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“Beautiful Country”

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Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas
Ranked #7 of 22 Hotels in La Ceiba
A TripAdvisor Member
Toronto, Ontario
130
Reviewed March 19, 2006

We stayed at the Palma Real Beach Resort in Honduras from February 27 - March 6 2006. I found it to be an enjoyable vacation.

While I would agree that the hotel would be better rated as a three star hotel, we didn't encounter any of the problems I am reading people complain about. Maybe considering how cheap the vacation is we didn't have very high expectations and ended up being pleasantly surprised. The rooms are comfortable. We never had a problem with hot water, we had fresh towels everyday, and beach towels - given out near the pool - were always fully stocked. We did upgrade and stay in the newer part of the hotel (Beach not Caribe), for an extra $75 it is definetly worth it.

While the food gets a little boring after a week, it is better than we eat on an average week at home.

There are some glitches in the operation of the hotel, but nothing you wouldn't expect in a country like Honduras, which doesn't have the experience in tourism that Mexico or Cuba has. I felt that everyone who worked at the hotel tried their best, even after working very long days.

Having lived and travelled extensivly through the caribbean, I found Honduras to be a beautiful country, I think that the largest part of the charm to this trip was the fact that Honduras is not a tourist hot spot. If you are looking to be constantly entertained this is probably not the trip for you. If you want some peace and quiet and to explore Honduras without being stuck in the middle a pack of dozens of tourists, I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 12, 2006

When we travelled to Palma Real Beach Resort and Casino at La Ceiba, Honduras, it was sold to us as a four-star resort. We've travelled extensively in the Carribean and understand that sometime a four-star is not a four-star but were shocked to find out that this was little more than a one-star.
There's probably not enough time to go through the list of everything that was wrong with the resort. It had one functioning bar during the day and that was the swim-up pool bar. The disco bar opened later in the evening and did not serve blender drinks. During the week they alternately ran out of rum, white wine, bananas (in fact, the guests were going to the restaurant to bring bananas to the pool bar for drinks because the bartenders wouldn't do it), milk, orange juice, and even coffee cups. We aren't talking about running out for an hour. We're talking a day and often even longer.
Beach towels were at a premium. You could go as long as two days before getting a new towel. Hot water would disappear on a regular basis most nights of the week. My wife went three days without a hot shower. There were biting ants in the room. In fact, there were so many guest complaints that Conquest representative Nancy Lopez told us that she was just sick of all the complaining. We were present one day when a guest went to the front desk to complain that her toilet was not functioning. She was told that there were no more rooms to move her into and that the toilet would take days to fix. She was told to use the public bathroom even during the night.
How bad was it? We travelled with our 10--year-old daughter. She went to the mini-putt golf course one day with the friends she made and was told the course was closed because all the golf balls were lost. They had three golf balls which we found by walking the course.
The food was the same every day at the buffet and the a la carte restaurants were sub-standard, especially the service.
The front desk service was a disaster. If you asked for a towel they would say it would arrive in 20-minutes, then there were no more towels until the next day, there was no service overnight and no security so often there would be yelling and screaming within the confines of the hotel at three or four in the morning. There's much more but you get the picture.
The only saving grace in the entire episode was the tours outside of the hotel. They were four-star but I repeat they were outside of the resort.
On our return we attempted contact with Conquest to tell them about the problems. We were upset that they were selling this resort as a four-star with all these problems. We subsequently found out the resort rating is done by the company who sells the property so Conquest rated its own property a four-star. We spent almost $4,000 on this vacation. Conquest continues to rate this place four-stars despite all the complaints. They offered us $350 in total if we would sign a waiver indicating we would not say anything negative about the resort. We told them to keep their money, that it was far more important to warn other people not to waste their hard-earned money.
We agree with others that the country itself is beautiful and the tours were great. The resort however is a mess and not worth the trip.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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26  Thank harry_eddie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Montreal, QC
162
Reviewed March 6, 2006

