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“Choose Wisely”

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Sorobon Beach & Wellness Resort
Ranked #12 of 21 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Choose Wisely”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2012

As you can see from the reviews here, one tends to either love the Sorobon or hate it. And apart from some relatively minor management issues, I think your experience of the Sorobon depends entirely on what your holiday focus and interests are.

First of all, the Sorobon has a fabulous location. All cottages have a view of the most beautiful turquoise tropical bay you are ever likely to see. The beach is lovely and sandy (something of a rarity on Bonaire), the water shallow (this is probably the only beach in Bonaire without a drop-off), and as the entire (huge) bay is barely waist deep, this is an ideal spot if you have children, especially small children, or if you are an avid windsurfer. There are two windsurfing places next door offering rentals and instruction. They have good shops attached and one has a nice little beach bar with good food and reasonable prices.

It is also an ideal location if you want to lie on a deck chair and work on your tan. The Sorobon is quite peaceful, and the grounds are nicely landscaped, filled with flowers, birds and butterflies. The tiny, amusing Bananaquits joined us daily for breakfast, and we put a little dish of juice out for them daily on our deck...makes for great photos.

We used their meal plan for breakfast and they put on a nice spread. We dined there a few evenings and the food was actually pretty good...**be aware that Bonaire is NOT a good destination for foodies**. Most meals are crashingly mediocre and you get tired not only of the boring food but the Michelin Star pricing. Eating out in Bonaire is expensive, and usually disappointing. So the Sorobon actually compares rather favourably with the local restaurants, and even has kid friendly, inexpensive items on the menu. The pumpkin soup was delicious!

There are two big drawbacks to the Sorobon. The first is the sand flies. We arrived during the "rainy" season and while waiting in the outdoor lobby to check in (our rooms were not quite ready), we were bitten alive. No one suggested we slather on mosquito spray, bottles of which should be on every table. Because a lot of the resort is built on decking over the sand, the sand underneath cannot be raked to break up the sandfly nests. So in spite of reasonably diligent raking of the beach and sandy paths, the place is a sandfly palace. And the bites are horribly itchy. Sandflies make mosquitoes look like...well, flyweights!

The second big drawback is the mosquitoes. A lot of the Sorobon's spaces are open air, and that includes the dining areas and the wifi access lounge area. And since there is a small but persistent risk of Dengue fever in Bonaire, it is very important to minimize your load of mosquito bites. So be sure to have the overhead fans on when you sit and eat or wifi, and don't forget your mosquito repellant. Again, the hotel should have spray bottles scattered about.

Smaller issues were: cottage layouts were cramped and inconvenient, my favourite features being the fact that the tiny fridge door opens into the bathroom door, so if you are using the fridge, you can't get in or out of the bath or bedroom. And BTW, do not come to the Sorobon thinking you are really getting a kitchen. The fridge is miniscule, the cooker is a hot plate, and the kitchen is NOT fully stocked. There is no way mom is going to have any fun preparing family meals in the Sorobon cottages. No way. Add to that no dishwashing liquid, no tea towels or dishcloths. Nope. None. And certainly no dishwasher. So buy a meal plan.

Note too that there are NO grocery stores nearby. If you want to cook for yourself, you need a vehicle to drive into town for groceries. Which you will have to do often as the fridge and cupboard space is teensy.

I too ran into maintenance and safety issues. Our screens were ripped, so we had to keep the doors closed to keep mosquitoes out. The air conditioner was powerful, but it is in the tiny bedroom and blows an icy wind straight onto the bed...no way to have it on and not lie in an arctic gale. That really bothered me...I had to hang a wind baffle. And because there is no A/C in the living area, which is where the only other bed is, our teen was too hot at night.

Hot water is plentiful by mid-day but there is none in the mornings. I take it the water heater is turned off last thing at night. So to wash morning dishes you have to boil your own water. Heavens to Betsey. Surely unlimited hot water is a base expectation at a luxury beach resort?

In spite of having three persons in the cottage and using the second bed, we only ever got two sets of towels. Go figga. The housekeeping crew was wonderful, but they missed the towel count every time.

