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“Distant but Decent”

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Coral View Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Utila
South Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Distant but Decent”
Reviewed 2 January 2012

We spent 3 nights at Coral View Beach Resort on Utila over Christmas 2011. I picked it because it was not smack in the middle of backpacker hell in Utila's main village but still not so far that we couldn't walk to town in about 10 or 15 minutes. I also liked the idea of the so-called penthouse, which is really just lodge-speak for a single room on the top floor. The view was definitely good as we could see both the bay (behind) and the sea (in front).

I organized a single price for room with breakfast and 4 dives for each of us. The diving was good (but not as good as Belize; see my other reviews), the food was definitely ordinary and I guess because it was Christmas, our room was serviced only once on the morning after we arrived. There was free wifi (though the penthouse is beyond the signal limit) and a very nice two-storey dock out front from where the snorkeling is supposed to be very good. We didn't have time.

If we did it again, we'd rent bikes for the duration of the stay to making going back and forth to the village easier, and we'd invest in some headlights as after 6pm, the walk to town is by moonlight. It's still do-able if it's not wet and you don't have to watch where you walk.

Room Tip: Take the "penthouse".
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank globetrotter42France
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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58 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
127 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2011

If I had ten lempira for every time I heard someone say how lucky they were to have such great snorkelling conditions right off the dock at Coral View, I could have paid for my week at the resort and had change left for a sunset beer on the glorious pier. To complain about cosmetic shortcomings of the rooms or oversights by the staff is missing the point: Utila is a backpacker’s paradise and anyone who comes here for five star accommodation should get back on the boat and head elsewhere.

I spent a week at Coral View as part of a school group learning to dive via Operation Wallacea. After a week in the jungle, Utila and Coral View were indeed luxurious, albeit nowhere near Western standards. I didn’t realise it until reading the reviews below, but I stayed in the resort’s prime room, the fourth floor “penthouse” with adjacent balcony, from which I could sunbathe or watch shooting stars. For our purposes, the room was fitted with three bunk beds, which presumably get moved or removed to suit each week’s clientele. The room had an air conditioner and a small refrigerator, but neither was working because of the cost of running them. For me, the tropical sea breezes and ceiling fan were sufficient in late July and the basic, but hot shower did the trick after a day of diving. There is a murky pool where we did some snorkelling skills and a volleyball court.

I’m not sure if the crew of diving instructors our group had are year-round residents, but everyone in our group received excellent training and all of us passed our PADI open water course under their expert tuition. The rota ran like clockwork with two dives a day, including “fun dives” exploring the reef and its varied sea life. Most people said that snorkelling in the area was even better than scuba diving, but I only did the latter.

Because we were with a large school group, I don’t think the meals we were provided were typical of Miss Tonia’s usual output. We were given scoops of rice, potato salad, and stale tortilla chips with movie-theatre cheese sauce, washed down with plastic pitchers full of Kool-aid style juice. Meat occasionally made an appearance, but we very rarely had any fresh produce, which is a shame given the abundance of fresh fruits available on the island. We were told that it was because produce is so expensive and it tends to “go off” too quickly. As we were on a pre-paid student deal, costs were being kept down. I think paying guests get better quality fare, including hamburgers and fries that can be ordered from the kitchen. I saw Miss Tonia and her family tucking in to ripe avocadoes and other treats, so I know it’s possible. There’s a water cooler in the restaurant for filling up bottles.

Miss Tonia is an outgoing and very welcoming host who went out of her way to treat our group well. She even whipped up a huge strawberry flavoured birthday cake for one of the school girls and she accompanied us to the ferry on our final day to make sure all our luggage got put into the same part of the hold. The rest of the staff were unsmiling and didn’t seem to enjoy their work much, but maybe they were tired of cleaning up after school kids. They did wash a bag full of jungle-dirty laundry for five dollars and, although it wasn’t cleaned to Western standards, I was very grateful for the service.

One negative experience was the amount of petty theft that was going on throughout the resort during our stay. Every day, people’s sandals, shorts, diving boots, and cash were taken from the docks and it made me very uneasy about taking anything down with me when I went diving. No telling if it was locals, school kids, university students, or pelicans doing the thieving, but it’s best to let Miss Tonia lock away your passport.

In my experience, the walk into town is an easy twenty minute one, provided you steer clear of the Kamikaze mopeds and all-terrain vehicles that tear up and down the island; and hiring a taxi, which costs just under two dollars, was never necessary. Even in the blazing sunlight, you know you can cool off with a frozen lemonade in Munchies bar (look for the “iguana garden” out back) once you reach the town.

