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“Thumbs up, Plaza Resort Bonaire hotel - with realistic expectations”

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Plaza Resort Bonaire
Ranked #8 of 22 Hotels in Kralendijk
Reviewed May 20, 2013

Enjoying your trip is in large part about managing expectations. That is why you are reading this review, most likely; good for you. So let's set proper expectations about Bonaire and the Plaza Resort Bonaire hotel. By the way, I am in the insurance business and have no ax to grind or agenda here; I just like setting the record straight. One goes to Bonaire for the water and related activities. Nothing else, in my opinion. Do not go to Bonaire for the nightlife, the food, the luxury. My view from Northern NJ is that we live 25 minutes from NYC - we have all the good food and night life we want. You want night life, great dining? Come to NYC. Or if you must, go to Vegas.

Bonaire is special because of its water and its environmental conscience that preserves its reefs and their denizen. I believe in the long run, Bonaire has the proper vision. The Plaza Resort Bonaire hotel has a great location. At first I saw that it was close to the airport and was put off, thinking of our airports in the NY area - don't want to spend a vacation week a few hundred yards from La Guardia, do ya? But the airport in Bonaire is not busy and it an occasional small plane or helicopter landing a few times a day was actually a nice diversion while sitting on the beach. The hotel's is typical of beaches in Bonaire - coarse sand, I suspect trucked in. It has ample shade trees, thatched umbrellas etc. We were there recently in May 2013 - the slow season, so we shared the beach with perhaps a 1/2 dozen other couples, or small quiet groups or families. And what a view from that beach?! The most gorgeous turquoise waters in the shallows, changing to deep blue where the reef heads down to the depths of this protected bay. A little bit to the right of you and in the middle of the bay, sits Kline Bonaire, a small deserted island with low lying brush and some greenery. Now, put on your low-water shoes, or booties, walk into the water - a few feet over some rocks and petrified coral - take off your shoes, stow them on an old pillar of coral (where no waves will knock them off, as there are no waves to speak of) and put on your mask and snorkel and swim. (Btw, there are no sea urchins to worry about here). It is a huge natural pool; crisp, perfectly clean, refreshing with high visibility. You can loll about in the water, snorkeling as it were, and see a multitude of fish; snapper, angels, damsels, parrots, schools of tang, etc etc. Very abundant. If you just like to swim like I do, take a lap south, to an old pier, stop to see schools of fish taking refuge underneath, and turn around back. One does not have to look over the shoulder for sharks, if one worries about such things - no sharks - (although we did see dolphin on day 1 herding schools of fish off in the distance). This overall experience for a week more than makes up for any small shortcomings this hotel may have.

I suggest going on the all inclusive - was a very fair value - I am not a huge drinker- but they will give you all the Heineken you want, mixed drinks and average wine you want. There is one restaurant - not two as advertised - who cares? They probably have not spent the money to correct the website. (the hotel is not hugely profitable I suspect). The restaurant has a great view, and during breakfast and lunch is a perfect setting. Beware at night, however, to wear a good deal of bug spray - that is a bit of a downer, but certainly tolerable and not unique to this place. Against Caribbean standards, the food is very good! Some of it really good. The staff is overall great - smiling, caring, responsive. The food selection is ample for the week. They made btw the absolute best key lime pie served with sorbet and whipped cream - that I have ever had - some days I had it after lunch and dinner.Yes, there are mosquitoes in the rooms too - maybe 4 per night - hard to avoid- - so prepare to do battle with them before settling in at night - I usually got 3 of the 4 - and judging from a few bites, never found the fourth. (Advice to the hotel management, your cleaning staff could do a much better job of cleaning the remnants of defeated mosquitoes off of the walls - that would go a long way of reducing the problem, or at least a constant reminder of an otherwise small problem to your guests). The rooms were large, the queen beds OK, other than some bugs on the wall, extremely clean. Again, do not expect luxury, but if you are spending a lot of time in the room, during the day, you are missing the point.

The dive shop was more than adequate - not stellar - but got the job done and then some. Yes, only shorty wet suits to rent, but warm enough. My friend completed her open water testing with a very nice and capable woman dive instructor, Dorothy who deserves special mention. She was great. Their newest large dive boat left nothing to be desired. The diving in Bonaire is simply the loveliest easiest diving in the Caribbean - it is not for hot-doggers - and it is not Fiji, but you see everything you need to see there at 60 feet.

Finally, a plug for a very friendly and funny Hollander named Wim who owns Compass Bonaire. He takes small groups out for a sail around the bay; for us at dinner time. He encouraged me to write this review. The all-inclusive deal includes the dinner/sail. You sail during daylight heading north, moor the boat off shore from the rich section of Bonaire - and while Wim prepares dinner on the bar-b-q, his guests jump in for a swim or snorkel. Somehow, Wim arranged for a 7 foot beautiful gray manta ray to swim past just after we jumped in. It was breathtaking! Actually Wim did not arrange for this, of course, but we did see the manta, which made this lovely side trip all the more memorable.