On a more serious note, one night I was on the dock peering at the fish underneath. I stepped to the edge, and thanks to a completely loose board, was catapulted into the water. Happily, I missed the rocks, and was able to stay upright enough not to bang my head on the dock as I fell. But when I pointed out the nail-less board to management, they looked confused. Every day I checked and the board was just put back in place, never nailed down. What a hazard! Incredulous, I took the board out every night...it was always put back in the morning. But never secured. Someone is going to sue the pants off these guys one day.

Personally, I did not care for the Sorobon. I like to dive and explore, so we left the hotel daily in our rental truck to do just that. I love to snorkel, but found the long walk out to the interesting channel in the middle of the bay tiresome. I much preferred the condos and beaches in town, with full kitchens, more space, and reefs right off the rocky beaches.

My impression of the Sorobon is that it is run by kindly and well meaning persons who have no idea how to run a beach hotel, let alone a luxury beach hotel. It is a great place if you want a perfect beach, and have no ambitions beyond relaxing on a chaise with umbrella drinks. You can't beat it for that.

Room Tip: Rooms #22 and over are a bit more quiet. You MUST take mosquito repellant, shampoo and dishwashing g...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
28 Thank westernwilson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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238 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oakford, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2012

We recently returned from our first trip to Bonaire after a wonderful week of snorkeling and windsurfing. We booked our stay at Sorobon Beach Resort through Ann Phelan at Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations. Ann also arranged our truck rental through Budget, two trips on the Woodwind, and windsurfing gear rental at Jibe City, and answered numerous questions in the months leading up to our trip. We highly recommend her services to make your trip run smoothly.

The Sorobon Beach Resort was the most beautiful spot on the island, a tropical oasis amidst the otherwise dry desert-like terrain. It’s the ideal location for windsurfers, snorkelers, and those who just want to lounge on the beach. Divers might be happier on the other side of the island in and around Kralendijk closer to dive sites. Ann picked what we felt was one of the best “chalets” for us, #25, with privacy, lovely gardens, a beautiful view of the bay, and only steps from the beach and the amazing turquoise water. The chalets are simple but very comfortable, with AC in the bedroom, a safe, a basic kitchen, and dining and sitting area. We loved having breakfast on our terrace each morning accompanied by hummingbirds, butterflies, yellow sugar birds, geckos, and an occasional iguana. Then we’d walk next door to Jibe City for a few hours of windsurfing or head out for some snorkeling. When we needed a break from the sun, we’d come back for lunch and a siesta under the thatched-roof palapas on the beach. There was never any problem getting chairs on the beach, even though the resort appeared to be full. Most of the guests were Dutch, with very few Americans, and several multi-generational family groups, with grandparents, parents, and young children. On the days cruise ships were in port, the crowd seemed to be mostly over at Bonaire Windsurf Place with only a few at Sorobon.

We only ate one breakfast and one dinner in the resort’s open-air restaurant; both meals were good but in our opinion a bit expensive, and with two kids in college, our budget is limited. We shopped at the new grocery store in town and made most of our breakfasts and lunches in our chalet and went out for several dinners in town (Cactus Blue, Plazita Limena, and Paradise Moon, all very good). It’s only a 10- to 15-minute drive into town but watch out for donkeys and goats in the road on your way back from town at night!

For early risers, the sunrises over beautiful Lac Bay are definitely worth getting up for. We also enjoyed sitting out on the beach at night under the stars, sipping rum punch and watching the full moon rise up over the bay. The Sorobon’s pier is a great place to watch young, future world champion freestyle windsurfers practicing their tricks at the end of the day. We also walked straight out from the pier for about 20 minutes for some awesome snorkeling along the reef.

Service at the resort was friendly and helpful, and everyone speaks English. We arrived on the island and 5:30 a.m. and were able to stow our luggage in the office and use the beach facilities until our room was ready, a little earlier than the 2:00 p.m. check-in time. Our room was cleaned every day, with fresh towels, and a very nice member of the grounds crew even came to trim some branches that were scraping the roof our chalet. The beach bar’s friendly waitstaff delivers drinks and lunch to your lounge chair if you desire.

