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“Would not stay anywhere else” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments
2.5 of 5 Condominium   |   EEG Boulevard 88, Kralendijk, Bonaire   |  
Hotel amenities
Anderson, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Would not stay anywhere else”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

My 3rd stay at Belmar during the first week of March and our accomodations more than met our expectations. We rented a 3 BR unit on the second floor. Every room has a beautiful view of the Caribbean and there are two docks for easy access to the water. The pool is small but adequate. The rooms appeared to have been recently renovated and the apartment was very clean. The staff were all friendly and helpful. The location of Belmar on the south end is great for diving the southern dive sites but is still only a 5 minute drive to town. If you choose to stay here, try to book a ground floor unit. The walk up to the second floor gets tiresome, especially carrying dive equipment. I believe there is a dive locker for storage behind the office but we did not use it. Overall, an excellent choice for your Bonaire vacation.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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121 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

This was our first trip to Bonaire and I had a lot of trouble deciding between Belmar and Belafonte. Ultimately I chose Belmar because it's walking distance to a restaurant and because you can get 2 bedrooms there for less than Bela charges for one. Yes the furnishings aren't the best (black leather sofas) but I was impressed by the modern fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms, particularly the rain shower. The place was clean, bed comfy and kitchen well stocked for cooking in, which we did a lot of because Roomer has a limited menu and I didn't want to keep paying 19 bucks for wahoo. Some things like the blinds in the shower were broken, however, and we were never able to use the phone to call the front desk, but not a huge problem since we were steps from the office. They were able to call us. I was also very impressed that because we arrived so early, they had put some juice, croissants, muffins, cheese in our fridge at no extra charge when we arrived. We liked the cheese so much we bought more.

The two blonde ladies in the office (Alook -I'm spelling that wrong I'm sure, and the other whose name I didn't get) were very helpful despite my peppering them with questions. They helped me arrange tours and a car rental for a day and were very nice - the dive staff, not so much, but since I wasn't diving I just avoided talking to them or asking them anything after they made it pretty clear they would rather I didn't.

I liked how quiet it is, mostly Dutch or other Euro tourists - I think we were the only Americans - no kids and the swimming area off the dock was really nice, as opposed to the one at say, Divi, which is right next to a restaurant, smaller, more crowded and the edge of the water there is about as you'd excpect water to look that's near a restaurant. The snorkeling is also good at Belmar, though its better elsewhere on the island.

We also never had a problem with the no A/C in the living room issue. When we wanted coolness we just turned both bedroom ACs on to about 19 and things cooled off quickly, even after using the oven. There were mosquitoes in the condo daily but that's to be expected - I would maybe see 3 a day, not 'eaten alive' as some here have said. You just have to keep your doors closed and it's not a huge problem (some units seems to have screen doors, ours did not).

There were a few negatives but I'd call them minor - certainly none that would keep me from returning:

1. There was a mixup with our transfer from the airport. I had pre-paid and was told there'd be a car that said 'Belmar' or someone holding a Belmar sign. There was neither. We had to ask other taxis if there was a belmar driver there. He wasn't expecting us, didn't have our name or room key and had no idea which room we were in. When we arrived at Belmar at close to 6am he walked around a bit (we didn't see a security guard) and finally found a letter to us from management and the key to our room.

We stopped using this driver after a series of bad experiences with him that culminated in a loud argument. You can email me if you want the name. He and his wife are the preferred taxi for Belmar - his wife is great but alas we only had her as a driver twice. Anyway, the hotel made good on this so all was well.

2. Dingy bathroom towels. Honestly this would be the one thing that would make me hesitant to return or I'd just bring my own. We could not believe that they actually give guests these off-white, on their last legs and often clearly stained towels. Many had what looked like faded coffee stains. I never felt they were clean and didnt put them near my face as a result. The beach towels seemed in better shape except a few had bleach stains. I'd be embarrassed for a guest in my home to see towels like this, so not sure why they don't toss out stained towels and replace them.

