Travelers looking for an amenity-rich luxury resort that still feels like an intimate boutique will find everything on their wish list at The Reefs. An upscale property with 65 spacious and tastefully decorated rooms, The Reefs feels modern, but is still replete with Bermudian charm. Top-notch amenities include an infinity-edge pool with incredible ocean vistas, three on-site restaurants, a gorgeous spa, and a quiet beachfront — but perks like free afternoon tea service, free kayaks and snorkel gear, and free Rum Swizzles upon arrival are thoughtful touches that contribute to a more personalized, intimate guest experience. While the hotel’s clifftop location offers stunning views, the hilly property requires a lot of stair climbing, and is often windier than its neighbors. Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa is a nearby property with comparable amenities and cheaper nightly rates — but it’s not on the beach.
An upscale beachfront property with Bermudian charm
Thanks to its unique cliffside location, The Reefs is nearly invisible from the road. But a quick turn down a steep driveway brings guests to a circular entryway, where a better picture of the hotel’s landscape comes into view. The exterior’s pink walls and traditional white roofs give off a very Bermudian first impression, while inside, the simple lobby is made elegant with crisp marble flooring and dark wood furniture. Staff members greet guests with Rum Swizzles (the national drink of Bermuda), and a small placard with guests’ names sweetly announces their arrival and reason for their visit (e.g., Happy Honeymoon Mr. and Mrs. Smith).
Much like the rest of the hotels on the island, The Reefs attracts a well-heeled crowed with money to spend. But within this upper echelon of travelers, guests run the gamut, and often include a smattering of honeymooners, anniversary celebrants, business travelers, families with kids, and middle-aged friend groups.
When traveling to The Reefs, just remember “south.” The hotel is located on South Road, on Bermuda’s south shore, in Southampton Parish. Bermuda’s south shore is a popular tourist destination known for its exceptional beaches. Southampton Parish is home to a few resorts, tons of restaurants, and popular tourist attractions like Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and Horseshoe Bay Beach. The Reefs itself is about a 35-minute drive from the airport, and about about a 25-minute drive to downtown Hamilton. Since foreigners aren’t allowed to rent cars in Bermuda, taxis, though expensive, are the most reliable form of transportation. The public bus doesn’t always run as scheduled, and renting a moped can be dangerous for travelers who aren’t accustomed to left-side driving laws or Bermuda’s insanely winding roads.
It should be noted that The Reefs’ clifftop location means the property is hilly and requires a lot of stairs. Guests with mobility issues should request a room near the lobby to minimize stair usage, but stairs are still required to reach the beach, pool, and oceanfront restaurant. The cliffside setting also means guests will be subject to quite a bit of wind.
Rooms at The Reefs are bright and modern, with crisp beachy decor and spacious layouts. Poolside and Cliffside Rooms are the hotel’s entry-level categories. The difference between the two lies in their location. As their names suggest, Poolside Rooms surround the pool, and Cliffside Rooms jut out from the hotel’s rugged cliff. Both room types offer ocean views. Poolside and Cliffside Rooms’ tall, sloped ceilings and spacious layouts make these rooms feel larger than they actually are. White and sea-foam green bedding and seashell pillows create a mellow beachy atmosphere, while cushioned divans and dark-wood furniture add a touch of elegance. Bathrooms feature sleek subway tile, double sinks, and large walk-in showers with spa-like pebble floors. In-room amenities include Keurig coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, electronic safes, mini-fridges, and free Gosling’s Dark n’ Stormy ingredients.
For those who want to upgrade, The Reefs has two types of suites — Junior Suites and Point Suites. Junior Suites are similar to standard rooms, except they have small living areas and larger bathrooms with jetted tubs. Point Suites are the hotel’s largest room category, with large living rooms, but the large balconies with outdoor hot tubs are their biggest draw.
It should be noted that The Reefs is also home to a private residence club, which has apartment-style units, its own fitness center, and an additional pool. While these units were once part of the hotel, they are now all privately owned and no longer available for vacation rentals.
Top-notch pool, spa, and restaurants -- and a so-so fitness center
The Reefs’ infinity-edge pool and gorgeous beach are big draws for vacationers. The hotel’s only pool offers stunning views of the coved beach below and is surrounded by a small pool deck with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There’s also an elevated hot tub that overlooks the pool’s infinity edge. Though lovely, the pool itself is small, and can get crowded during the summer months. Beneath the pool (down a cliff and a few flights of stairs), is the incredible beach. Despite the stairs, The Reefs is one of few resorts on the island where the beach is easily accessible, and doesn’t require a shuttle to reach. With visibly pink sand, pink and white umbrellas, and rocky outcroppings along the shoreline, the beach at The Reefs has a sweet, storybook charm to it, and affords guests with privacy and a relaxing atmosphere. The hotel also provides free kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel gear for guests to use.
La Serena Spa is often ranked as one of Bermuda’s best. La Serena features Bliss and Elemis products, and its eight treatment rooms and stunning, ocean-view relaxation room have a tranquil beachy vibe. Spa offerings include a litany of massages, facials, nail, and waxing treatments, as well as express treatments (25 minutes or less), and shock wave therapy for chronic aches and pains.
The Reefs has its own fitness center, but it’s small, cramped, and in our opinion, not worth using. The room is equipped with a few cardio and weight machines, but the equipment is dated and the room feels more like an afterthought -- disappointing for a four-pearl property.
Freebies include Wi-Fi, breakfast (with some room rates), and daily afternoon tea service.
Three distinct on-site dining options with diverse menus
There are three on-site restaurants at The Reefs, as well as an upscale bar and an outdoor patio lounge. Ocean Echo is the hotel’s breakfast restaurant, which offers both a la carte and buffet-style menus. The large room features panoramic ocean views, thanks to a curved wall of windows that overlooks the beach. Some room rates include breakfast — an offer worth upgrading to, considering there aren’t many other breakfast options in the surrounding area. Ocean Echo can also be booked for private events or meetings.
Coconuts is a casual beachfront restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Menu items include classic bar food likes wings and quesadillas, upscale sandwiches and salads, and dinner additions like steaks and chops. Unfortunately, Coconuts is only open seasonally, and was closed at the time of our visit.
Aqua Terra is the hotel’s upscale dinner option. Adjacent to Ocean Echo, but with a slightly more sophisticated setting and its own bar, Aqua Terra serves international cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. Diverse menu options run the gamut from hamachi crudo and tagine spiced lamb, to soba noodle bowls and braised short ribs. Additionally, Aqua Terra is where the hotel hosts its free daily afternoon tea service. The tea service includes a wide selection of teas, and personal plates of goodies such as tuna and cucumber sandwiches, mini cupcakes, and fresh scones.