by Stephen Jermanok
All you have to do is dip your toes into the pink-tinted sand of family-owned The Reefs to understand the allure of this boutique resort in Bermuda. Situated on the South Shore of the island, a five-minute drive past the legendary Horseshoe Bay beach, The Reefs is blessed with its own private stretch of coastline, and what a beauty strip it is. Backed by cliffs and buttressed by jagged rock, the sand is like sifted flour, a soft cushiony mattress to stride upon. The beach slopes into the water gently, so children can wade or swim to their heart’s delight.
Most of your time will be spent on chaise lounge chairs listening to the sounds of the surf, but if you need to get out of the hot summer sun, The Reefs is located near a number of sites on the island. A short stroll away is the Gibbs’ Hill Lighthouse, originally built in 1846. Just up the road is Church Bay Park, often mentioned as the best snorkeling spot on the island. Across the street from the hotel, you can rent bicycles and bike on the non-motorized Railway Trail that snakes through the entire 21-mile long island. A quick taxi ride will bring you to the Spicelands Equestrian Centre and the chance to go horseback riding on trails in South Shore Park, perched above many of the island’s spectacular pink-sand beaches. The property offers guests complimentary access to kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling gear, which is most welcome on such an expensive island.
At The Reefs, all of the 64 rooms, suites, and cottages have ocean views. The resort also houses two swimming pools, three restaurants, two tennis courts (and complimentary equipment) ,a shuffleboard court and easy access to seven nearby golf courses. But don’t expect long walks between the facilities. This is an intimate resort, reserved for families and couples who desire a good dose of down time together.
Our Editor Loves
- Exquisite private beach
- Stylish and very spacious 2 and 3-bedroom suites and cottages with outdoor Jacuzzis
- Located near many South Shore sites
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 19 two and three-bedroom suites in the Reefs Club, created in 2009, are perfectly suited for families. These stylish rooms are more like spacious condos, with full-service kitchen, two master bedrooms, two oversized marble-floored bathrooms with rainforest showers, sunken tubs, a washer and dryer, flat-screen televisions, DVD player, and wraparound balcony with whirlpool. Many guests hire a chef from one of the restaurants downstairs to cook them dinner in their private suite.
The Reefs also houses five two and three-bedroom cottages not far from the main hotel. The Sandpiper Cottage features two bedrooms, one with king-sized bed, one with twin-sized beds, large living room, separate dining area with microwave and small refrigerator, and an outdoor patio with hot tub.
My wife and I spent a week at The Reefs with my son and his wife, and left feeling pampered. My son is Vegan, and the chefs made something for special every meal. All the staff could not have been more accommodating to any of our other requests, including reception allowing us to keep our room late on the day we left.
Great buffet breakfast, beautiful beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Wonderful place to stay in Bermuda. Smaller, intimate hotel with exceptional service. The rooms are updated and clean. The onsite restaurants are great.
Pools and Beach
This being Bermuda, where the ocean waters have outstanding visibility, you'd be right to surmise that the snorkeling around the rocks near the beach is also excellent. The Reefs provides snorkeling gear along with kayaks if you feel like going for a paddle. Umbrellas, towels, and cool drinks are provided by the attentive beach staff. The pool and Jacuzzi is located just up the stairs, near the rooms. If you booked one of the two- or three-bedroom suites in the Reefs Club, you'll have access to their private infinity pool.
Tennis courts and shuffleboard are located across the street, near the cycle shop. By all means, rent a bike and try the Railway Trail. The bikeway weaves through walled-in forest, where hyacinths and oleander perfume the former railroad corridor, past schools where kids play their favorite sport, cricket. Head along the shores toward Sandy's Parish and you'll reach the historic Somerset Bridge, built in the 17th century and recognized as the smallest drawbridge in the world.
Early morning, when the sun is not so hot and the crowds have yet to descend on the beaches, is the best time to take a 90-minute trail ride with Spicelands. The easygoing horses lead you on the wooded pathways down to the South Shore Park. Around every banyan tree is another glorious view of the island's best-known beaches like Horseshoe Bay and scenic Jobson's Cove, a family favorite for its gently sloping sand.
If you want to reach the highest point on the island, topping out at a mere 365 feet, hike from The Reefs to the top of Gibbs' Hill Lighthouse, the world's first cast iron lighthouse. Back in the resort, a good way to unwind is with afternoon tea and biscuits, served in the lounge from 4 to 5 p.m.
A children's menu is provided in each restaurant and includes items like pasta choices, fish and chips, chicken, and burgers.
Start your day with breakfast at Ocean Echo, the glass-enclosed restaurant just off the main lobby of the hotel. The continental buffet features melon, honeydew, pineapple, star fruit, grapes, cereals, yogurt, and pastries. Then order off the menu coconut-crusted French toast, waffles, eggs benedict, omelets, and eggs any way you like them. Sunday brunch is also available at the Ocean Echo.
The newest dining option, located next to Ocean Echo serves a delicious dinner, afternoon tea and lunch in the winter months. Some of the dinner items include duck, filet, seafood, pork tenderloin and vegetable crepes.
For lunch and dinner, most families like to dine at Coconuts, just off the beach. The open-air restaurant takes advantage of the natural setting, built into the limestone cliffs with trees climbing through the floors to the ceiling. Start with the island specialty, fish chowder, and then move on to fish tacos or the coconut-crusted shrimp.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The hotel is happy to set up tee times five minutes down the road at the 18-hole Fairmont Southampton Golf Course. If you want to dine off-property, the hotel has a dine around with the restaurants at the Pompano and Cambridge Beach Clubs.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in the rooms.
A fitness center with cardio machines and weights is available.
The Art of Smart Timing
The highest rates are between May and October. Since Bermuda lies 600 miles off the North Carolina coast, this is exactly the time of year you want to be here. Come here during Christmas and you might be wearing a polar fleece jacket and long pants on the beach. So definitely splurge and come during the late spring or summer months.
Most visitors arrive by commercial flight at the L.F. Wade International Airport. Rental cars are not permitted on Bermuda so a taxi is the most convenient way to arrive to and from the airport.
The front desk provides bus and ferry tokens, along with one and three-day passes for transport around the island. The bus stop is located just outside the hotel and is the best way to cruise around the island.
For Mom and Dad
As soon as the babysitter arrives, head down to the Le Serena Spa for the two-hour Spa for Two. The special treatment includes a Couples Massage, Reflexology Enhancement, and mimosas. Or have a relaxed dinner at Ocean Echo at one of the window tables overlooking the expanse of ocean.