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“Paya Magic”
Review of Paya Bay Resort

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Paya Bay Resort
Ranked #17 of 41 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
west virginia
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Paya Magic”
Reviewed 22 March 2008

Our recent stay at Payabay can only be described as "magical". There's something about this place! The site is gorgeous, and the reef is pristine, but the ambiance created by Lurlene's family and staff is what makes the place wonderful. The rooms are nicely furnished and very clean, the food is fresh and creatively prepared, and the hotel is casual and friendly. However, that does not begin to describe the whole experience. We were in a discussion of travel later in our trip in Central America, and were asked, "Would you add this to your life list of favorite places not to be missed?". We could only respond, "Absolutely!". One thing I can say in response to the last review: to experience Payabay fully you need to stay a week, to fully relax and become part of the family. We found the service very much to our liking. We are not divers. The weekly rates are a good value. Davinci is creating some nice paths and secret places, and Tom was a terrific guide to the reef (which is visible from the resort), as many times as we wished to go. That was what we desired for our trip - beautiful snorkelling every day, good fresh fish, and comfortable rooms. We were very happy with our stay, and definitely plan to return.

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank luvfiddling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Montclair, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2008

We stayed at Paya Bay for 4 nights after spending 6 days at a very nice, quiet boutique B&B (Cocolobo) on the west end, which we loved. We are avid travelers and divers and hoped to cap off our trip with a lot of diving and a bit of luxury.

Unfortunately—and although this is not reflected on PB’s site—they no longer have an on-site dive operation, and if you’ve done any dive travel, you will find that they really are not set up as a dive resort at all. If you elect to dive while staying at PB, you will ride by car/truck to another operator about 20-25 minutes away (at Marble Hill Farms) and you’ll do 2 morning boat dives with them (no afternoon or night dives). There is no opportunity to do more than 2 dives per day, which we found very disappointing.

The up side: Marble Hill’s dive operation does a very nice job, and the diving was quite good (although for the most part, no more interesting than what we’d done on the west end—the exception is Morat Wall, which is stunning).

All of the folks who work at PB are very nice, and well intentioned. That said, the level of service—particularly at the restaurant—is not commensurate with the rates. We were typically one of two tables at breakfast and still typically waited 30+ minutes for our food after placing our order. At lunch the wait was sometimes closer to an hour. The food is good, but not special. (It should be noted that Tom the bartender is a fun character and took good care of us.) The housekeeping staff did a very good job.

The setting is unquestionably lovely. We enjoyed watching the hummingbirds from the dining room in the morning, and the bats at night. We spent quite a bit of time wandering the grounds and playing on the beaches with the 4 wonderful dogs that live on the property. The rooms are comfortable and nice enough, but again not what might be expected by most Roatan travelers for the rates (~$300/night/room without dive option).

We complained to the management (for the first time in our traveling careers) about the big difference between the ‘dive resort’ advertised on the site and what we actually encountered, and to their credit they did make some effort to compensate us. We were told that they’d never received another complaint, so perhaps hardcore divers tend to stay at CocoView or Anthony’s Key Resort (both of which were full when we were making bookings) and others haven’t minded that the diving opportunities are so limited?

In sum, we felt that PB has an identity issue. Is it a luxury resort with a service problem? Is it a casual resort that should lower its rates considerably? It certainly is not a dive resort (as the owners freely acknowledged to us) and should not be advertised that way. There’s a lot of potential at this place, but for now I’d advise friends to make a day trip to PB, enjoy the grounds, try out the restaurant, and stay elsewhere.

  • Liked — Beautiful location, views, grounds
  • Disliked — Not as advertised, lack of diving options, poor restaurant service
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank Kate3671
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
roatanguy, General Manager at Paya Bay Resort, responded to this review, 27 March 2008
I feel I needed to respond to this review as the subject line is very misleading. Paya Bay offers diving as one of several activities for our guests. To offer this activity, we have contracted with Tropical Island Divers (TID), a dive operation based one bay to the West of us. This arrangement is not atypical as diving is a very specialized activity that should be supervised by professionals, and many resorts contract out their diving to third parties. While it is true that we are not a hardcore dive resort where you "live, eat, and breathe diving," you can book a dive package with Paya Bay and, weather permitting, you will be able to do the dives you have paid for. Therefore, we feel that it is accurate and appropriate to advertise ourselves as a diving resort.

