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“Paya Paradise”
Review of Paya Bay Resort

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Paya Bay Resort
Ranked #17 of 42 Hotels in Roatan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 February 2013

We returned last week from a fun, relaxing vacation at Paya Bay. It is easy to see why many view this property as a little slice of paradise. The setting is spectacular, with beautiful views of the bay and reef beyond at every turn on the pathways which meander through the property. Paya Bay is the only resort in sight, and an hour's drive from the airport. This isolation is a huge part of the appeal for us. After visiting West End before departing Roatan, we became very much aware that Paya Bay was the right choice for us! (We found West End to be very commercialized, crowded, and dirty).

This is one of the few properties in our travels that is family owned and operated. It was built nearly 20 years ago by the McNab family (of Roatan), and the parents have turned over much of the resort's business to the next generation of McNabs. For the most part, Paya Bay is well run.

Our vacation began with Michelle McNab, niece of the matriarch and reservations manager, picking us up at the airport. I had corresponded with Michelle by phone and email during the process of making vacation plans. Michelle gave us some history of the island and her family during our drive, and made a stop at a very nice grocery store so we could pick up some supplies
(mostly beer). The drive was interesting, and the views of land and sea from the hills were amazing.

We were greeted at Paya Bay with a hug from Lurlene, the owner, and with a cool rum punch. Our room was #2 on the cliff side. The room was lovely, with a small balcony overlooking the water. We immediately opened up the doors and windows to allow the fresh air and sounds of the sea to enter the room. Air conditioning is available, but we only used it one night. We preferred being lulled to sleep and awaking to the sound of the waves. The room has a TV, which we found completely unnecessary (why would you go on vacation to watch TV???). We had a mini fridge to keep our beer cold, and bottles of water were replenished as needed. The room could have used a little more shelf space for clothing....perhaps built in to the closet.

Paya Bay has trails throughout the property, and many secluded nooks with seating areas for taking in the beauty and tranquility of the setting. We spent a few afternoons at Bliss Beach relaxing and playing in the water. The plunge pool at the beach is refreshing, and when the palapa bar under construction ever gets completed, it will be a nice addition to the area.

The food at Paya Bay, when available, was mostly delicious. While there, we enjoyed coconut shrimp, lobster, a wonderful sea bass with mango salsa, etc. for dinners. Most nights, the kitchen listed specials for dinners, and encouraged guests to choose those specials, though other options were available. Breakfasts and lunches were equally as delicious. We would always start the day with the fresh juice of the day (orange, pineapple, grapefruit, watermelon), and the tropical fruit plate. We also enjoyed many of the hot breakfasts offered. At lunch, we began most of our meals with the tastey conch ceviche.

Midway through the week, the kitchen started running out of ingredients and choices that were listed on the printed menu.....bacon, sausage, bananas, potatoes, ham, conch ceviche, limes, etc.
With only 10 to 12 guests staying at the resort during the week we were there, we found this to be inexcusable. Granted, there were day guests who were at Paya Bay for lunch, but with markets and a grocery store within an hour's drive, running out of food items is the result of poor management.

We were surprised that Paya Bay offered such extensive menu choices for the intimate size of the resort. With such a small kitchen, it might be a better option to utilize the chalkboard to list 2, 3 or 4 "specials" per meal rather than to hand out a printed menu in which some of the items listed are not available. As mentioned earlier, the food we were served was mostly delicious, and the ladies in the kitchen should be commended!

Charlotte, Myrna and Evelyn, the main servers at the restaurant, were always cheerful and attentive. After the second day at Paya Bay, when Myrna saw me coming for my early morning coffee, she would bring out a small pitcher of milk for me (powdered creamer was available, but I prefer milk, and after the first day requesting this, Myrna remembered to bring milk out for the rest of the week)!

It was nice that Paya Bay did not mind that we brought our own fixings for cocktails. For the first couple of nights, it seemed that the bar did not exist. One night, Tom offered "special" drinks, but on Valentine's day, when he wanted to concoct some special drinks for the occasion, his plans were denied by management. Drinks at the bar were noticeably weak (I even saw some guests go back and add more liquor to their glasses).

On Sunday night, Paya Bay has a wine and cheese party for guests at the Ananda pavilion, which is located on one of the highest points of the property, and provides a stunning, serene place to view the sunset. This gathering was a nice way to meet other guests and some of the staff.

My husband and I are avid snorkelers. Paya Bay offers 2 snorkeling trips per day. Tom, one of the McNab brothers, takes guests to various locations fairly close to the resort. These snorkeling trips are not guided. Tom remains in the boat (for safety reasons). Although we are experienced snorkelers, we have always appreciated the expertise of a guide...and are certain that we missed some of the sights by not having a guide.

The highlight of our stay at Paya Bay was our time at Pigeon Cay. We took the trip twice, as it provided the best snorkeling of the week. The clarity of the water was amazing, the coral gardens vibrant, and the marine life abundant.

