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“Fantastic Diving and Crew”
Review of Reef House Resort

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Reef House Resort
Ranked #29 of 41 Hotels in Roatan
Iowa City, Iowa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fantastic Diving and Crew”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

The reefs on this side of Roatan are practically untouched. They are full of life and so beautiful! There is a fantastic wall right off of the Reef House and is a nice shore dive. The dive master (Daavid) is an awesome guy and is hilarious and quite helpful. Chaco, the boat captain, is also great and comical. The dive groups can get larger if you visit during a busy time of the year but most of the times are smaller. You will also get to know everyone at the resort through the family style meals and enjoy diving will all of your new friends. The rooms are nothing special and not close to 5 star but with as little time as you spend in them, they serve their purpose. The food is very good and gives a taste of the island from the native resort staff. They are super helpful and will get you anything if you simply ask. I would highly recommend this place for people who are adventurous and love diving. I would not if you can't live without gold toilets and marble floors. Overall great experience with great diving and people.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank SkubaDivr22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Blackfoot, Idaho
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2014

If i had written a complete review, it would pretty much be the same as what Craig4420 recently submitted. In fact, we were able to spend a couple of days where the end of his trip overlapped the beginning of our trip so our experiences were pretty much the same as his.

A couple of things that I would add is that we had the opportunity of also staying at the Reef House a year ago. We noticed that David and the staff had completed numerous repairs and a lot of maintenance on the property. We love to find the out of the way places to spend our diving time and the Reef House certainly fits the bill. If you are looking for shopping, room service, a massage after diving or a workout room look at the resorts on the other end of the island where they cater to the masses and tourists. If you are a dedicated diver, this place if for you. We plan on returning with our friends.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Randy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 8, 2014

Here goes "nothing" literally. That's pretty much what Reef House has to offer...a whole load of not much. I'm not going to go into the petty details, it will just make me angry. Here's my rundown...

Room - Old, moldy, nothing works

Food - what food!? All humans, not just divers need it! Bring your own snacks, trust me on this.

Drinks - the "honor system" is a good idea and I wouldn't mind making my own drink...too bad their was nothing to make them with. Everyone doesn't like rum.

Diving - pretty good, the two guys who run the dive op were nice.

Staff - It all starts at the top and that's obviously where the problem is. This place is operated like a European Hostel at best. $1,200 a week to stay at your buddies "My First Hostel".

Ok, now I'm angry again....im done.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank abucs881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
reefhouseresort, Booking, Web, and Social Media at Reef House Resort, responded to this review, April 12, 2014
We are very sad that you didn't enjoy your stay and more unhappy you didn't relay that to us while you were here… However.

As you can see from our recent pictures the rooms are not moldy.

All our packages include 3 full meals a day. As I eat here frequently I know that many times its too much to finish. This includes Lobster, Snapper, Lionfish, Grouper, Ribs, Conch, Shrimp, and Chicken for those of us that are not vegetarians, tho we will be glad to accommodate that as well upon request.

We have a selection of local beers and rum, but also wine, whiskey, vodka, tequila, and mixers at the bar, including coke, ginger ale, juices, etc. Not only that but Davie asks everyone as they come in if there is anything specific they want for the bar. The bar also has a selection of nuts, chips, health bars, cookies and the like.

The diving has long been considered the best on the island, not only for the perfect location with short rides to pristine reefs, but also for our excellent dive master with over 16,000 dives, still diving 3 times daily.

The resort is perhaps not what people think of in 2014 as a resort. It is a 1960's style resort run by a family long invested in the island, the reef, and continuing to provide great diving experiences. Though along the way we've added new amenities like WiFi and Cable TV, we still have family style meals at the table and the best access to the most beautiful portion of one of the world's largest most pristine reefs.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2014

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.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank bob l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

I spent 2 weeks at Reef House Resort (RHR) in March 2014. I'd been there once before, so I knew what to expect. It is definitely more "house" than "resort" according to North American standards.

In a nutshell: the dive op is first rate (not fancy); the accommodations are clean with working satelite TV and plenty of safe drinking water available; the meals are not fancy but the food is plentiful and tasty (including some lobster based meals.. ask about having fried lobster one night); the internet (when it works) is relatively high-speed wireless available in rooms and at the bar; the property is secure (no problems with theft - I never locked my room); and the staff are genuinely interested in trying to make sure you have a pleasant stay. There's nothing to do for non-divers - no real beach or swimming pool and "going to town" is a logistical challenge (water taxi - taxi - water taxi). Take your watch off when you get there and relax with good food, and great diving.

I have only one thing to complain about .... despite repeated email confirmations of an updated arrival time, no-one met me at the airport. I took a cab ($30US) to the dock where Dave (resort property manager and owener's son) met me for a short skiff ride to the RHR. Dave paid the taxi fare, so I wasn't out of pocket. My buddy arrived a few days prior to me and unfortunately had the same experience. On a related tack .... some guests weren't expecting to be picked up or returned to the airport by RHR, and were responsible for their own taxi fares to/from the RHR. I'd suggest having a clear understanding (in writing) of pick up / drop off pre-arrangements if you've made them with RHR.

