Second visit and week long stay, first was in 2007.
Pros - location. Super close to the airport (some would find this a con, but we rarely heard any planes), easy to get into town, can even walk if the weather is nice. The 18th Palm reef behind the resort is great for diving and snorkeling. There is a bridge to the ocean front rooms. If you spend a few minutes looking into the water you can see sea turtles and spotted rays swimming under the bridge.
Cons - I have never seen so much random trash that never got picked up. There were plastic cups everywhere, in bushes, between suites. Neon colored straws littered the ground. The Tipsy Seagull has a particularly difficult time keeping trash picked up. At breakfast after the BBQ the night before, there was a full chicken bone under my table! Napkins, used sugar packets, etc. littered the ground around all the tables. The sandy areas with beach chairs for sunning have a ton of beer bottle caps. Trash in the ocean washes up on the beach and never gets picked up. Maybe a local school group could volunteer to at least keep the beaches clean. It was so sad to see a 'resort' covered in trash. Although decking on the bridge was being replaced while we were there, there were other areas of decking (the poop deck) that had actual holes which were much more in need of repair. None of the previously beautiful water fountains on the property were working. The ice maker does not work. No as all-inclusive as you would think, they is a charge to rent masks and snorkels! Planned activites are slim, boring, and repetitive. A family would have a hard time here if they brought children and were depending on activities for entertainment. Also - local calls cost over $3.00 each from your room phone!!! Wish I had known and I would have asked the front desk staff to make all my excursion arrangements. You may not bring your own drinks or food to the beach/pool area. This is a stupid rule, as we have a mini fridge in the room, why can't I make myself a peanut butter sandwich and take it to the pool - the food at Tipsy Seagull was awful! Don't plan on relaxing by the pool after sundown - they take the lounge cushions in for the night! No drink service at the pool.
Pros - size, the rooms are very large. We were in an ocean view room, upstairs. The view was outstanding, I would suggest rooms to the south end of the complex for unobstructed ocean views and no bar sounds in the evening.
Cons - for the SECOND visit in 6 years the air conditioner was not working properly. Only this time there was no electricity in the entire room! Which meant the mini fridge was warm, no lights, no a/c... where were we supposed to put the groceries we just bought on our way from the airport to the 'resort'? It took over 2 hours for anyone from maintenance to come address the issue - the front desk person just kept saying 'well it was working this morning'. The beds are hard. The floor is dangerously slippery when wet. This may be fine for a regular resort visitor but does not work for divers. There is no place to keep your dive gear except in your room, so you have to carry wet, dripping gear through your room to your back patio. Once the floors get wet you can barely walk on them. Some in our group actually fell on these wet floors. When it rained (daily, although for short periods) the outside patio of our front door created a huge puddle which then ran INTO the room and created an indoor water feature at the front door. There was no way in or out of the room without going through a large watery area. There is no shower curtain so when taking a shower, the bathroom basically floods. The bathmat really just acted like a sponge and was soaking before ever stepping out of the shower. I like the idea of no shower curtain but the design of the showers made this a logistical nightmare and I'm sure caused much extra cleaning for the staff. The water was reddish-brown for 2 days of showers. This is the same water they said was safe to drink. When I went in person to the front desk with a glass of water, he acted like he hadn't ever seen the issue before (the room below ours was also experiencing this) and said he would send maintenance. He sent a security person who said - 'let the water run' - (it had already been running for 2 1/2 showers!) When the water was still discolored the following day, we were told that the maintenance crew would be sent, they never arrived before we left. There is no place to hang wet gear on the back patio. Our drinking glasses were never changed out - they just flipped them over! The beds were made daily but sheets never changed. 3 squashed mosquitoes on the bathroom wall above the sink were never wiped away. The sticker on the renovated sink in the toilet area was peeling off, no one had bothered to remove it. The door handle to the toilet area fell off in my husband's hand. The rooms keys would suddenly no longer work to open our room - this happened twice! Always when we were trying to get somewhere.
