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“Great Week at Belmar”

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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments
Certificate of Excellence
Columbia, Missouri
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great Week at Belmar”
Reviewed 10 January 2014

Stayed and dove with the Belmar operation for the first time. Was there December 28-January 6. The apartment was more than adequate with full kitchen (minus an oven, which we did not need), fully stocked shelves for dishes, pots/pans, and utensils, and marvelous view of the Caribbean just steps away from the pier and oceanfront. Beds were really comfortable, bathrooms obvoiusly recently remodeled, etc. There was housekeeping service every two days, and they did a marvelous job. The dive operation is small, but all the staff are attentive and ready to assist. Did two boat dives daily for most of the week, but the last 3 days they did not have a boat go out so I had to trek to Buddy Dive and get on one of their boats. That was the only inconvenience, though, and Chrissy at the front desk cheerfully made the Buddy Dive reservations for me. I much preferred staying at this more intimate, small resort than Buddy Dive or the other bigger operations. Rinse tanks are always clean and ready to use, and there were drying racks and hangars at each apartment patio. The house reef is Sarah's Smile, an easy giant stride entry from the dock or by ladder. Nice dive site, and great for the check out dive. Nitox was free, and their fill statiion always had tanks available for shore diving. The only problem there was that some of the fills were pretty short -- around 2,600-2,800 PSI. I like to have at least 3,000 PSI, so I would need to check out a few of them before I found one that was a good fill. There is no food service there, which is fine with me as we stocked up on breakfast and lunch items and then ate dinner at our favorite restaurants. The location is south of the airport, and only about a two minute drive from the airport. The only real hassle was the lack of WiFi access for about 4 days into the trip, and when we did get connected, it was really slow. I was told that the demand outstipped their capacity to handle it. So, as people began checking out later in the week, the connectivity reappeared and the speed was greatly improved. All in all, I would definitely return to Belmar my next trip to Bonaire.

Room Tip: All the apartments face the oceanfront with a great view. We stayed in Room 3, which is on the grou...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank DeanJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Washington, D.C.
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2013

We--family of four--were also at the Belmar for Christmas week, in a corner first-floor two bedroom apartment. Nice, large, and comfy (except for bad lighting) with an outstanding view and fully equipped kitchen. Iguanas and birds are frequent visitors. There is a very affable security guard during the evening, and he does his appointed rounds hourly. Maid service is supposedly every other day, but we actually only had it twice during the week we were there--the towel situation got a bit dire towards the end. The office staff is very helpful, but the office itself closes promptly at 5 p.m., which can be inconvenient if you have questions or problems or just need some new beach towels.

This was our fifth time to Bonaire--previously we've stayed at the Sand Dollar, Caribbean Club, and (mostly) Buddy's. We've arrived very early in the morning on most of those trips; sometimes our room has been ready, sometimes not. No biggie. At the Belmar the apartment was ready at 6 a.m., but our truck was not. I've never had this happen before, and we were not warned that we would not have any transportation until after 3 p.m. They said it was our fault for not paying for the apartment for the night before--to insure it would be ready when we arrived. But should you pay for an extra night for a room you don't really need, just so you can have a truck?( As it is, we paid for 7 days of a truck, and only got 6.) In any case, the office was kind enough to provide us with some yogurt and rolls in the frig, but would not provide transportation so we could get some food for lunch. The restaurant across the street--Roomer's--is quite good but only open for lunch on Saturdays. We had to pay for a $25 taxi to go get some food, and obviously were also stuck at the apartment until the late afternoon.

We dove the house reef twice--one in the daytime for our check-out and once in the evening. Both times were very disappointing. Certainly it cannot compare in any way to Bari or Buddy's--I think it must be the most dismal house reef in Bonaire. Certainly the worst reef I've encountered in Bonaire, and I've been to nearly all of them. It is convenient, however--nice dock and ladder--and close to the Southern sites, of course.

We didn't do any boat dives--we come to Bonaire to shore dive--but the little contact we had with the dive staff was pleasant. We brought our equipment back to our first-floor room each night--they like to reserve the (small) dive locker for those on the 2nd floor. I can imagine it would be a hassle to haul your gear up and down the stairs.

This is a small place, with a lovely and relaxed vibe, but I don't think we'll be going back. The house reef is too important--particularly if you enjoy night dives, as we do--and the house reef at Belmar just isn't very good.

