PERECTLY AT EASE IN THE CLUB CONDOS!
Our family of 4 (2 teenagers) travelled to The Reefs at the very end of July, beginning of August. This was our first visit to Bermuda and it certainly did not disappoint. This review will outline our visit to the CLUB CONDOS only (NOT THE HOTEL) and the on-site restaurants. Grab your coffee or whatever your time zone dictates should be your beverage of choice and settle in for my detailed thoughts…..
We arrived in Bermuda at noon aboard Air Canada. It certainly was a treat to arrive at this time, as our pilot did a wide sweep of the island prior to landing. Flight attendants had previously passed out Bermuda Entry forms which we had completed and we ready to present to the customs officer. Unlike entry by air into many other countries, I found the overall ambience and the greeting of the Bermudian custom officers very welcoming. We retrieved our luggage and went to find our driver (that was part of the” Reunite at The Reefs” package). Upon exiting, we found our name on a sign and were greeted by a very friendly (and we were to find out, very funny) taxi driver by the name of Bailey. He was a wonderful initial ambassador of Bermuda, regaling us with info, history and humour as we made the drive to The Reefs. My initial impression of Bermuda was of sheer beauty. The turquoise of the ocean, the lushness of the foliage, and the pastels of the houses were picture perfect! As we started the drive by the south shore beaches, we were awed by the sheer beauty……and how many throngs of people were enjoying Horseshoe Bay! In short order we had arrived at The Reefs on the Club side reception. We were greeted by Barb at the front desk, who welcomed us to the resort and informed us that our condo was ready! Wow! To our travel weary family, we had just won the lottery! Thank you Reefs!
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & CONDO APPOINTMENTS:
Okay, WOW. WOW. WOW! It was approximately 1:30Pm, when we escorted into our unit 422 and were greeted by a view that was breathtaking. It was then that Barb apologized that our fridge was not stocked in time for our early arrival. Are you kidding me? She just gave us the keys to paradise a couple of hours before the actual check-in time….our groceries weren’t there. Who cares?! We were in heaven. (We had pre-ordered some lunch offerings, fruit, snacks, wine, sodas, etc. that the condo staff will provide at cost plus a $20 service charge a few days prior to arrival. We thought this was an amazing service.) The sweeping panorama that surrounds one upon entering the condo exudes a feeling of never ending ocean and sky……we were ready to settle in! I should provide some details of our 2 bedroom condo. Meticulously clean (I demand this), wonderful appointments in all living spaces, a kitchen that lacked nothing (even had a Thermador warming tray for those dinner parties that we did not have time to throw), and most importantly, views from all living spaces! Well, time to stop looking and time to start enjoying. Our kids wanted beach and food. DH and I were just fine with that after we finished our complimentary Dark & Stormy. We quickly changed into our bathing suits and exited our glorious home away from home, one floor down, through the entrance to the outdoor club condo pool facilities. Wow. Again!
RESORT GROUNDS & MOST IMPORTANLY, BEACH!
To say that I have visited several beaches around the world, is to put in mildly……The Reefs beach is at the top of my list for many reasons.
• The sand is an exquisite white that blushes when the ocean kisses it
• The sand was not uncomfortably hot to walk in with bare feet
• The ocean had a palate of turquoise to azure blues that was crystal clear
• The entry into the ocean was gradual with nary a rock to be seen
• This particular beach was blessed with offshore reefs that provided amazing snorkeling (better than the paid snorkeling tour we went on)
• A large lava rock with stairs worn into the climb to the top, provided a natural jumping point into a deep part of the ocean
• Uncrowded, empty loungers with pretty sun shielding parasols that one did not have to race out to at the crack of dawn to ensure that one may have shade. I am mentioning all of this because apparently the resort was at full capacity and we never once felt lounger challenged!
• Friendly beach staff
• A serene experience was not sidetracked by peddlers on the beach. I should note that all Bermuda beaches are public. Because of the set-up and proximity of the Reefs Hotel and Club Condos, it is not conducive for non-guests to reach the beach area.
• While I am always overly cautious on holidays, I had no hesitation leaving my LV bag on my lounger while I was floating in the blue heaven. I am very prudent about do’s and don’ts of safety and I do not want to imply that I felt like this in all of Bermuda…..not a chance. However, for the record, I felt that this was perhaps, the “safest” beach that I have visited.
