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“An Incredible Place!”
Review of Reef House Resort

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Reef House Resort
Ranked #29 of 43 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 27, 2013

Wow, where to even begin. Two of my friends and I just got back from a 10 day scuba diving vacation at the Reef House and we LOVED it!!! I will say right off the bat, If you're looking for a fancy place that has pools, swim up bars, restaurants, endless sand beaches, and shopping, this is not the resort for you. But, if you are a true traveller who likes to experience the authentic and rustic...and scuba diving, this is definitely the place for you!!!

Reef House Resort is located on a little key off the south eastern part of the main island of Roatan. You can only get to it by boat and the key can be walked in about 5 minutes...that's how small it is: perfection :D! Because of the location, far away from the busy West End of Roatan, this resort is very low key and laid-back. It is meant for scuba diving and relaxation. I took three scuba courses while there and basically had an instructor all to myself and the resort went out of their way to accommodate anything I needed. I felt very comfortable learning there and the diving was great. Even right off the pier there is great diving to be had...I saw a big moray eel on my first open water dive!! The rest of the dive sites are near by and don't require a really long boat ride. With the trade winds, it can be a rocky, wavy, yet fun ride. The dive master and boat captain are amazing, helpful men who have great senses of humour...I'm sure you will love them like we did!! If you are a nice, tough, strong, and HAPPY person, you will have the time of your life with David and Choco ;)!

Now, we are sort of country girls from the Canadian prairies, so we loved that Reef House was off the beaten path and we had the privilege of getting to know the managers, dive master, boat captain, neighbours, and fellow guests very well. Many of them became good friends over the course of our stay. It's a place where you are free to be yourself. If we felt like it, we could eat in our wet suits with our long, wild "disco" hair a flowin' ;). Oh, and the food is amazing and you get huge portions! Three big meals a day plus snacks after the afternoon dive and generally on the boat as well.

Reef House is a unique little place with a life of its own including local mini lizards, fruit bats, a sweet dog named Coco, Azul the black cat, and Pauli the talking parrot. They added fun and character to an already interesting place :).

The two Davids running the place are awesome men who are very accommodating, down to earth guys who run a great little resort. They, along with everyone working there, are friendly and helpful. Be generous, these are amazing people! You honestly leave this place and the people you've met feeling like one big family. I will truly miss Reef House and those I got to know there: I hope to return one day :D! Thanks again for everything, David², you two rock!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank CaraCF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 27, 2013

Two of my girlfriends and I spent ten days diving, sunning, eating, making friends, laughing and having the time of our lives at the Reef House. We loved every moment of our stay here!! Thank you so very much to the two David's who are running the resort, Davitt (dive master), Choco (captain) and the rest of the staff for making us feel so very welcome and safe. Reef House is located on a little key off of Roatan, about a seven minute boat ride. The resort is totally off of the beaten track. You'll appreciate how hard the local people work to keep most of their homes painted, fresh and clean looking on such hard to come by supplies and money to purchase such things.

The shore diving right from the resort pier is fabulous! Davitt and Choco took us to the most excellent spots, all within a 10-20 minute boat ride. How awesome to not have lengthy boat rides to overcrowded sites. We were literally the only divers out there on the east end of the island. I could hardly believe our good fortune. We saw free swimming green morays, groupers, angelfish, tangs, highhats, spotted drums, trumpet fish, turtles, lionfish, Atlantic spadefish, ocean triggerfish, porcupine fish, balloon fish, soapfish, lobsters, octopus, shrimp, LOTS of seahorses, peacock flounder (seen while snorkeling in the turtle pool), spotted morays, southern rays, pelagic tunicates, frogfish, lizardfish, toadfish, pipefish, scorpionfish, etc, etc, etc, ETC!!!! Yes, in my defense I am a bit of a nut in searching for all kinds of fish and critters. If you haven't taken any fish identification courses yet, do it and start logging your sightings. You will be amazed at how many interesting things you'll see on this end of Roatan. We also went to the west end of the island to do the Cara a Cara shark dive and absolutely loved it. That dive is another must-do adventure!!

