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“Fantasy Island Beach Resort - a fantastic scuba diving vacation”

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Fantasy Island Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in French Harbour
Reviewed April 24, 2009

We’re scuba divers. The purpose of our vacation was scuba diving and enjoying the beach & sun. We booked an all inclusive scuba dive vacation at Roatan's Fantasy Island Beach Resort, through Conquest Vacations, for April 10 through 17, 2009. Our vacation was fantastic.

Never having been at Fantasy Island before and somewhat apprehensive because of several less than complimentary reviews on the internet, we were very pleasantly surprised as our airport transfer bus pulled off the highway, across the bridge and up to the lobby entrance. Our first impressions were “This place looks great”. Check in was efficient and our bags were delivered to our room. The room was very large, very clean and had an exceptional ocean view.

After a quick unpacking we scouted out the remainder of the resort property, at which point we were sure we had made the right choice. The property was very clean and well maintained. There was evidence of improvement activities, which reassured us that Fantasy Island Beach Resort was focused on ensuring their guests had a pleasant experience and would return in the future. The beaches were absolutely beautiful, white sand and well groomed. In the early morning hours of every day, before most guests were awake, a crew of workers would rake and clean the sand of anything the ocean washed up overnight. Trees and shrubs were obviously cared for.

The dive operation was the highlight for us. This is a very impressive operation. There are two classrooms for training, a small scuba supplies store, dive lockers, rinse tanks, rental gear dispensary, a massive air & Nitrox fill station, 6 dive boats and a skiff to ferry divers & gear to the shore diving gazebo. Every new guest is required to attend a dive briefing, which consisted of certification & log verification, completion of diver’s paperwork, a thorough safety talk, shore diving procedure, boat diving procedure and boat assignment. The boats are a bit older but well maintained and more than serve their intended purpose. We were assigned to “Little Dan” with Captain Steve and Dive Master Nelson. These two gentlemen are outstanding, taking care of us for 17 dives, including one night dive. Their skills, friendliness, and dedication to divers and diving, helped make this a trip we’ll remember for a life time. The diving consisted of wall and reef dives as well as the occasional shipwreck. There were numerous reef swim through opportunities and fish life was plentiful. We also enjoyed our own personal shore dives, day and night, on the Prince Albert wreck. Our overall dive experience at Fantasy Island was fantastic.

During our stay, the weather was excellent. Every day was sunny with highs around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a constant wind of about 10 to 15 mph. As a diver, extra care had to be taken, when re-boarding the dive boats, due to waves and swells. The water temperature was in the 80 to 82 degree Fahrenheit range, even at 80 feet below the surface. In this tropical environment, we anticipated insects and came equipped with repellent. Much to our surprise, there were none, not even sand fleas. The constant wind most likely helped keep insects away.

Only the main restaurant was open, during our stay. The food was buffet style and was of top quality. Choices and quantities were plentiful and included beef, chicken, pork, seafood, pasta, salads and many other quality prepared delights. The head chef and his team did a superb job. Table servers were friendly and efficient and helped ensure a memorable dining experience.

As a final comment, we’re grateful to the Fantasy Island management team, in doing their utmost to ensure all guests, impacted by the sudden closure of Conquest Tours, were able to enjoy their vacation and return home as scheduled, without additional expense.

Wolfgang & Darlene - Whitby, ON Canada

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank WRandDMR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 20, 2009

We had a very enjoyable time at F.I. Roatan --
Lovely beach and secluded bay right in front of resort.. wonderful snorkeling to the left of the gazabo--
Food is good-- you will never go hungry..!
hotel is in some need of exterior updates.. stayed in room H-10 on top of the hill very nice & roomy!
Staff was very helpful and whenever there was a need, you just need to ask w/ kindness for it-
Go on the zip-line canopy tour right down the street at the Pirates of the Caribbean very fun! take the more challenging physical course-
Go to Anthony's Key for the dolphin encounter and swim!
Our 13 yr. old was never bored and we had a great time in Roatan.. watch out for the No See Um's very bad from 3-8pm--use Avon's Skin so Soft WITH bug guard.. and take the after bite stick from CVS or WalMart that is liquid Amonia-- and benedryl cream too!
Monkeys and animals are all fun to watch and the bats that come out at night!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank walkinonsonshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2009