Enjoy Bonaire.
alex@iLifeSolutionsllc.com

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
13  Thank Alexander S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Alexander, thank you for reviewing Plaza Resort Bonaire after your enjoyable holiday. We find your comments very honoust and clear. We believe you present realistic expectations of Plaza Resort Bonaire, thank you for this. We are busy on improving the website, also content information to be clear and sincere. We are pleased to hear you are very satisfied with our provided service and facilities. Thank you for your time and effort to write your feedback and for your stay. We would like to welcome you once again at Plaza Resort Bonaire. Kind regards, W. Watts.

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383 - 389 of 1,095 reviews

Reviewed May 17, 2013

This was our 9th trip to Bonaire and 5th stay at the Plaza. We go to dive, but the ambiance of the location is important, as well as, the diving. We won't return to the Plaza, but will return to Bonaire. Everyone at the resort was very nice and the Grand Ocean View Suite very nice. They are improving the property. Minor complaints are that the showers are poorly designed and water gets all over the place. Divers require more than 2 towels per day, after repeatedly asking, we just had to take them from the carts ourselves. Tipsy Seagull was closed and looks like it won't be open for months...there is almost nothing there. The Banana Tree is horrible in my opinion. Management according to all reports is going to make this a lower end all-inclusive resort beginning in November with only the Tipsy being open. This will keep many away because Bonaire has some very good alternatives for fine dining.

The Plaza is no longer a first class dive resort! There are only 3 operable dive boats and during our stay one had to replace it's engine. The biggest lack of diver help is shore diving. There are no carts to move your equipment from the dive shop to the Tipsy Pier or shore spots. The Tipsy Pier is dangerously slippery, the steps wired together and no benches to sit on and help with your equipment. Management needs to look at Divi, Buddy Dive, Captain Don's piers and ease of water entry as well as number of boats for comparison. Divers should never have an all inclusive policy. Talking to many dive masters current and past from the Plaza, there is a lot of unhappiness.

Room Tip: Take the Grand Premium Ocean Suite
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Ronald C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Ronald, thank you for your time and effort to review your holiday at Plaza Resort Bonaire. Unfortunately your 5th stay was not to your satisfaction. Though, we are pleased to hear your compliments on our provided service. We agree upon some renovation need to be done, yet we have started with improving our facilities already. Besides we take notice of your comments and we'll discuss these facts surely in our board meetings. Therefore we thank you since feedback is very important. Off course we do hope to see you once again in Plaza Resort Bonaire. Kind regards, W. Watts.

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Reviewed April 21, 2013

The resort has improved since last year. The staff has improved as well, we even recognized a few faces. We had a blast! We had a great time last year too! The diving even seemed better this year. If you can, be sure to dive Salt Peir! We recommend you dive Karpata by boat, the entry a large flight of steep stairs, and exit by land is tough. The exit left most of us with battle scars. Jenny and Jackson did a nice job on the boat dives they are funny and entertaining and found interesting things on every dive. We decided to snorkel the last and got rewarded with a large mantra ray sighting! Our night dive off of the house peer was exciting too!

We went with a group of 9 (7divers and 2 snorkels) we eat nearly all our meals together and laughed and enjoyed the food! The chocolate souffle was to die for and don't get in a hurry for it, they make it after you order it. Each night we ordered it it was presented in a different way, I find that to be a very good thing!

Tim at the bar was a hoot, lively and funny and kept the drinks flowing, wish the bar had stayed open later!! We highly recommend the Compass Sailboat sunset dinner cruise,

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank neforklift
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Sir / Madam, thank you for your holiday comments via Tripadvisor. We're very pleased to hear all those great words about the improved experience. Off course we enjoy to see our guests return with a smile. Besides the praising words we would like to thank you recommendations for future guests on diving, eating and sleeping. We would like to have you in our resort once again. Kind regards, W. Watts.

