The Reefs Resort and Club has its own private beach. It's worth pausing here to savor that thought: Private. Beach.
Like everything else about The Reefs, what the beach lacks in size it makes up for in proportion and form: a couple-hundred yards of powdery, well-kept sand backed by the cliffs on which the hotel really does perch. The color of the sand is a matter of some debate, and whether you view it as pink, pink-hued, apricot, or even sun-dappled beige depends largely on where you fall on the marketing Rorschach test. Either way, it's beautiful.
The water is safe for swimming, and complimentary kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and snorkeling equipment are available—the latter a must if you want to explore the reefs just offshore for which the hotel is named. A word of warning: Bermuda's waters are home to Portuguese men o'war, so keep an eye out. They are most likely to be blobbing around during spring or early summer, especially after a storm or heavy winds.
Staff are on hand to set up sun loungers and serve drinks and food from Coconuts, the restaurant and bar located on the beach. Towels and changing rooms are available; all you need are your slip-slap-slops, your book, and a willingness to relax and be pampered.
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Infinity Pool, Infinite Pleasure
While The Reefs Resort and Club does have two pools, only one is available to hotel guests; the other is reserved for members of The Reefs Club. No matter: The hotel pool is small but perfectly formed, a kidney-shaped saltwater infinity pool looking out over the Atlantic. This is the perfect place to float away your cares while gazing out over the soothing vastness of the ocean. If you're there during spring, keep an eye out for whales: Thousands of humpback whales pass by each year on their annual migration.
Do also watch out for the raised bench in the pool that separates the main part of the pool from the "viewing gallery"—it can be as treacherous as any of the country's reefs, and many a swimmer (ok, me) has put to ground on it chest-first. Also, forget about getting any exercise here—the pool's not big enough, and besides, you're on vacation.
Floaters who decide they want a proper swim should head down to the beach, just a few minutes away. The less active can hop into the adjacent hot tub or lounge beside the pool with a drink. Towels are provided.
La Serena Spa at The Reefs Resort & Club offers a range of massage treatments, but the one that really stands out is the Warm Bamboo massage. Now, you might not think the phrases "poked with wooden stick" and "blissful relaxation" go together, but they really do.
The therapist uses a light, warm massage oil and applies pressure using a mixture of hands, elbows, and smooth bamboo rods of different sizes. The key is that these bamboo rods have been warmed up, and as they glide over your muscles that combination of heat with smooth but firm pressure lets you feel your knots of tension melting away. At first it can be difficult to tell where hand ends and bamboo begins, but as you tune into the process you notice how your body responds slightly differently to the different forms of touch.
The Warm Bamboo massage can be light and relaxing or really dig in deep, so discuss with your therapist what you want. Either way, you'll finish feeling like you're wrapped in glowing clouds, and though neither the 60- or 90-minute options are cheap, they are worth it.
The biggest draw of Sandpiper cottage at The Reefs Resort & Spa is the private balcony overlooking the Atlantic, complete with . . . drumroll . . . private hot tub.
Not just a hot tub, or a hot tub overlooking the ocean—but a private hot tub overlooking the ocean right outside your back door. While there's no one to serve you drinks—unless you're really nice to your cottagemates—it's not like you have far to waddle to reach your private stash of rum.
The only downside is that when you need to cool down, the hotel's pool is a five-minute walk away, and wandering the streets of Bermuda in only a swimming costume is considered bad form.
That's a minor inconvenience, though, and this hot tub was the perfect start and end to each of our days on Bermuda. It may even justify the sticker shock of renting your own hotel cottage in paradise.