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“Relaxing week at beautiful Paya Bay”
Review of Paya Bay Resort

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Paya Bay Resort
Ranked #17 of 43 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 4, 2011

We recently returned from a week at Paya Bay (Feb 19-26, 2011) on the island of Roatan in Honduras We've traveled fairly extensively in the Caribbean and were delighted with the hotel overall. We did their all inclusive option, which includes everything except alcohol, soda and tips. They also offer a variety of other packages and options and different types of specialty weeks…see their website for the full details. Their website is fantastic by the way.

The hotel is tiny … only 12 rooms…and all of the rooms were booked when we were there. The property is large (about 25 acres), with a good assortment of walking trails to various lookouts and pocket beaches. The paths are marked with signs and have funky names, like The Zen Path, Secret Cove and Bliss Beach.

There are 3 beaches. The main beach, which was rather windy with lots of seaweed during our visit and we didn’t spend any time there other than a walk one day, Bliss and Buccaneer Landing. We spent all of our time on Buccaneer as it was the least windy and our own private Eden. They have wonderful shade structures at Buccaneer… you can move the shades up or down depending on where the sun is. It was peaceful and lovely and we almost always had the place to ourselves…though there were a few other intrepid couples who enjoyed the hot sun and peaceful quiet of the Landing. Chris did a lot of snorkeling right off the property and I fed the fish with bread every day. There were lots of fish, starfish and our last day a ray came into the cove. There is a little shower to cool off and also some stairs into a sandy bottom area where you can easily get in/out of the water. It was truly heaven on earth at Buccaneer Landing.

Bliss Beach is the most popular beach and also where they held parties… a welcome cocktail party with an open bar, the local dancers and a BBQ dinner one night, and massages were held there as well...pretty sweet getting a massage right on the beach $60 for an hour…they offer manis/pedis on the beach as well. Bliss Beach has palapas and LOTS of shade. Also a little plunge pool, 2 showers for cooling off, kayaks, floats, and hammocks. There are also hammocks out at Secret Cove and other spots throughout the property, as well as hidden benches and chairs along the trails for taking in the lovely views. There is no shortage of scenic vistas...we took about 350 photos!

The property is well taken care of, with various enhancements and upkeep always in progress. Rooms ranged from small and scenic to large and airy - all very nice. The larger rooms are down near the beach – adjacent to the parking area. The smaller rooms are adjacent to the restaurant/bar up on the small cliffs overlooking the sea. We had a beach side room…it was a large room with 2 queen beds, a couch and chair, TV & DVD player (we never turned it on). All the rooms have little fridges which are stocked with water daily. The view of the water from our room was lovely and we had the windows open all day and night. The room also had AC which we never used. There was a good sized closet which was adequate for storing our stuff.

The cliff side rooms are tiny but have a spectacular view. We would likely request one when we go again…just to see the difference. Housekeeping kept us in clean towels (they provide beach towels as well) and clean linens daily. We never once saw the housekeeper…she seemed to know our schedule pretty well.

There are 3 resort dogs … Lucky, Foxy & Happy. Lucky & Foxy spent a lot of time with us down at Buccaneer Landing or sleeping outside of our room. They’re good dogs, and great watch dogs. We also saw plenty of iguanas on our nature walks. There are also bugs when it isn’t windy. We got bit the first night there….we think while at Bliss Beach at the cocktail party, but it didn’t itch or bother us at all..but we had plenty of bites....they went away within a day or so. Another guest had more of a reaction to the bites and the staff went out of their way to find the right mix of meds to make it better for her. We never had a problem with bugs while at Buccaneer Landing and it wasn’t windy there at all. We had bug spray with us but never seemed to need it. We came at the tail end of the windy season…so we enjoyed warm breezes day and night…it was heavenly.

The food was very good. Service was exceptional….really quite outstanding. The staff really set this place apart IMHO. The answer to any request was 'yes'. You want to go to a particular snorkeling spot?.... 'Sure, no problem!'. You want a couple of extra glasses con hielo y limon?.... "Si!". Could we have something off menu tomorrow?.... "Sure!". Everyone was above-and-beyond nice, from the owners, to the kitchen staff, grounds keepers, and housekeeping. Very, very impressive. They even had a birthday celebration for 3 of us having our birthdays there that week, complete with our own personalized cakes!

