We just got back from Paradise Beach Club last night, and as promised here's the latest news.
We stayed at PBC last year and really enjoyed both the size and the location of the resort. We were curious to see what changes the new owners have made.
1. The property has been up-dated. The bathrooms in particular are great. New fixtures, vessel sinks, rain showerheads and tiling. There are flat screen tvs with much better (although limited) reception. Also, there are new comfy beds, linens, and plush bath towels.
2. Food has changed. The former buffet location is now a non-included fish restaurant and bar with new tables and comfy sofas. During the week we were there NO ONE ate there. The place was deserted! We did find out that the drinks at this bar were included in our Sunwing package, but the only time we asked for one (a pina colada) we were told they didn't make them. Hmmm. Anyway, we did hang out there quite a bit. We got our drinks from the beach bar and drank them there away from the really loud music that they now play at the beach. All meals are now served at a new location, behind the reception building in the back across the road. It is called a steakhouse, although steak was never served and is right beside the new pizza place. The only meals included in our package were buffet style. We were told that if we ordered something off the menu, it would be charged to our rooms for payment at the end of the week. We did have a pizza buffet one night and the buffet location moved down to the beach area on Friday and Saturday. Because the food is being prepared on site (not imported from the Henry Morgan as before) we found it to be hotter and fresher than last year. Selection was more limited though and some people (Roatan first timers) were not happy. We liked the food though, in particular the seafood grill night on the beach. Don't miss it.
3. Staffing has changed. Roberto, the manager is no longer there (I heard he is managing the Henry Morgan now). And actually, I did not recognize one person working there from last year. The new staff is (for the most part) great. Jean, the one of the new managers (there seem to be two) was always around keeping an eye on things. The new reception staff worked hard to meet any requests and were very nice. Kudos to Janet in particular who within 15 minutes of hearing that we had no towel rack in our room (renovations are still being completed) had a guy there with the necessary item and a drill. Any issues were dealt with promptly and satisfactorily.
4. We had to sign for everything. Despite wearing the obligatory wristbands, we had to sign for everything we consumed (even bottled water). This was a little worrying because we were afraid that at the end of the week we would be faced with a large bill. However, when asked, we were told that this was just a temporary thing to gauge how much was being consumed for future planning purposes. Sure enough, we had no additional charges when we checked out.
5. More kinds of drinks are included in the package. Last year we were limited to local beer and a two or three mixed drinks. This year all mixed drinks were included unless you asked for premium brands of alcohol. Tip: ask the bartender to surprise you and see what creation you end up with! Drinks were delicious. However, service at the beach bar was spotty. Staff there was sometimes confused or indifferent. They frequently ran out of ice and sometimes did not know how to make simple drinks like a strawberry marguerita. Fancy glasses are now in use at the bars, a questionable practice which could potentially lead to broken glass in the sand. There is now a seafood menu at the bar which is not included in the Sunwing package. Plates of included "snacks" are often on the bar, though, but avoid them. Dried up sandwiches, and other yucky stuff. Ugh!
Bottom line: would we stay there again? Absolutely! Keeping in mind that they are still working the kinks out after only being re-opened for a few weeks, Paradise Beach Club is an intimate, spotlessly clean property smack in the middle of the beach. The rooms were great, the staff friendly, and the food more than edible. Yes, the vibe is different (not as laid-back as last year) but I think PBC is a gem of a spot, often overlooked by travellers to Roatan. My advice is to go there soon, I would not be surprised if prices go up next year.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.