The arrangement we have with TID is that if we have four or fewer divers booked for any given week we will take the divers by car to TID's location in the mornings and, after the two dives, TID will drop our guests off in the dive boat at our dock for lunch. (Going by car is much more fuel efficient for a small number of people and we all have to look for ways to conserve energy nowadays). It only takes ten minutes to get to TID's base at Marble Hill from Paya Bay (this reviewer claim that it takes "20-25 minutes" is, frankly, inaccurate). When we have five or more divers booked, it becomes cost-effective for TID to pick up and drop off the divers at Paya Bay's dock in the dive boat.

I have now clarified our arrangement with Tropical Island Divers on the scuba diving section of Paya Bay's Web site. We sincerely hope that people looking for a beautiful, secluded resort that offers many other amazing attributes along with enough diving to experience Roatan's beautiful barrier reef will find in Paya Bay what they are looking for.

Sincerely,
Davinci McNab
General Manager
Paya Bay Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erie, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 January 2008

Paya Bay is a very special place. I stayed there from Jan 19- Jan 26, 2008, and despite a rainy week, vicious bugs, and other pan- tropical annoyances, give this place 5 stars. It is NOT a mass market Sandals type resort, thank God, and attracts an interesting mix of guests.
Surprisingly, I was the only diver there that week. The dive shop is not on site anymore but 15 minutes away. Still, Ben, the divemaster, and Jim, the captain, took me out each am to the cleanest reef I've seen. MUCH better than Belize, in that the boat rides were 5-10 minutes. A benefit of staying on the East End of Roatan is that I did not see another dive boat all week. These reefs are stunning!
Paya Bay is remote and one must traverse a bumpy dirt road to get to it. Fine with me! Another advantage is that the gorgeous beach was deserted most of the time. The mgmt has done a nice job building paths around the property, inc. to even more secluded snorkelling spots.
Service was excellent. Casual, island-like. Food was mostly very good.
Go, people, go to Paya Bay, I entreat you!

  • Stayed January 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank cbmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2008

My husband and I traveled to Paya Bay for our honeymoon in September. Upon arrival to the hotel, I was blown away. The view is amazing and so romantic! September is part of the rainy season on Roatan... but we feel it only added to the beauty of Paya Bay. The rain would be a light shower that lasted no more than 20 minutes during the day. And at night, we'd have some heavier rain storms -- but it was beautiful watching it come in while we sat outside on our porch that overlooked the ocean.

The food at Paya Bay is excellent! We ate so much during our stay! Charlie was very accomodating to our needs... even picked us some fresh coconuts to have for dessert. The key lime pie and coconut pies were to die for! Also, make sure you have some lobster -- so fresh! The fresh island picked fruit and oatmeal for breakfast was more than enough to hold us over.

My husband and I love to snorkel -- which is included in your stay. We went to various sites by boat with Tom daily. The reef is absolutely breathtaking. Tom even took us to a local pub after a day of snorkeling. Was great to enjoy a beer and the view, right over the water.

The beaches at Paya Bay are beautifully mantained and private. Most days we felt like we were the only two people in the world. Perfect for a honeymoon!

This hotel is extremely quiet and private... which is exactly what we'd hoped for. If you are looking for some more action -- I'm sure the staff will take you out to West End/Bay for a night of partying.

The only complaint we have is not really the hotel's fault -- more so the government. The electricity is run by diesel generators, which is very costly and detrimental to the environment. The electricity would go off once in a while during the day -- but most of the time we were at the beach or on the boat. So we didn't notice. The hotel owner told us about the electricity issues, and how they have plans to set up a windmill to produce energy. Kudos to them for going green! One more reason for you to book your stay with paya bay...

We will definitely be back, possibly to celebrate our 5 year anniversary!!

