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“East End- The Best End!”
Review of Reef House Resort

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Reef House Resort
Ranked #27 of 42 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 April 2014

This place was exactly what I was hoping for when I booked my vacation. There was enough structure to the schedule to keep it well-run and efficient, and enough "laid-backness" to make you feel completely relaxed. I had an incredibly fun 6 days there doing everything I love- Snorkeling, Swimming, Boating around the Island, Laughing over family-style meals (that I didn't have to prepare), and Having a couple beers at the end of the day. The owner, Davey, was very accommodating and made sure we had anything we needed. He asked for requests before he went into town, asked what music we liked, and just hung out and had fun with everyone. The place is a bit isolated, but don't worry- he'll make sure you have everything you need. Most of the reef locations we went to were very quiet, as in there weren't lots of boats going past or other dive companies at the same places. This was great as a snorkeler. Also amazing was the reef snorkeling right in front of Reef House. Just book it!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Alyssa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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51 - 57 of 230 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014

The dive operation is really all reef house resort has to offer, and It's really just the dive crew. Like everyone else has said, Daviit and Chocco are great, but that's almost all the place has going for it. It's just NOT worth the cost of staying there. I think if it were drastically less expensive the reviews probably wouldn't go back and forth so much. Yes, everyone has different expectations when they go somewhere, but you either have your stuff together or not. I'm not a "tourist" who should have stayed on the west side of the island. I travel to Roatan solely for diving and have stayed at 5-6 places there, on the west and east side of the island. The food is ok, fortunately I always bring my own snacks in case I don't get enough to eat or don't like what it is. There really aren't any choices to speak of, so If you don't like what they are serving, expect rice and beans. The rooms are pretty bad as described by some of the other reviews, but they're old, It is what it is. The rooms pictured on the website are the two larger and newer rooms that they offer at an additional cost. All of the other rooms are pretty rundown. I just think the price should reflect that. Another problem is the lack of accessibility to anything else the island has to offer. No matter who you are, hardcore diver or not, sometimes you just want to get away for a day, or an hour, or even a few minutes. Not going to happen here. They make no attempt to relieve the cabin fever that will surely set in being on a tiny key off of the island. There are many other options in Roatan, do your homework people, read the reviews, don't just look at the overall rating!!!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank jimmy b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 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, travelled with friends
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1  Thank SkubaDivr22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 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, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Randy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 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, travelled with friends
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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 reviewResponded 12 April 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
Reviewed 5 April 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, travelled as a couple
6  Thank bob l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 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, travelled with friends
    • Value
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3  Thank Craig4420
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, 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: £66 - £74 (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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