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Reviewed April 18, 2013

This was our first trip to Bonaire, and we went because Bonaire is especially known for terrific diving and snorkeling. The Island has been environmentally protected for over 20 years and it shows: there are numerous good locations around the island for both diving and snorkeling. And, the Plaza Resort has one of those really good locations, and it's right outside your door for easy access. If you want to dive or snorkel without any traveling to get there, the Plaza Resort may be just right for you. The fish were of all types, and they swam right up to you and all around you. Pretty amazing. We did the all inclusive meal plan. And while it was plentiful, with enough choices, I'd say the food itself was pretty average...except for the chocolate souffle [really a chocolate lava cake] which was delicious. And while the drinks were also "on the house", the liquor drinks were really pretty light. If you're a beer drinker, though, there was plenty of Heineken on tap or bottled. Depending on what you're looking for, the Plaza Resort may be the right choice for you. But if you're a foodie, I would seriously consider only opting for the breakfast plan [maybe lunch] and going out to local restaurants for a nice evening meal that will offer some better quality food. Two other things to mention: the island itself does not have much to offer besides the snorkeling or diving, so if you're looking for exciting night light or plentiful shops, look further. And be sure to bring mosquito repellant. We had to put it on at night before going to bed,which we discovered after our first night, when we failed to do so.

Room Tip: Our room overlooked the laguna and that was very nice. The room was large and airy.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AndreaZNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Andrea, thank your for your comments on your Plaza Resort's experience. Thank you for your honest and critical look at our service and facilities. We are pleased to hear you have enjoyed our hotel rooms and diving facilities. Besides we acknowledge your food dissapointment. We have transfered your comment to our kitchen, which will surely improve. Your comment is very important to us as feedback tool. Great to have you here and we like to see you return. Kind regards, W.Watts.

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Reviewed April 9, 2013

We stayed here the first week of April. The facilities are nice and the room was well maintained. There is evidence the economy has had an effect, but overall it was nice. We were on the all inclusive plan, which included boat dives. There is only one restaurant, but the food is good. The choices are not as big as other places, but the quality is better. The dive operation is great. The staff are incredible, and know the dive sites and where the critters are. This place was less than half full, and so the dive boats were not full. Compared to other resorts on the area that were this was a plus, as there was more personal service, and better dives! I highly recommend Plaza Resort. It is a great place that has been hit hard by the recession, but the staff truly try to make your stay a pleasant one.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank rwinche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Some dive resorts can be a bit seedy, the Plaza isn't one of those. The place is being upgraded, so it is a work in progress, buit the accomodations are clean and comfortable and the staff is excellent. The rooms are large and there are plenty of spaces to hang out: the bar, the pool, the beach. It is all good. The dive operation run by Toucan is excellent and there is good shore diving right from the resort's beach. The shop drops off tanks beach side, daily: Nitrox and regular air.

Room Tip: Stay ocean side/pool side if you want to be close to the water or stay towards the back to be close...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank stumcgee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Sir/Madam, thank you for your feedback on your holiday at Plaza Resort Bonaire. We're honoured to hear our effort to improve ourselves is being acknowledged. The renovation should increase our service level, but will certainly not disturb any rest. Thank you for your tips and positive comments. We enjoy to read your vacation was completely to your satisfaction. We would like to see you once again at Plaza Resort. Kind regards, W.Watts.

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Reviewed March 27, 2013

Hotel says there are 3 restaurants. That is not true. There is one restaurant. The second and third are both closed. The restaurant is supposed to serve food until 10:00, but we tried to order food at 9:30 and were refused by the staff. The bar will not order some types off food for you for some reason and makes you walk to the restaurant even though some items they will walk out to the bar for you and deliver. This is a ridiculous policy. Service is very slow but staff is nice. The Internet is hit or miss, some days it works, others it doesn't. The dive shop is great but they don't rent full wetsuits and it was kinda cold. Dive sites are great and all in all a good experience, just a few irritations and the website should be updated to disclose that two restaurants are closed.

Room Tip: Ask for a renovated one.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank leslie585
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
plazaresortbonaire1, Guest Relations Manager at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Leslie, thank you for your comments. We've taken notice of your improvement points. We would like to say sorry for not updating the website at your time of arrival. You were right that two restaurants were renovating during your time of holiday. We renovate them to improve our facilities and upgrade our services. After all, we are sincerely glad to hear you enjoyed the resort and diving facilities. Thank you for your feedback and we would like to see you return at Plaza Resort Bonaire! Kind regards, W. Watts.

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Additional Information about Plaza Resort Bonaire

Address: J.A. Abraham Blvd 80, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Location: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Kralendijk
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Kralendijk
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kralendijk
Price Range: $291 - $413 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Plaza Resort Bonaire 3.5*
Number of rooms: 126
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoyment without limits, an all-inclusive vacation at Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire. This resort offers 126 spacious air conditioned oversized Suites, both Junior Suites and Grand Suites located either next to the Caribbean Sea or next to the marina laguna. Everything is included: from a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet in our restaurant with sea view to water sport activities, a diving school and a cozy beach bar. With the best beach on Bonaire and a beautiful swimming pool, there is nothing that will stop you from having a vacation to always remember. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Plaza Resort Bonaire Hotel Kralendijk
Plaza Hotel Bonaire
Plaza Hotel Kralendijk
Plaza Resort Bonaire Kralendijk

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