My wife and I spent 10 days @RHR in early February 2014. Like anyone reading this review, our expectations were based on what we had read, both good and bad. We can gladly report that the goods significantly outweighed the bads, and to some degree, it's a matter of what you expect from your visit.
As others have commented, RHR is not a "resort," but would be better labeled a "lodge." And like others have also commented, in spite of confirming and reconfirming our arrival time, nobody was awaiting us. But a quick phone call found our ride a few minutes out, so a wait of 10-15 minutes was hardly something to complain about.
We were dropped off across the water from the key where RHR's situated, and a skiff ride across found us greeted by staff, who showed us to our rooms. Again, communication between the States and RHR seemed to be a little sketchy, as we had requested rm12 when we booked our stay, and had reconfirmed this at least 2 more times, but nobody on location had heard about this. No problema, other than a new coat of paint had been applied to the entire place the week beforehand and rm12 was still drying...we took another room for our first night, then moved the next morning after diving...again, nothing to complain about. After a quick orientation by David, we settled in as others arrived, for a final party of 7 divers for the week. The rooms were clean and serviced daily, even when we didn't need them to be cleaned. We never saw hot water in rm 12 because it's at the end of the system, but it was also never needed (if you want hot water, then ask for rms. 1 or 2 that have an on-demand water heater).
As has been noted, meals are served family-style. While I had seen others complain about the lack of adequate variety and volume of food for those of us who are vegans, again, no problema. I amused the kitchen staff by requesting beans and rice for all of my meals, which they were more than willing to provide, with portions often large enough for 1 1/2 meals. And David, who oversees RHR, was always willing to grab special requests when he went to town. This included beer and wine choices as well, which are paid for on an honor system and very reasonably priced. One suggestion here - ask for more comida locale, as the kitchen staff were more than willing to cook local, but seemed to believe Americans preferred American food. But nobody complained about lobster, rib-eye and other hearty meals.
Three dives per day with Choco and Davitt - they were outstanding, and as this was our first diving in quite a few years, more than helpful at getting us reacquainted with the deep - "No air, no life" was a recurring reminder to make sure our air was on before heading overboard. The dive boat was older and wasn't fast, but this hardly mattered as all of our dives were within 15-20 minutes of the dock. And it handled some rough waters easily. Choco was great in finding calm water between dives on those choppy dives, and we were never concerned about our travels to and from the dive spots. Also, we only saw one other dive boat our entire stay, and never other divers in the water - a plus for RHR! Davitt was great at finding whatever people asked of him, and had an uncanny knack for finding scorpion fish and toad fish that were invisible to us until he pointed them out. Visibility was less than 80' throughout our week, which was an unfortunate result of changing currents and weather happening topside. This prevented us from seeing pelagic species lurking along the walls, other than a few barracudas. RHR's location provides the opportunity to explore the wall that extends along the southeast end of the island. The majority of our dives were garden-type, with lots of soft and hard corals, and while we were always spotting fish, to include some large schools of creole wrasse and tangs, we rarely saw the mega-fauna I remembered seeing years ago when I visited Roatan. An unfortunate newcomer to the island is the lion fish, and Davitt speared them at every opportunity, providing them to the eels, toad fish and scorpion fish that were more than willing to not have to work for a meal. One not positive comment about the reef - it's definitely been affected by pollution, both material in the form of garbage and fishing gear, as well as run-off from the island - I regularly surfaced carrying stuff (wads of masking tape, a t-shirt, etc.) and corals were bleached as a result of water-borne pollution.
The staff, to include David's new fiancee, whose name I can't spell (Decilia?) were delightful, Choco and Davitt were everything we heard them to be, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. And the RHR pets, gata blanca and polly, were a part of the ambiance and neither a health hazard nor poorly cared for. A few recommendations for those of you reading this -
-consider bringing used clothing and other items you don't need with you in your dive bag - the town across the water, as well as the key, has plenty of need, and our throwaways are often their treasures.
-we approached our stay like a backpacking trip, i.e., pack it in, pack it out. Garbage is a significant issue, and the less you contribute, the better for everyone. We brought a garbage bag and brought it home in our dive bag.
-bring biodegradable soaps and other toiletries
-consider bringing your own snacks, unless you're a fan of Pringles and Mr. Peanut mixed nuts.
-if you're a runner, then plan running the trail that extends the length of the key - it wasn't long, but given the heat, a couple of laps added up to a good workout
-if you're a swimmer, then you can swim the lagoon in front of RHR, or ask to be left off before Choco turns into the inlet and swim back. It's a little dicey as you get close to RHR, as the coral heads are very shallow, but well worth the effort.
Enjoy your stay.
- 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