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“Relaxing Getaway”
Review of Paya Bay Resort

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Paya Bay Resort
Ranked #17 of 42 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 27, 2007

Paya Bay is a wonderful option for a relaxing vacation ...especially if diving and/or snorkeling is an important vacation activity. My wife and I knew up front that we were going to a small resort located in a fairly undeveloped part of the island. For some folks that would be a recipe for boredom but for us it was perfect. The McNabb family, who own and operate the resort, do an outstanding job of attending to the needs of the guests. Being a small resort, it cannot provide the level of amenities found at larger hotels but by the same token the larger resorts cannot compete with the level of personal attention that the McNabbs gave to us. I felt a genuine effort was made by all family members (and many of the staff) to get to know us and authentically be interested in how we were enjoying our vacation....this personal touch was most welcome. The resort itself is clean, comfortable and picturesque. It has a great location (that is, if you enjoy relative solitude and the beauty of the surrounding countryside). Again, if you require non-stop activities or access to immediate shopping, this is not a good choice. But if you like nice beaches, terrific access to a healthy reef system, and the opportunity to chill out, it is a superb vacation option. Development on Roatan will undoubtedly change the character of the island considerably over the next 10-20 years. One can only hope that this little vacation oasis remains mainly undisturbed. Signed- Libby and Tony from Greensboro, NC.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Greensboro007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 21, 2007

Outstanding,

If you are looking for an out of the way place without the crowds, loud music, and bright lights this is the place. Expecetional rooms with all the nice touches, great food, and a location to die for. Just returned from a 10th Anniversery trip with my wife from a week long visit. This family run resort is spacious, clean, friendly, and accomidating. It seems that everyone goes to Roatan for the diving and you always read about the west end and the big resorts.......no comparison. The east end diving is superior in all respects. We dove all week and never saw another boat. Dive sites were unique and varied, the staff was professional and knowledgeable, and groups were small and personable. Access to remote dive locations rarely visited are only a request away (Morat Wall is a must). Food included lobster, conch, fresh fish, pork, chicken and lots of salad and vegetables.... if you want anything special just ask up front. The resort is located on its own 23 acres with two private beaches, private snorkel boat (no cost), onsite dive operation, and much more. Explore the longest beach in Roatan just a mile down the coast or site on the deck and have a drink or two. The McNab family have a long history on Roatain and are outstanding hosts that can arrange anything. Don't miss this special place.

Best Regards,

Derek Lerma
Ojai, CA

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DerekOjai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2007

The property and location are nice- over all our stay was good. But issues we ran into.

1. Missing jewelry from the room- it has been on the night stand, but disappeared, two days later it was located, but there was some questions.
2. Hotel staff are friendly- but it is island time.
3. Dive staff- I wasn't terribly impressed with how dives were handled, they were not flexible on the diving.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Anonymous_USA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2007

My husband and I were looking for a quiet relaxing vacation, and we certainly found it at Paya Bay. We have been to Roatan twice previously on dive vacations, but this trip we wanted to stay above water, and selected Paya Bay because of its advertised beaches.

The location is spectacular. Yes, it's on the far end of the island at the end of a dusty, dirt road (about 45 minutes from the airport). A taxi driver happily whisked us to Paya Bay (the resort paid the taxi). We didn't budge for the entire vacation.

Lurleen and her daughter Sharlene greeted us warmly with hugs. We were given a choice of rooms (we opted for a Cliff Room, and were not sorry). We listened to the crashing waves, and sat on our balcony overlooking the water. No, the rooms are not glitzy, rather rustic, but immaculately kept, and we loved them. There were charming touches like fresh flowers, beach towels. Our mini-fridge was filled daily with bottled water. There is a coffee pot in the room, and we made Honduran coffee every morning, sipping on our balcony. There were several short power outages during our stay, once while we were dining, but hurricane lamps were whisked out, and we soon forgot about it. It was very hot during our trip, and we turned on the air conditioning for several days, and it was quite functional. Overhead fans were fine for the other days. The showers were fine (remember this isn't the USA, but a place where water is precious).

There are two beaches; there is no such thing as a private beach in Roatan, but Paya Bay owns all the access to Lil Beach, so in effect is private. On several days, we had it completely to ourselves! We sat under coconut trees, basked in the 82 degree waters. Once, while snorkeling off the beach, a Honduran sailed by in his fishing boat, exclaiming hellos, and telling us that we had found a great place for lobster and grouper. One day a group of school children materialized, and we chatted while they swam.

Roatan is not a wealthy island. But the people are genuinely warm, loving, welcoming. I can't think of a friendlier place in the Caribbean. The grounds are lovely, beautiful paths, plants, flowers. The grounds crew and gardeners were busy creating little nooks, including a sunset pavilion, that I hope will be completed when we return. There are hammocks and Adirondack chairs scattered around.