We (couple in our twenties) stayed at Palma Real for a week as part of a Conquest package bought from Redtag. We got the deluxe room for an extra couple of hundred bucks, and greatly enjoyed the balcony and ocean view, so that was well worth it. We can confirm that, at least during busy times, the basic room is definitely a step down (no balcony or view), so we were glad to have spent the money--we enjoyed a few games of cards in the warm breeze on the balcony, and found that it was a bit windy for cards anywhere else: you get the idea, balconies are nice. In general, the room was of a similar quality to a nice Days Inn or Best Western one might find in a small Canadian/US city. Very clean, great daily maid service, a bit musty smelling (hey--it's 30º and humid--that's a fact of life!) no bugs (though your door opens to the outside, so I sprayed the doorframe with Raid a couple of times just in case--they do, indeed, fog the entire resort from time to time, but how can you complain when Honduras is a malarial country?). We hardly used the AC, as it cooled off pretty nicely at night, and the room always felt comfortable, but we apppreciated the ceiling fan for circulation. The legendary remote control was, actually, not functioning, but who needs TV in a tropical paradise? (And the English TV selection was pretty limited anyway). Finally, the safe worked and it was comforting to have my laptop and money and so on locked up daily--on that note, it seems that we lost a skirt, but this may have been under the bed or something--at any rate, this could happen at any apartment building laundry room, so whatever. As to the location of the room and the noise, we were very happy, though light sleepers may be annoyed by the grounds crew, maids, disco, etc--a villa might be the best option for them, as these are handy yet sort of isolated. For us, it was nice to walk twelve paces for a refill on the delicious pina coladas!

Moving on to the food! Absolutely no complaints. There was suffcient variety at the buffet, and it was open most of the day (until 10 for breakfast, again for 3 hours at lunch, and then another 3-4 at dinner). The snack bar was fine if you can handle chicken wings and 7-11 style nachos, but really, for the price, this food was far above our expectations. There was also wine, beer, coffee, and fountain drinks at the buffet, and the water is all purified, so no worries about ice, etc. One bummer was the milk for the coffee , which they keep in a Bunn-O-Matic coffee carafe (can you say "icky milk skin"?), but we got around this by asking the waiters for "leche fria" from the back. The coffee was excellent otherwise. A word about the waiters and the a la carte dinner: amazing. The dinners were cute above all else. We had both a generic chicken meal and a decent filet mignon on separate nights (no reservation, but a smile for Edguardo and we were taken care of). As with many other aspects of the hotel, one wished one could be manager for a month to help them do simple things like dim the lights and use candles, but they are trying SO HARD, and everything from the busser girls to the two-man-band is just irrestible! As to health concerns, this is a poor country, and different from home. There were scattered stories of stomach issues (too much rum? sun?), but nothing seemed to set anyone back more than a day. I had a 24h fevery sick spell from an Edmonton McDonald's recently, so I wouldn't let this concern any prospective travellers (though some pepto in the suitcase is never a bad idea).

The pools were lovely, and open very late, which we enjoyed. It may be worth trying the pool by the a la carte restaurant if you want some quiet during the day, as the poolside bar does tend to crank the tunes a bit on the loud side. A special attraction to the mail pool was the "Blind Date" cave: you'll get it if you see it. A hot tub might have been nice at night, but you can't have everything! The beach was reasonably maintained (very clean yet not manicured) and the water, while sandy, was warm and fun. Stuff like the beach chairs could use a sprucing-up, but we never had a problem finding one, and the hammocks on the beach were appreciated. The grounds are well-kept. Don't imagine a 5 star in Vegas, but there is not a shred of garbage or a stray dog to be found.