Good, large, home cooked meals. Resident kitty cat - Azul and parrot - Polly, and the neighbor's dog - Coco are the best; they totally satisfied my need for giving cuddles, loving pets and scratches to lil buddies. As soon as the sun sets, cute little fruit bats come out to swoop, squeak and eat their dinners of fruit. While you relax in the hammock, you can see them hanging in the palm trees munching away. Many nights we could sleep with the windows open and the trade breezes blowing through our room. Wonderful...

For all you peoples out there who love to dive and relax, away from the crowds and stress and pressure of careers and lives that require us to keep up with appearances, go to the Reef House: you'll love it!! No pedicures required. If you are afraid of bats, a bug or two, sand in your suit, the fact that seaweed does actually grow in the sea, and sleeping with your windows open, then stay away. ;-) No, actually, you should go too and loosen up. As Davitt said, "When you're happy all you see is beauty and colour." This is truly a beautiful and colourful island, a treat for my eyes and my spirit. Don't forget to bring money for tipping the staff, as you will want to show your appreciation in a way that can actually have a small impact on their day to day lives.

By understanding what is the norm in Central America, compared to what you will find at the Reef House, you will be pleasantly surprised at how nice it is here. Yes in fact, much can be done with very little resources. If you're a 'real girl' like I am, one of those live-from-the-heart kind of people who love this planet and the people inhabiting it, well then all thumbs up for the Reef House.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Skm_10364
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

I recently had a third visit to the Reef House & am pleased to report that the new management has improved what was already a wonderful diving vacation. The food was good & wholesome before, now it's really good. One of the new managers is a chief & when he gets in the kitchen it's a treat. The dive master David continues to run the diving boat & he is knowledgable & enthusiastic as always. No large groups, plenty of freedom to explore the reefs without micromanagement .... and Oh the reefs! It's spectacular. I'd give it 5 stars but the rooms are fairly spartan, though always very clean. Also, the power goes out from time to time, but that's island wide problem. More disturbing is the litter from the near by town (there's no litter around the resort property). Yet overall it's an excellent value if you're wanting to dive beautiful reefs with a wonderful dive master & then come back to the clean rooms & enjoy very good food with accommodating / friendly staff.

Room Tip: Stay as close as you can to the dining area. The neighbor's dog barks sometimes on the west side...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank John P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Reef House is a bit different, and exactly what I was looking for. This was more like visiting friends than being a customer.
RHR is a good distance from the busy West End, so the only other dive boat we saw all week was far off on the horizon. Doing on average of 18 dives a week, every week, for 20+ years- it is not hyperbole to say there is no one that knows that reef better than the dive master, Davit. He amazed us with his ability to find the smallest, most hidden life. He and boat captain, Chocolato, were fun and we looked forward to seeing them each day. Our scuba rigs were hauled onto the boat for us and attached to a new tank before I could even get myself hauled onto the boat. My daughter led the entire group of divers in jumping off the boat's roof during surface intervals and every dive briefing brought laughter and fun.
The diving was so good that we only made one shore dive from the resort itself. The wall is literally a few fin kicks away. The small turtle cove was lacking turtles when we were there, but a variety of small life that got past the netting has moved in free from predation. I saw nothing as large as a lionfish in there, as other reviews have mentioned.
A massive invasion of jellies ruined the night dive. Not the resort's fault, but it was the low point of our trip. Everyone was stung and we couldn't get back to the boat fast enough. My only issue with the diving was the boat did nearly quit on us. It managed each day, but clearly wasn't far from stranding someone. But the boat itself was perfect for 10 divers.
RHR has a hunting lodge feel. You will eat the universally excellent food along side other divers staying there, and everyone gets to know one another. That made for a whole new experience versus the usual vacation. Evenings were spent playing cards with our new friends as well as the owners and staffer Peanut, over drinks. While that lack of amenities may put off people looking for a more pampered vacation, others will appreciate the dead quiet of sunset in the Caribbean and the sheer joy of just doing nothing at all after a day of diving.
RHR was simple, but in all the right ways. I left there feeling like I had just spent a week with family, both in the other divers we met as well as the owners and staff of the resort.
Roatan itself has some quirks like not flushing toilet paper, and showers that literally drain directly onto the ground beneath the building. Roatan is extremely poor and it shows, but the people there are among the friendliest I've met anywhere in the world. We look forward to going back to Roatan and Reef House.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Keith S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