The dining room, bar, reception area and main deck are gorgeous. They have a hummingbird feeder outside of one of the many windows and the birds flock to it all day long. It is mesmerizing watching all the hummingbirds. At night the fruit bats come to the feeder….lots of them…and while not so mesmerizing, it is intriguing! There was also a feeder outside our room and we loved watching the birds…the bats..me, not so much! They have a water cooler in the dining room to fill your bottles with (very handy!) and since they don’t recycle we didn’t want to use too many plastic bottles (we brought them all back here to recycle). You have a little fridge in your room that they stock with water daily. We stopped at the store on the way and got some snacks (didn’t really need them as you can get food all day)..but was nice to have a few snacks on the beach and some of our own drink making supplies. Their wine was acceptable and they’ll keep bottles for you in their cooler with your name on it. It’s $20 a bottle (too much for most of the wine, though there was one type that was great…I drank them out of it pretty quick!). You could get a ½ gallon cooler of drinks mixed up (margaritas, pina colada, sex on the beach, etc) to take to the beach with you and we did this a few times. They stayed cold and icy all day and were a bargain at $12!

Breakfasts were wonderful (served from 7-10 each morning). We actually ended up getting up around 6:30 or so every day because it was such gorgeous sunshine coming into our room and a warm breeze thru the open windows. We also went to bed at 9 or 10 every night as there wasn’t anything to do other than socialize at the bar and on the deck. Fine with us…it was very relaxing.

Back to the food…breakfasts were a standout. Served buffet style…lots of fresh fruit, eggs, fabulous refried beans, banana pancakes one day (superb!!!), bacon, the usual fare. We loved the breakfasts and the lunches. Lunch was served starting at noon and was order off the menu. They had some good fare…pork tacos were a standout. And the caprese salad (fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil) was divine…I had that every day. They have their own herb gardens so they had fresh basil for the salad…yum! And mint for mojitos! We generally stuffed ourselves at lunch. Pasta dishes were good. Quesadillas were yummy. Shrimp cocktail great! There were plenty of lunch time choices.

Dinner was off the menu the first couple of nights (lobster!!) and then buffet style the rest of the week. They had seafood paella one night, served family style at the tables. Oxtail and conch night. Tamale night on the beach dinner party night. I wasn’t overly impressed with the set menu, but you could order off the menu if you wanted, so they are flexible. We were never hungry, that’s for sure. They also have a 4pm happy hour and snack time… I don’t recall that we have made it for that. Their desserts were good, especially the key lime pie.

Lots of the guests were off the property on the optional excursions all day. Chris went on the local hike and enjoyed it (great views, very sweaty!). He also went out on the twice daily snorkel boat trips and said it was some of the best snorkeling he’d ever done. He didn’t dive, but you can hook up with the dive operators nearby … the diving is supposed to be some of the best in the world as the island is surrounded by the 2nd largest reef in the world. It did not disappoint for Chris!! The snorkel trips are included in your price.

It was a very relaxing and wonderful vacation. We can’t stress enough how incredibly welcoming and wonderful the staff is. They truly want you to have a blissful experience and will do whatever they can to help make it so. The walking trails and little touches everywhere were perfect for us. And we liked the quiet atmosphere. If we had been traveling with friends I’m sure it’d have been livelier!

We would gladly return and highly recommend it for folks who want a relaxed, comfortable vacation in a smaller, slightly rustic hotel with a variety of services.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Chris R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 22, 2011

We enjoyed a fabulous week at Paya Bay in late January. My husband had read numerous, glowing online reviews, and we were not disappointed. Roatan is a relatively easy trip from the US.....about a two and a half hour flight from Houston. Upon arrival in Roatan, we were greeted at the airport by the resort's driver, Jose, who made the one hour trip to Paya Bay both enjoyable and informative.