The Club infinity pool and hot tub were well designed and offered spectacular views. The Pool Bar was a welcome addition for some parched sun souls. Anthony, the bar keep was an entertaining and affable part of the Reefs service team. Thank you Anthony!
The exercise room was well appointed and never too busy. It enjoyed a strategic view of the pool and ocean. It was visited regularly by my DH, not so much by me. I preferred many of my mornings to start with my heart rate increased only by my java as it was enjoyed with a favourite read on my balcony.
The overall upkeep of the grounds and guest spaces were exemplary. I enjoyed the small, intimate feeling of this resort!
Our family was on the MAP for 5 of the 6 days that we were vacationing. As previously mentioned, we were on the “Reunite at The Reefs” package. (Check their website for details). I did not wish to be the chef on vacation. So my kitchen duties included light lunches, healthy snacks, etc. I will make my recommendations for restaurant dining vs. condo kitchen dining at the end of my review.
Breakfast was enjoyed at Ocean Echo each morning. Make sure to cross the hall over to Royston’s to enjoy made to order omelettes, waffles, etc. Also, be sure to go there if you wish to have fresh berry fruits (served with the waffles) and not just the standard melon/pineapple offerings by the buffet.
A couple of notes if Reefs Management reads this…..the Eggs Benedict (sauce!) self-served in the buffet was amazing….more on that, later! However, check out the less than stellar scrambled eggs served in the buffet. Packaged and underdone! Rethink this breakfast staple. The breakfast chef at Royston’s asked my DD to bring some buffet scrambled eggs to him and he would cook them longer, but then he looked at them…..and well, he graciously cooked and presented my DD with fresh scrambled eggs every morning. When I was asking the kids for their thoughts on our holiday, my DH said to please give a special thank-you to the chef who prepared her wonderful scrambled eggs every morning…..and wants to know the secret seasoning that he threw on top, so that we may replicate it at home! I should add, for hotel guests, I absolutely recommend that you take the BP with your room! Food, service, views cannot be beat!
SO…..the big question….on-site dining or off-site? Here are my reviews of the 3 restaura nts at The Reefs. (I should also mention, that I will not include my reviews of dining as a factor in my overall review of the Reefs Club Condos, but will mention it here and post the separate reviews under Bermuda restaurants.
Fabulous! Consistently delicious 4 course dinner on every evening that we dined there. My DH and I agreed that we probably had the best seared crusted Ahi tuna served rare to medium rare! My top pick of all on-site restaurants. Our dining reservations were scheduled for 7:30 Pm every evening. This was a wonderful time to enjoy the outside dining at this restaurant. Highly recommend! Even if you are not a guest of the property ….this is a very good restaurant. Caveat…..If you have Martin or Kumar as your server, your service may be a cut above.
We thought that we should try their chop house as per the meal plan. To preface, we live in Alberta, home of cattle ranching in Canada…”.kinda” the equivalent to my American friends of Texas. We have high expectations. Appreciating that the beef served in Bermuda is probably imported, we set our expectations accordingly. It was OK to good……my husband had the thinnest ribeye I have ever seen….albeit still tasty and prepared just right. We had an enjoyable evening, but perhaps the ambience was not up to par because it was a windowless non-view restaurant. I recommend dining here if you are a guest of the resort.
Lots of hype…..not so much. Pros: the amazing view. Cons: Food is mediocre based on the 2 previous restaurants with the exception that my DS thinks that the Green Seafood Curry was excellent! Service was lacking. Presented with stale bread and I mean stale on 2 separate requests. (I note this only because I do not indulge in these carbs, but had succumbed to the small rye rolls at the previous restaurants and declared them worthy of ditching my low carb regimen. Imagine my chagrin with being presented with not 1 stale bread basket but a second one that replicated the first! ). My Sauvignon Blanc aperitif was substituted with a CABERNET Sauvignon. I think perhaps language barriers may have been a factor. Please, do not misunderstand. This is not a “bad” restaurant, but I do not think that an off site visitor should make the trek here unless they need the view fix (understandably) because the dining is NOT all that. I would be negligent if I did not mention that the Crème Brulee was amazing and also kudos to the restaurant in recognizing a noted special occasion without any prompting. Oh… and one last thing, again if the Reefs management is reading…. Please enforce your policy on dining guidelines for children. We were seated at an amazing view table, with a table of approximately 10 children (ranging in ages from approximately 5-17) with their parents at a separate table. Our children are 14 and 17 years. They are well-mannered diners, as we have taught them to be. However, when they were younger, we recognized their dining limitations and chose early early dining times to accommodate their needs and other guest who wished to dine in a less lively atmosphere.