Room Tip: Rooms on the south side would definitely be quieter--less likely to hear the early morning noise fro...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank NoVAdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bentonville, Arkansas
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2013

This trip was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and Christmas vacation with our 2 college-aged sons. This is my third trip to Bonaire but my first stay at the Belmar. It won't be my last! We stayed in a "Classic Superior" 2-bedroom, 2 bath apartment for the week over Christmas. Let's start with the staff - just outstanding. Chrissie and her crew made our week a perfect one. They were so helpful in arranging restaurant reservations for an entire week of dinners. Not an easy task over the busy Christmas holiday. The dive setup is very good. They are affiliated with Buddy Dive - so they have a scuba tank cage that is fully equipped with air/Nitrox 24 hours a day. Each patio has a set of drying racks and there is also a lockable equipment locker next to the dive shop. The house reef - Sara's Smile is a wonderful spot. Easy entry via stairs and a very well marked line out to the reef itself. Great spot for night dives. For a different experience, be sure and try the UV - fluorescent night dive. The one draw back is that you have to drive to restaurants - all no more than 10-15 minutes away. Very well equipped kitchens complete with coffee makers, blenders, etc. Electrical outlets are both US and European configuration so charging stuff is not a problem. Free wifi but it can be spotty.

Room Tip: All face the ocean. Choose a bottom floor if you don't want to haul dive gear up and down stair...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank swaynewilson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buffalo, NY
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2013

We have been coming to Bonaire off and on for 18 years. Once we found Belmar, there was no reason to try somewhere else. We are leaving for home tomorrow and hope to return. The diving is fabulous, reefs in good shape with lots of fish. Belmar has a dock open 24/7 for night or twilight diving, tanks are down by the dock. A pick-up truck is included in the package so you can get your tanks and take off to the numerable marked shore dives.

Sharon K

Room Tip: Fewer mosquitoes on the second floor. That's the only down side of a Bonaire vacation.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank SKDiverBuffalo_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nashville, Tennessee
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 November 2013

Four friends stayed at Belmar for a week (November 2013). There really is nothing bad to say about the accommodations, the staff, the service. The staff at Belmar was outstanding, very nice, helpful. Samuel was great about recommending dive sites. Unfortunately due to timing and incoming ships we were unable to do a night dive on the Salt Pier as we had hoped but the rest of our dives were outstanding. It was pleasant to stay a little "south" of town and the house reef was lovely. Certainly couldn't complain about the included Nitrox or the ease of getting tanks.

The only complaint was the bugs. One of our travelers has been to Belmar before and I had read several reviews and bugs was never an issue before. It appears that the bugs (no see-ums and mosquitos) are only a real problem with a confluence of factors. 1) I would, in the future, try and stay in a second floor apartment, I think the no see-ums are likely worse on the bottom floor, close to the sand. 2) The bugs are worse if there is no wind. If you plan to go, take DEET, regular "OFF" does not do the trick for those little pests.

The great thing about a bottom floor apartment is the ease of getting your gear to and from your apartment/truck after diving/cleaning etc. I noticed some people using the gear lockers but because we were so close to where our truck was parked we just toted our gear back and forth to our apartment, hung it outside on our "deck".

Only other issue we had the entire week was internet that didn't work well, strong internet usually about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again about 12 pm to 2 pm, then often not working the rest of the day. Really, we're on vacation so you might wonder why it matters. It really only matters because we believed we'd have internet and the ability to communicate with the states easily, if we had been told there was none we wouldn't have planned on it. But that issue is really minor in the grand scheme of things.

In fact, everything was easy from the minute we landed in Bonaire, getting to Belmar was easy from the aiport, getting a truck was a piece of cake, a quick orientation was helpful, lovely apartments, easy house reef and great staff. What's to complain about? Would definitely return and recommend to others.

