Travel Log | Classic Caribbean: A family affair in Bermuda and Nevis |

Classic Caribbean: A family affair in Bermuda and Nevis

Melanie Reffes

Jun 16, 2020


The Reefs Resort & Club in Bermuda is an island treasure with 62 rooms, suites and cottages

It’ a tale of 2 islands, 2 resorts and the Dodwell family at the helm. The Reefs Resort and Club in Bermuda and Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis are the treasured vacation choices for loyal fans worldwide. Reopening when the airports are in full operation, flights are scheduled and island protocols finalized, both resorts are readying to welcome guests.

Pretty in pink in Bermuda   

A fish-hook shaped string of 181 islands and islets with some so small there is only room for the birds that build their nests in the trees, the island measures just twenty-one square miles. Salt-in-the-air and sand-in-the-hair beaches are pink and there are more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. On the A-list for underwater explorers who snorkel and dive to see the shipwrecks that lie on the ocean floor, the island is also known for Bermuda shorts, Bermuda onions and homes that are painted in tropical pastel colors. With more than four centuries of history, novelist Mark Twain said it right when he noted, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”

A private beach and magical sunsets at The Reefs Resort & Club in Bermuda Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club   

Cliffside overlooking a pink sandy cove, The Reefs Resort & Club has been operated by the Dodwell family since 1972 and owned since 1983. With 62 ocean view guest rooms, suites and cottages, 4 restaurants and bars, infinity edge pool, private beach, 2 tennis courts, La Serena Spa and easy access to 7 golf courses, the  resort is picture-perfect for couples, families and multigenerational groups. “The number one thing our repeat guests tell us as the reason they return so often is they feel like they are at their home-away-from-home when they arrive, “said David Dodwell Jr, general manager, “also Bermuda is only 90 minutes from the majority of east coast cities, as well as the cleanliness, safety and friendliness of the island, is why Bermuda is high on their destination list.”

Ocean view infinity edge swimming pool at The Reefs Resort & Club in Bermuda Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club  

Rooms with a view

Poolside and Cliffside categories are spacious with patios or balconies, Junior Suites come with views of the Atlantic Ocean and step-down seating areas, soaking tubs in the bathrooms and connecting rooms available for big broods or gaggles of pals. With what might be the best views on the island, Point Suites sit pretty at the tip of the resort jutting out over the ocean. A hot tub on the balcony and a Jacuzzi in the bathroom seals the deal for the vacation you deserve.  Palatial with 2-bedrooms, Sandpiper Cottage is oceanfront with a living room, dining area and outdoor patio with a hot tub. With 3-bedrooms, Melody Cottage in a fragrant garden setting welcomes with a wet bar and covered porch. Overlooking a private beach, Club Condos are ideal for family holidays or special occasions and available for rental or fractional ownership.

Point Suites sit pretty at the tip of the resort Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club

Dine in or out  

Take your pick from dining on the beach or inside at Coconuts where ‘eating local ‘is the real deal and cocktails like the ‘Coconut Colada’ with a honey and toasted coconut rim and the island’s famous Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail are must-sips. Go the distance with dinner pour deux at the water’s edge where the Chef’s five-course meal is worth the splurge.  For an afternoon nibble, high tea is served daily.  Atop the rugged limestone cliffs with the beach below, Aqua Terra is the go-to for farm-to-table dining. Popular choices include grilled rockfish, fish chowder and Sunday brunch. For special occasions and private events, Royston’s Wine Roomwelcomes with bottles of fine wine housed in mahogany cabinetry.

Table for two Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club

Romantic dining on the sand Photo Credit Melanie Reffes

Out and about

Complimentary for guests, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and snorkeling gear are available. Also gratis for guests, play on 2 tennis courts, fitness center, entertainment in the lounge, a soak in the hot tub and laps in the freshwater infinity pool Ask the concierge to arrange golf, scuba, fishing, parasailing and horseback riding or book an excursion on a glass bottom boat or a day perusing the Bermuda Maritime Museum, Botanical Gardens or a day on one of the island’s many pink beaches.

Social distancing on a kayak Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club

A package deal

One-stop-shopping packages include ‘Romance’ that welcomes with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, dinner on the beach and drink vouchers for a Rum Swizzle and   ‘Perfectly At Ease ‘that comes with treatments at the only spa on the island that overlooks the ocean. For weddings, saying I Do on the pink beach or on the serene deck at Caso’s Point , is the stuff of ‘happy ever after’. For quiet time after the big day, lazy days in a hammock are couple-pleasers.