There were 13 guests the week we stayed Oct 6-13th. On arrival our carry on with all our camera and regulators got shuttled to another resort. They were great at giving us equipment to use and following up until the suitcase was tracked down. They did the legwork and encouraged us to just enjoy diving. The weather was fabulous with flat seas all but one day. Rooms are very comfortable although our window A/C was a bit noisy. The new managment is in the process of several upgrades so I would expect improvements by our next visit. The big porch outside the rooms as well as a great deck offered spectacular sunrises to start the day. The atmosphere was very relaxed and coffee pot ready to plug in for the early risers. Food was plentiful and the family style table worked out as we got to know each other. Food swapping became an adventure and nothing went to waste....well, maybe to someones waist! The diving was absolutely phenomenol and Davit was one of the knowledgeable and friendliest divemasters we have run into for some time. Plenty of dive time and the reefs are in very good shape. The bar in on the honor system and you just mark your card with whatever beverages you use and self serve guarantees satisfaction. We would have enjoyed more interaction with the managers who did not share meals with us, but were certainly very nice to talk with. The resort was very accomodating about setting up tours and just adding to our tab at the end of the week so we had only one bill and didn't have to worry about money. If you are looking for a luxury 5 star don't bother. If you are looking for comfortable, friendly comraderie and excellent diving, then this is your place. My husband and I as well as other dive club members with us agree that we would definitely go back!

Room Tip: They all face the water on a big veranda porch and seemed to be equally as nice. There is a separate...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Diane P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

As it happened, travelling to Roatan for a dive vacation netted us so much more. Though it was considered the rainy season, we were there for the diving and not the sun. It ended up that the other expected guests' flights were cancelled so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Accommodations are simple yet comfortable. To help keep systems running you are requested to put 'all' sanitary paper in the garbage and not down the toilet. The dining facility is family style with plenty of variety and excellent flavours. Never left the table hungry. My wife being a 'picky' vegetarian, met with the cook, explained her preferences and was treated like her daughter (very well) at every meal. There is a nice little bar & patio area with an 'honor bar' system for beverages. Before arriving, my wife informed the owner of my preference of local quality rum. Even though I was the only one drinking, he had a 40oz bottle of Flor de Caña for me to enjoy. Nice! Tried several of the local beers too, but like sticking to the rum.
The dive boat and master were at our disposal. Every dive site was less than 15 minutes travel and always rewarded with spectacular sea life. You could dive from shore as much as you wanted, plus they have a turtle sanctuary at the shoreline with excellent snorkeling. We were so spent at from the boat diving, that we never felt the need to do a shore dive.

We took in a shark dive. A must do!!! No cage, just you and nature. It was the most peaceful feeling, entering the water and seeing 8 or more 8' Reef sharks swimming around. Once we were in location, they were swimming among us freely, then getting busy with the chum bucket. Fantastic experience.

A former Canadian and new friend lives at the north end, meeting up with us and providing a first hand tour of the island. Interesting to see the real estate and commercial development, the new and growing cruise ship port and the NW end beach development. Even started tempting me with great potential job offers. Traveled around to some of the other resort locations, lizard type zoo area, golf course development and lots of local scenery.

Of all our trips, all my sampling and tastings, I would have to say that the Flor de Caña is the nicest, smoothest BEST RUM I've tried. The 10 & 18 yr old are spectacular, and if you can find it the Centenario 21 won't disappoint. I tried some there, but have yet to crack the bottle I brought home.

If you are looking for a very quiet dive trip, with very rewarding dive experiences, simple but comfortable accommodations at a friendly island / country location - you can't go wrong. We will return one day for a repeat of the hospitality at The Reef House.