To summarize, Coral View was probably the nicest accommodation I saw on the island, though I’m told there are swankier ones to be found in other parts. It was not immaculately clean or perfectly fitted, but it afforded wonderful views, fantastic diving, a friendly owner, convenient snorkelling, and sustaining, basic food. It’s a perfect place for backpackers, students, and those who don’t need luxuries to have a good time in a great location.

Room Tip: As for room 401, the one with the balcony.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GeorgeHCS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2011

The dive shop and hotel staff are wonderfully accommodating. They tailored a flexible package to meet out needs. It was a tremendous value compared to other places on Utila and far better than anything we could find on Roatan. The dive shop had new equipment and no add on charges (all equipment was included in the dive cost). After a familiarization dive they took us anywhere we wanted to go...on wrecks, night dives, deep dives, two tank dives in small groups of two to four divers. It was unbelievably fun and uncomplicated. All we had to do was walk 50 yards to to the dive shop from the hotel and the divemasters had everything ready for us to go. The instructors were there to take care of us and insure we had a great time.

The hotel is run by a very friendly family and staff that will do anything to make your stay enjoyable. The atmosphere is very congenial and we were immediately welcomed by the owners and other guests in the dining room and bar when we arrived. The room we had was large, air conditioned and clean but definitely a no frills experience. This is a small economical hotel and it is a 20 minute walk from town. My son and I took a taxi to town once during our 4 day stay to go shopping and were perfectly content relaxing at our hotel the rest of our visit. We were not interested bar hopping and were happy eating all meals in the hotel. Visiting with the other guests and staff from all over the world during the family style meals was an unexpected pleasure.

If you are looking for a safe and memorable diving experience in a comfortable hotel I cannot image a better choice. The prices were very reasonable for the excellent services that we received.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank fatherandsontravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 December 2010

It was amazing. there are many helpers there for you. they had the best food on the island. clean nice sized rooms. owner is very sweet and helpful. the deck is beautiful soo relaxing. i cant wait to go back

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank oliviaw70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tegucigapla
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2009

The hotel was pretty average - the rooms were clean, but the sheets were threadbare and old. The food in the restaurant was average and we only ate there once, as there are much better choices in town. The worst part about it is that it is WAY out of town, and when it is almost 100 degrees every day, walking that mile into town and a mile back can kill you. We ended up havnig to rent a golf cart to do all teh things we wanted to do. THe owners are friendly and nice. The biggest plus to this place is that it has a dock connected to it that puts you out onto the absolute best snorkeling on the entire island. You don't need to rent a boat or do anythind to see the most spectacular sea creatures. Some pros, some cons.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank inhonduras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2008

Myself and fellow students stayed at this hotel while in honduras. We were with a group there to do a reef ecology course, and to become PADI certified by the professional dive instructors on site. The hotel its self is very simple but with staff that our very accomadating. After a night dive, the owner was the only one awake and on the way to bed, when I asked for a piece of bread to tie me over til morning she made me a whole bowl of soup, definatly not expected, but very appreishated. Even if you don't dive, great people to teach you! And awsome night life in town about a half hour walk to awsome bars. Happy Diving!

  • Liked — dive staff
  • Disliked — sand fleas
  • Stayed August 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Canadianhunnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, OR
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2008

My wife, another couple and I stayed at Coral View Resort March 7, 2008. Although we had already paid for 2 nights and ultimately planned on staying for 4 (half payment of total stay required to confirm reservation), we left after only one day to go back to the Mango Inn, where we had been for the past week.

First, the good things about Coral View:
Terrific views off of the “penthouse” balcony
Easy access to water for snorkeling off of the deck. I didn’t get a chance to check-out the snorkeling, because we didn’t stay long enough.

Now the bad things:
Tiny, bare, charmless over-priced rooms. My wife and I sprang for the extra $20/night for the “penthouse”, the “best room” in the resort.
In the bathroom, the showerhead hung limply off the end of the pipe and was so clogged that it barely dribbled water. I removed it to see if there was removable debris blocking the flow, but it was merely wear, being hopelessly clogged through years of use. We ended up taking showers with it completely removed from the pipe. The toilet seat was smaller than the bowl and there were no shelves, drawers or cabinets of any kind. It also smelled strongly of vinegar, maybe for cleaning of mold.

