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“Just a little bit of paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Paya Bay Resort

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Paya Bay Resort
Main Highway, East End, 00000, Honduras   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 41 Hotels in Roatan
Washington, D.C.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Just a little bit of paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2007

We have been going to the island since 1998 (before hurricane Mitch) and have seen a lot of changes to this little island paradise but what has not changed is the hospitality and warmth of Paya Bay.

Our last stay on Roatan was from 2/10-2/24 and we stayed at Paya Bay for the first half of our trip. We first arrived at Paya Bay in 1998 on our honeymoon and stayed in Room #4 as has been the case for all of our trips except this one. On this trip, we stayed in Room #5 because we had our 13 month old daughter and needed a little larger shower for her.

The cliff rooms (1-4) are high above crashing waves. They face north so, from the balcony you can see a bit of the sunrise to the east and sunset to the west. The rooms are private and comfortable with smaller bathrooms and showers but have the wonderful advantage of over water views and crashing waves. They are made of traditional island wood and have wood floors with very high vaulted ceilings that keep them airy and comfortable. They recently added air conditioning to all the rooms which we have not needed in the past but can see how some guests would. We secretly missed Room #4 on this visit because it has always felt like “our” little hide-away.

Rooms 5-8 face north-east and provide a fantastic view of Big Beach and sunrises. There is lush vegetation below your balcony so there is a lot of privacy in these rooms too. Most offer king size beds that are firm and comfortable and the rooms are LARGE. They each have a private balcony with seating area inside the room and larger bathrooms with approximately 4.5’x 3’ tiled showers. We had good water pressure and warm water throughout our stay which is a lot to be said for such a wonderfully remote piece of paradise. Make sure to let the hot water run for a little bit before you decide there isn’t any ;). As with the Cliff Rooms, these have hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings with private balconies. These rooms are made of masonry and we found them to be very insulating (cooler and quite) – important to us and neighbors since we had a 13 month old. We really like our room, a LOT.

All the rooms are decorated simply and do not take away from the beauty of the property.

To provide some context - We own property on Roatan (on Western tip of the island) and Paya Bay (far Eastern side of the island) is one of the most beautiful spots on Roatan. The pictures on the web really do not do it justice. Every time we take pictures we always comment on how it’s just not as nice as in real life. Guests have access to all the beaches and surrounding property and if you like quiet, secluded, natural settings, this is the place to stay.

Little Beach is our favorite spot as it provides a very private manageable beach. This time, we found the water to be the calmest and clearest of all our stays. The water was CRYSTAL clear and no waves - similar to West Bay (Roatan). Weather has a lot to do with how clear the water is and how easy it is to swim around and this trip provided water calm enough to put our 13 month old in her ‘floaty’ raft to play. A lot of sea life could be seen from snorkeling off Little Beach - a lot to the left at Alligator Nose Point and by the point below the restaurant.

Great food – lobster salad was wonderful. Note - For guests that are diving, they do ask for your lunch preference after breakfast before the morning dive so that it is ready when you return. If you are not a diver, just let your server know and you can order whenever you’d like. Breakfast was served buffet style which is different from our previous stays but in general, they had a wide selection food. If you have a special request, let them know. They will do what they can to accommodate you.

Tea, coffee, and bottled water are always available (self serve) at the restaurant and bottled water is provided to all the rooms in the refrigerators. They provide fresh, in season, fruit juice based on what is available during specific times of the year – the watermelon was great!

One thing I did miss was Tom’s flair for decorating my welcome drinks. The drinks were still just as tasty but I think I got used NOT being able to see my coconut because of all the flowers he put on it. They were each a work of art!

What can we say? Lurlene and her family are some of the kindest people we’ve met. They have always made us feel welcome and tired to provide whatever we’ve needed during our stays. I will say that the comments about feeling like you are staying with family are really true. That’s why we keep coming back to this little place even when we have a lot to do on the western end of the island. It’s a place to decompress and relax. The staff is always around but never in the way. The owners are always on the property and able to help with any extras you need including car rental or suggestions where to go etc. Tom is always happy to take guests on snorkel trips (weather permitting – trust them on this) and his enthusiasm is magnetic. In addition to Tom involvement, Sem and Da Vinci, more McNab family members, are taking over the day to day operations for the resort and allowing their parents more time to rest and hang out with guests. We look forward to seeing them on our return trips and to see how some of the plans for the resort are implemented. We are confident that they will continue the same hospitality and peaceful escape that Paya Bay currently provides.

We hope this helps anyone thinking about visiting this great, out of the way, vacation spot. The property, the family and the tranquility makes this place VERY unique and a place we will continue to visit year after year.

