Reefs sets out to lavish attention on newlyweds

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SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- What do honeymooners want? Luxurious accommodations, a romantic setting and plenty of privacy are typical answers. But finding a destination and a resort that offer all of that can be challenging.

Bermuda, with its pink-sand beaches and sculptured shoreline, is a perennially popular choice. And the Reefs, one of the island's small, cottage-style resorts, has been polishing its reputation for romance by offering a honeymoon package that includes a gourmet candlelight dinner for two at the property's secluded beach on the south shore.

The Reefs' setting alone seems designed to weaken the knees. The salmon-pink cottages perch on the cliffs above Christian Bay, offering views of the rugged, windswept coast and of the resort's private beach below.

The rooms are just as attractive, with king-size beds, plush bathrobes and views of the Atlantic. Some suites have Jacuzzi tubs as well as outside patios with hot tubs.

Service is attentive, and the staff seasoned -- many have worked at the resort for more than 20 years.

"Our staff really goes that extra step to make a couple feel welcome," said the Reefs' general manager, Neal Stephens, who was named Bermuda's Hotelier of the Year in 2003.

"We're a small resort -- only 65 suites, rooms and cottages -- so the staff is able to give more attention to guests than a larger property can," Stephens said.

The Reefs Beach Club, as it was first called, opened in 1947 in Southampton Parish as the first cabana-style beach resort in Bermuda.

The resort has been expanded and renovated over the years, but it has maintained its historical Bermudian charm while adding the modern features today's visitors to the island expect.

The resort goes all out for honeymooners. The special treats begin as soon as the couple arrives: A bottle of champagne is chilling in their room so they can celebrate the beginning of their romantic escape in private. A special gift bag also is included.

In addition, on a night of the couple's choice, the resort arranges the gourmet dinner for two on a secluded area of the beach.

The Reefs' honeymoon package also features a private, four-hour excursion in a Boston Whaler vessel to explore the island's secluded inlets and coves. Guests can bring along a chef-prepared gourmet lunch.

A couple takes in the view from the infinity pool at the Reefs in Bermuda. Honeymooners can enjoy the resort's many amenities. In addition to its private beach, the Reefs has a freshwater infinity pool, two all-weather tennis courts, a fitness center and a spa that offers Thai massages among its treatments.

The Reefs is nearly as well-known for its food as for its accommodations. The property's restaurants have been voted among the best in the Carib-bean, Bahamas and Bermuda by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

The island's only small resort hotel with three dining venues during high season, the Reefs' Clubhouse restaurant offers classic fare with a twist, such as rack of lamb crusted with sundried tomato tapenade.

A sensual beachfront location and spicy Caribbean food have earned Coconuts the Best Place to Fall in Love award in the annual "Best of Bermuda" contests. At the Ocean Echo Terrace Grill, southwestern cuisine is served under the stars.

The resort also has two bars, the Clubhouse Lounge (where tea is served daily) and the Sand Bar on the beach.

Guests can spend an afternoon wandering the grounds, but more adventurous pursuits are available for those inclined to leave the property.

Three golf courses are located within five minutes of the Reefs. Guests also can go scuba diving, snorkeling, sport fishing and boating. Mopeds and bikes can be rented for around-the-island sightseeing jaunts.

Honeymoon packages include daily breakfast, afternoon tea and gourmet dinners in one of the resort's restaurants.

Per-couple rates for the six-night honeymoon package (available May 1 to Oct. 25) range from $3,500 for poolside rooms to $4,000 for premium rooms. Prices for suites range from $5,190 for the Atlantic Suite to $6,090 for the Point Suite. The Ocean Front Cottage is $5,600 for six nights.

Additional nights are available upon request. The package must be booked 21 days prior to arrival. Roundtrip airport transfers are included. Agent commission is 10%.

For more information, call (800) 742-2008 or visit www.thereefs.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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