Diving with Davitt (DM) and Choco (Capt'n) was always an adventure. We headed out each day at 0900 hrs for 2 dives (average 60 min each), then back to the property for lunch before heading out again at 1430 hrs for the third dive of the day (also about an hour). Back to the HRH by about 4'ish. Most dive sites are within 15 minutes ride from the dock, occasionally up to 25 minutes. This trip RHR did something different (and I really enjoyed it) and sent the boat about 40 min west to Mary's Place and then further to the Prince Albert wreck in CoCo View Channel, we had picnic lunch at the Fantasy Island dock before the 1 hr ride back to RHR. A night dive from the boat is provided one night per week (weather permitting) in place of the afternoon dive. The dive boat is older, and slower than others but it was comfortable and handled some big wind driven waves easily. Nitrox may be available (arrange in advance), we dove air the whole time. I managed 38 dives over 13 diving days (3 per day for 12 days and 2 on my last diving day), and logged just over 38 hours of bottom time. There's lots of macro and smaller fish life on the reefs, with the occasional larger critter (I saw 2 nurse sharks, a group of three spotted eagle rays, and one turtle in 38 dives). Water temp in March 2014 averaged 81/82oF, and I dove in either a 2mm shorty wetsuit or bathing suit and long sleeve sunblock/rash guard shirt.

Meals are served family style at large tables in the dining room. Portions are big, and food is tasty and well prepared. Expect simple meals, and explore the available spices to liven things up. Desserts at supper were made in-house (vs McCain frozen cakes last time I was here). I never went to bed hungry and never got sick from anything I ate.

Rooms are well kept, with daily housekeeping service. Flat screen TV's with satelite service in each room. Towels and soap are provided, but bring your own shampoo. The A/C units all seemed to be working and I could keep my room comfortable (I like to sleep in a cooler environment). Each room has private bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. It did take a little getting used to not putting tissue into the toilet, there's a separate garbage bucket provided (emptied daily) - but I understand that septic systems can be fussy.

The bar operates on an honor system ($1.50 for soda / $2.50 local beer) and has "happy hour" (snacks come out) at about 1700 hrs (dinner at 1800 hrs, give or take a bit some days).

Mosquitoes and no-seeum's are a problem particulary on lower legs and feet, especially at night when the wind dies down or when inside the dining area. Use a good bug repellant to minimize the annoyance.

I'd say that there has been a huge improvement in the quality of food, the property is being maintained and kept clean, and the diving is top-notch. Definitely on the list of places I'd go back to.

Room Tip: Room #12 has a king size bed, is an "end unit" along the row of rooms, is closest to the o...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Craig4420
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2014

We've been to Reef House twice. It's not the newest place with all the amenities. But it's nice, quiet, and has great diving. You go here if you like diving and relaxation. There's not much to do nearby, because it's isolated. You need a boat to even get to a place a taxi could pick you up. But this scenario appeals to some. And I enjoyed the stay both times. My main issue with them is the lack of care for the resort parrot, Polly. It's a beautiful Amazon parrot with a bit of an attitude. :-) On the first trip they seemed to care for it well. But on the second visit that was no longer the case; management had changed. We stayed a week, and we only saw the parrot get fed once. (Well, only once by the resort. Guests would give it snacks it should not eat.) The resort appeared to only feed it almond fruits from the trees on the resort grounds, and some watermelon. This is not a diet to sustain a parrot. I was saddened and appalled. So when we got back home, we bought several types of parrot food and mailed it to the resort. I was never contacted to say it arrived, even though I asked them to do so--I notified them by email it was coming. The bird it just not well cared for. But they use it on the website to sell themselves. It deserves better than that. So if you're an animal lover....take this into account, please.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lancewex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Our trip the the Reef House from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 was pretty consistent with what our research led us to expect. I strongly recommend those considering a visit read the full selection of reviews available on TripAdvisor as they paint a pretty accurate picture of both the joys and challenges of a stay at the Reef House.

Pros:

The diving was simply the best I have experienced in 30 years of diving. The reef tops are lush with flora and the diversity of sponges, corals, inverts and small fish is astounding. The colors were such that my friends often challenged the reality of my pictures. Along the wall we saw eagle rays, entire cities of lobsters, tons of free swimming eels, king crabs, schools of hundreds of small fish, and the dreaded lionfish, which we speared and fed to the eels. Over 13 dives we were always to only boat on our spot!

The simplicity. There really isn't much to do other than dive, eat, rest and dive some more. If you are looking to slow things down this is the place to be.

The staff. All of the comments about Davit and Choco are true. They are conscientious, care about you as a diver, and incredibly knowledgeable. I also want to send a personal thank you to Roberto from Punta Gorda who was assisting on boat two for a few days. He was amazing as a DM and led me on some of the best dives of my life! The kitchen staff prepared some great meals and were always friendly and helpful. Finally, Davey, the Reef House manager was just the right combination of laid back and "let me try to make that happen for you." Because the Reef House isn't a resort in the sense that many activities are part of the daily operations, everything touristy has to be arrange with outside folks. Davey seems to have "someone who can do that" for pretty much anything you want to do. It's Island Time, so it is best to give him as much time as possible to accommodate your requests, but he can get it done!

The Cons

The rooms. This is not the Hilton. Our bed was as firm as concrete. No tissue can be placed in the toilets. A hot shower required 5 min of letting the water run to get some heat. For hearty travelers like my wife and I this was not an issue, but more delicate sorts may want to seek other accommodations.

The internet. If you absolutely must be connected at all times....you won't be at the Reef House. I kinda liked this part.

Absence of Big Fish. We did not see a single large critter over 13 dives. The incredible abundance of smaller stuff made this a total non-issue.

Summary

Quiet, simple, rustic, nearly primitive, with diving that you simply have to experience for yourself.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GeorgeStone
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

Property: Reef House Resort
Address: Oak Ridge Cay, Roatan, 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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