  • Liked — The natural beauty, the owners, the tranquility
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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261 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
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English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2007

We stayed at Paya Bay Feb 10-17th and had a wonderful time. We had not stayed at a resort this small before and I was a little apprehensive of what to expect, but the best description I can think of is that it was like visiting relatives that you don't know well or have never met before--and you find that you like them! We both thought that this is the first time on any of our vacations that we felt we should write a 'thank you' card when we got home!
Our room was fabulous, large and clean, with beautiful views of the big beach and hills to the east. The food was consistenly good, although some meals were better than others. They have a menu, but usually you just have whatever the chef is preparing that meal, which in most cases is fish or seafood. The lobster and red snapper were wonderful! The evening meals often were not served until after 7pm, which seemed a little late to us, but maybe that was just us.
All the staff are friendly and cheerful. Elsa was especially nice, as was Fordy. Lurlene and Mervin, the proprietors, are wonderful people. They were born and raised on the island and their description of life there before modern conveniences, like roads and electricity were very interesting. Their son DaVinci has recently returned to help run the resort, after living and going to school in the US for several years. He will no doubt be bringing some changes to the place, all for the good I'm sure.
The resort has recently had some staff changes at the hotel and the Dive Shop; recently arrived included Ben,a dive instructor, and Chuck, who is running the dive shop. Ben was wonderfully patient with us as we got used to all of our dive equipment and skills again (we hadn't been diving in a couple of years) and is very (appropriately) concerned with safety. We sat with Chuck for dinner several nites and he brings with him alot of good experience. (If you want a good laugh, ask him about his experience with the monkey on the water taxi at Oakridge!) We had decided to just do a couple of dives while we were there and just relax the rest of the time. The diving was beautiful, lots of canyons and valleys to meander thru. There is no drift to speak of, so it was relatively easy diving. The rest of the time we snorkeled in front of the resort and off the west point, which was also quite nice, with lots to see. 'Lil Beach' was the best place to hang out for the day. There were a couple of days that we were the only ones there--like our own private beach! The sand fleas and mosquitos are pretty fierce there ( I even came prepared with 3 different kinds of bug spray) and you just have to admit that you will get bit up, to some degree. My advice: take anti-itch or hydrocortisone cream with you as well.
We did rent one of the resort's cars for a day to see the rest of the island (Lurlene will also arrange a driver for you if you want). The one road on the island is a bit treacherous and filled with pot holes. We found the Iguana Farm and Carambola Botanic Gardens interesting. We traveled to West End and West Bay where all the 'activity' is, and it really made us appreciate where we were staying--we couldn't wait to get back of our remote, quiet, relaxing part of the island!
This resort is not for everyone. If you need lots of activities, night life, loud music, or if you are an avid diver that needs 4 dives a day, night diving and shore diving to be happy, then you may want to look at other accomodations. For us, even though some things may not have always been quite perfect at Paya Bay Resort, they were always interesting, and we came home relaxed and happy after our week in paradise.
Brad and Liz Boswell

Stayed February 2007
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Desert, CA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2007

This place is amazing! I couldnt have asked for a more perfect honeymoon. The beaches are better than any I have ever been to, and I have been to lots. The water is crystal clear. The snorkeling is great. Better than Hawaii. Warm water. Very little currents. Check out our pictures. Highlight of our trip was the tour of the islands in the boat guided by Tom. The Pigeon Keys are one of the most beatiful places I have ever been to. It is so perfect that you feel like you are dreaming. We had the little island to ourselves. Thanks for the great tour Tom. There are sand flies on the beaches. They aren't real bad, but they are there. Bring bug spray and your fine. The food is good. We had Lobster for dinner twice! For lunch I would have a lobster, conch, or shrimp burger. So good! This place is great if you love seafood. Fresh juices are made.( Papaya, watermelon, pineapple.....) We rented a car for one day and went and saw the rest of the island. We did all the touristy things to do like the Iguana farm, swim with dolphins, carambola gardens, west end, and west bay. We were ready to get back to Paya Bay at the end of the day. Service at paya bay is very good. Whatever we wanted we got without question. A very personable, family run resort. We met some very nice people while there. We met one couple that was there for like there 8th time. That tells you how great of a place Paya Bay is. All said and done, we spent around $3,500 for the whole trip. That includes flight from CA, the resort and food, and all the tourist things. I couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon for the price. I would highly recommend this resort. Thank you Paya Bay for the wonderful time and making our dream honeymoon come true.
-Colby and Sarah

  • Liked — The Beach
  • Disliked — No sancks like candy bars or chips to buy.
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2007