Only two very minor disappointments: there were kayaks but no paddles (we were told they’d been stolen and new ones had been ordered) and there were no microwaves as advertised on the resort’s website.

We fell in love with the windsurfing on Lac Bay and the snorkeling around Bonaire. Compared with other islands, Bonaire is very relaxed and comfortable— no beach vendors hassling you to buy necklaces or drugs; no concerns about safety; easy driving, parking, and finding your way around; friendly, helpful people; very low key. We hope to come back someday soon and we wouldn’t think of staying anywhere else but the Sorobon Beach Resort.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank rhipple21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota, Colombia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2012

This hotel worths every penny. Staying in a nice room located only 25 meters from turquoise-blue, warm and shallow waters is priceless!!!!!

Room Tip: Best rooms are those closer to the beach, specially if you have young children that want to stay on...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JorgeAndresVivas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2011

The owners were completely deaf to suggestions, even safety suggestions. Something as simple as removing an extension cord so people don't trip was ignored. Food was inconsistent. One night it was great and another it was dreadful. They encouraged us to stay at the resort and eat, but decided after the second awful meal to go elsewhere to some really great restaurants. Encouraging cruise ship passengers to come and use the beach ruined the tranquility of the resort. These guys are windsurfers, not hotel managers (the owners, that is).

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Babsmoreno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level Contributor
54 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2011

To describe Sorobon Beach resort as ‘basic beachfront bliss’ doesn't even do it justice. The warm staff and well-kept facilities make it feel as though you’re visiting your friend’s island outpost where there are only a few orders to the day: hot beach, cool dip, snooze under palapa, watch geckos scurrying around; repeat.

Leave your jewelry and resort casual wear at home, you’ll need more bathing suits than clothes, loose shirts than button-ups and flip flips than heels.

The one- and two-bedroom, clay-roofed and whitewashed chalets are all duplexes clustered around one of only two white sand beaches in Bonaire. You don’t spend much time in the room, but when you do there’s a simple kitchen and bathroom, small but efficient bedroom with safe and a/c, and living area with a kitchen table and chairs. The rooms appear to have been given a refresh when the new owners took over the hotel a year ago. No phones or TVs in the room add to the undone paradise feeling of the resort. If you want something, you need to walk to reception and ask. The chalets' piece de resistance is the outdoor shower that gently spouts water out of a conch shell.

The resort just misses the sunset in the eve, but the friendly beach bar's tropical atmosphere helps you forget! Windsurf schools, also with beach bars, sit beside the resort, giving the location a youthful, sporty draw.

Finally, the hotel restaurant serves healthy Bonaire food {lots of fish, wahoo was my fave} with a few Euro and N. American twists. The service is good and the atmosphere is approachable and well-imagined with pillow-clad wooden banquettes and white triangular sails to shade from the sun.

WHAT TO KNOW
- Because of the hotel’s location near the mangroves, mosquitoes and noseeums are worst in rainy season: oct and nov. Bring bug spray. The biting bugs do not bother people during the day, but unless there’s a strong wind at night, head into town for any al fresco dining.
- The hotel will pick you up from the airport, just advise them in advance. If you don’t hear back via email, call them.
- Free wifi in the open-air lobby area.
- Note: you must being your own soap, shampoo and conditioner for the bathroom and kitchen.
- Most people rent cars in Bonaire, the hotel-front parking is free. If you rent for more than 3 days, the hotel can arrange for a rental agency to pick you up. Word to the wise, don't rent from Budget, they have terrible, slow, highly questionable and unethical service. They went against our signed contract and over-charged us anyway, which we are taking up with Budget Corporate.
- Each room has a casual patio/lanai with a hammock, simple wooden table, chairs and clothes line to dry went items.
- It takes 13 mins to drive into town and 10 mins to get to the airport. Don't go fast on the road, as there are donkeys in the area who might run across. Taxis to and from the airport, cost $20.
- Finally, the resort's service was impressive. All staff are well-trained and exceeded my expectations at every opportunity.

