We actually ended up at Mayoka Lodge by accident. For some bizarre reason, we hadn’t spotted it when looking online for somewhere to stay in Roatan. Instead we had intended to stay at TranquilSeas but there was a date mix-up and so Chris Benson, owner of TranquilSeas helpfully suggested we give John & Barbara a call to see if they could accommodate us. Thankfully they could. Whilst TranquilSeas is a dive operation without rival and the bar is a great place for lunch and Tuesday evening tapas (see separate reviews), we couldn’t help but continually thank our lucky stars that we got our dates wrong - Mayoka Lodge is a far smarter and more personal accommodation option.
Sandy Bay is lower key and not as touristy as West Bay, a little further down the coast. If you are after loud music, lots of people and hermit crab racing (!) go to West Bay. Sandy Bay is clean and quiet and there is abundant coral just off the end of the docks – quite wonderful for snorkelling - but it’s not the sort of beach where you would spend all day on a sunbed with a cocktail glass in your hand. It’s a beach for walking down and paddling and admiring the view of the endless blue water before heading back to the sundeck at Mayoka for serious snoozing and sunbathing. For evening entertainment, Tuesday tunes & tapas at Tranquilseas is as good as it gets, although taxis to West Bay are relatively cheap and easy to find.
Mayoka Lodge is a beautiful property. I’m not sure the TripAdvisor photo of the front of the building does it justice – I remember worrying that it looked dark and imposing. This isn’t the case, at all, I think, just a function of angle of the photo and the shade from the trees that line the drive as the house is set well back from the road.
Inside, it’s evident that this was originally a home. The modern stairwell leads you into a bright and spacious double height reception space, with the open plan kitchen and honesty pool bar to your right, a ‘formal’ dining room with table for 12 to your left and the deck and infinity pool in front of you.
The deck and pool area are quite small, but fabulous. The large window back into the kitchen acts as the pool bar, with pretty much anything you could need just a couple of steps away.
The views over the ocean are simply breathtaking. You’d struggle to do any serious swimming in the pool but it’s wonderful for cooling dips. And if you really have the urge to swim 2km before breakfast (can’t say we ever did), the calm sea is just a few steps away at the end of the garden.
Another of the fears that I had with such a tiny hotel is that you would lack facilities. Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong here. Mayoka Lodge has the only tennis court on the island and Barbara arranged a local tennis coach when I couldn’t persuade my other half to play. There is no formal ‘spa’ but Barbara arranged (getting a theme here?) for a physio/masseuse to come in daily and we had evening massages out on the deck with the birds singing and the gentle ocean breeze overhead. Kayaks and lifevests are waiting for you at the end of the garden for you to explore the seashore. The excellent dive centre at TranquilSeas is approximately 20 steps out of the garden gate and along the beach. We had every facility we could have asked for.
I should mention that the basement of the house also had a den with slouchy seats, an enormous TV screen with DVDs and box-sets aplenty, a small library, giant card table, a pool table and subterranean bar. We didn’t use them at all as the weather was fabulous and we spent all of our days outside. But they are there and would be certainly be a welcome distraction if the weather wasn’t kind.
Five of the six rooms are outside the main house, built as separate ensuite wooden villas. Again, it’s clear that the property was designed as a home – rooms are spacious and the finish is high quality. All the windows and doors had integrated robust mosquito screens so you could sleep with all the windows open to hear the sea without worrying you were going to be bitten to death. Both fan and AC were offered. Small touches, like plenty of plug points for all our chargers, a chilled water cooler set into the wall and copious wooden hangers that you can actually move from the rail was indicative of Barbara’s attention to detail and determination to make this feel like home (albeit a very glamorous and well-appointed home)
Two of the villas are right on the edge of the deck overlooking the sea. We loved raising the blinds in the morning, opening the French doors and looking out over the ocean whilst Elvin busied about setting our table on the deck for breakfast. If you want a little more privacy from the comings and goings on the deck, ask for one of the other rooms which are set back a little – you don’t get the direct ocean view but your terrace and room are much more secluded.
As a small hotel, you get to know the staff really quickly. Without exception, the team at Mayoka were friendly and went the extra mile to do anything they could for you. Elvin as a waiter/ barman/ barista was just great, Angel kept the grounds immaculate and Maria and her cleaning team were quick, thorough and totally unobtrusive.