I was therefore somewhat disappointed that according to The Reefs guidelines that those guests under the age of 12 dine before 7:00Pm (according to their website.)
My thought is that Coconuts should be the go-to restaurant for lunch as their menu is geared towards that type of dining. Noteworthy, is their Hot chicken Wings that my family enjoyed on the beach on the day of arrival. They were the best hot chicken wings. Ever.
We were in Bermuda over Cup Match so we did not visit Hamilton until our last day. We chose a few perfunctionary souvenirs (Gosling’s Rum) and T-shirts. We dined at the Pickled Onion which included great drinks, salads and fried foods. Unfortunately, we were not able to see as much of the historical buildings, etc. that I might have liked, but with the island on a slow down with cup match and 2 teenager that were loving the water ( and I admit, as was I) we will have to make a return visit on a non Cup Match week.
My DH and I enjoyed a most wonderful couples’ massage, while my daughter indulged in a pedi/mani.
All left very much pampered!
A well-run operation with the majority of new Sea-Doos offering the new braking system. A bit disorganized and run down upon first entry, but the equipment and our guide, Mark made for an amazing full speed ahead voyage. I most highly recommend.
I wish I could give Sonny a better review. He is a very likeable character with a meticulously clean boat operation. But…..it truly is a bare bones operation. i.e. No water bottles onboard ( I being the Type A traveller, had phoned and asked him about water, etc., so I knew in advance to take water bottles onboard), no float noodles for the less than confident snorkelers (and yes it is advertised as a trip for experienced snorkelers which was not a concern for us, but some of the other passengers had asked) , and the clincher for me….NO water safety instructions in the event of an emergency and not the level of monitoring of his guests that I would expect from past experience on many snorkeling tours around the world. Excuse me, Sonny, but where may we find the lifejackets? I like the idea of a small operation vs. a huge boat of floaters. This guy has the potential to make this big…..but to seasoned travellers like me and the parched family with us……this would be a pass.
Would I return to Bermuda and would I return to The Reefs? Yes and yes! And I will elaborate. Absolutely we will return to Bermuda, probably when both of our children are at University as we have wonderful summers in our neck of the woods and we cherish this time. Because of this, I would choose September as a time to get reacquainted with Bermuda. I would without doubt, stay again at The Reefs condos and coerce another couple to share a 2 bedroom condo with us. I would not participate in the Meal Plan as I would be quite happy to be at home in their well –equipped kitchen for breakfasts and lunches and the odd dinner in. My Dh and I like to try different restaurants and I think we might have gone this route had it not been for the MAP inclusion in the Reunite package and the fact that our visit timed with the Cup Match making taxis not as available. I should also add that I am not sure that I would be as comfortable in the Reefs hotel rooms and at the crowded hotel pool. We walked by an open door to a hotel room and I do not know what the room category was, but it was not a room that I would be comfortable in. I understand the hotel is undergoing reservations and maybe this will all be changing, but for now I would return to the Club side without hesitation.
I enjoyed the boutique feel of the hotel. We enjoyed the interaction with the Club Owners and Club guests that we met. We appreciated the presence of David Dodwell JR. at a hosted Club Reception and his always present concern for our holiday. We were pleased with the overall staff attitude and we felt like we were appreciated guests. WE were never once bothered by a condo sell agent. Thank you. As an aside, if we lived on the East Coast and Bermuda was moved a few degrees latitude to the south, we would consider an investment in the Club. However, our geographical restraints preclude us from this venture. At the end of the day, our family celebrated my BIG 50 in a wonderful locale and we left Bermuda with some treasured memories of a special time. As my DD so aptly put it, “Best holiday ever!” Happy and safe travels everyone.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- The Reefs Hotel Southampton
- Reefs Hotel Southampton
- Reefs Resort Southampton
- The Reefs Bermuda/Southampton Parish
- Reefs Bermuda