Paya Bay is a gated resort located on the far Eastern end of the island. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. The staff is warm, friendly, and very accommodating. The owners, Lurlene and Mervyn, are delightful and went out of their way to make our stay special and memorable. Our bungalow was located on a hill overlooking the bay. It was clean, comfortable, and tastefully decorated. The weather was warm, but the AC worked well. The room features hight wood-beamed ceilings and wood flooring. We had a comfortable, queen-size bed with spotless, white linens that were changed daily. The bathroom was small, but quite adequate. We had a TV and DVD player; although, we never turned them on. The room had a nice corner seating area, as well as a small refrigerator that was stocked daily with bottled water. We were told that the tap water is safe, and indeed, we bathed, brushed our teeth, and even drank from the tap without any problems. The bungalow had a small balcony with a love seat--perfect for watching the sunrise and enjoying the night skies.

We were there during Naturist week, so both beaches were clothing optional. Bliss Beach (ordinarily textile or topless) is beautiful; however, if you're daring, Buccaneer Landing (Zone 3--nude) is a bit smaller, but breathtaking at sunset. We saw a variety of birds, and we enjoyed watching the fish and sea life in the shallow waters. There are also a couple of private coves that give you a sense of being a castaway on a tropical island. The resort only has ten bungalows, so it's never crowded. They do accommodate a few day guests when the cruise ships are in port, but the atmosphere remains relaxed and uncrowded.

The food was excellent throughout our 7 day stay. The breakfast menu is consistent, offering a variety of fruit, yogurt, granola; bacon and eggs; and the Island Breakfast--an eclectic mix of eggs, chorizo, beans, fried plantains, and cheese. My favorite by far were the banana pancakes! No weight loss on this trip! The lunch and dinner menus varied daily, but consistently included salad, soup, sandwiches, and burgers. The daily specials usually featured the local seafood as well as chicken, beef, and/or pork. If you love lobster, you're going to be happy. Lobster was a daily feature along with a variety of other local seafoods including shrimp, conch, and fish. We also enjoyed the "theme" nights. On Wednesday, they served seafood paella--which was wonderful. On Friday evening, we were treated to a very enjoyable show featuring local singers and dancers.

Last, but not least, you can be as active--or inactive--as you choose. The resort has numerous hiking trails as well as sea kayaks if you want to explore the bay. If you enjoy snorkeling, you're in luck. While enjoying breakfast on Day 2, we inquired about snorkeling. By 1 pm, we were on the resort's boat, and our guide, Ramon, took us to a gorgeous reef about 20 minutes away. We enjoyed a blissful afternoon exploring the reef before returning to catch the sunset on Buccaneer Landing. For divers, there are numerous dive shops and guides on the island. My husband loves to fish, and Michelle, the concierge, arranged for a day of bone fishing in the nearby flats. Mervyn drove us to the dock--at 5:30 am, and Lurlene provided us with boxed lunches as well as fruit, snacks, and bottled water. My husband thoroughly enjoyed the fishing, and I enjoyed just sitting in the boat while the guide's sons filled me in on life on the island, the local culture, and pointed out the sea life that rested about 12 inches beneath the surface--baby lobsters, sea urchins, starfish, etc.

At the end of the week, I was begging to stay longer. I lost that battle; however, my husband--who vows never to return to the same place twice until he completes his travel "bucket list"--is telling everyone that we are going back. I'm packed and ready!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank TnTraveler508
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2011

we chose this spot for the reviews here and were really disapointed. We wanted to stay on the East End to experience the less traveled area but I would have stayed at Barefoot the entire time on Roatan had we known. The web site and comments were deceiving. It was not horrible but...the second nite the roof leaked over our bed...there had been some extreme rain and mangement moved us right away to another room. There were no window screens anywhere but didn't have any insects ...we did however have a huge bat fly into the room and then out thru the open window. It totally freaked us out that there were numerous bats feasting on a flowering tree outside the door. We just felt we should at least have been 'warned' to shut the bathroom window or told ..The owner insisted they couldn't be responsible ,,The beds were not comfortable at all and there was no shower head so you basically were power washed.. The 'patios' were only big enough for one chair . Overall condition of the buildings is poor and they truly need to upgrade before they loose what could have a lot of potential. The setting is beautiful but the ' lap pool' is a joke...and looked rather on the scuzzy side. The 'paths' to the beaches are overgrown and difficult to walk on. We cut our 5 nite stay and left after the two nites.I did appreciate that we were reimbursed for the nites but were still expected to pay for the 12% tax on all 5 nites

