I spent a lovely three nights at The Reefs Hotel & Club in Bermuda with one of my very best girlfriends last month. While we had an incredible time lounging on the beach, eating delicious food at the on-site restaurants and relaxing at the spa, I couldn’t help but think that this boutique property would make an incredible romantic getaway in Bermuda. The laid-back vibe, intimate size and stellar service definitely inspire romance. And what’s not romantic about this combination: turquoise ocean, pink-sand beach and Bermuda’s favorite rum drink, the Dark and Stormy?
Especially for East Coasters, Bermuda makes a convenient island getaway; it’s only a 2- to 3-hour non-stop plane ride from such cities as Toronto, Charlotte, Atlanta and Baltimore. Under 2 hours from Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Here’s why you want to consider The Reefs for a romantic, hassle-free getaway to an island paradise:
Excellent accommodations: The 62 hotel rooms and suites at The Reefs all have ocean views; and it’s none of this “partial view” business — you’ll be facing the gorgeous Atlantic and its so many shades that vary from aquamarine to deep blue. All rooms and suites have their own private patio or balcony; they also have king beds that can be separated into to twins if you like (though that does not inspire romance!). Many of the rooms’ bathrooms have been upgraded with new glass showers, sinks, counters and pretty mosaic tile.
If it’s just the two of you, a comfortable, airy room will do just nicely; or you can splurge on a suite with a bit more space (the Point Suites have private balcony hot tubs). But if you’d consider traveling with another couple — or even two other couples — I highly recommend booking one of the 19 two- or three-bedroom condominiums at The Reefs Club. The “Club” section of the property, built in 2009, is basically a separate wing — very close to the full-service spa, a short walk to the indoor restaurants, and featuring its own pretty infinity pool. There is also a separate Club entrance/lobby and front-desk staff (all of whom are very accommodating).
Our two-bedroom condominium was phenomenal — two separate master bedrooms each had their own giant bathroom with free-standing tub and, glass shower, big closet and two sinks. The bedrooms opened up to a private veranda; one bedroom had closer access to a private hot tub. The comfortable living room faced floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. We had no interest in cooking a thing, but we certainly could have with the fully equipped kitchen. We did use the convenient washer/dryer (laundry soap provided). Truly the accommodations were so huge, I’d be so happy to share one of the condominiums with another couple on a romantic getaway.
Meals are included: Room rates at The Reefs include breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner with your stay. While you may argue that you’d like to explore Bermuda’s restaurants at dinnertime, I suggest opting for this meal plan (you can opt out) if only for the convenience (no need to taxi or bus elsewhere in the evening) and because the food is so good. Plus, you can enjoy some of Bermuda’s different eateries for lunch, while you’re out exploring and sightseeing during the day.
For breakfast in spacious Ocean Echo restaurant — or on the terrace in nice weather — we could choose a continental buffet (cereals, pastries, yogurt, fruit) or order omelets, French toast and other morning favorites off an a la carte menu. Four o’clock afternoon tea in the lounge brought iced and hot tea, plus finger sandwiches, sweet bread and cookies; it’s a convivial time to mingle with other guests.
For dinner, you can make reservations at al fresco Coconuts, indoor Ocean Echo (with many windows facing the water) or interior Royston’s, a steakhouse. We sat outdoors at Coconuts one night, where the menu includes several seafood dishes (I particularly liked the Bermudian rock fish), salads and meat entrees; the sweet potato bread pudding was a hit here, too. At Ocean Echo, guests on the meal plan choose an appetizer, soup or salad, then a main entree and dessert. Though the menu — which changes nightly — isn’t as comprehensive as Coconuts, we each found items to our liking; my vegetarian friend had some delicious Green Pea and Basil Risotto one night and I thought the Bermuda Onion Soup and Panfried Local Wahoo were quite good.
Great location on the beach: The small crescent-shaped beach at The Reefs is absolutely gorgeous; here, just sit on a chaise lounge under a pink-and-white-striped parasol, order a drink or a “light bite” from Coconuts (just a few steps away), and admire the view of waves crashing on the cliffs. If you’re feeling sporty, borrow complimentary kayaks and snorkel gear for use in the bay.
While the beach doesn’t necessarily invite long walks on the sand, a network of beachfront trails isn’t far away. From The Reefs walk about 10 minutes east toward the beach club belonging to the Fairmont Southampton, and you can hook into a string of Bermuda’s south beaches: famous Horseshoe Bay, Chaplin Bay, Stonehole Bay, Jobson’s Cove and Warwick Long Bay — this is a great, scenic way to walk off all the calories from your dinners at The Reefs!
Visitors to Bermuda cannot rent cars (for good reason — the streets are so narrow and curvy). But we can rent scooters, and a rental shop is right across the street from The Reefs. The public bus system is excellent, and bus stops are also convenient located on either side of the street in front of The Reefs (remember, buses will travel on the left side of the road).
From The Reefs, we took the bus east into Hamilton to eat lunch and go shopping one day (it was too stormy to lay on the beach, otherwise we might have stayed closer to the property). Another day we headed to the northwest point of the island to check out the Royal Naval Dockyard. Here we also shopped (don’t miss the Bermuda Arts Center), ate lunch (good sandwiches at Bone Fish Bar & Grill) and gawked at the two huge cruise ships docked there. (I also recommend checking out the glassblowing demonstration at Dockyard Glassworks and picking up free samples at the Bermuda Rum Cake Company.)
Also convenient to The Reefs is the Railway Trail – 22 miles of train tracks used to stretch from one end of Bermuda to the other. Today, it’s a path for hikers, joggers and bicyclists. Parts are paved, some are not; signs along the way point out interesting sights. It’s certainly a safe and scenic way to get some exercise in Bermuda (walking along the sides of the roads on which cars drive can be a little scary, as residents who know the roads take curves at a quick clip).
La Serena Spa: This intimate full-service spa at The Reefs has a couples’ suite for side-by-side massages. But the list of services is vast if you’d like to enjoy treatments on your own, then meet up at the comfortable relaxation lounge with chairs that face big windows with views of the ocean. (I loved the warm neck compress offered to me after my Signature Spa Ritual Massage.) Consider this array of massages: deep-tissue, sports, Thai, Shiatsu, aromatherapy, warm bamboo, synchronized (four hands!) and hot stone. Then there are facials (with Elemis products — an excellent line from Great Britain), body polishes and wraps. A must-visit during your stay at The Reefs!
For a romantic getaway in Bermuda, I don’t see how you could go wrong with The Reefs. The international staff is genuinely friendly and helpful, at this property that has been a favorite among visitors to Bermuda since 1947. Its modern updates, new condominium accommodations and fresh twists to classic island favorites on the restaurant menu make it indeed a recommend place to stay.
Thank you, The Reefs, for hosting my visit.