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“Great Diving, Small Resort, Personal Service - Oct. 2010”
Review of Reef House Resort

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Reef House Resort
Ranked #29 of 43 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 January 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, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ynotdive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 January 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...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled 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
Reviewed 18 November 2012

This was my second two week stay at the Reef House. It's a dive resort. Don't expect a five star hotel, but good rooms, great food and super folks. Best value for a complete diving experience. I went there to dive and diving I did. Three dives a day off the boat with plenty to see. And then all the shore diving your computer will allow. David, the dive master, is terrific a spotting the minute details you can easily miss. Davey and the other David, who run the resort and cook on the side, my made land stay relaxing, tasty and fun. Yes, that's three Davids so the pressure is off to remember names of the important people. I was there with my dive buddy and two couples the first week and then a group of guys from North Dakota, a couple of doctors and another couple. We had a ball. Lots of photographers in the group so we had slide shows nightly of the days work. I'm already planning my next years return trip. Hats off to a great time...

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Kent B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2012

6 of us (3 Couples) and 4 other guests were at the Reef House Oct 13 - 20. Without exception we had a great time. The Diving, the food, the other guests, and the staff were all absolutely great. We knew from others reviews that this is not a 5 star resort, and so our expectations were realistic. Having said that however I would not change a thing. We really enjoyed the "being away from it all" and really never felt like we were doing without anything. Dave, Davey, David, Daveet, Choco, Jennie and Ruth were all friendly and a lot of fun. The rooms were clean and comfy, was able to have a hot shower and the A/C worked, so what else do you need? I really would not call this 'roughing it' at all. Give em a try, if you have the right expectations and right attitude this place is really a blast.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Luv2DiveMissionViejo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2012

Diving is absolutely great, dive master and captain are very-very good. Dive boat in a very good shape with enough space for 10-12 people. This is for the sea part. On the on the hand; on the land I found things to be, how should I say lack of personality and in some instances service. We did not feel welcomed. What can be a personality issue on my side, however I want to say just don’t expect much. Grounds over all tiny and there is no place to go. And if you want to relax on the chaise long next to the bar, it is hard if there are people at the bar and especially when somebody is smoking. Entrance to the “pool” is barely safe as the last step is over two feet high, which make exit difficult, same with the step at the end of the pier. Gardener finally cleans the derby thrown be the sea by 9 in the morning so most of it you enjoy nice view of cans and leaves. The food is OK but mostly fried, salad may be once a week, fruit we had to nag for. Room is clean and hot water is ok. In conclusion, I will go back to the east side to dive, will not go back to Reef House.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Strelitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2012

We just returned from home after spending a week at Reef House Resort. The diving is really great. The dive master Da-vid is the best. Each one of our dives was full of things to see. There really is little to do except dive and relax. The staff was efficient and rooms were clean. The food was very good. The rooms are modest with 2 beds, ceiling fan, air conditioner, TV, WiFi and private bathroom. The only downside is the No-See-Ums. This is to be expected anywhere in the Caribbean this time of year. So...If you want a new challenge and plenty of great diving," off the beaten path" you should consider Reef House.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ROSE M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2012

Short version - Great breakfast at 8. On the dive boat by 9 for 2 morning dives. Back at the Reef House around noon for excellent lunch. Lounge. Back on the dive boat at 2:22 for another afternoon dive. Back at the Reef House by 4:30. (dives are for as long as 60 minutes) Lounge until it's time for an excellent dinner at 7:00. Lounge until bed time. Wake up the next day and repeat. If this sounds like your ideal trip, this is your place. It is in the center of the island, on the south shore. There is less tourism on this side of the island and the reef is in excellent shape. I didn't dive the west end, so can't really compare them though.

7 Things you need to know;
1) There are no shops, restaurants, or anything else to see or do in the village of Oak Ridge where the Reef House is. In fact, the resort is on a small island just off the main island and is accessible only by boat. It's all about diving, relaxing. (or snorkeling if you don't dive) Snorkelers seemed welcome on the dive boat. There is also excellent diving/snorkling right off the dock at the Reef House.
2) Meals at the Reef House are a community affair. Everyone sits at a big table in the dinning room. You don't order, you eat what ever the wonderful cook has decided to make for you.
Even if you are supper picky about food, like my son, this is probably NOT a problem. Even he would tell you that it's all very good. If you tell them before hand of any allergies or dietary needs they are more than happy to accommodate if at all possible.
3) The Reef House is more of a Bed and Breakfast place. Not necessarily what some people think of when you say "Resort".
4) This one goes for the entire Island of Roatan, not just the Reef House. No paper goes in the toilets. none. It all goes in the frequently emptied trash can. I mean even at the airport.
5)This is also for the entire island, double for any stretch of beach, wear bug spray AT ALL TIMES. They have no-see-ums aka; sand flies. Look for something with a 15% solution of Picaridin. It works much better than Deet, and unlike Deet, it doesn't brake down rubber or silicon (your gear)
6) Don't worry about changing your money. (if your from the US anyway) Every place takes dollars or Lampieras. (20lp to a dollar when we where there in early August)
7) The power will go out randomly. Apparently the local power company can't reroute power so if they need to work on something they just shut down power. It was never off for more than an hour when we were there.