The moisturizer was also odd - it had an off chemical smell and I noticed it's full of parabens, so again if this is an issue bring your own. I wasn't expecting fancy soaps though, as I would have at Belafonte.

3. The tile floor gets very slippery when wet but we just put used towels down, problem solved.

4. The stairs to the upstairs units were curvy and slick when wet with a thick, hard to hold bannister, so we were glad we upgraded to a ground floor 2-bedroom.

5. Smoking is apparently allowed in the condos and we could smell it in the interor bathroom shower each night (never smelled it in the second shower). It's pretty gross to smell another guest's smoke in your own shower even with all doors and windows closed. Oddly but thankfully we never smelled it anywhere else in the condo. They seriously need to consider making this a smoke-free property, at least in doors.

Overall this is a really good value for the amount of space you get, a good quiet location and beaufiul view of the sea and rest of the island from every room and the common areas, so I'm glad we chose Belmar over Belafonte. I see some here have complained that Belmar caters to divers, but the whole island does. If that's a problem I would suggest going to a different island, bc Bonaire only has 2 beaches that I'd consider really nice (as in sandy and fairly large - Ti-amo (aka airport beach) and Klein Bonaire. Spice / Eden beach is okay but there's a concrete wall so you dont just walk from sandy beach into the water - access is from a ladder. However, if you snorkel toward the pier you'll see some great stuff. Lac is nice but crowded and really too shallow for those who want to swim, and the snorkeling isn't so good there. Pink beach doesn't exist anymore - it's just white coral after the hurricane.

A few other things to point out:

Food - Other than Roomer we only ate lunch out at restaurants. Everywhere I went, the only fish options were tuna salad or wahoo. I would say the food is average on the island, definitely not great. Zeit is a good spot in town for lunch; Divi's restaurant was surprisingly tasty (prob best wahoo I had on the island). The restaurant at Lac bay was basically convenient but not very good - far better at Spice beach club.

Grocery - Van den Tweel is far superior to Warehouse - bigger, nicer, cleaner, brighter and far more options. But they are very close on the same street so you can check out both easily. Try some of the cheeses and croissants are delicous.

Car Rental - Do NOT use Budget. I only used them because AB was out of cars other than a very expensive Jeep. I only wanted the car 1 day. Budget tried to give me a piece of crap old car with a half flat tire and no seatbelt. She told me to go to the gas station and they'd fill the tire there for free. I asked if they had any other cars and was told no. Clearly this was a lie because when I then said okay then I dont want a car at all, a shiny new-seeming Terios suddently appeared. Then when I returned the car, a different worker tried to charge us more than I had been told, in writing, that the total would be. They finally gave us 15% off to settle the issue.

The reason to use AB is because they offer full insurance with NO deductible that includes theft damage. There is apparently a vandalism/rental car theft problem on the island, so this is important. Budget, Hertz and a few others I researched had $200 to $300 deductibles for any damage, even not your fault, and Budget didn't cover theft damage at all.

Taxis - for us, taxis turned out to be a cheaper option except for the one day when we toured the entire southern end and then went to Lac, and then to the grocery store. But for other days when we were making one or 2 stops, taxis cost less. Example - we went to airport beach, then to Eden beach from Belmar and back. Total was $36 - far less than what you'd pay for a car for the day. While a trip to Lac and back from Belmar is high by cab $50, this is still less than a daily car rental (based on prices I was quoted) when you include taxes and insurance costs). But if you plan to hit several dive spots in a day, of course you'll do better with a car rental.

