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“Fake charity fee and other questionable practices” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort

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Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort
Ranked #4 of 14 Hotels in West Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Fake charity fee and other questionable practices”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

Bananarama has an undeniably beautiful location on West Bay beach, but this is a very long beach; all the resorts there have a great location. While I enjoyed my first stay here, I no longer think this is a great value for the money. And this is coming from someone who used to be a fan and was recommending this place to friends a few years ago! Management seems to have changed in between my visits to Roatan, however. If you try to book with them, read the fine print: they have added a mandatory "charity fee" of $2 per night to the booking charge, which they claim will support local charities. They don't say who these charities are, and the fact that this donation is compulsory seems highly suspicious. How is it charity if you're being forced to do it? Don't get me wrong: I would be happy to help a local Honduran charity, but I don't believe for a second that this money is going anywhere besides to the resort. Why don't we get donation receipts detailing the amount and the recipient (like we would with any other charity)? The breakfast that comes with your fee is pretty average - if it hadn't been rolled into the price, I can honestly say we would never have eaten there. I also had a very negative experience with them when trying to get a refund that they fully admitted - in writing - that they owed me. But while they admitted it, the catch was that they mysteriously didn't have the ability to credit my card (though they had no trouble charging it in the first place). They claimed the refund check was "in the mail," but week after week it never arrived. Thankfully my credit card company agreed this was fraudulent behavior and credited my card. So - you might enjoy your stay here if you don't require any kind of customer service (and if you don't care that the breakfast you paid for is mediocre or that you're being forced to contribute to an invisible charity). Just cross your fingers and hope nothing goes wrong and you don't need to ask or anything. Trust me, there are better options. I will say, though, that the fine-dining restaurant on the grounds of the resort - "The Vintage Pearl" (this is not the same place where you eat your breakfast, which is the "Thirstly Turtle" bar on the beach"): Vintage Pearl is expensive, but worth every penny. If you have a special event to celebrate, it's quite a treat. As far as I know the ownership is independent from the resort itself. Also, I've had no complaints about the dive shop that operates within the resort. Highly professional and helpful bunch working there. Luckily you are welcome to frequent both of these fine businesses, restaurant and dive shop - and even the Thirsty Turtle if you want to - without actually staying at this resort.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Catherine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,116 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (214)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Middlebury, Vermont
Level Contributor
242 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 312 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2013

My husband and I and our two young adult children stayed here for three nights this past week. We chose this resort because it was highly ranked on tripadvisor and had a dive shop on the property. We had a very enjoyable time and hope to return someday. Location: the resort is located on about one and a half acres of land right on the beach in West Bay on Roatan. This is essentially the southwestern tip of the island and is about 20 minutes from the airport. The resort will pick you up at the airport for $25, well worth it. We (the parents) stayed in cabin #2, one of about 5 one-room cabins with one queen bed, a bathroom, and a sitting area and hammock on a small front porch. These cabins are brightly painted and decorated but are basically small, wooden structures. Our kids stayed in #22 which was closer to the beach and consisted of a large el-shaped room with a queen bed in each leg and a larger bathroom, kitchenette, and dining table. This room was large enough to be quite comfortable. Beds were comfortable. Rooms have A/C but do not have TV's or phones. WiFi is available throughout the resort. Each room is provided with a 5 gallon bottle of water for drinking, brushing teeth etc. The tap water is very soft and smells slightly of sulfur; we did not drink it. The dive shop on the premises is busy so make reservations ahead if you can. Our son had to wait a day before he could be fit into the schedule. The bar/grill area on the premises has very good food, as good as any we found in West Bay (reviewed separately). The bar area is lively and different activities are planned for each day at lunch and/or dinner. One night was karaoke, one lunch was a one-man band, and another dinner was a three man band. We also tried the ice cream from the small convenience store and it was very tasty. Breakfast is included and typically there is a choice on one hot entree or some combination of fruit, cereal or yogurt. The beach directly in front of the hotel is good for bathing. The sand is fine and waves are tiny - if present at all (perfect for small kids). We rented snorkel equipment at the resort and walked left down the beach to the "wall" and snorkeled among the coral reefs. We also borrowed a two person kayak from the resort and enjoyed paddling along the beach. There are quite a number of other resorts (mostly more upscale), several restaurants, and some new condo complexes on the beach adjacent to this resort. However I think this resort is the best value for your money. The people who work there are friendly and make you feel welcome, even if you are there just a short time. Clientele seems to be mostly Americans and Canadians, but we also saw folks from Europe and Central America. Note that it is much cheaper to get to this resort by flying to San Pedro Sula and transferring to a Honduran airline than flying direct from the US. As to safety, there were guards patrolling the property and also stationed at the beach and town entrances at all times. The town of West Bay is about 300 yards from the resort, just one block up a dirt access road.

Room Tip: All the rooms are very close to the beach. The only disadvantage of being in the smaller cabins at t...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Bikers_Mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 13, 2013 via mobile

This is the place to stay in West Bay!! Great location, there's a Reef right off the hotel Beach, just a short walk away! It's beautiful ! The Rooms are very nice and you can't beat the free breakfast everyday. The Hotel Staff was excellent, so friendly ! I will definitely recommend the Bananarama Resort !