Charles, the chef, is fantastic. We had the most wonderful Key Lime Pie for dessert every day. He invited a guest into his kitchen, Corina from Canada (she and her young son Eric were getting scuba certification), and he showed her how to make these great pies. She's emailing me the recipe, too. We had wonderful lobster, redfish, coconut shrimp, grouper. The food was all around wonderful. Often accompanied by native red beans and rice.

We did venture out on the boat twice to snorkel, and several times off the beach. The reefs are in nice shape, and we're planning a return trip to dive. From what we could tell, the dive operation is well-thought-out, and expertly run. The dive facilities looked top-notch, and the boats were in good shape. Chuck, the instructor, seemed to be a good instructor, based on what the other guests told us.

The guests are multinational: we visited around Easter, and there were Honduran families, a couple from Spain, mother/son from Canada, a bloke from England on holiday. A nice break from US dive bums.

Thursday is Massage Day--Bert is fantastic--he fixed a bum shoulder that has confounded doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and other massage therapists for over a year! Thank you, Bert!

Tom was often our bartender, fetching us drinks and making concoctions. The wait staff, all in all, were nice, nice people. Often warning me HOT!!! when I liberally doused my eggs with tabasco.

The hummingbirds! They are fantastic, dozens zipping around. We'd sit at our breakfast table, watching them congregate around the sugar feeder. Also, the resort dog, Togo, was my special pal.

Definitely take insect protection (although they do sell it there). The no-see-ums can be ferocious. We were glad we brought a beach blanket, because the beach chairs were rather unforgiving.

This is NOT your place if you require entertainment. If you want great diving, or a quiet relaxing vacation with great food, look no further.

Bobbie and John, New Jersey

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bobbie_and_John_Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2007

I have to be honest with all of you because you are here looking the best for your holidays, as I do when travel. Because of this, I'll try to explain the bas things better than good ones that are most, there are some "less-good" things, this is because my 4 instead a 5 rate; but my heart rated a 5.
I recommend Paya Bay if your priorities are: diving, relax and fun.

The bad things and explanation:
- slow served meals, BUT, you are in holidays, just relax and nothing to do, remember this. This is the "island time" you will find you in any service, in any resort in Roatan, I'm sure.
- rooms quite antique. Another again, it's Roatan, a island in progress, but with inconvenients. Otherwise, you have: A/C, private bath, terrace over Caribbean Sea, tv, cable, dvd,... Could it be better? yes, but, you would have perspective where are you.
- bugs: my main suffer. Nothing to do. Paya Bay is a windy promontory over the beach and sea, you will have less bugs than other cabanas just in the sand, but otherwise, if you go to beach or to dive center, you will have bited. Be generous with repelent, they sell a quite effective one.
- isolated: ABSOLUTELY. But is a point is you want to relax, that's what I looked for. Otherways, they have a Party beach on Thursdays, an Open Beach Bar from Friday to Sunday, with Music during the nights. Plenty of locals and staff and their families, you will have the opportunity to know about customs and lifestyle of the island people, that invites you to going out to fun to their villages, if you want to dance or whatever.
- diving: operation center is good enough, no clowds, just some guests, and occasional american locals or other tourist explorating pure eastearn reefs. They don't have rush, that's great, you are in vacation. The divemaster, Henry, is a local that knows each foot underwater, with a personal feeling impossible to forget. In my memory, is the best DM I've ever had. The diving is cool, never repeat spot, caves, canyons, gardens, walls, pinnacles, drifts, everything. No much marine life, nor human life (you will be alone diving, Great!), no much coloured coral, BUT, a lot of spots, a lot of coral, and diversity. We saw everything: from sharks to nudibranchs. Another again: the local divig staff is a jewel: guides over & under water, attempted, doing everything. Chuck and Ben are nice people managing the Dive Center, always trying to do unforgotteable.

Very good things:
- Location: the best in Roatan, everybody agree. Two beatiful beaches for you, out of crowds.
- staff: familiar and intimity, guests are part of the family, and people feel and act as humans!
- Food: Charly is a great chef. No much choice of food, but always welldone.
- Dive: good price/quality relationship. We stayed in southern diving and no much different. The Divemaster, Henry, worths the choice for everything.