I stayed at this hotel for my spring break (Feb 13-20 / 09) with my boyfriend, and it was just wonderful! It was a very quiet and peaceful hotel, everything within remote walking distance, and picturesque sights EVERYWHERE! (Ignore any ratings of 3 stars and below - they are wrong!)

The hotel had 2 beaches; a main one, and a remote one right outside my room which honestly had no one on it, so I just about had my own private beach for the week which was amazing. The water was CRYSTAL CLEAR at both beaches, the main one was just more preferable for swimming (no seaweed). They were maybe a 2 minute walk from my room. Very close! These were the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen.

The room was very cute! I was skeptical at first, but when I saw this huge room, with a table and chairs, and a modern bathroom, I was very impressed. A balcony with a beautiful view was included too (at least from my room)

Food was okay, it was a lot of the same thing over again, but they had daily features to change it up. And really, are you there for the beach, or to whine about a hotel? We personally didn't have any trouble with the food, but just be careful as you would any other place. They have 2 dining rooms, one indoors and one outside which are both waited by happy employees.

There isn't much of a nightlife, but the snorkeling and sight-seeing certainly make up for it. There is an extension of the island that is full of trees and cute animals, and beautiful canals to gaze down. There are a tonne of fish in the canals, definitely picture-worthy. During the day you can also take out kayaks and roam the bay. There is a remarkable sandbar worth taking a trip out to. If walking on the beach at night is not enough, there are pool tables to occupy some time as well.

We went into town one day, and it was very pretty all along the coastline, beautiful sights while still shopping. I cannot stress enough how gorgeous Roatán is. Make sure you get the cab to stay with you for the whole day, it's cheaper that way, as long as you plan to go in town for the whole day (make it worth it). But the representatives of your hotel will explain this.

Overall, the hotel is very quiet and peaceful, and so enjoyable. The staff was happy, the weather is amazing, and the sights are even better. Would I go back? Most definitely. This was a wonderful trip, and even better, it's pretty close to the airport, so if the flight wasn't so good, you don't have to wait long to get to your room!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank chexible
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2009

We just returned from Fanatasy Island Beach resort where we stayed for a week (Mar. 27-Apr. 3). After reading some of the reviews about "great for divers but nothing else" we were skeptical but took the plunge.

The resort was great and nothing like what some reveiwers had mentioned. The location, being private and not noisy was great. We are a couple around 50 years old and it was perfect. If you wanted nite life, this was not the place to be.Beautiful beach that is secluded and with a break wall out at the end of the inlet, makes it perfect for people to swim in (no huge waves pounding the beach, very calm waters). We requested a room in the new part with a Kingsize bed which we did not get for the first nite. They did however switch us over the next day and could not have been more helpful. The Kingsize bed was very comfortable. Where some reviewers thought they were as "hard as concrete" I have no idea where they got that from. The room was spacious, lots of hot water (all the time) and very, VERY clean.

We found all of the meals to be good. We particularly enjoy fish and found it to be great tasting here. Other dishes were ok to good. If you could not find anything you liked to eat, you would have to be labelled a "picky" eater and should stay home and eat at McDonalds or Wendy's. Wait staff were always friendly and courteous.

The two bartenders we got to know the best were, Henry and Clinton. Both of these fine gentlemen were a lot of fun, always dancing and goofing around. I made the mistake of not getting my wife a drink in a coconut years ago. Henry helped me out greatly by going out, cutting down an coconut, dressing it all up and serving my wife a pina colida in it. Clinton, made the effort (on his time off) to pick me up a bottle of rum I was not able to find and bring it to the resort the next day. How can you possibly not love these two guys for the extra effort they put in???????

