Reviews are by definition, highly subjective and are strongly influenced by what your expectations are and where you have been before.
My wife and I are in our early 30s and have traveled to AI locations over 20 times, rarely in extremely luxurious but never in less than a 4 stars. We've stayed at some places I'd qualify as excellent.
The Bananarama and Roatan itself however score 11 on a scale of 10! Never have we come back from a trip and felt that way - We needed to visit this place again, and ASAP.
Roatan is a beautiful island and the beach in West Bay certainly ranks high among the most beautiful I've had a chance to visit. The Bananarama sits directly on this beach.
There are tons of excellent reviews out there so here are the outstanding points that, to us, made the Bananarama our new home away from home:
Never have we cared much for this aspect on our trips, in fact it ranked pretty low on our list of important stuff to look for. Our trip in Roatan changed that - Having genuinely friendly and efficient staff makes a world of difference. In many upper scale resorts you'll have great service but rarely will you experience that true sense of "We're being nice because we want to, not because we are forced to". At the Bananarama, people are themselves, they work hard and yet manage to make you feel welcome like a friend, not royalty. They can be proud of having such a consistent and authentic bunch of people!
Until then, we had never eaten a good pizza down south. We've also had very few meals that were worth remembering on our previous trips. To put things in perspective, the wood oven cooked pizza was excellent and the meals we shared at the Vintage Pearl are now sitting on my "Top 5 best meals I've ever had, anywhere in the world" - that is a huge statement! I'd easily qualify the food over at the Thirsty Turtle as great Pub fare food. Lunches at the Vintage Pearl were also ridiculously outstanding (salmon panini, blackened gator tacos.. finger lickin good!)
Rustic is an appropriate description, clean, charming and convenient are also. From our room we never were more than a minute away from either the reception, dive shop, restaurants or the beach. How amazing is that !? The themed nightly animation is sincerely fun making the Bananarama a great place just to hang out at.
Diving an the beach:
As mentioned earlier on, the beach is gorgeous. Besides being a few seconds from your door step, it also happens to be one of the nicest snorkeling spot we've ever visited. Soft sand, no rocks or obstacle of any kinds, from shallow to deep and deeper it is the perfect beach for everyone. A bit crowded on busy days, yes, but that never was a problem. The Dive center is second to none, having once again an amazing team (got certified and Advance with Marc, awesome guy) and well organised operation. This is THE place to dive, period.
We visited the Bananarama for the first time in February 2013, we are booking our second upcoming visit for August 2013! Not even 6 months apart, that should say something.
Enjoy your visit and thanks to the owners and staff for managing such a wonderful place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.