My wife and I visited Paya Bay the week of Feb 4 and had a truly fantastic time on all fronts. The area in which the resort is located is of course breath taking, the ocean typically Carribean, the resort staff genuine and available, the dive staff all had an interest in helping to make the experience memorable and the dive instructors are exceptional guys...thanks again Ben and Chuck! We are by no means avid divers but certainly enjoy the activity and found the corrals and the entire dive experience to be a great time in the water. Wildlife encountered included eels, nurse shark, lobsters, crabs, scorpian fish, porcupine fish, drum fish, a sea horse and more. The corral canyons and fingers are spectacular on the north side. During the four days that we dove, the wind was a bit of an issue but apparently this can be somewhat of a seasonal factor...it did not detract from our experience in any meaningful way. Yup, the power does go out periodically...on the whole island. We did not run the a/c at night in any case as we were very comfortable without it and were never bothered by insects in the rooms. The rooms are very quaint...not luxurious but they are great! Food was fantastic and you gotta love the Cook on duty (thanks for the extra pounds Madeline). There is definately a flavour of typical Honduras/Central America in the resort but it only added to our experience. Take some time to visit with staff and with people who live in the area, genuinely nice folks. We cannot relate to comments of sick dogs running around the resort. The only dog around was Togo who accompanied us on our walks and was a pleasure to have around. Granted, there are hundreds of dogs on the island that ought to be euthanized, but they were not resident at Paya Bay. This not a typical resort type experience...if you are looking for the standard North American 5 star experience, this is not it. It is perfectly removed, perfectly understated, and wonderfully staffed...exactly what we were looking for. I would have to put this among one of the best holidays my wife and I have ever enjoyed together. You will not be doing the limbo in the pool at 2:30 in the afternoon but you will the love the view with a Salva Vida (cerveza of choice) at your side! Highly recommended experience. Vaughn and Carol Penner

  • Liked — See review
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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2 reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2007

Before I get started I would like to note that I have traveled to Costa Rica 4 times and knew not to expect 1st world standards in Honduras. That being said...

This resort is vastly overrated and overpriced at $270 a night. For a lot less money you can stay at a much nicer hotel in Roatan (see my review of Barefoot Cay). I stayed at this resort for the beginning of my honeymoon so I was looking for relaxation, romance and some quiet time with my new hubbie.

Our problems with the hotel were numerous. I have to admit we got off to a bad start before we even arrived. The reservations desk cannot and will not help you with your travel arrangements. They took our reservation and charged us for a night at the hotel they knew or should have known we could not use. We were coming from our wedding Costa Rica, which we told them and it turned out that there was no possible way to reach Roatan on the day we had booked. Note to future travelers: it is nearly impossible to reach Roatan from the mainland on holidays (of which January 1 is considered a major one in Honduras)! The worse part about it was that they were rude about the whole thing, didn't offer to give us a free drink, meal anything in compensation.

That being said we were prepared to set that aside and enjoy the days we had left, but we had a hard time of that despite the one good thing I can say about the resort, it is very beautiful there.

The rooms were in relatively poor condition, especially the bathroom. Our mirror in the bathroom was is desperate need of replacement and the toilet didn't flush well. The shower had crappy water pressure and no hot water when the power went out, which is often. The worst part is there are no screens and there are of course lots of bugs around, this being a tropical island, so you are dependent on using the air conditioner or wearing deet to bed (not very romantic). We stayed in a cliff room. The air conditioner is noisy and drowns out the amazing sound of the ocean crashing on the rocks below. Worse though, is that the power goes out at least once a day on the island and while the hotel does have a back up generator, it does not always choose to use it. One night the power went out at 10pm and they did not turn on the generator until 6 am, leaving us with a choice between being eaten alive by bugs, putting on deet head to toe, or trying to sleep in a smoldering room. My husband barely slept that night. The night before, the first night the power went out, we were given no flashlight, or functioning lantern and the hotel has tons of steps. I tripped and fell trying to go to the restaurant for dinner and broke or severely stubbed my toe. Their reaction was one of minor concern, and when we left to go clean up my toe in our room they had canceled our dinner order so that when we returned they had little to offer us in the way of dinner.

There are sad looking dogs roaming the property so animal lovers beware, your heart will be torn to bits. The hotel staff claimed one of the dogs belonged to the cook and did not seem to care that he was covered in sores and bugs, could barely walk and was skin and bones.

The two beaches are very nice. We preferred Lil beach as it is more private and has more beach to it. The waves are a bit rough though so it is not possible to swim in the ocean or go snorkeling off the beach unless you are a very strong swimmer. The chairs on the beach are wood though, so bring a few towels because they are not comfortable to sit on. This side of the island is windier so the sand fieas are fewer, but they are around.