There is a lot of fun to be had at this hotel. Our only regret was that we should have stayed another week so we might have 10 seconds of boredom! By day, we walked to the nearby town of Sambo Creek (about 1 h to the "left" along the beach). We wished we could have done this more than once, as the walk was gorgeous, the town fascinating (both gritty and friendly, with a nice restaurant, a store selling local run for $5/bottle, and many English-speaking locals who were very welcoming if you wanted to chat). We enjoyed the fish/coconut soup at the beachfront restaurant and ran into Fabio, a bellhop at the hotel who showed us his home and had us in for beer and a demo of his stereo! More Fabio later... We also rented a 4x4 in La Ceiba and took on the gruelling drive to the incredible Mayan ruins at Copan (400km each way). This is not something we would recommend for the faint of heart, as driving in Honduras is at least as scary as it sounds, but fun if you have the bottle for it! If you want to try, get a large, tough vehicle (potholes the size of porcupines come out of nowhere and boulders fil entire lanes of traffic) and TAKE YOUR TIME! Believe me! 60-70kph is plenty, and 30 in town is maybe too fast! The La Ceiba mall isn't much, but good for some nice, pricey souvenirs and a trip to Applebees. We bought some thermal mugs, something which the pro resort-goers showed was very useful at the hotel (take a 500mL daquiri to the beach and it stays cold!). Perhaps the highlight of our stay was the trip to the Cayos Cochinos with Wilfrid, the German diving school guy (located near the a la carte). He leaves every morning around 8--just show up if the breeze is light, and prepare for an amazing day! $55 gets you a ride to the islands and snorkelling gear-though be sure to ask for this in advance. The water was perfect, one boat had dolphins follow them, and if you are a snorkeller/diver, the reef is simply perfect. The lobster/fish lunch (~$10 + beer) was the best food of the trip, and worth the whole day just for that experience. The island people also sell come cute little shell necklaces and bracelets for very little money ($10 for two sets or so) and are a much better value than the mall shops. We also got a beachfront massage from Annie, who is a great gossip and really gets "in there" with the baby oil. A nice relaxer for $10. The water jungle was more of a laugh than anything, but definitely made an enjoyable morning--bring a few bucks (as with everywhere you go) to buy a beer and ice cream while watching fat bourgeois Honduran children attempting to mount inner tubes! I'm entering my footage for Honduras' Funniest Home Videos... The evenings were ok, but we had plenty of fun on our own. The disco was pretty lame after the second night, though the space was nice--just boring music and thin attendance. The theatre was hilarious and recommended. As with everything, they tried their hardest, and we were never a moment without a laugh or at least a big smile.

The staff at this resort couldn't have a nicer staff. Highlights for us included the aforementioned Fabio (25 year old Garifuna black guy with maple leaves head-to-toe), Annie the masseuse, all the receptionists and maids, Edguardo and Simon the waiters. There wasn't a frown to be found, and we received everything, from a toilet plunge to towels to matches, as soon as we asked. Tipping goes a long way to help these folks. They make $5/day. Literally. So if you can hit the bartender for $1 every morning, or kick Fabio or your maid even$5 at the end of your trip, just think of the difference this makes in their lives (Annie, for example, has a young son, and even high school in Honduras is not free!). We probably spent $100-150 on tips, and would have loved to have given more. I recommend buying some Honduran currency beforehand (order it at any CDN bank) as a Honduran 5 is worth 25c US--a good amount to have handy.

This is a very interesting place. The people are terrific, and the experience was generally perfect. If you are expecting a throbbing party or Sheraton-type luxury, stay home, or try Cancun. If you want a bit of adventure mixeed with your relaxation, you have that option at the Palma Real. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this place to anyone that has the right attitude!

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
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62  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2006

After coming back from a wonderful week at Palma Real Resort in Honduras I couldn't help but read some of the negative comments. It's very unfortunate that some people had a bad experience because it ----- having to deal with problems especially when you're on holidays. My wife and I have been to a lot of places and some better than others, but Honduras was excellent. The resort is very beautiful and well kept. The staff is absolutely wonderful and their english very adequate. No problems communicating with them, but maybe it's easier for us because we understand a bit of spanish. The trips they offer were very adventurous and exciting, not to mention very reasonable in price. The food was very good. The rooms very clean and spacious. The entertainment ok... one can take it or leave it. The beach not your tipical white sand beach and turquise water, but very nice. So, it was a great place to visit and I'm glad that we had a chance to go before it gets to commercialized. Had a great time!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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24  Thank awesomericorico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2006