Azul is the on site black cat and there's a friendly (watch your fingers) parrot.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ynotdive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

People really need to read reviews before they go places. Also spending time reviewing a resorts website is truly helpful! This is my opinion of RHR and if I am going to take the time to write it it will be everything I can think of, so sorry for the length in advance.

This is a dive resort, repeat dive resort. It is on the east end of the island where some of the most stunning walls around Roatan are seen. The east end by far has hands down the best dive site in the world. I have been many places, but even those who have dove truly all over the world said this side of the island is not to be missed!

I will start with the diving. Daveet, is an amazing DM and has a keen eye to everything around him. Thanks to him we saw so may really cool things we would have missed for sure. Every dive we saw something new to us. Again, it was walls walls walls. And while that statement may make one think "boring", it is not in the least bit repetitive. We never dove the same site twice. With the exception of the night dive, which was even more amazing at night! The walls are seer drop offs with cascading over hangs and tons of fish and small creatures! So an abundant of scorpion fish and toad fish! Not at all the over stock of lion fish like you see on the west end. Saw a huge beautiful nurser shark under an over hang!

The reef system is in beautiful shape. No damaged corals from being over dove. And much more colorful than on the west end. Even the variety of corals differ from the west end. Healthy, stunning and so colorful! The dives are all about 70ft up to 20ft where you easily burn off your safety stop time while continuing to see so many things. I saw sea cucmbers and flounder while on the stops. Our dives were never shorter than 50 min dives with many running upwards of 60+ min. And on that note, I suck a lot of air and even found myself at 59min on most dives.

The DM Daveet and boat capt. Were helpful on and off the boat, they changed out our tanks before each dive and helped us on and off the boat. You rinse your own gear at the end of each day and they have storage cubby's for your fins and regs with drying hangers for your BC and wetsuits. They lock the entire room at the end of the day. So there is no lugging your gear each day from your room. In the morning they have everything set up for you for your first dive of the day. Btw, I like their goo stuff for your mask, it works great!

I loved our SI between dives! They would toodle around and sight see some of the area along shore so you could see more of the coastal island. On that note, the East end is beautiful! So quiet and serene. You dive some sites up by Port Royal and it is just the most amazing part of the island! We only saw another dive boat once the whole week!

The dive boats are great! Both are easy on and easy off. Both have covers and are very comfortable! You never felt like cattle. I personally preferred the smaller boat, it had a huge platform and when you came up, you inflate your bc and they haul it up on the boat for you. One fin kick and you are sitting comfortably on the huge platform where you can take off your fins easily. The other boat has a platform and also a large ladder.

The resort is easy going, The check in process was nothing more than, here's your room make yourself comfortable, our place is yours. Some reviewer mentioned that the staff disappeared during the day. This place is like staying with friends. The staff works hard for you, but after they are done they spend time with their families til they come back. If you ever needed anything, it was available. We needed more tp, the storage closet was open for anything you need. Need more towels? Go grab some. Davey and Dave are in and out during the day. There was nothing we needed during the time some one was away. We were busy relaxing and having a few drinks at the end of the day. Making your drinks was easy and personally I really liked the set up. Most resorts charge an astronomical amount for their drinks, just to have them watered down. Their drink prices were reasonable and it was fun making new concoctions! It is like your own personal wet bar! Each meal had pitchers of juice or ice tea for everyone.

The meals were great! Large portions (if you are not real hungry make sure to let them know and they will make the portion more to your appetite. I hate wasting food! They make popcorn and homemade cookies every day and if you want a quick P&J to tie you over you could help yourself. We stopped at a grocery store after leaving the airport to pick up snacks and such, not a bad idea if you get the munchies often. We ended up giving all of what we bought to a young girl and her father after we left. We never needed it.