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 1SaltyGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2013

I stayed only 2 nights in this hotel - fortunately. The location of the hotel is good, just next to West Bay beach, the ground is well kept. We had the cabana no 13, very avarage, not really clean, hot and noisy. Altough this is a beach hotel in a remote island, for this price I expected a bit more.
The breakfast was awful, I really questioned the hygenic conditions of the kitchen. Lunch and dinner we always had at the next door hotel, cheaper and better quality.
The staff was so unfriendly, rude, bored and unpolite, horrible service, except the dive centre. If I stay longer in Roatan, for sure change hotel.
I chose Banarama based on the reviews and I was really surprised having this bad experience.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AndreaK2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2013

Reviews are by definition, highly subjective and are strongly influenced by what your expectations are and where you have been before.

My wife and I are in our early 30s and have traveled to AI locations over 20 times, rarely in extremely luxurious but never in less than a 4 stars. We've stayed at some places I'd qualify as excellent.

The Bananarama and Roatan itself however score 11 on a scale of 10! Never have we come back from a trip and felt that way - We needed to visit this place again, and ASAP.

Roatan is a beautiful island and the beach in West Bay certainly ranks high among the most beautiful I've had a chance to visit. The Bananarama sits directly on this beach.

There are tons of excellent reviews out there so here are the outstanding points that, to us, made the Bananarama our new home away from home:

The staff:

Never have we cared much for this aspect on our trips, in fact it ranked pretty low on our list of important stuff to look for. Our trip in Roatan changed that - Having genuinely friendly and efficient staff makes a world of difference. In many upper scale resorts you'll have great service but rarely will you experience that true sense of "We're being nice because we want to, not because we are forced to". At the Bananarama, people are themselves, they work hard and yet manage to make you feel welcome like a friend, not royalty. They can be proud of having such a consistent and authentic bunch of people!

The food:

Until then, we had never eaten a good pizza down south. We've also had very few meals that were worth remembering on our previous trips. To put things in perspective, the wood oven cooked pizza was excellent and the meals we shared at the Vintage Pearl are now sitting on my "Top 5 best meals I've ever had, anywhere in the world" - that is a huge statement! I'd easily qualify the food over at the Thirsty Turtle as great Pub fare food. Lunches at the Vintage Pearl were also ridiculously outstanding (salmon panini, blackened gator tacos.. finger lickin good!)

The Hotel:

Rustic is an appropriate description, clean, charming and convenient are also. From our room we never were more than a minute away from either the reception, dive shop, restaurants or the beach. How amazing is that !? The themed nightly animation is sincerely fun making the Bananarama a great place just to hang out at.

Diving an the beach:

As mentioned earlier on, the beach is gorgeous. Besides being a few seconds from your door step, it also happens to be one of the nicest snorkeling spot we've ever visited. Soft sand, no rocks or obstacle of any kinds, from shallow to deep and deeper it is the perfect beach for everyone. A bit crowded on busy days, yes, but that never was a problem. The Dive center is second to none, having once again an amazing team (got certified and Advance with Marc, awesome guy) and well organised operation. This is THE place to dive, period.

We visited the Bananarama for the first time in February 2013, we are booking our second upcoming visit for August 2013! Not even 6 months apart, that should say something.

Enjoy your visit and thanks to the owners and staff for managing such a wonderful place.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Astralmind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shreveport, Louisiana
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

I didn't stay at this resort, but was a short walk from mine. Great lunch specials! Loved their pizza!! They also have yummy ice cream in their dive shop. Friendly staff. Numerous activities you can book! We did an dolphin encounter. It was amazing!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Justina T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omaha
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2013

We chose Bananarama Resort and Dive center after doing extensive research and we couldn't have been more pleased with our decision and experience. The location of Bananarama is in the heart of West Bay beach - a spectacular palm tree lined sandy beach full of restaurants, bars, and activities. There wasn't a need to go anywhere else on the island, with the exception of a scooter excursion just to see different parts of the island and a water taxi to West End to shop, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy drinks along the ocean.

Emily, Sara, and Britney at the reception office took great care of us and made sure our entire week went smooth. The arrival started with a friendly and welcoming orientation with a walk around the resort and within the first half hour we were in full vacation mode. We stayed in the private condo offered at Bananarama located just a few minutes walk from the beach. The condo was nice - and the few minor issues we had when we first arrived were resolved immediately by the reception office.

The Banarama Dive center was outstanding. Marco did a great job getting us set up for the week of diving, and Martin and Zoe were fabulous to dive with as they took us to some of the best diving spots and helped us get the maximum out of each dive. Roatan has some outstanding reef structure and marinelife and we did some of the best diving I've experienced. They did a great job balancing safety with the fun factor so the overall experience was outstanding! Martin was a great instructor with a passion for teaching as he helped us with a couple of new advanced courses. The bioluminescent night dive ("String of Pearls") was spectacular - a must do if you happen to be in Roatan during completely dark nights - usually within 5 days of a full moon.

This is a definite repeat trip for us!

Room Tip: The two bedroom private condo offered at Bananarama is a good alternative if you want a place just a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank GregT8KITEZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort

Property: Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort
Address: West Bay Beach, West Bay, Roatan, Honduras
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan > West Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in West Bay
#3 Family Hotel in West Bay
#3 On the Beach Hotel in West Bay
#4 Romantic Hotel in West Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located directly on West Bay Beach, our Roatan Eco Friendly Dive and Beach Front Resort is blessed with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean shaded under an amazing tropical canopy. We offer an island dream vacation for those who want to escape the stress of everyday life and relax Roatan style. We offer clean, comfortable and affordable rooms with a hammock on every porch and offer free breakfast, wifi, beach chairs, kayaks and smiles. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bananarama Beach And Dive Hotel West Bay
Bananarama Dive Hotel
Hotel Bananarama Dive
Bananarama Beach And Dive Resort Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

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