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.
- 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