs should consider changing in the future - if you are reading!). It was not a big deal at all though. Both pools are small, but this is not a pool resort really - the beach is the place to be for sure. Very clean resort, well maintained. Very friendly maintenance staff too. We normally like Adult Only resorts, but did not find the kids an issue at all here, about 30-40% of the people here had kids with them and they are very well behaved. The beach is very nice. There is drink service on the beach. Views are awesome. So nice & relaxing.
: REEFS vs POMPANO :
Most likely many of you are probably thinking like we were - Reefs or Pompano? We went to see the Pompano for dinner one night. It is very cool how it is carved out of the cliff - kind of like the Amalfi Coast. Lots of climbing stairs, but everyone needs a little exercise on vacation. :) The food was very good, the views very nice, and the beach is nice too - smaller than The Reefs, but they have this huge sandbar that you can walk out like a 1/4 mile at low tide. Pretty neat. They offer free fishing equipment to guests, nice perk - there are tons of fish in the water that we saw. The prices seemed MUCH lower than The Reefs (like almost half price) for the higher end rooms in the brochure we got there - but the rooms do seem to have an “older” feel compared to The Reefs, so that may be a reason why for big price difference - not sure. But, you would probably save $$$ in lower room rates to spend on drinks & lunch at Pompano. With the better food, we would consider staying here next time for a change of scenery, but definitely would consider The Reefs again as well which is a bit more of a “splurge” place than The Pompano it seemed. It is much more picturesque at The Reefs and the snorkeling looked like it was much better than Pompano. The guests seemed a bit more “affluent” at The Reefs with the Pompano having what it seemed to be more younger people. We are 31 and 36, we felt comfortable at both places, but maybe it would be a bit more “fun” at The Pompano (they seemed to even have a small dance club/bar the night we were there). You have the ability of walking to Horseshoe Bay & the coves from The Reefs which is a good plus. So beautiful there. There is another resort in the dine-around group which is The Cambridge. Looked even more high end than the Reefs, food was superb (5* quality), older décor more like the Pompano though with a very large, nicely kept spread out area for the rooms.
: PRICES :
So, Bermuda is expensive. It just is. It is not just The Reefs - if you go off the resort or other resorts, the other restaurants are the same price. But, it is still pretty pricy. We will say that we expected a bit better for the price - just a little at The Reefs. We had a Point suite (Room 340 - seriously, WOW - it was the last room on the Point with awe-inspiring views) and it was nice being so secluded, but 75-100% markup vs the other rooms is a bit much. VERY nice updated room though - see our pics. TIP: Eat a late big breakfast, skip pricy lunch, eat a snack on the beach, and go to the Afternoon Tea at 4pm to eat something before dinner. Will save you $60/day for lunch (1 app, 2 sandwiches, no dessert, no drinks). Also remember that there is a 10% service fee per room night and a 9.5% tax (normal for resorts here) - rates are really 20% higher than the # on their site.
: THE FOOD :
The number one thing we find an issue with most resorts is the food and service. The Reefs did a good job on food - not the gourmet 5 star we would expect for the price. We felt the food could have been better and rate it about 4*. The MAP plan is great. Skip Coconuts for dinner, it’s just ok. Royston’s is good (worth going for sure), Ocean Echo is the best. If you stay 5 nights, do Ocean Echo twice, Royston’s once and then do the dine-around 1 night each at Pompano and Cambridge. Food is better there - similar to Ocean Echo or better. Tamarisk at the Cambridge was outstanding - 5 * food for sure - we would dine there every night if we could - even with the $15 each way cab ride!! Again, if The Reef’s is listening, consider upgrading the food to the next level similar to Tamarisk. It would make it a better value overall for the cost of stay and The Reefs would be untouchable in Bermuda. The pork sandwich and the Fish Chowder are outstanding here at the Reefs for lunch.
: THE SERVICE :
The service is awesome. Very attentive. No issues with our room at all. Needed wine glasses, they were here in 10 minutes. Very nice.
: FREE WIFI EVERYWHERE :
One of the best touches we have ever seen at a resort. Free wifi - everywhere. The beach, all restaurants, rooms, etc etc. Very nice to be able to play or read on iPad on beach - or dare we say, check a little email! ;)
: THE DRINKS :
Much like the food, they are pricy. Go to the liquor store up the street the day you get there. See “TIPS” below - will save you hundreds of dollars if you are a drinker. $6-7 beers, $12 drinks.