Nightly the resort had some entertainment like fire dancers, local children doing traditional dances etc. It was very entertaining, which we both enjoyed. The only thing that bothered us, was that they had a tip jar out in front of them while doing their acts. The jar did not bother us, however, watching only 3 or 4 of us put something in, did. I'm not sure if the resort pays these people or not, but if they do it is probably not that much. Why people could not throw in a few bucks for an evening of entertainment boggled our minds.

We read reviews with complaints about the sand fleas. One nite I was covered with bites, however, I did not feel them bite, they were not itchy or painful and were gone the next day so I wondered why people complained about them.

We had no problems with being sick from the water of local food as some have mentioned in previous reviews.

Now for the diving. Let me first start off by stating I'm a PADI Divemaster since 1990, so I do know a little bit about diving itself. The diving itself was some of the best I've ever done. Although there seemed to be a shortage of marine life, the reef itself is in great shape and the most colourful I've ever seen. The Dive center left a lot to be desired. The staff was not "customer oriented" and if you didn't like something? Tuff! Do it their way or stay on shore. Dive boats were "cattle boats" with way to many people on board, especially with only ONE DIVEMASTER! There was no regard for dive safety at all. The divemaster did not make sure you were buddied up with anyone. If you went as a single diver (which I was) you had to find someone to buddy up with on your own. During the dive, the Divemaster was last in the water and the first one out. Big NO NO in my book. People jumped in the water and took off. I tried a couple of times to give the boat staff or divemaster an "ok" signal when I got in the water, but no one was even watching, too busy trying to get the next diver off the boat. Diving was waaaaaaaaay to crowded. I would not have wanted to be on these dive boats when I first started out diving. For the inexperianced diver I would most definately stay clear of this dive operation. For those more experianced, it's doeable, but not a great experiance. We talked to other divers that dove the west end while we were there and they explainded to us how they only had 6 divers to each Divemaster, a much more sensible approach to diving in my opion. As I Divemaster, I also feel it's my obligation to make a formal complaint to PADI, as this is in no way a 5 star PADI operation and seems like a place just waiting for an accident. The equipment at the Dive Center itself was waaaaaay over priced compared to the dive shops in the West End, (atleast 50% more). If you forget something or have a break down, you have to get to West Bay where there are a lot of dive shops that compete for your buisness. The Mares shop in West Bay is a very good place to buy gear. Barefoot Divers (dive shop just west of Fantasy Island) is also over priced.

A couple of tips for seeing the sights. The resort staff will gladly call you a taxi driver whenever needed. We found a great driver/guide in Edgar Gomez, cell phone number [-] (take the name and number with you no matter where you stay). He has a small mini van in which he will take you to places you never thought of. He even took two couples to his home to meet his family! His english is great and he will bend over backwards to make you happy. His prices are very reasonable and if you use him more than once, tends to give you a better deal for your "return buisness". One place that is must to go see is the East End. Edgar took us to a small fishing village where he had arranged a water taxi to take us thru the Mangroves and have lunch at a little spot known as Hole In The Wall. The water taxi driver was a wealth of information about island history and by far had the most colourful, yet unique boat. When you come up to Hole in the Wall, you think "ohhhh Myyyyyy Goddddd!" but the food and people are fantastic. Big bowl of handmade cigars sitting out on the deck with the owners telling you "help yourself". My wife wanted to purchase some to bring back to friends but they would not sell any to her. It was just a big smile and "help yourself". One older gentleman helped her pick out 8 of the better made cigars and NO CHARGE! The "View resturant" east of Fantasy Island is must for an evening out meal. Food was unreal, lots of flavour and more than you could eat and all reasonably priced and of coarse, "the view".

If you plan to take the ferry across to La Ceiba, make sure you have your passport and cash. They do not take credit cards etc and a passport is required to purchase your ticket. Also, take a lot of cash with you as a lot of the things such as canopy tours etc do not take credit cards either. Getting cash is not a problem with a bank card, however you sometimes have to hit a couple of machines to find one that will accept yours.