Room Tip: Second floor would likely take away any chance of issues with biting insects.
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JMJeffs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

We have now stayed at Belmar three times, obviously returning because everything was great. The Office staff, many of whom are also Dive staff - and who all dive - are very courteous, and quite knowledgeable about the island, the dive sites, diving, and how to run an operation like Belmar really, really well. The "house reef" by itself is a good dive - check the photo of three fishy dive friends photographed at the Belmar reef - but naturally on Bonaire the attraction is Shore Diving. Staff advice about where (and when, just as important!) is great. We have arrived very early morning on a red-eye flight, early evening and late night (delayed flight) and are always met by a cheerful shuttle driver in a mini-van setup to move the right balance of human and dive gear cargo; the same service returns you to the airport and both arrival and return are included in your rental. There has always been some food and drink in the refrigerator waiting for us. Keys are all provided correctly; there is no confusion. A typical-for-Bonaire "crew-cab" short-bed pick-up truck is provided to hold all your dive gear; it's good for two dives each for 4 people or one dive each for 4-people and includes a 4-tank rack in the truck bed.
Bedrooms are air-conditioned so one can sleep well in the heat, (and open up the Dive Camera housing in a lower humidity environment), but the remainder of the apartment is essentially open to the large balcony, really a room unto itself; you can close sliding doors between the balcony and the large, long combination kitchen, dining area living room, but aside from an excessive desire for privacy, why would one? The tropics, the sea air, the breeze all waft in and envelope you. Incidentally, there usually IS a breeze here.
Kitchen appliances are all high end, many of them European; the Kitchens themselves have all top-flight cabinetwork and counters. Both Apartment and Balcony furniture is durable and comfortable and in excellent condition. Bathrooms are usually very modern and also feature European fixtures and trim. Power outlet availability is usually both 120 VAC (North American) and 220/240 VAC (European), although the numbers of each type of these outlets will vary somewhat from apartment to apartment. If there is anything missing from the kitchen, (like one glass too few), the staff can take care of that during normal business hours within a few minutes.
There is a Dive Tank lock-up area which is kept well-stocked throughout the day with 80 and 60 cubic foot Air and Nitrox tanks; extra tanks are available for night dives. There are good wash-down facilities for equipment and showers for divers, as well as a lockable storage room for hanging and drying your equipment. The Belmar "office" is a combination office, dive classroom and dive shop which perhaps sounds a bit chaotic but works very well indeed. The facility includes a nicely-kept, heated pool, ample deck area with chaise lounge, a combination dive and dive boat dock, a separate shaded dock also with chaise; both docks also have stairs down into the sea. The facility has night security on patrol.
This is the place to go if you want excellent facilities, staff, diving and prefer to cook and eat on your own schedule, (instead of like that at an all-inclusive resort). In short, are we returning again? Most definitely "Yes!" Our only problem is fitting in a return time between work and downhill skiing, but at the time I wrote this review, we had already booked our return for two weeks at the end of ski season.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Thomas W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2013

The great experience started when we arrived on the overnight United flight from Houston at 5:30 AM. We were met at the airport by a taxi driver with a key to a temporary unit at Belmar where we were taken to get a little more sleep. They even had a little food and drink in the fridge for us. We transferred to our normal unit at check-in time later in the day.

The unit itself was very nice and well equipped. We used the kitchen for breakfast and lunch most days as well as dinner once or twice. There is a very good grocery store a five minute ride away. Our unit did have air conditioning in both the bedroom and living area.

Dive shop on site. Tanks available adjacent to the front office (to load into your truck for shore diving excursions) or at the dock on the water (for diving the house reef). We did 3 boat dives from Belmar to sites off of Klein Island as well as numerous shore dives around the island. We also dove the Salt Pier with Chrissie from Belmar as our guide. It was great.

The entire staff at Belmar are completely accommodating. They made the entire trip one that we won't forget. We will be back as soon as we can.

Bonaire is about diving and it is fantastic. Just grab some tanks, throw them in your truck and head off to the shore dive site of your choice. Shore diving with just your buddy sounded a little intimidating before we got there, but once we tried it, it was a blast.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Colocav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

Property: Belmar Oceanfront Apartments
Address: EEG Boulevard 88, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Region: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 47 Speciality Lodging in Kralendijk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Belmar Oceanfront Apartments 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A small and intimate resort with a colorful garden and of course, spectacular ocean views wrapped around terraces and balconiesTake leave of your everyday stress and step into an exclusive resort that refreshes your body and soul!Now we have made it even easier, try our Drive, Dive and Stay packages and Surf Away Packages. Or any one of our three diving packages - unlimited shore diving, 1-tank boat dives, or 2-tank boat dives. Not to worry we have non-diver rates as well.Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Bonaire offering first class accommodations to scuba divers, sun-seekers, snorkelers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, and especially the "get away from it all" vacationer. Enjoy shore diving from our resort anytime of day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Hotel Bonaire
Belmar Oceanfront Apartments Bonaire/Kralendijk

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