Airport - It's tiny and on Saturday mornings 2 flights leave within an hour of each other - one to Newark, one to Houston. It takes eons to get your ticket and you're standing outdoors in line even though we had no bags to check (no kiosks for self service). We waited an hour at least and people who'd been before told us it's always like that. So my point is when the hotel tells you you need to get there 2 hrs before your flight, you actually do. We arrived at 5am for a 7am flight and were midway in the line. Belmar is less than 10 minutes from the airport so don't, as I wrongly did, assume that because it looks far on the map that Belmar is super far from things. You could actually walk from Belmar to Belafonte. Everything's rather close by.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

This was our 4th trip to Bonaire and we've settled on Belmar as our favorite spot to stay! Their location is great, especially since we prefer the southern dive sites. The rooms are large, well stocked and all have an ocean view with balcony. The staff is wonderful - professional, attentive and fun. We've already booked for October 2013 and expect to keep coming back!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Massachusetts
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

We just returned from the most enjoyable week at Belmar. Whether it's dive courses, dive sites, finding fresh fish or recommendations on just about anything regarding Bonaire, the team at Belmar (Chrissie, Alejandro, Daan and Mariska) couldn't get any better. We've been on many boat dives in the US and Bermuda and none will compare to diving Klein Bonaire with Daan and Alejandro - they rock (the picture is a French Angelfish that swam up within a foot of my husband's mask)! Whether you want to dive nonstop or just relax, you can't beat Belmar for a vacation. Can't wait to go back in May....

Room Tip: There isn't a bad room - they are all oceanfront!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Highampton
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012 via mobile

This is the fifth time we have stayed at Belmar Apartments, the fourth in the magnificent apartment 6, which has been really nicely refurbished. In our opinion this is the only place to stay on Bonaire. It's perfectly located outside the main town of Kralendijk and only a few minutes from the airport. The diving at Belmar, on the unofficially named Sara's Smile house reef, is world class (named after Sara Brandsen, a former Belmar dive guide & instructor who sadly passed away in 2011)

The wonderful thing for divers on Bonaire is the diving freedom. None of the usual hectic guided diving in other well known dive resorts and this is fully reflected by the diving at Belmar.

I was intrigued by the negative feedback in some of the comments and can't agree with any of it. We have always found the service, cleanliness and staff to be excellent. The owners have obviously recognised the need to refurbish the fabric of the apartments and repainted the building and tidied up the pool and pool surround.

We can't speak highly enough of Belmar Apartments and wouldn't dream of staying anywhere else on the island.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duluth
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We also usually stay at Buddy dive, have been staying there for more than a decade. This was the first time at belmar, as we decided late, and buddy's was booked.

Pro's: Belmar very quiet compared to buddy's. nice apartment with large balcony looking to ocean. Stayed in #16 , very nice, modern. Reef off resort very nice. We had no trouble w/ getting tanks, but it was off season. Accommodations much nicer than buddy's. The dive staff was very nice as were the office people.

Con's: No boats. The dock was taken out the first day we were there, because of waves, and they promised it would be put back in, but was still missing when we left. No restaurant nearby. There is one across the street at Roomer's hotel, but it was closed off and on, very slow service and food was so-so. Electricity went out several times when we were there, buddy's has there own generator, Belmar does not.

So I think if you are going to shore dive only and eat breakfast and lunch in, it's a great place to stay and very relaxing. If you want to boat dive/Klein and not cook, this is not the best option.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

First trip to Bonaire, spent a week at Belmar. Very comfortable apartments, lovely deck or balcony on each room facing the water. I did nearly half my dives off the Belmar dock; the reef right there is beautiful.

Room Tip: Very easy access to the water from ground floor rooms.
See more room tips
Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

Address: EEG Boulevard 88, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Location: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 35 Specialty Lodging in Kralendijk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Belmar Oceanfront Apartments 2.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A small and intimate resort with a colorful garden and of course, spectacular ocean views wrapped around terraces and balconiesTake leave of your everyday stress and step into an exclusive resort that refreshes your body and soul!Now we have made it even easier, try our Drive, Dive and Stay packages and Surf Away Packages. Or any one of our three diving packages - unlimited shore diving, 1-tank boat dives, or 2-tank boat dives. Not to worry we have non-diver rates as well.Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Bonaire offering first class accommodations to scuba divers, sun-seekers, snorkelers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, and especially the "get away from it all" vacationer. Enjoy shore diving from our resort anytime of day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Hotel Bonaire
Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Bonaire/Kralendijk

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