We have recently returned from Honduras (Palma Real, La Ceiba) after spending two weeks in this beautiful country.
Reading the reviews that had been posted concerned me. The agent I dealt with reassured me that some travelers find fault with anything. This was my reality check.
We did not have any dealings with Nancy Lopez so I can not comment about her.
The Palma Real is a beautiful resort. It is clean, the grounds well maintained, and the beach is tidy. The beach is not the pristine white sand and blue waters that you envision in the Caribbean but beautiful the same.
We spent two weeks in the La Caribe section. Many of the reviews criticized this area. We had no complaints. The room was clean - no bugs, NO NOISE, view was heavenly. We had hot and cold water as well as towels.
Yes it was a walk to the restaurant but we had the trolley if we wanted the ride. (This reminds me of the handicapped parking spaces at the gym. Everyone wants the parking space at the door but they spend 3 hours working out inside!!!!) We walked on the beach daily so the walk to the restaurant was not a issue. We are not picky eaters and they always had a wonderful spread at every meal. A variety of their cultural foods along with fish dishes, chicken and beef, pork, tasty and hot.
The people at the resort were wonderful. Everyone we met from housekeeping to wait staff to front desk staff, theatre troup, everyone! did what they could to make your stay a comfortable one. No task was ignored.
We did some detailed sleuthing and found another tour company "touristoptions" that offered several fantastic tours at a great price. Oscar was always willing to go the extra mile to make your trip enjoyable. He grew up in the area and knows it well. Safety was always paramount.

The Diving School (divincaribik) on the beach at the La Caribe section is a wonderful place to check out. The trips to the islands are second to none. Wilfred and Brigitt are warm and friendly. The tour they offer starts at eight am and return mid pm.
Anyone planning a trip to Honduras must keep in mind that this is a developing third world country. Many of the locals still do their laundry in the rivers, have no running water or hydro in their homes.
If you are expecting a Las Vegas style hotel with North American standards, keep looking. If you are looking for peace and serenity with much to see and experience, lots of culture, history, and scenery, you are going to the right place. You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed: January 2006
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34  Thank krismas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Grand Island, NY
134
Reviewed March 2, 2006

As you can see I have rated this trip as an overall above average rating. I have to explain this - the hotel is definitely not a 4 star - probably a 2 star, but the location and the activities outside the hotel area awesome. I have never seen anything so beautiful as the wilderness in Honduras. I have been home for almost a week and am still completely blown away with it. The food as has been said before is alright, nothing amazing, but nothing too bad, the nightlife is decent and the rooms are alright. There were 3 days that I couldn't have a shower, but the problem was resolved that day.

My suggestion is if you are going there for the hotel - don't, if you are going there to explore outside the hotel - ABSOLUTELY.

We were quite busy while we were there, but I think the two best things we did was scuba diving with Wilfreid and Brigit. They have a hut right in the hotel complex. They are not at the main hotel, but if you go to the other one and look towards the beach you will find them. What awesome instructors and believe me, if you have time, just sit and talk to them - they are very interesting people. Also, where they take you diving is the second largest reef in the world - it was fabulous. They will also take you to an island that is inhibited by 150 people who have no electircity, plumbing or anything like that. They basically live off the ocean - really cool! If you would like to talk to them ahead of time about setting something up, their email address is: diveincaribik@yahoo.de

The second trip that was great was the white water rafting. Once again, Wilfreid doesn't do this, but go to him to find out who does the best trips. The guy he sent us with took us on a much better trip than the hotel guides did and I think a couple dollars cheaper too.

We did the zip lines and they were alright, nothing too amazing, I didn't find. Also, if you are an animal lover, get ready for the shape the horses are in that you have to ride up the very steep hill, because it isn't fun to watch.

So, once again, a wonderful place and I sooo wish I could be back there right now!!!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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34  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Niagara Falls, Canada
115
Reviewed March 1, 2006

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas

Address: Km. 20 Carretera La Ceiba-Trujillo, La Ceiba 9999, Honduras (Formerly Barcelo Palma Real Resort)
Location: Honduras > Atlantida Department > La Ceiba
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 22 Hotels in La Ceiba
Price Range: $147 - $217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas 3*
Number of rooms: 160
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Also Known As:
Palma Real Beach Resort And Villas
Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas Hotel La Ceiba
Palma Real Beach Hotel
Palma Real Honduras
Palma Real Beach La Ceiba
Palma Real Hotel Honduras
Palma Real La Ceiba
Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas Honduras/La Ceiba

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