We booked thru Conquest and did not have a great experiance. Our flight was suppose to be "direct" to Roatan but Conquest changed a couple of days before we left to a differant departure and arrival time (going and coming back), with a stop over in Varedero. Although the change did not short of us anytime there, it did inconveince us for our arrival when we returned to Toronto (we had plans). The Conquest Rep was at Roatan airport to meet us upon arrival. He introduced himself and told us he'd be at the front desk most of the time at Fantasy Island if we needed anything. I only saw him once at the front desk and noticed a couple asking the front desk for help about getting around Roatan, the rep just walked away. I did see him on a couple of other occasions either eating or drinking but never helping anyone out. He was there for our departure but I'm not sure what he did. Skyservice plane (which Conquest used) was ok but very small seating space. Upon arrival to Toronto, there were approxiametly 20 people that lost luggage, us included. I had an arguement with with the one rep from SkyService as I refused to sign the luggage claim where it stated I would not hold them responsible for any loss. We will wait and see if we get ours bag back. Some of the passengers lost all their baggage, including two sets of dive gear.

To sum it all up? One review we read said "don't stay here unless you are a diver". I'd have to say the opposite. Stay for the resort, location, people and food but don't stay here if you're a diver, atleast not if you have not dived much.

Don't take this review as a complaint, we had a great time and would go back.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JimSharonJed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2009

This is our second visit to Fantasy Island Resort. Our first visit was in the winter of 2008, and we enjoyed our experience enough to make a return trip. The diving is great, and the dive team goes out of their way to make the experience as smooth and pleasurable for their guests as possible. Dive packages allow resort guests to participate in scheduled boat dives that are offered 3 times daily, as well as unlimited shore dives from the gazebo located in one of the 3 small coves that are part of the resort. If a diver wishes to make a shore dive, the shop will transport tanks and divers over to the gazebo, and will arrange for a pickup after the dive if that is your wish. Like many dive shops in the Caribbean, they offer dive courses and some equipment sales. How this shop differs is their layout and staff. They have a management staff that are readily accessible and welcome each group of guests with an orientation session shortly after arrival. The dive facility is designed with divers in mind, and the set up is good for both groups of divers and singles or couples, with multiple mid-sized boats and a large dock that allows guests to get on board without a lot of effort. They also offer an air-conditioned classroom where guests can take PADI courses.

The reefs are in good condition, abounding in soft corals and sponges; there are dozens of dive sites located within a short distance of the resort, allowing divers to return to shore between dives rather than having to stay onboard for their surface intervals. From the gazebo, shore divers can quickly reach a sunken shipwreck or a nice wall dive just off the front of the resort.

The resort itself has recently undergone a change in ownership and the new management is investing time and money in updating the facilities. They have chosen tasteful and up-to-date colour combinations that complement the existing buildings and rooms. In the lobby you will see several examples of Honduran wood carving on doors and around the front desk; some of the rooms also have doors that are lovely examples of colourful tropical scenes. Rooms are either located in wings off the main 2-storey hotel, or in separate cabins spread out along the beach. All guestrooms have an ocean view, so you don’t have to worry about getting a nice view from your room.

A resident troupe of monkeys provides entertainment to the guests, especially in the afternoons, while an iguana that hangs out around the dive shop roof often awaits the return of dive boats.

Staff is attentive and friendly; the staff at the restaurant make a special effort to remember guest preferences and to greet guests when they come into the restaurant. The food is nicely prepared with a good variety to satisfy different appetites. The dining schedule is arranged around the dive excursions; having set times for dining minimizes the waste of food that is common in resorts that offer non-stop buffets around the swimming pool!!