: TIPPING :
Not “required” at all - it’s all included. We definitely wanted to tip them since they went above and beyond to do a good job all the time. Very appreciative, never felt like it was a requirement.
: ROOM SERVICE :
$10 extra for breakfast in your room - totally worth it. Did not do anything else beyond that.
: THE ROOMS :
We can see how some people said in their reviews we read not to stay next to the pool. The best place to be is down in the area closest to the Point Suites. It is more secluded and private with a view of the sunrise. Our room was amazing. Like seriously. Room # 340. We lucked out. We really did. 180 degree view of water and the horizon and the sunrise. Request this room if you are staying in Point Suites!!!! Some rooms were not updated, did not see them though, heard from people we met. They did not seem upset by them though. The Club side seemed very nice too – all new, nice outside area. Di dnot go to see a room though, but it seemed they were brand new. Cool place to go with 1-2 other couples.
: ENTERTAINMENT :
Nice bands and piano players at night in bar. Thought it was a bummer nothing on Mon - Wed nights, but you can just go to Pompano or The Fairmount those nights - or stay in for some “fun” time ;)
: THE BEACH :
So nice, beautiful. Nothing more to say!!!
: SNORKELING :
Surprisingly good. Lots of Jacks, Parrot Fish, grouper, etc. Saw a barracuda too - very cool. The rock formations around The Reefs makes for better snorkeling than Pompano it seemed. Huge parrot fish - some up to 2 feet long!
: THE NAVY YARD :
We thought it was a waste of time. If it a rainy day, there are some shops there and Glass Blowing, but thought it was most there for the cruise ships. If you missed it, you would not be upset. Heard the Caves and the Glass-Bottom boat tour were good - ask when you check in about these, they will book and do anything you ask them to do for you there.
: FISHING :
Did not get the chance to go since all filled up, but if you want to, we suggest booking in advance. If you want an easier Reef Fishing day inshore, call Baxter’s Reef Fishing - Google it to find the #. Or, if you are looking to go for Tuna/Wahoo Joe Kelly (Messaround Game Fishing is his boat I think) seemed pretty good when we talked to him.
: OTHER TIPS ABOUT THE RESORT :
* Go to the liquor store the day you get there to buy some beer & wine. 1/3 the price of the resort and you can keep it in your fridge until you need it. Bring to beach and buy a big bottle of Pellegrino on the beach in a big Ice Bucket. You can put the other stuff in there too (bottle of wine or a couple beers).
* People with really bad reviews about this resort should be ignored. Sometimes you get a bad room or something happens to force people to write something bad here, but overall it is a great resort.
: NOTES TO RESORT IF YOU ARE READING :
1) Think about increasing the quality of food at Coconuts, at least for dinner - lunch was good. If the food was all similar to Ocean Echo, this resort would be hard to beat.
2) No entertainment on Mon-Wed nights kind of stinks. The piano guy was awesome.
3) Consider including taxi fare in the prices for the higher end rooms to make it make more sense compared to the other rooms.
: OVERALL VALUE :
Overall, this is a great resort. We would probably try the Pompano if we went back to Bermuda just to mix it up a bit, but do not let that deter you from staying here. You will love it :).
We hope that you find this review useful and hope that others do the same kind of reviews for their stays - it helps us all to have better vacations when we know the honest details and tips for the places we want to go! We will definitely continue to do this for our future stays - and will continue to use trip advisor for our future trip decisions.
Dennis & Alison
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Widely recognized as the best hotel in Bermuda, this award-winning and intimate hotel offers spectacular ocean views from every room. Perched along limestone cliffs overlooking its own private beach you'll enjoy legendary Bermudian hospitality and gourmet dining at three different restaurants. The Reefs is one place where you will feel perfectly at ease. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Cheap Tickets, Cancelon, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, getaroom.com, Priceline, Jetsetter, HotelQuickly, TripOnline SA and Evoline ltd so you can book your The Reefs reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Reefs Hotel Southampton
- Reefs Hotel Southampton
- Reefs Resort Southampton
- The Reefs Bermuda/Southampton Parish
- Reefs Bermuda