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.
- 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, Ebookers 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