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dreed29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
roatanguy, General Manager at Paya Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2011

While is saddens us that Paya Bay Resort did not meet this traveler's expectations, we realize the near impossibility of pleasing everyone. I'd like to respond to this review, however, to clarify a few points made:
(a) Our maintenance guys had worked to remedy the roof leak mentioned and we assumed it was fixed, obviously the issue was not fixed completely on the first attempt. We immediately moved these guests to a new room upon being advised that the problem still existed.
(b) Our plunge pool (not a "lap pool" ) had been drained for maintenance the week these travelers visited and very likely had partly filled with rainwater runoff from the torrencial rains we were having.
(c) Our balconies are, in fact, large enough for two chairs.
(d) All our showers do, in fact, have shower heads.
(e) Our nature trails, while designed to be low-impact (that is, not severely impacting the nature around them), are quite wide and easy to walk on.
Hopefully, these necessary clarifications will assist others reading these reviews.

Davinci McNab
General Manager
Paya Bay Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2011

We visited Paya Bay on a Day Trip while our cruise ship was docked in Roatan. Our ship was 3 hours late, but Jose (our driver) was waiting for us right where they said he would be. The drive to the resort takes about an hour, but the views are amazingly beautiful. At many points you can see both sides of the island as the road is at the top of the mountain most of the way. The road does become unpaved about 45 minutes into the trip, but that just added to the adventure for us. By the time you arrive, you truly do feel like you've driven to the end of the world, again, adding to the adventure.
When we (5 of us) arrived at the resort, it was a short stroll up some steps and paradise greeted us. What an amazing view from the restaurant area. We were served fruit punch and a fruit tray (YUM!!!) before being shown to a room (#6) that we could use to rest, relax, or freshen up. We were shown where the beach was and asked what time we would like lunch prepared for us. We decided 2PM worked best. They provided small coolers and ice and beer (for purchase). After a last minute arrangement for a beach massage, we made our way to the 2nd beach and were amazed that we were the only ones there. We relaxed, had a Salva Vida or two and explored the cove and Zen Trail. I was so amazed at the orchids growing in the trees that I didn't even realize that my group had left me behind. No worries, though, I just explored more before going back to the beach.
Lunch was wonderful and better than what we were served on the ship. Service was spectacular. One note, Ms. Lurlene collects funds for the local animal organization, so while there, please donate. The collection is at the restaurant entrance.
Paya Bay was amazing and we actually contemplated just going back to the ship, gathering our belongings, and spending the rest of the week at the resort. But alas, we did not. We were made to feel welcomed and like it was our home, a home at the end of the world.

Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
2  Thank robtx100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2011

Had a wonderful time at Paya Bay Resort. I can honestly say this was my best vacation ever. Here are some details:
The resort is somewhat isolated, on the Eastern end of the Island, away from the bigger resorts on the West end. If you are wanting peace and quiet, this is the place. If you are wanting non-stop activity and schedules, go to the West end. The trip from the airport took about an hour and the last part of the road was dirt and rocky but it was worth the hassle to get there and if you get Jose as a driver, he's a great tour guide.
Food was wonderful. Lobster, grouper, shrimp. The service absolutely perfect. We asked, they provided, always with a smile.
Snorkeling was better than in Kauai, whether at the reef 300 yards off shore or at Pigeon Cay. Many fish, many colors!
Beaches very quiet, clean, very beautiful. Clear, mostly calm water. The "clothing optional" beach has the calmest water, very good for swimming. The "pool" is very small.
Rooms were very clean. Clean sheets every day, something you don't often get in the states any more. Some ants in my room and a few visiting lizards but that's just part of the deal. Only complaint was that we didn't always have hot water and we had to remove the shower nozzle to get any decent water flow but who cares when you have such beautiful beaches to go to?
As a dog lover, I really appreciated the resort dogs - Foxy, Lucky and Happy. Lucky would visit various guests and seemed to stay in a guest room every night. What a character he is! I miss him!
Paya Bay is owned and operated by a Roatan family.
Lurlene, the owner, joined us for dinner most nights. Her husband, Mervyn, was the captain of the boat taking us to Pigeon Cay. Her son, Tom, is a great bartender. Try the Monkey La Las. They are quite good and Tom doesn't spare the alcohol.
Overall, a wonderful trip. We are already planning for next year!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank CJo0425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