Two double beds with scratchy, thin sheets were what we slept on.

The air conditioner was loud, with gaps between it and the wall stuffed with toilet paper. Although effective in cooling the room, virtually anything would have done the job, given the room size.

The balcony was large, heavily worn, with no hammock, one plastic lounge, a couple of plastic chairs and a crude wooden table. An open railing configuration removed much hope of privacy from the ground below. I had little luck in getting wifi connection from our deck, despite their website claims. To top it off, one of the 3 six-foot tall lamp posts had been snapped off of the railing and was literally lying on the deck with the electrical cord attached and yes, it was still electrically “hot”.

Our travel companions were not as lucky. Their room was smaller than a college dorm. With their four standard-sized suitcases, they literally had to JUMP over their stuff to get on the bed. There were tiny (non-biting, thank God) ants in their bathroom as well as ours. No closet, nor rod to hang clothes on and one tiny cabinet made even partially unpacking their stuff not feasible.

The main deck/bar (the resorts’ main selling point) was a large, grey basic two-storied wooden structure with four wooden chaise lounges. The enclosed sea-water pool (used for dive training) had scum on the surface and smelled like it doesn’t get much opportunity to mix with fresh sea-water.

Besides these specifics, what was just as bad was the overall disrepair and lack of charm of the entire facility. For example, the 2 light fixtures in the room were homemade wooden half-boxes with a toogle switch, socket and a fluorescent bulb screwed in. I guess giving the rooms an actual lamp or two was not in the budget for $70 a night.

Okay, that covers the structural, now lets’ go to the “customer service”. Mango Inn had arranged to taxi my wife and me out to the facility. Our other couple went diving that afternoon, thereby needing Coral View to pick them up at the dive shop which is a 30-35 minute walk from downtown. After more than 45 minutes had passed and no one from the resort had shown up, our friends were forced to walk to the resort in the late afternoon heat after a 3-dive day.

During check-in, my wife requested that the hotel arrange taxi service at 7:30 the next morning to take us all to the dive shop for that day’s diving. At 7:40AM, with the taxi not yet there, we asked the front desk where the taxi was, and were told that “because of the weather, I figured the boat wasn’t going, so I didn’t call the taxi for you”. Despite being breezy and overcast, the dive boat left (without us) as scheduled.

At this point, we’d had enough. We had NO FAITH in them being able to get us down to the ferry to leave later that week at 6:00AM. When we asked if any refund was possible, we were told that we would have to talk to the manager who, of course, wasn’t there. We described the desk clerk to the manager at Mango Inn later that day and were told that she was, in fact, the owner!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally understand that I’m in a third-world country here. I do not expect (nor want) the 4-5 star all-inclusive, corporate, sanitized resort. I’ve stayed in a couple of them and trust me-they’re not for me. I’m always the last guy at the table to complain if the steaks not done right, so to speak.

It’s sort of sad, in that the location makes this a potentially wonderful facility. Despite claiming that the resort is only a couple of years old, it appears and feels a lot older. It just seems that the owners want to get your money, but not spend a dime to make the resort someplace they could be proud of. Absolutely no pride in ownership.

In closing, if you do want to spend time here, I would strongly suggest you do 2 things:

1) Get the penthouse, in that you get a bigger (slightly) room than
the postage-stamp sized ones everyone else gets. And you do get the balcony. Just pray for good weather, so at least you can enjoy the view.

2) Rent a scooter or at least a bicycle so you can get around, because taxis don’t like to go out there. Admittedly, we did not try the resort restaurant, but we quickly lost confidence in the resort as a whole and decided not to chance it.

Likes: View from balcony, easy access to water

Dislikes: small, bare, non-functional rooms; long distance from anything and unreliable, indifferent staff.

  • Stayed March 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank SashanJess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Coral View Beach Resort

Property: Coral View Beach Resort
Address: Blue Bayou, Utila IB3103, Honduras
Region: Honduras > Bay Islands > Utila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Utila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whether you are seeking relaxation or adventure, Coral View Beach Resort has the perfect tropical vacation in store for you. Experience incomparable personal service at this family-owned and operated resort. Stay in a luxury room with air-conditioning, hot water, a private bath, wireless internet access and an ocean or lagoon view. Dive with our full-service PADI Dive Center (packages and certification available). Make your trip an adventure with our whale watching, snorkeling and kayaking excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Coral View Beach Hotel Utila

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