We only went snorkeling once because that was all we were able to arrange through the hotel. We were put off twice about going to barbareta island and ended up just being able to go near the hotel, where the snorkeling was pretty decent.

The staff was pretty nice, but seemed unhappy to be working there. They made me a nice cake for my birthday and sang to me. Fordie always has a smile on his face and tries to make your meal enjoyable. Be prepared that the staff will make promises it can't keep and ask you directly for tips, which is not that surprising for the location, but was not our experience at other hotels in Honduras.

Meals were pretty good. The food is pretty greasy, but very tasty. Try the fish turnovers, lobster tails, shrimp with garlic and the dough fritters, they also have great rice and beans. The service for meals is a bit strange. We were often asked to order dinner at lunch, lunch at breakfast etc. What you order may take up to an hour to arrive and what you order may not arrive at all. Often we were told things were not available, which is understandable because of the location of the resort and didn't bother us so much. Breakfast is a bit dissappointing compared to the other meals. We were only allowed to order breakfast off the menu once. The rest of the time if we got there after 8:30 am the food they decided to make that day is out as a buffet and is pretty cold and stale by then. If you're on the meal plan they charge you for all drinks except iced tea and lemonade.

In summary, while the location is very pretty, we did not enjoy our stay that much and would not recommend this hotel to other honeymooners.

Stayed January 2007
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2007

My husband and I have just returned from a week at Paya Bay. The resort and people are fabulous -- we have never experienced such incredible service. The owners Lurlene, Merven and their family have set a high standard. We had originally planned to stay for 3 days, but it quickly turned to 5 days and then to 7 days. We did not want to leave.

The setting is beautiful, the private beach is stunning with the warm blue water and white sand. It was great to wake up to the waves crashing against the shore. The best rooms are on the bluff - Room # 1,2,3 or 4. The other rooms are also good, but those were our favorite.

The drawback for some which was an advantage to us -- is that the resort is a bit remote, away from the main drag. It was utterly private with one restaurant on the premises. The food was DELICIOUS -- Charlie and Marlene are wonderful cooks and will go out of their way to "tickle" your tastebuds.

This was the perfect get-away for us -- no TV, radio, newspapers, cellphones -- just lots of books, boardgames, swimming, diving, snorkelling, eating and sunning.

Overall this was definitely the highlight of our trip to Honduras and the islands.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2006

Since Paya Bay has already received so many deservedly fine reviews, I won't bother repeating what's already been said. Here's what I think hasn't been said: (1) at night, there are no other lights on the beach, which makes for a dazzling, star-filled, Milky Way nighttime sky that you can gaze up at from one of the lounge chairs on the deck that is built on a cliff jutting out into the sea, so that it has a 360 degree view; (2) though I loved the grilled seafood, my wife, a vegetarian, also ate quite well; (3) we're not divers, we snorkelled. Tom took us out as much as we wanted to, we visited several sites, saw plenty of coral and fish. No, it was not quite as intense as Belize, but more than enough to satisfy; (4) though technically there are no private beaches in Honduras, Paya Bay's beach is private because you'd have no idea it was there unless you were staying at the hotel (or read about it, I guess). It was the perfect secluded beach for sunbathing, swimming, reading all day. (5) I was told to bring 30% deet for the no-see-ums. I never used it. Instead, I used the all-natural spray sold at the resort, which kept them away.

I feel Caribbean relaxed all over again just thinking about the place. And though we tend to be a little anti-social when we're on vacation, we really did enjoy meeting two other couples, one from Spain, one from Atlanta. It's not enforced socialization, though. It's up to you. We loved it and would gladly return.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Tips/Secrets — Take one of the cliff rooms, especially if you're just a couple. Clean. Specatcular view. Slightly weather-beaten, but what else could they be, given the location.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paya Bay Resort

Address: Main Highway, East End, 00000, Honduras
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Roatan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Paya Bay Beach Resort is Roatan's Ultimate Escape. Located on the pristine east end, it is Roatan's premier boutique hotel. Perched atop a bluff with private beaches on each side, Paya Bay features 10 uniquely designed rooms and an amazing restaurant. Paya Bay's on-site dive operation, Dive Roatan, specializes in underwater tours and training for one to ten divers. Paya Bay also offers: flats fishing, boat tours, hiking and of course relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paya Bay Hotel Roatan
Paya Bay Beach Dive Hotel
Paya Bay Beach Dive Resort
Paya Bay Resort Roatan, Honduras - Bay Islands

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