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Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort 3.0

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Tranquil marina setting
  • Self-contained apartments, suites, and townhouses -- many renovated
  • Residential-style layouts great for families and groups
  • Terraces and/or balconies with water views 
  • Two bars and restaurants
  • Two outdoor pools (one with swim-up bar)
  • On-site dive shop, fitness center, and tennis courts
  • On-site car, boat, and bicycle rental
  • Free shuttle service to beach and grocery store
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Not within walking distance of beaches, shops, or attractions
  • Some rooms remain unrenovated and outdated
  • Minimum stay required for maid service
  • Wi-Fi unreliable in some spots

Bottom Line

The 60-room Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Marina is a mid-range resort offering a mix of self-contained suites, apartments, and townhouses that sleep up to eight guests, attracting families and large groups. Many rooms have been renovated, some have whirlpool tubs, and they’re all spacious with kitchens or kitchenettes, outdoor settings, and harbor views. However, some rooms are dated and have yet to be renovated. There’s not much within walking distance, but there is a free shuttle to the beach and grocery store. The hotel offers two pools, two bars and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating, a fitness center, dive shop, and on-site car and boat hire. Guests appreciate the quiet atmosphere, but travelers seeking a marina base that’s closer to the beach, shops, and bars might want to consider the Pelican Bay Hotel.

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Scene

A mixed aesthetic blend of retro, contemporary, and island flavor -- draped in nautical views

Beyond its gated entrance, Ocean Reef’s eclectic aesthetic emerges from the get go. First there’s the 1960s-era yellow and white trimmed facade with a casual, colonial-esque entrance foyer featuring suspended propellor fans with chandelier-like lighting. Then there’s the bold blue hexagonal restaurant pavilion with its outdoor seating, as well as the Grecian-style main pool surrounded by loungers shaded by thatched umbrellas. The property unfolds via a long, bending street lined with townhouses in rich, neutral hues and individual driveways evocative of a suburban neighborhood. All elements are tied together by the marina, which frames the resort with shiny white fishing vessels and tall yachts, making for a rather nautical backdrop.

Past the entrance, the modern white and azure reception area comes as a contemporary surprise, and suggests some serious updates to the property are underway. Oceans Blue restaurant takes the modern theme in a funkier direction, with bright tropical artwork, a mother-of-pearl mosaic bar, and diner-like aluminum seating. The restaurant flows outside toward the main pool with a huge open-air dining and barbecue patio with a bright pink flamingo mural and enough seating for a hefty outdoor shindig. Esther’s (the other on-site eatery and bar) offers a more laid-back island vibe with broad-rimmed straw hats, beer cozies, and fish-shaped menus attached to its Caribbean coral, hut-like exterior. A pool neighbors each restaurant -- the Patio Pool quietly sits next to Esther’s, while the busier, larger main pool serves as a fitting outlook from Oceans Blue.

Location

On a channel, a short drive from the airport, shops, beaches, and attractions

Set on a long, bendy stretch of marina at the end of a no-through road, the Ocean Reef Resort & Yacht Club is a 15-minute drive from Grand Bahama International Airport, but there’s not much else in the immediate vicinity. The resort isn’t within walking distance of beaches, shops, or activities, so a car or bicycle (both available for hire on-site) may be required. The resort also offers a free shuttle service to the beach and grocery store. It’s a five-minute drive to Reef Course & Country Club as well as to Coral Beach. It’s eight minutes by car to both Silver Point Beach and Port Lucaya Marina & Marketplace -- Freeport’s main touristy hub of restaurants, bars, shops and local artisans.

Rooms

A range of residential-style layouts (many renovated) -- with water views and kitchens or kitchenettes

Guest rooms at the Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort ascend in size from a basic queen hotel-style room, to one-bedroom apartments, one- and two-bedroom suites, and two- or three-bedroom townhouses -- all of which feature kitchenettes or full-size kitchens, terraces or balconies with outdoor furniture and marina views, and lounge and dining areas. Room decor is somewhat generic, but the combination of vibrant blues and yellows with light-colored rattan furniture and glass tabletops feels fresh and coastal. Accommodating up to eight guests, townhouses feature heavier timber accents like formal dining tables and four-poster beds, and give the impression of private two-story residences complete with carports. 

Though some rooms have been renovated, others remain outdated. Renovated kitchens are beautifully put together with thick granite benches, timber cabinetry, and modern stainless steel appliances, while those that have not been renovated remain outdated with old-model appliances, plus some guests have experienced maintenance issues. All rooms have coffeemakers, safes, free Wi-Fi, and TVs, though they're older tube-style. Suites feature king bedrooms with giant whirlpool tubs parked in the corner (and privacy curtains), but the en-suite bathrooms are compact by comparison. All bathrooms feature hairdryers, towels, and free individual soaps. Travelers should request an updated room to avoid disappointment.

Features

A 50-slip marina, two pools, two restaurants and bars, dive shop, and tennis courts

For a small-scale resort, there’s plenty on offer at the Ocean Reef. The dominant feature is, of course, the 50-slip marina that accommodates yachts of up to 120 feet. On-site boat, car, and bicycle rental are available -- handy given the somewhat isolated setting. There’s a free shuttle service to the beach and grocery store, but it can fill up fast, so guests should get in early for a guaranteed spot. Guests should also be prepared for higher than expected grocery prices. 

Oceans Blue restaurant and Esther’s are both open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with menus featuring Western favorites alongside local specialties. There are two pools and both are surrounded by loungers and outdoor dining sets (as they each neighbor one of the restaurants). Shade-seekers should stick to the main pool for welcome shade offered by thatch umbrellas and the covered swim-up bar. The hot tub also adjoins the main pool. 

Outdoor activities include volleyball, tennis, mini-golf, and there’s a playground for kids. Guests can arrange diving and snorkeling at the on-site dive shop. Other activities include bingo, karaoke, and movies under the stars. Self-serve laundry facilities are available, and free Wi-Fi is provided throughout, but it can be patchy in some areas. There’s also a game room with a small library area, but it’s dark and dreary, so grabbing a book and heading to the pool makes more sense.

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Address

48-60 Bahama Reef Blvd., PO Box F-42695, Freeport, Caribbean

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