We joined another couple, whom we had met last year on a trip to Costa Rico, who suggested we try Paya Bay. Travel time from Atlanta was a little under 3 hours and since we did not check any bags, we cleared customs in no time. Tom met us at the door with a sign and once the other guests had collected their bags we were off. The ride to the resort took about 45 minutes. We stopped along the way to buy a local cell phone as most US carriers do no work on the island. We got the cheapest prepaid phone they had at the Claro store which included a ton of minutes and a camera for $20 US. It worked great once Tom set the language to English for us. We used it all week and hardly put a dent in our minutes. The cell phone store is in what looks like a new shopping center that had several banks, a large grocery store and several clothing stores as well as a Wendy’s and Applebee's. The exchange rate was about 18.5 to one in our favor although we never had any trouble paying with US dollars.
Most of the time traveling from the airport to the resort is consumed by the pace on the unpaved portion of the trip. Our driver took pains to avoid as many bumps as possible and probably went a lot slower than most of the locals normally do however the road was pretty rough in places.
The resort is on the east side of the island away from most of the established hotels, dive shops, restaurants and therefore, most of the other people. The word resort is a little over blown because Paya Bay is not what I suspect most people think of when they see the word "resort". It is situated on a large rocky ridge with water on 3 sides. There are 10 rooms so even when all of them are occupied you never feel like there are lots of people around.
We initially elected not to go with the all-inclusive option but after we arrived, we changed our minds and decide to switch to that option. You should look at the things that are included and decide if you think you will take advantage of them. One thing we did not note until we were almost ready to leave was that soft drinks were not included.
Lurlene, the owner, checked us in and immediately made us feel like one of the family. We had not eaten all day and we asked about getting a snack and she said all we had to do was say what we wanted.
We were shown to our room and while it was very bright and included a porch with a hammock, I was a little disappointed to find a double bed. As I am 6’5” I inquired about a room with a larger bed and we were offered another room with a king. The only stipulation was that the new room temporarily had no hot water. We were told that they hoped to have it fixed by the first of the week and if not then they would move us to another room with a king when it became available. Turns out the room was so nice even without the hot water, we kept it the whole week. We had a beautiful view looking out over a beach where the sun came up every morning. We managed with lukewarm to cool showers in between sharing with our friends who were in the room next door who allowed us to use their hot water whenever we asked.
There are 4 rooms that are called “Cliffside” which perch over the ocean. We looked at several of them during the week and while they are nice, I think ours was more spacious. All rooms are equipped with TV, DVD player and satellite but we turned our TV on only once just to see what was offered. There is a small refrigerator which they keep stocked with bottled water. Each room has AC but we preferred to open the doors and windows and leave the ceiling fan on.
The grounds are well maintained, lush and crisscrossed with trails (lighted at night) from the rooms to the various beaches. All beaches on Roatan are “public” but there is only one beach at Paya Bay that is accessible without going through the Paya Bay grounds and we only saw someone on that beach once during the week. The rest of the week we saw only guests of Paya Bay on any of the beaches, most of which are very sheltered and secluded. There are plenty of lounge chairs and either natural shade or covering for those who may want to avoid the sun. Bliss beach has an outdoor shower and a chilly plunge pool.
The restaurant is bright and airy and in the mornings the hummingbirds fight each other to get to the feeder that hangs an arm’s length from several of the tables. On several occasions a hummingbird would fly into the dining room through the open windows. The dining room staff are friendly and as attentive as you could ask for. The breakfast menu does not normally change but we never ran out of things to try as the offerings are pretty varied. Lunch and dinner usually had some form of a daily special but you could always order off the menu if the special did not suite your taste. The kitchen is staffed by two sisters , Winnie and Winciena, who rotate meals and days. If there was something you wanted them to fix all you had to do was ask. We had a wide variety of fresh fish, vegetables and meat dishes during our stay. All the deserts were homemade and we never left the table hungry.
As it turned out we snorkeled only once mainly due to the unpredictable weather. However on that trip the water was warm and clear and we saw a 5-6 foot nurse shark and a large spotted ray.
One day we hiked up to the top of a nearby Picacha Peak (about 900 feet high) and the view was fantastic. One note of warning: the map provided by the resort suggests that you wear long pants. We started out with them on but quickly decided that it was much too hot and changed into shorts we had brought along. BIG MISTAKE. Almost as soon as we switched to shorts, we began to encounter cutting grass. By the time we ended our hike we were all bleeding. The cuts made our legs look like we had been whipped. So if you take the hike, leave your long pants on the whole time! It is also suggested that you take a guide on the hike. The trailhead starts at a private residence and the family living there is related to several of the staff at the resort. There we met a 15 year old named Arvin who agreed to be our guide. He kept us from taking wrong turns or touching things we shouldn’t. Parts of the climb up are pretty strenuous and we were huffing and puffing our way along, grabbing on to anything we could to pull ourselves up. Arvin in the meantime was walking with his hands in his pockets wearing flimsy flip flops with no effort at all.
We definitely would return here and recommend this to anyone looking to get away from the usual resort crowd.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Agoda so you can book your Paya Bay Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Paya Bay Hotel Roatan
- Paya Bay Beach Dive Hotel
- Paya Bay Beach Dive Resort
- Paya Bay Resort Roatan, Honduras - Bay Islands