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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline, TravelUp, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, TripOnline SA, Orbitz, Cheap Tickets, getaroom.com and Cancelon so you can book your Plaza Resort Bonaire reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Plaza Resort Bonaire Hotel Kralendijk
- Plaza Hotel Bonaire
- Plaza Hotel Kralendijk
- Plaza Resort Bonaire Kralendijk