Longer version

Diving
Like so many of the reviews say, this place is about 2 things, diving and relaxing. We did 14 dives in 5 days. We missed 1 dive due to a hurricane, but we did the 2 morning dives in the storm. The dive master said "if there is no lighting, we can dive." Each dive has it's own unique flavor. Yeah they were all wall dives, but no 2 spots were quite the same. The dive master, David (Da-Veed), was instrumental in making this an amazing trip. Beyond being extremely nice and funny, as well as very serious and professional about dive safety, He was exceptionally good at finding hard to see life to share with the rest of our dive group. During our stay the dive groups ranged from 3 people to 8 people. But they do have 2 dive boats so can accommodate more people. I saw dive boats on the West End side of the island completely loaded up with people. No idea how THAT works well.

Equipment
We rented BCDs, wet suites, regs, and computers from the Reef House. Other than a small rip in the color of my 3/4 wet suite everything seemed to be in good shape and well taken care of. There were the inevitable mechanical (o-ring) issues while out on the boat, but they would swap you out with a spare rig and Choco, the boat captain, would repair the unit in question while you were diving.

Eating
The food is fantastic. Never had anything (at the Reef House) that wasn't at least "really good". The Conch burger lunch was one of my favorites. Lobster and steak night was certainly a big hit as well. As mentioned earlier, it is "family style" dinning. The bar was a self server honor system. You start an index card with your name and room number and just right down everything you drink. The locally brewed beers aren't bad. Regarding food on the rest of the island; i had a burger in the little town of West End that i'm pretty sure was horse meat. It was far and away the nastiest "beef" I've ever eaten. Stick with seafood and your good to go, as my much wiser son did.

Staff
Peggy, the owner, David (not the dive master) and Davey were super nice. It felt more like they were having you as a guest at there house rather than place of business. You socilaize with them as much as with the other guests. They seem to be willing to do what ever they can to make your trip everything you want it to be. If it's available on the island but they don't have it, they will do everything within reason to get it for you. One day they brought in 2 masseuses.

The accommodations
The rooms are small but not cramped. The beds were wonderfully comfortable. Our room had 2 full/queen pillow top beds. The floors appeared to be made of some high reason hard wood and were quite attractive. There is no central AC, but there is a very effective window unit. Combined with the ceiling fan this made it perfectly comfortable for sleeping, and i like to sleep in cold rooms. The restrooms... well, this is a tropical environment so the salt in the air combined with the constant humidity in a rest room is just a harsh environment. What I'm saying here is that you wont be disappointed that there's no tub to relax in, but they are by no stretch unsanitary. The shower drains onto the ground below the elevated building.

The common areas.
There is no beach at the Reef House. There is no fresh water pool. There is a salt water basin that is in effect a giant tidal pool. Lots of life in it. There are plenty of comfy chairs to kick back and read your book in all along the water front and on the deck. There are some picnic tables in a covered area that opens into the bar. They are a great place to sit at with your laptop and unload and review the hundreds of photos you took on that days dives.

Internet & TV.
They do have WiFi. It is best used in the dining/game area, and the bar/deck area. It did reach our room but was pretty weak. Also, it is a satellite connection, so when it works it works well. But any bad weather will take it off the air. This happened fairly frequently while we were there. Again, I have the impression that the entire island gets it's internet and TV from satellite, so this is not unique to the Reef House. The do have flat panel TV's in each room. We turned ours on once.... for 5 minuets.

Conclusion
If you want to get as much under water time as possible in what is possibly the best diving area in the Caribbean, you enjoy meeting other divers from all over the world, and you get excited at the thought of wonderful home cooked meals, then you wont be disappointed in the Reef House.

If you want a classic American style hotel, don't enjoy meeting new interesting people,don't make friends easily, or aren't interested in a super low key relaxing atmosphere, then you should look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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10  Thank mjrdzine
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
Region: 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: £98 - £99 (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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