Having just published my first novel "The Natural Order of Things" (Vintage 2013) to great acclaim, I decided it was time to find a quiet spot to revise pages of my second novel, "The Captive Condition" (Pantheon 2015), and chose as my retreat the little known island of Roatan, Honduras. There are many places from which to choose on this 30-mile long island, renown for its coral reefs and whale shark sightings, but I selected West Bay Beach and the lovely and affordable resort Infinity Bay for my getaway. Ian Fleming had Jamaica, Hemingway Key West, Graham Greene Cuba and Haiti, I have Rotan--this was my third visit.
I arrived on August 1st and stayed for 10 productive days. The sky and water were an almost hallucinatory, phantasmagorical blue. The snorkeling--only steps from the white sand beach--was phenomenal, teeming with massive brains, spotted stingrays, and enormous schools of sergeant majors.
The staff was generally friendly and helpful. The activities director Avi (think Julie from the "Love Boat," only taller and Canadian with a decidedly fragile sense of humor--he took umbrage at my asking him if he was "compensating for anything" with his freakishly large flippers before an evening snorkel) set me up with a day-long excursion to a remote spit of sand called Pigeon Cay, hosted by the notorious rogue and old salt Cap'n Ray Foster. Our fine skipper, his face wrapped in a bandana, took us land lubbers to many intriguing and rarely visited spots, including a deserted beach for lobster tail appetizers, a deep trench called Spooky Chanel haunted by sea turtles and tiger fish, and a ghostly shipwreck surrounded by a sandy bottom littered with massive starfish. Pigeon Cay, a conch shell graveyard, was populated that sunny afternoon by a group of Italians, the men proudly parading around the shallow water in swimsuits that looked like they'd been tattooed to their backsides.
Back at Infinity Bay I visited the palapa bar every morning at dawn for my afternoon session of scribbling and was served, reluctantly at first, by a gent named Ziggy. When he saw me slashing away at my sentences, he asked if I was studying for an exam. "It's a novel," I replied, "and unless I have some strong coffee post haste you may find yourself in its pages." From then on the coffee was served promptly and with an ingratiating smile.
Chomping on a cigar beside me at the bar sat Rick, the very personable manager of the resort, the sort of man who seems genuinely curious about his guests and cares about the quality of the product he's putting out. He regaled me with stories of his encounter with fellow hack Stephen King who, claimed Rick, said the stories just poured out of him. King should have also pointed out that much was poured into him during his most productive years.
My room at Infinity Bay, located toward the back of the resort, was quiet, clean, efficient with a small balcony, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a comfortable bed, and an adequate table off the kitchen where in the evenings I typed up all of my revisions for the day.
What I liked most about Infinity Bay was its international quality. Dozens of languages and accents can heard around the pool. My daughter was particularly amused by a German lad who had an inflexible routine. After finishing his morning cigarette in three or four Herculean puffs, he jumped into the water and then spent much of his time combing his shock of blonde hair. "Watch, Dad, there he goes again." A puff of smoke, a loud splash, and then out with the comb for a bit of grooming. A peculiar thing to witness since at Infinity Bay, and Roatan in general, appearances count for very little. The beach bum mentality rules here. This is not an overcrowded cruise ship where the guests are expected to adorn themselves in cheap suits and gold chains for a formal dinner.
Each evening we strolled up and down the beach, admiring the pinwheeling constellations and eating at the various restaurants on the water. Il Pompodoro had great ceviche and Beacher's had wonderful lobster tail dinners. Our favorite spot was Bite on the Beach where the owner threw gobbets of meat into the water to lure two massive, smiling eels into view. We also enjoyed passing by the strange, eerie, empty house once owned by an infamous and supposedly crooked Canadian realtor who was booted off the island like a rejected tribe member on "Survivor." The house looks like it's dripping, melting, something inspired by a bad trip to Barcelona.
I rank Infinity Bay and Roatan very highly, and I'm looking forward to checking out the new property next door, Grand Roatan, which was under construction at the time of our visit. At Grand Roatan we sat at the temporary palapa bar and gorged ourselves on "lobster burgers"--a lobster tail wedged between two buns--and watched the crew of dusty workers finishing the pool.
There's plenty to see and write about in Roatan, and I intend to get a few pages of material out of my time here. And one day I'll write about my degenerate brother and his overnight stay in Coxen Hole with a mysterious woman he met at Sundowner's in the town of West End...
Rooms in the back are quiet since there are often activities at the front of the resort near the oce...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.