Lazy days in a hammock Photo Credit Melanie Reffes

Relax and renew

La Serena Spa is the only Elemis of London spa in Bermuda and where you’ll find the exclusive line of Elemis of London products and a myriad of massages like the Lime & Ginger Salt Glow. With 8 treatment rooms, spa suite for couples’ massages and its very own Moongate which signals good luck for couples, those on a mission unwind  in the aptly named ‘ relaxation room ‘. Open daily from 8am to 8pm, spa services also include body wraps, pedicures, manicures and non-surgical facelifts.


La Serena Spa is the only Elemis of London spa in Bermuda Photo Credit The Reefs Resort & Club

A storied past in Nevis

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis is the only beachfront plantation-turned-resort in the Caribbean Photo Credit Tina Thuell Photography 

The only beachfront plantation-turned-resort in the Caribbean, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on the northeastern side of the island has been owned by the Dodwell family since 1989.  With a storied past, the resorts history reads like a love story as the home of Fanny Nisbet who married British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson in 1787 after he visited the plantation. Fast forward to today and the resort is all about life in the slow lane and sunny days on the uncrowded beach.

Sips and snacks

Overlooking the pool and the beach, Sea Breeze Bar & Grill is where lunch is served alfresco at the water’s edge and popular snacks go the distance from West Indian roti wraps, spiny lobster sandwiches and the bet-you-can’t-eat-just-one Nisbet Crisps made with fried breadfruit, plantains and sweet potatoes. At Coconuts Restaurant, breakfast is divine with a shareable stack of coconut pancakes. Open air, the restaurant is poolside with a pretty gingerbread trim, bamboo chimes and views of the ocean.

Sea Breeze Restaurant Photo Credit Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

At Coconuts Restaurant, breakfast is divine with a shareable stack of coconut pancakes Photo Credit Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

For fine dining, the elegant Great House (circa 1778) salutes the regal Avenue of the Palms edged by palm trees that lead to the beach. Enjoy dinner indoors in one of the only air-conditioned restaurants on the island or by candlelight on the verandah.

Elegant fine dining at The Greathouse Photo Credit Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Avenue of the Palms is the top choice for a wedding Photo Credit Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

And to all a good night

On thirty acres, the seaside resort is home to 36 lemon-yellow wicker-furnished cottages built on the palm-fringed 18th-century sugar and coconut plantation. Upper Premier Junior Suites include a living room and an ocean view balcony that easily accommodates up to 3 grown-ups and 1 child over 11 years old. Similar in layout, Lower Deluxe Junior Suites are designed with an open patio that faces the ocean. There are 10 Deluxe Garden Suites in semi-detached cottages all with an enclosed porch, pull-out sofa bed and patio. The 14 Superior Rooms with a comfy bedroom are also in the private cottages.

Ocean view Deluxe Suites Photo Credit Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Romance and recreation

Marrying rustic with romance, weddings are popular on the palm-flanked great lawn or seaside on the beach. On-site you’ll find a fitness center, tennis court, croquet field, freshwater pool and hot tub. To keep the young ones entertained, activities run the fun gamut from beach cricket, sand castle building and crab racing to gingerbread baking and crafts sessions.   For an island chill-out, The Palms Spa is all about healthy healing and herbs grown on the island. Treatments use a cornucopia of oils and creams made from coconut, lemongrass, mint and jasmine.   Ask Guest Services to arrange a day trip to Nevis Peak, one of several historic Churches or the nearby golf course.

Nevis Peak is an active volcano and popular with hikers and photographers Photo Credit Nevis Tourism Authority

Cottle Church is the first Church in the Caribbean that allowed people of all races to worship together Photo Credit Melanie Reffes

Yes, you can make this at home

Named for Fanny Nisbet who married British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson in 1787 after he visited the plantation, Fanny Nisbet’s Mango Colada is a cocktail connoisseur’s guilty pleasure well worth the splurge.


2 oz. each of mango rum, mango puree and mango vodka

  1. oz. coconut cream
  2. oz.  Baileys Irish Cream
  3. oz.  pineapple juice


Blend the ingredients with ice. Pour in big glass and decorate with mango, orange slice and grated nutmeg. A cherry on top seals the deal.

Fanny Nisbet”s Mango Colada Photo Credit Tina Thuell Photography