TIPS
- Don't miss the flock of flamingos flying by the beach around 6pm every night.
- The island is very safe, but when at dive sites, leave your car unlocked with windows open and NOTHING in the car, otherwise, lock your car elsewhere and as always, don't leave anything in it.
- In town, the City Cafe is a fun hangout with excellent service and good pub food.

Room Tip: All rooms have some sort of ocean view, however, some are closer. When I return, I'll request on...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank tripstyler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
142 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2011

This was the highlight of our trip to Bonaire... my wife & I spent so much time here it was truly amazing. Although we did not stay at the hotel (rented apartment with friends) we were only 15min drive away. This is by far the best resort / hotel I have ever been to... the food, drinks, service was always exceptional. the beach is white sand, the lagoon/bay is protected by a double reef system which means you have about a KM of clear turquoise water all to yourself. The condos looked amazing and we will 100% stay there next time. Peaceful, calm, serene, chilled, relaxed you name it this is the place... Well done to to the staff who truly looked after us always... nothing was a problem...not even when it rained..

Room Tip: Facing the beach
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2011

We stayed at Sorobon Beach Resort in September, 2011. We went there with the expectation that the facility would somewhat resemble the description on their website. However, despite their claim of a "fully equipped kitchen furnished with all the necessary gadgets," we arrived to find our kitchen lacking paper towels, dishwashing soap, a sponge, coffee maker filters, and a striker for the gas stove. The receptionist told me that they did not provide these items, but they did give us matches for the stove, which were useless after a day or two due to the humidity. Although each unit had a useful clothes line, one had to obtain clothespins by harvesting them from unoccupied units (this technique was suggested by another resident). The front desk told us twice that housekeeping would bring some over, but they never appeared. Similarly, our unit had a mosquito net for the bed (important during Bonaire's rainy season), but no hook in the ceiling from which to hang it. Again, the front desk agreed to address this, but I ended purchasing an eye hook at the local hardware store and doing the job myself when no hook was forthcoming. Although kayaks were available, as advertised, the resort had no proper kayak paddles. Luckily, I had heard rumors about this issue and we brought collapsible paddles with us from home. This would have been a show stopper for us, as our main reason for staying at SBR was for easy access to the reef in Lac Bay. The web site also states that "the entire resort has high speed wireless Internet," but this is no longer true either. The only success I had with getting a WiFi signal was in the outdoor lounge area, not a good place to linger with the prodigious number of mosquitoes during this time of year. We did not eat in the restaurant, opting instead to have several remarkably good meals in Kralendijk for about 10-20% less. During one of the afternoons while we were there, a large influx of noisy non-residents showed up on the beach, making it difficult to read or sleep on the beach. We learned subsequently that the resort allows non-residents to visit the beach for free, presumably to bolster business at the beach bar. The management was kind enough to let us stay in our unit for an hour beyond check-out time, which saved us an hour of killing time elsewhere waiting to go to the airport.

Perhaps the truest statement on the SBR web site is that they sit "on one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the Caribbean." I will not dispute that statement. However, we have arranged kayak rentals with the nearby Windsurfing Place for our next Bonaire trip, and may choose to stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank SnorkelBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sorobon Beach & Wellness Resort

Property: Sorobon Beach & Wellness Resort
Address: Sorobon 10, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Location: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Kralendijk
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Kralendijk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sorobon Beach & Wellness Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the quiet and tranquil Island of Bonaire, sits one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the Caribbean. The resort has a private beach with shaded cabannas and lounge chairs. The shallow bay is protected by a coral reef and is ideal for swimmers, snorkelers and windsurfers. The 30 comfortable cottages offer splendid panoramic views of the bay's colorful wildlife both above and below the sea. A unique part of paradise where you find "privacy, luxury, nature, adventure, quality time with your family, romance, delicious food, fun, tranquility, piece, space, positive energy & wellness" Go to our website to download our most recent full color brochure ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sorobon Beach Hotel Kralendijk
Sorobon Beach & Wellness Resort Bonaire/Kralendijk

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