THE SERVICE / EMPLOYEES:
Pros: there are many employees. The grandson of the owner finally listened to all the complaints and offered drinks and snacks as we waited for our plane, 1 hr before leaving.
Cons: no one smiles or makes any eye contact at all. They all act as if it is a burden on them for you to be at the resort. When I arrived at the front desk with my glass of reddish-brown water I waited behind a couple checking out. It was my turn now at the desk. A woman and her family (she had on what appeared to be a fur coat) flew through the lobby, the man at the desk then ignored me completely and spent the next 15 minutes checking her out. He finally returned to me and said "I had to check her out first!" like I hadn't already been waiting there to speak to him, I found him to be very arrogant. The activities director tried to throw me out of the resort when I was in the pool! This was absolutely the meanest person I met on the property. She asked where I was from and proceeded to tell me that the pool was only for resort guests. I explained that I had paid a tremendous amount of money to stay at her 'resort' for the week and I would be staying in the pool. She then said I had to use the resort pool/beach towels. These are not 'pool towels' they are no bigger than the shower/bath towels. They do not cover the chairs well when sunbathing, nor can you dry off and wrap up in one as they are so small. Not to mention, if you lose one or the tiny piece of paper that is your towel voucher, you will owe the 'resort' $10! So I was much happier using my own real sized beach towels. I wanted to go on a tour of some caves on the island, they were not able to help me arrange this at the front desk.
Pros- it is all you can eat, it you can stomach the food. Fresh fruit basket on 1 morning of our week long stay. Crisp bacon on only 2 mornings of our stay. The made to order omelets looked good, but we didn't have time to wait in that line since they only opened at 7 and we had to be on the boat by 8. There is a friendly restaurant cat that likes nibbles of bacon.
Cons - only 1 restaurant is open now - the Tipsy Seagull. Our package, thank goodness, only included breakfast. All meals are buffet style. Those who get stuck on their all inclusive plan, sucks to be you. Breakfast never changed. The cereal (froot loops) were too stale to be eaten. They ran out of donuts and these were not replenished for the last 3 days of our stay. They ran out of flavored yogurt and only had 'blanco' which is plain, unsweetened, for the last 3 days. They did add a fresh fruit basket on our last day. Bacon is not meant to be boiled - at least that is how it appeared- a huge, tangled, limp mass of bacon strips that couldn't be pulled apart. Bacon is meant to be crispy. The one dinner we had at the resort was supposed to be a beach BBQ. It is no longer on the beach - but at the Tipsy Seagull. The steel drum band is gone now. Not worth the $40 per person for BBQ dinner. The ground of the Tipsy Seagull was always strewn with trash.
I will write a complete review of Toucan Diving under their own heading.
Pros: The entry/exit to the house reef (18th Palm) is one of the easiest on the island. There are many creatures, fish, etc to be found: beautiful corals, eels, tarpon, parrot fish, even octopus at night! Nice to be able to grab a tank at the pool, get in, dive, and then exit at the stairs/deck at the Tipsy Seagull and leave your tank there. Always had tanks available at the pool and Tipsy Seagull if you wanted to shore dive. Tanks could also be picked up at the dive shop if you wanted to dive off property.
Cons: No rinse tank on the poop deck, where one of the boats (Golden Eye) docks. Actually the rinse tank is there but it never had water in it for rinsing. The decking where the Golden Eye docked, had a hole, and weak areas right where people stepped out onto the deck off of the boat. Lots of raised rusted squared of metal on the poop deck. Trash not in trash cans. This seems like an injury waiting to happen. The rinse tank at the pool was always very low, you had to jam your equipment in to get a good rinse.
This location is not worthy of the title 'Resort'. They seem to go out of their way to make visitors and tourists, specifically divers, feel unwelcome. There was such a decline in service and hospitality in 6 years that if we ever return to the island we will find a new place to stay.
- 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