On the whole, we had a wonderful, relaxing week at Paya Bay.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank JPCRWC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 February 2013

We booked the day excursion through Paya Bay during our stop in Roatan on our Royal Caribbean cruise. It was perfect! We got away from the cruise ship crowds and got to experience a great, locally owned resort. The driver picked us up at the port, and drove us to the resort, which took a little over an hour each way. He essentially gave us a tour of the island on the way, which was wonderful. Upon arrival, we were given fresh fruit juice and a fruit plate to enjoy. We then purchased some cocktails and were shown to a room for use during our short day stay. We changed into our swim suits and immediately headed to the beach. Due to their limits of guests, we nearly had the entire place to ourselves. We only saw about 10 other guests while exploring the property. We hiked through the trails and explored all of the different areas, but we mainly stayed on the beach. Lunch was also incredible - very fresh and tasy. We plan to go back to visit for a longer stay!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank rmm151s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2013

We spent 2 weeks at Paya Bay and loved it. The web site is a good representation of the hotel and grounds. The family oriented staff was friendly and so helpful, even to the point of bringing hot lemonade with honey to our room when they learned my husband was sick with a fever. (the day after we arrived; he brought it with him from home.) Because the hotel is in an undeveloped area remember to bring necessities with you. There is no shopping plaza nearby but you can arrange get a ride into town if you choose.

For the nature lover this place is heaven. As noted by others the rooms are simply furnished with clean comfortable beds but nothing fancy. Do take advantage of the daily snorkelling trips out to the reef, it is fantastic! They offered yoga classes twice a day in the beautiful pavilion perched on top of the hill. We walked the trails daily and one day walked to Camp Bay beach and had lunch at another small resort there. We loved that there was no central pool area with loud music and constant activities, so if you enjoy that sort of thing you likely won't want to stay here.

There are 2 things to be aware of: the menu as shown on the website is currently out of date (Jan. 2013) as several items are no longer available. You will need to be a bit flexible when it comes to ordering dinner. And if you are seeking a Naturist experience be aware that there is a mix of clothed/nude people on Bliss beach even during Naturist weeks, so be prepared to be "studied". (It is really very politically incorrect to take pictures of nude people on the beach. Really.)

However the Buccaneer Landing side was usually inhabited by naturists and quite often we had Bliss beach to ourselves. It's like buying an island. We loved the peace and dreamy ambience of Paya Bay. We'll be back!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 7. It was large and airy with a nice view of the big beach. All the rooms have o...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank OntarioJazzy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2013

We arranged a day trip directly with Paya Bay during our stop on the Carnival Magic. It was a truly relaxing experience once we arrived. Located on the far east end of Roatan, Paya Bay is very quiet with a wonderful view of the reef. The staff is attentive and responsive.

Because Paya Bay is not part of Carnival's "official" excursions, the van can't come onto the Mahogany Bay property to pick you up. This means you need to walk out of the main shopping complex and about 1/2 mile to get to the van. The ride is approximately 50 minutes so you drive through most of the island. The last 20 minutes are unpaved.

The resort is wonderfully natural with most of the paths between the beaches smooth but not intruding on the beauty of the foliage. The main beach (Bliss Beach) is very nice with loungers, shade and kayaks readily available. During Naturist weeks, the whole resort is clothing optional but our week was a Romance week so only topless on Bliss Beach.

The main clothing optional section (Buccaneer Bay)is really only for sunbathing. There is no easy access to the water. There is an area call Rock Island with some sand but it didn't have loungers. Secret Cove has two wonderful places with chairs available and incredible views of the reef. Perfect for relaxing, reading a book while listening to the waves. There is a third area in Secret Cove where you can use the hammocks from the front desk to catch up on some sleep while the gentle winds rock you to sleep. Secret Cove was our favorite area but again there is no easy access to the water.

Lunch was truly amazing. There were four of us from the ship and all agreed this was the best meal we had on any trip to any island. Grilled fish, grilled shrimp and fried shrimp were all outstanding. A wide variety of beer is available at about half the price of the Magic.

The only minor items for us were that the instructions for meeting the van could have been much better and the clothing optional section had several pieces of trash which a person wearing a staff shirt simply walked past.

The resort has several construction project going on and you can see that they are investing to make it an outstanding destination. A new bar on Bliss Beach and a Spa were among them. All said they were scheduled to be finished by the Winter season of 2013.

Overall a very relaxing day in the sun.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rclantonjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 January 2013

Beautiful, excellent service, food and location. No Cruise crowds as western bay . I suggest to stay in these hotel and do à tour to west bay instead of thé opposite . They have à Nice bay, à small beach with a little pool, trecking trails, possibility to visit pigeon cay, and their driver José is amazing. Naturisme at its best

Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
2  Thank Claudia_QTZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

Spent the day and it was great. Lunch was outstanding and service was also outstanding. Can't wait till we come back. The only people on beach were me and the wife. Weather was perfect and the water a little cool but nice. Just another outstanding stay.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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3  Thank Rested478
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2012

Sadly, reviewers cannot give half stars - we would actually given Paya Bay 4 1/2 stars. The only hitch, but one that set the tone of the stay was a failure for the hotel shuttle to pick us up at the airport. When we tried to call the hotel they had the wrong phone number on our email confirmation as well as the tourist brochures at the airport. We finally decided to take a cab - fares ranged from $40 - $55. We found a nice driver who let us stop at a grocery store for liquor and snacks. It would have been nice had Paya Bay offered to pick up or split the cab - they didn't. Other than that, all else was great. We had a nice room overlooking the sea cliff - great views, breeze and sounds. The food was very good - better than what we had in town. The entire staff was excellent. The snorkeling trips were great and a cold beer at sunset was the perfect way to end the day. I like the fact that they have a beach for every taste - clothed, topless or nude - no one cramps anyone else's style - and you cannot see one beach to the next. Do not come here if you are looking for nightlife as this is not the place. If you want to relax and make new friends, by all means this is your spot. We would gladly stay here again.

Room Tip: Get a room on the sea cliff - the other lodging building is nicknamed the "frat house." C...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Randy P
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

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: £94 - £170 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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