The grounds are well kept, there are hammocks and a bean bag toss game in the main area. There is a lounge area with books and books about reef life! Everyone just did their own thing and hung out when not diving. We had a great bunch of divers and learned about new places to visit and dive. Nice people! At dinner, you all eat at a large table together, I liked that, I am a social person and love hearing everyone's stories! If you prefer to eat alone, the table is big enough to just scooch down and be alone. Or I am sure you could eat in the lounge are to. Point is, is that you are not forced together or made to do anything you don't want to.

There are cozy lounge chairs up on the deck or down along the "pond area" if you want to be alone. The rooms are really nice! They have a choice of different rooms to pick from. 2 are really big with 2 queen size beds, Some are great for single travelers or couples. We had the last room out over the "pond" facing the ocean! I miss it terribly right now! It has a queen size bed only so it was perfect for my husband and I. We had a little deck for ourselves and just fell asleep with the sound of the ocean all night! Yes, you do put all your TP in a garbage can next to your toilet. It is removed everyday. They are in a less developed area than the busy west end, but that is what makes this place so much more appealing. Each room has A/C but we never used it once while we stayed. The other rooms may need it more since we had the breezes from the ocean to cool us.

The pond area is a wonderful place to snorkel and take a dip. But wear booties, it is not a pool, it has living creatures and I personally would treat it like the ocean itself, touch nothing destroy nothing. The highlight each night with everyone was shinning a flashlight in the pond after dinner! There are octopus and lobster and brittle stars all over. Along the dock past the fence we saw several scorpion fish and sea cucmbers! Almost every night we saw something different appear!

A father and daughter (age 11) did a snorkel trip off the dock and said it was amazing! The dock is only about 50-100ft away from the wall drop off. They said they saw so many colorful fish! I was way to exhausted after diving all day to do much more than have a perfectly made drink and soak in the view!

Now some details about the resort in general. It is on an island. It is in the middle of a quaint fishing community with extremely friendly people! Dave is more than happy to take you any place you would like, some couples took the ride to walk around Oak Ridge a bit. They said it was wonderful. Small village, with local people selling trinkets to make money.
We did the shark dive last week, they dropped us off and picked us up. We did the submarine trip and they made sure we got picked up and brought back even though it was a late hour by the time we got done.

There is no internet, I did not need it, but others might. Davey had his own personal computer there for anyone who needed the internet. I checked e-mails once and awhile and talked to my son 2 times just to say hi. They have an internet "stick" that they were more than happy to let you use. We lost power off and on during the week. I think someone said they do this now and again, mostly at night, when they are working on it or sometimes just to conserve. They have battery lanterns in each room for those times. It was never out very long, and since we brought candles we never missed it when it was out. I suggest you bring candles, it helped.

I miss everyone we have met, everyone was just so great and fun to hang with. I would repeat RHR anytime I can. RHR is not going to have live bands every night, they don';t have swim up pool bars and they don't have tacky "for the tourist" fake hula dancers. What they do offer, is great dive sites, cozy beds, great meals and a wonderful view. We couldn't have asked for more.

A few things you need to do if you go. 1st one up plugs in the coffee pot! It is ready to go just plug it in. Turn on the hot water pot for those who like tea. Let azul (the cat) in so she can eat, lol. The staff does this all, but it was an on going joke since we all woke up early everyday and wanted coffee!

mi casa es su casa was the feeling at RHR!

Room Tip: we really loved the last room over the pond area. bigger room with cross breezes and a wonderful vi...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Skimmer2065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Reef House Resort

Address: Oak Ridge Cay, Roatan IB3100, Honduras
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#17 Top resorts Hotel in Roatan
Price Range: $137 - $139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
REEF HOUSE IS A SMALL, FAMILY OWNED RESORT, ORIGINALLY STARTED IN THE 60'S AS A FISHING LODGE. We are a small operation & can cater to all sorts of individuals & small groups. We almost always have at least a room or two to spare, so email us & let us know what interests you or any question on your mind. We'll get back to you and are happy to be flexible & make your experience here your "Best Vacation Yet!" Terri H. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef House Hotel Roatan
Reef Hotel Roatan
Reef Resort Roatan
Reef House Resort Roatan, Honduras - Bay Islands

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