  • Liked — Beautiful beaches, amazing food!
  • Disliked — Rooms could use a little bit of updating
  • Stayed September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank roatanlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2007

If you are looking for a private spot with natural beauty, this is it. We spent 2 weeks in Roatan during the rainy season--4 nights at this 10 room resort. Most tourists stay on the West side of the island--restaurants, bars, etc. We were looking for a quiet end to our vacation. This resort is about an hour drive from the west end, and about a 20 minute drive on unpaved road. We had a small 4 wheel drive (jeep type) and it was not a problem getting there, although it was extremely muddy. The drive was worth it! The grounds have walking trails. There are two beaches and a "private cove" where clothes are optional. This is a family run resort, and they could not be nicer!! The restaurant is very pretty with inside and outside dining--the food is good, not great, and you really do not have many other options of restaurants close by, but the view and the friendliness of the staff made up for it. I would definitely recommend Paya Bay to anyone wanting a truly beautiful spot offering tranquility.

  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank OtisSacramento
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2007

My wife and I stayed at Paya Bay first week of December 2007 and had a great time.

Arrival: Lucio picked us up at the airport and we enjoyed the sights on the ride to the resort. While it is clear you are in another country, most of the signage is in English and it is widely spoken on the island. Lucio speaks mostly Spanish and is happy to play tour guide if you can converse with him. Dirt road section of the trip was a little adventurous, but it became clear as we traveled that we had picked the kind of place we like to go--off the beaten path.

The Resort: As we walked in, Lurlene (owner) greeted us and gave my wife a big hug. We got our choice of rooms (this was low season and we had the resort to ourselves a couple of days and with one other couple the rest of the time). We chose a hilltop room as it was larger with a king sized bed. Rooms are nice with a beach resort feel. Not absolute top of the line, but very comfortable with good linens, plenty of hot water, and comfortable furnishings. Rooms include a mini-fridge with bottled water provided daily. AC works great if you want it. We used it the first night as we got acclimated, then turned it off and were fine the rest of the time (except that we kept the windows open and got some mosquitoes inside--there are no screens).

The Food: Very good, with a local flavor to it. Had the best coconut shrimp I have ever eaten the first night we arrived. Cooks prepare a special or two daily, but there is also a menu to choose from. We went with one of the specials every day and were happy with all the meals but one (just not to our taste). Quantity and quality were very good. Great beans, rice, and plantains to accompany almost every meal and give you a sense of local taste, but you can get good fries if you want them too! I think they stripped their trees picking limes for my "lemonade" (says lemonade on the menu, but it was made with local limes and was phenomenal)--I couldn't get enough. Lunch on a few of the days was "island food"--pork or chicken with delicious spices/sauce. The cooks and wait staff are friendly and after a few days it all starts to feel like home. My wife even invaded the kitchen for a couple cooking lessons with Charles.

The Grounds: Davinci has done a nice job enhancing the physical experience on the property. Li'l Beach is perfect--small, private, sandy bottom. They are improving little grottoes and walking paths out onto the opposite side. The hammock station on the point is perfect for watching the sunset. But be aware--when the sun goes down it gets dark fast and there is limited lighting on the property. You might want to bring a flashlight if you want to spend any time outside at night away from the main buildings. And you will, because the stars are phenomenal. Unlike any night sky I have ever seen. Milky Way is bright and beautiful and the stars are truly numberless. Note of caution--we forgot our bug spray and got eaten the first day there. Sand fleas are endemic to the island, so bring your repellent along if you plan on spending much time on the beaches. They were, however, bearable and we enjoyed walking the grounds, watching the sunset, and spending time at the beach. Even took the kayak out one day for the sunset and had a great time. (There is good snorkeling right off the point of the resort if the seas are calm.)

Entertainment: Essentially none. The beach party night was perfect for us--low key, with the guests, workers, and a few of their family members mingling on the beach for dinner and a Garifuna show. Dancers were good. Power went off (whole island goes down periodically due to one ancient diesel power plant serving all needs). Bonfire, torches and stars were bright and we fell asleep on the lounge chairs at the beach to a gentle island breeze. A sublime evening that was right in line with our tastes. You can watch TV (a few local channels, a couple in English) or borrow a DVD from the office (they also have a few books and board games) . Evenings after dinner are VERY quiet and entertainment is up to you. If you want something more than your companion's company, bring it with you.