We were impressed both with the resort and with the number of guests that we met who were repeat customers of Fantasy Island. We met guests that had been coming to this resort for more than 10 years, and we even saw people who had been at the resort at the same time as us last year. We take a vacation in the Caribbean at least once per year, and we have found a resort which warrants our business on a regular basis. With the renovations that are underway at the hotel, we have no doubt that the Fantasy Island guest experience will continue to improve and to meet our expectations for a relaxing dive vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank DivegirlElora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2009

I was extremely disappointed by our recent diving experiences at Fantasy Island. I've been diving 18 years, including 5 previous trips to Roatan. My husband and I were with 2 newly-certified friends, and had intended Roatan to be a safe, relaxing and stress-free first adventure. Unfortunately, it was anything but. Day one we were crammed onto a boat that already had 20 divers. There were tank holders for only 14 tanks, the rest of us assembled our gear onto tanks that were tipped haphazardly on the deck. It was literally impossible to move about the deck, which was strewn with tanks and gear bags for 25 divers. The diving was complete chaos. Getting 25 divers into their equipment on a swarming deck and into the water was not easily accomplished; there were multiple cases of "lost" masks, fins, weight belts ("lost" items were usually found under one or three gear bags). The poor divemaster (ONE for 25 divers, violates all sorts of regulations) was frazzled and overwhelmed. Underwater, it was a flailing, tangling, panicky mess. There were divers at 130 ft, divers on the surface, divers with equipment problems, divers smashing coral, divers going the wrong way...the divemaster had no clue. So much attention was needed to avoid collision that there was little opportunity to enjoy the reef and its inhabitants. I remembered these reefs as teeming with creatures...everything took cover when they heard us coming.

The dive shop didn't react at all to the concerns we voiced. They had actually contracted another boat to deal with the volume, but dismissed that captain as soon as they could pack all the divers onto their own boats. They made no efforts to lower numbers, and were not receptive to refunding us any of our package for what we considered an unacceptable experience(we wanted to take our business elsewhere). We were never on a boat with fewer than 18 divers, never more than one divemaster (one master for eight divers is standard). The operation was clearly unconcerned with the diver safety and quality of experience-it sacrificed both for profit. We sat out dives (the horror!) in favor of the excellent shore diving and snorkeling, and looked into doing a few days with Coco View. We kept reassuring our newbie friends that this was an unusually bad experience.

The resort itself is very nice. The beach is spectacular, the rooms are acceptable (who goes to the tropics to spend time in rooms, anyway), the food plentiful and tasty, and the staff are generally pleasant. For those not interested in diving, I highly recommend. For those accustomed to a safe and personalized dive experience, LOOK ELSEWHERE (ie coco view and reef house are both superior).

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank drdiver79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2009

We just got back from a week at Fantasy Island, would go back in a minute. Great location, the snorkeling and diving great right from beach and gazebo. We saw great variety or fish, eels, squid, within 50 ft of resort, shore dive to shipwreck great, saw all sorts of fish, crab, lobster, squid.

Rooms are so-so, but new owners have already started renovations. Food good, tried a bit of everything, we had no traveller's tummy issues.
Because Fantasy Island is really island, very safe, felt comfortable leaving our gear on any beach chair or table, would be untouched.

Staff very friendly, helpful, our friends who travelled with us had medical emergency, Micheal (manager) went to hospital to assist, his staff helped with any questions, issues, made cell phone available for them, as their Canadian cell did not work in Roatan. Lobby has wireless Internet and computer available near bar for guest use.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank GregfromCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fantasy Island Beach Resort

Address: Carretera Pavimentada Ppal, French Harbour, French Harbour, Roatan IB3110, Honduras
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan > French Harbour
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in French Harbour
Price Range: $171 - $283 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Fantasy Island Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 115
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy the best of the Caribbean at Fantasy Island Beach Resort, Dive and Marina! Our Roatan, Honduras resort is located on its own 21 acre private island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fantasy Island Beach Hotel Roatan
Fantasy Island Beach Roatan
Fantasy Island Roatan
Fantasy Island Beach Resort Roatan, Honduras

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