Thanks for everybody for doing such a special holidays for us: Da Vinci, Lurleine&Marvin, Thomas, Sharlene, Charly, great Henry, John& Billy (the Captains), Lucio (driver), and rest of staff.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank DoPaiK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2007

Our week in Roatan was beautiful, relaxing, and fun! We can't wait to go back again---soon! Lurleen was so sweet and accommodating. She greeted us with a smile and hugs every time that she saw us. The entire staff was very accommodating, friendly, and personable. The location is very secluded. There was entertainment planned for several of the nights. DaVinci has done a great job of planning the whole week. Speaking of nights- we have never seen a more beautiful night sky.
The best part had to be the weather- a nice breeze blew all day. This kept away all the pesky bugs and kept us comfortable (so we could enjoy the relaxation and snorkeling). Tom has found some excellent nearby spots for snorkeling, we are not experienced divers and thought that we would miss out, but the beauty of the spots that we were taken to proved us wrong. We can't wait to go again, and plan to take more friends.

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank genesup1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2007

This place is a diamond in the rough!
One thing we have learned from traveling is that everything is relative. After spending a week on the West End of the island amongst thick crowds of whining and dining tourists, taunting taxi drivers, and strict dive masters, we were happy to get a litte taste of the "real" Roatan.

On the West End of Roatan we were sick of feeling like we could be anywhere else in the Carribean. The resort we stayed at was owned by an American, dive shop run by a German, and everything was so restricted. Also, we paid top prices, but when the power went out on the Island (50% of the time) we had no back up generator, leaving us sucking humid, soggy, heat-riddin air, and unable to sleep.

At Paya, however, they have a back-up generator to run air conditioner when the power goes out. But it is not as if you need it because this resort has an awesome constant breeze blowing in from the ocean like nowhere else on the island. Not to mention the views from upon the rocky bluff the resort sits on. Also, we enjoyed the fact that the resort was owned by a local, and despite her struggles, has managed to make a living on the poverish island. The owner Lurlean is very genuine and we enjoyed talking with her about various characters we had met on the island. Most local residents all seem to know a little about each other and their history. We also enjoyed visiting with Divinci, Lurlean's son, now fresh out of college with a Masters in Business ,who will be working with his sister to take over the family business.
Food was good, we ate one dinner and breakfast there. Both good, breakfast was a buffet style: fried eggs, toast, fry bread, fruit salad, cereal, coffee, juice, bacon. Try the fresh made watermellon juice one of the staff squeezes daily. Dinner varies nightly.
Diving was completely different than what we were used to. Henry a great dive master ( known to find rare seahorses) let us dive to 100 ft on our first dive (technically open water should only be 60ft). But, despite the lenient diving, it was rather unorganized and you may be better off diving at Luna on the West End if you truly want to get three scheduled dives in per day at an efficient rate that allows you to relax on land between dives.

Things to look for: If you see small sea-shells around the sidewalks in Paya Bay Beach resort, pick them up. Most times they will contain cute tiny hermit crabs. We renamed Paya bay, "Hermit Bay" because of all the crabs we found the couple days we stayed there.
Bottom line:
If you are sick of being around tons of tourists, come relax in complete quiet at Paya Bay and let the constant crashing of waves and the calming cool ocean breezes lull you into the soothing rythms of island life. If you want to find more night life and have a variety of shops to pick souveniers from, pick a hoppin more organized resort on the West End. Or go to the West End first to get your party on, then rent a car and come relax here for a couple nights. I LOVE Paya, but it may not be the best place to go first thing on your vacation, especially if you are planning to be here the entire time, as you are completely isolated to only this resort if you do not rent a car.

TIPS: ask if someone at the resort can give you a ride, a bike, or try to walk down to Asylum bar at Camp Bay down the road from Paya, where Sirena, a daughter of a former employee of Paya (only 17) has set up her own beach hut bar over the water. Food is good, try the ceviche!
Sunday or Friday: get a ride to Jonesville (15 min away) and ask a boatman at the docks for a ride to Hole in the Wall restaurant for a twice weekly barbeque on the water. Great seafoood!!! So good in fact, when the owner Bob's original restaurant burned down about two years ago, his patrons raised over $5000 overnight on the Internet, and all the locals helped rebuilt the restaurant from the former rock cliff location, to an over-the-water wood-dock locale, in less than a week.

Things to bring:
Bug spray! skin so soft or pure deet. Rain coat. Flash light.

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank alybee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paya Bay Resort

Address: Main Highway, East End, Roatan 00000, Honduras
Phone Number:
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Roatan
Price Range: $122 - $224 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Paya Bay Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Paya Bay Beach Resort is Roatan's Ultimate Escape. Located on the pristine east end, it is Roatan's premier boutique hotel. Perched atop a bluff with private beaches on each side, Paya Bay features 10 uniquely designed rooms and an amazing restaurant. Paya Bay's on-site dive operation, Dive Roatan, specializes in underwater tours and training for one to ten divers. Paya Bay also offers: flats fishing, boat tours, hiking and of course relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paya Bay Hotel Roatan
Paya Bay Beach Dive Hotel
Paya Bay Beach Dive Resort
Paya Bay Resort Roatan, Honduras - Bay Islands

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