The Diving: Outstanding. We have limited experience to compare to (Riviera Maya, Key Largo, and Roatan), but there was plenty of variety in animal life, reef structure, and location to keep us happy all week. Most dive maps show all the dive sites on south and west sides of the island--don't believe them. We dove exclusively on the north side, mostly at sites mapped out by the Paya Bay/Dive Roatan guys, and only saw one other boat the whole time. Plenty of walls, crevices, towers, swim-throughs, etc. to keep us happy. Ben is an excellent instructor and had my wife, who had experienced some anxiety during previous dives, completely comfortable from the first day. I dove in a 3 MM shorty; everybody else on the boat was in a full-length suit (Ben has about .025% body fat) in 80 degree water. We were all comfortable. One negative to north side diving is that we lost a couple of afternoon dives to weather--you are exposed to the winds and sea right off the Caribbean--but that gave us some nice relaxation time at the resort that we did not mind at all. The price/value equation is phenomenal here. We did the diver package through the resort and thought it was a great deal.

The Island: We rented a car one day (arranged by and delivered to the resort--only way to go) and toured the island. Upon our return to the resort, we were convinced we had chosen the right place. West Bay is pretty, West End is touristy, towns on western end of island are nothing special. Eastern side, where Paya Bay is located, is still natural and native. Lush, green, and very, very local. No night life, no restaurants, no nothing but peace and solitude and the comfortably relaxed vibe of the resort. If you want bar-hopping and night life, go to the West End. Nice beach, plenty of options, and lots of other people. If you are comfortable without the crowds, head east. We loved the east side. Took a walk through Camp Bay one day during a surface interval. Jumped rope with some local kids in the street. Enjoyed getting to know the family and locals that worked at the resort a little bit. Most of all, enjoyed being together in a beautiful, quiet setting.

End Result: We loved our week at Paya Bay. By the end of it we felt like part of the family. We loved the people, enjoyed the local experience, and came away blissfully relaxed. This is a locally owned, locally operated resort. It does not look, feel, or act "corporate." If you can handle that, give it a try. If you can't, go to Cancun and leave places like this for the rest of us!

  • Stayed December 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank ViajeroColo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albuquerque, NM
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 December 2007

My husband, seven year old son and I spent a week at Paya Bay and we had a fabulous time. The Lil Beach was perfect for a small child and he and I went down most every morning. The waves are pretty small and there was no turtle grass. My husband went to Paya Bay in order to scuba. Ben the Dive Master and Jim the Boat Master made sure that my beginner (and handicapped) husband had a great experience. On one day, my son and I snorkeled with Jim while the others dived and it was so beautiful. The water was as flat and as clear as glass.

Our room was one of those on the bluffs and travelers need to be aware that the rooms aren’t much. This is a family hotel in a third world country. The view from the balcony however, is worth a million dollars. I sat there for hours watching the clouds, reading and listening to the crash of the waves. If you are looking for a place with a fabulous room this is not for you. The room was more than adequate for what we wanted though; a place to hang out in while enjoying Roatan.

As all reviews for Roatan tell you, the place has bugs and in the summer/fall, trying to sleep with out air conditioning is hard. Paya Bay is very remote and at least 45 minutes to an hour away from the West End. Don’t come here if you are looking for a lot of action or luxury. Come here if you love the water and the beach and want to relax with a person or people that you love.

Everyone at Paya Bay goes out of their way to ensure that you are happy. The food is plentiful and adequate. My husband was disappointed but I figure any meal I do not have to cook is ok by me. On one evening the electricity was out but we were able to see the Milky Way above and the fluorescent jellyfish below.

Look at all the pictures posted on TripAdvisor. Paya Bay really looks like that. An amazing place. We can’t wait to come back and are trying to line up a visit at Christmas 2008.

Helpful?
2 Thank TheCaretaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Paya Bay Resort

Property: Paya Bay Resort
Address: Main Highway, East End, Roatan 00000, Honduras
Phone Number:
Region: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Roatan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Paya Bay Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 12
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 
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Also Known As:
Paya Bay Hotel Roatan
Paya Bay Beach Dive Hotel
Paya Bay Beach Dive Resort
Paya Bay Resort Roatan, Honduras - Bay Islands

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