We stayed for the first week in January, and construction was nowhere near completed. Only 1 of the 4 buildings has been converted, a second is near completion, but two others are still "old" (each building has about 18 rooms). It is clear they will not be done for another year (eg end of 2013).
We initially hesitated to book this place, given the poor reviews, but called and were promised one of the newly renevated rooms, so we took our chances. Unfortunately two weeks before our arrival they called and said we would be stuck with an old room (I assume we were meant for the 2nd unit that is still being refurnished). We checked for other alternatives but given the last minute high season... we were stuck. I was disappointed they did not at least offer us a reduced rate. In short, I would not stay here until all the rooms are completely re-done. As well, I was told by the Dive guys that construction sounds were very loud (they'd paused over Christmas, so I can't say first hand), so another reason to wait....
Location: Is a long 30 minute walk from town and a 50 minute walk from the Albert Heijn grocery store. There are few restaurants around so you're either taxi'ing, renting a car, or doing long walks (our choice)... So not a convenient place unless you're planning on just doing diving (WannaDive - who were great, highly recommend) or sitting at the same beach all day, and eating at their onsite bar (Spice - good food, reasonable prices). All three are a 2 minute walk from your room.
Rooms: My wife called them "crap" (and we've just spent 3 months backpacking through south america!). I would be more polite and say very old and very outdated. Significant paint peeling, doors/windows that don't close properly, missing closet doors, etc etc... There is a cheapness that is everywhere - they've locked off the hot water in the kitchen and bathroom sink, the energy efficient light bulbs provide poor lighting and gives a very dim/gloomy view, etc etc. The pipes are old, so expect frequent blockages, the shower worked poorly/low pressure, the bed is rock hard, the curtains let in tons of light - so you should be an early riser...etc etc etc. The bar has loud music until late on the weekends and it will rattle your windows as you're so close. Not very good. Upsides? Decent size. Good, furnished kitchen with stove and fridge.
Service: Friendly and generally capable. They ordered us taxis properly and all the bills were fine. We had the maintenance guy in our room three times (broken fire alarm, safe door wouldn't close properly, and clogged pipes x2), and it took him ages to show up - the second time we called 3 times and it took four hours before he finally showed up (even the woman at the front desk was grumpy about him). Cleaning was good, but the dishes were given a basic "wash" and we had to re-clean them with soap (also hard to do with only cold water)
Beach: It's nice, decent number of chairs, however only 6 or 7 umbrellas... so you need to get up early to grab a good spot. You can walk straight into the water and see some decent marine life. As everyone else says, when the cruise ships come in (1-3 times per week), there is absolutely no seating - the below suggestion to go walk over to the public "beach" is a bit disingenious - minimal sand / mostly hard rocks/coral, not very pleasant. Just get up early and fight to keep your spot throughout the day (or else go tour the island)
Spice: Ate at the restaurant, service and food were good and the total cost was about $100 for two. Ate at the bar, also good and reasonable (eg burger/fries is $13, ham/cheese toastie is $4)... I would struggle to eat there everyday - limited menu. They have a one hour happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays (half price beer, house wine, and basic mixed drinks). We also ate at "Osaka" and "Appetite" restaurants in town - both were good ($100-130 for two people). Reservations for dinner are essential - all places only do one sitting, so limited spots.
WannaDive: Were great, one of 3 or 4 locations in Bonaire. Super friendly staff, reasonable prices, and good instructors. They speak English, Dutch, and Spanish well... I would definitely use them again - with daily guided dives and snorkelling at 9am and 2pm. Equipment rental rates were very reasonable. Definitely helped make up for the crummy hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Eden Beach Hotel Bonaire
- Eden Beach Bonaire
- Eden Beach Resort Bonaire/Kralendijk