This was my second trip to Paya Bay. My wife and I made our first trip about 2 years ago and we were seriously impressed with the quality of our stay. We made this second trip in an attempt to re-capture that experience. We were NOT disappointed.

This time we chose to attend during a 'Naturist week' and it was a real treat. My wife and I both have high stress careers in Los Angeles and can assure you there is nothing like a day spent naked on one of the many postcard perfect beaches here to reach a state of relaxation that is otherwise unattainable. Throw in a couples beach-side massage and life just doesn't get better. My wife's favorite activity was the daily nude yoga performed just before sunset followed by a dip to cool off. For those “on the bench” about naturist weeks (or traveling with families), do not fear - there is nothing weird or “off kilter” here. It is simply awesome. You will have no regrets choosing this or any other theme week.

I think you could spend a year at Paya Bay and have adventure every day. The trip out to Pigeon Cay is a MUST. It is seriously like something off a movie set. The diving in this area remains pristine. Though we had originally scheduled 4 days of scuba, we ended up having Tom captain us around to freedive local reefs the last 2 days 'naturist style' instead. It was some of of the best diving I have ever experienced. (and as a competitive freediver I dive a LOT).

The resort itself is not new but has lots of Caribbean style, is clean, charming, and sees continual improvement. Since my original trip they had added a beach-side non-chlorinated pool. It was perfect for quick warm soaks. They were in the process of adding an outdoor bar (I think this is finished now). There was also a new stage area for performances from local artists. The rooms are rustic but also see continual improvement, but at this spot you will not see your room often.

Davinci, hist brother Tom, Mom and the rest of the staff work so hard every day to keep their guests and visitors content and well attended. In many ways this last trip felt like a journey home.

I consider myself 'well travelled'. I have stayed in everything from “4 seasons” type resorts to stick shacks. If you are looking for 5 star golf, discos, or some kind of 'scene', do yourself a favor and don't go here. If on the other hand you are looking for peaceful relaxation, undisturbed private beaches, amazing adventure, and a boutique resort, then you can do no better anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately because we are moving further west into the S. Pacific we will not be able to make the journey back to Paya Bay anytime soon. But for me and my wife it is in our thoughts, and in our hearts every day.

Highly recommended for:
Groups of friends, Couples (all types), Families, Weddings, Adventure seekers and divers, Spa/Relaxation seekers, those who like dance barefoot on the beach and drink cold beer or unique martinis/cocktails.

NOT recommended for:
Disco/party people, swingers, uptight people who might complain about a gecko on the wall in their rooms.


If you have the opportunity do yourself a favor and go to Paya Bay.

Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
6  Thank sphonic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

Miss Lurlene and her staff made us feel that we were part of the family, welcoming us warmly and then giving us all the privacy we wanted for a completely relaxing and unplugged vacation. It was a 10 minute drive on a difficult dirt road to get there - but well worth the trip. Once on the property, we enjoyed delicious meals and amazing views. Our room was absolutely beautiful, overlooking the water and the mountains (which we climbed! Be sure to ask Lurlene and Myrna about Cousin Duka's place). Getting to the beautiful private beaches was a treat on the trails cut through the property. The Zen Path was our favorite. Creating those paths was such a wonderful touch! This is not your typical resort experience. This is where we learned the difference between being a tourist and being a traveler. If you are looking for wild night life - this is not your place. If you are looking for relaxation and natural beauty, you'll want to check it out.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank lznandgtn3
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: $212 - $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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