The food deserves special mention (see separate review). There’s no actual menu for breakfast – but even with one health & bikini-conscious traveller (me) and one full-fried-breakfast-devotee (him) we both cleared our plates every day – Crystalle – Cordon Bleu trained in New York - cooked a varied menu, always served with fresh fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juice, alongside endless amounts of hot Honduran coffee (for him) and herbal teas (for me).
Dinner was a similarly menu-less affair, sourced daily. Crystalle would ask us in the morning if there was anything we particularly wanted to eat. We are quite picky, but we were never disappointed. Portion size was just right, two courses just enough. We never asked for dessert, although I’m sure if puddings are your thing, Crystalle would deliver.
We were tempted once by the reputation of Vintage Pearl at West Bay, but compared to Crystalle’s dinners, it was poor quality, over-hyped and over-priced. We do also recommend Elvin’s small roadside restaurant at the end of the drive and that was delightful for honest, home-cooked Roatan dishes (see separate review).
The food, the location, the comfort and the staff at Mayoka are all wonderful. But what makes it outstanding is the attention that you receive from John & Barbara as hosts who turn it from a boutique lodge into somewhere that feels like home and who generally cannot do enough for you. We cut our stay short at our second hotel on Roatan to return to Mayoka. We got back six weeks ago now and whilst the tan and the relaxed karma are long gone, the memories we took from a place where we arrived as guests and left as friends burns strong.
We’d like to mention something we didn’t like, if only so our review looks a little more balanced to you, trying to decipher from thousands of TripAdvisor reviews whether a property is right for you. But we really can’t think of anything. The water in the shower in our room is a tiny bit salty as it comes from the property’s borehole. Some shampoos don’t lather so well. There we go, that really is the best we could do for a fault. We found it a haven of peace and relaxation and we were very, very sad to leave.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Roatan is unique and so is Mayoka. Experience the magic of our uniquely elegant casual atmosphere. self contained in an adult oriented luxurious 9,000 sq. ft. beachfront TripAdvisor Platinum level GreenLeaders boutique hotel. Nestled on Roatan's pristine and unspoiled northwest coast in the Western Caribbean, this world acclaimed award winning sixn-suite exclusive hotel combines the luxury of a private location with the personalized service and attention to details that discerning travelers have come to expect. Located just 15 minutes from the Juan Manuel Galvez International airport (RTB) which is served by United, American, Delta and Avianca Airlines, Mayoka is a peaceful oasis of beauty and tranquility, where guests will enjoy the soothing sounds of the nearby surf, gentle trade-wind breezes, breathtaking sunsets and a spectacular panoramic vista of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. We offer an ideal setting for romantic getaways and honeymoons, family reunions and corporate retreats. Amenities include complimentary airport transfers, personal or private dive instructor with scuba equipment rentals available, on site Jeep rental, sea kayaks, snorkel gear, infinity pool, private dock, a tennis court and on site fine dining and unique specialty cocktails at our al fresco treetop Frangipani Restaurant and Compass Bar and Grill overlooking the sea. There is also Palagio Investments, an onsite Real Estate Agency for those looking to invest. Services, activities and excursions within walking distance on the beach or along the main road include a a full service SPA, two additional restaurants, Carambola Botanical Gardens and Hiking Trails, the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences for horseback riding and dolphins activities. West End, a small beach community with gift shops, dive centers, restaurants and bars is a five minute ride. The white sandy beaches of the popular cruise ship destination and resort community of West Bay is reachable via water or land taxi from West End in an additional 10 minutes. Our accommodations include three large suites within the hotel near the infinity pool and four cottages with private outdoor decks, three of which are on the beach. All have over-sized walk in showers and three have deep soaking claw-foot tubs. Each is air-conditioned with quiet efficient mini splits, in room safe, complementary WiFi, Bluetooth speaker as well as complimentary in room movies with over 500 titles and cable TV. We also offer a complementary Roatan cell phone for our guests use, facilitating transportation arrangements both to and from the hotel with Alex and his team of private cars and drivers at fixed rates set by by the Roatan Taxi Association. In addition, we also have a USA VoIP phone in the hotel reception for our guests complementary use to keep in touch with friends and family (or even work if necessary!) during their stay. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Booking.com, Ebookers, HotelsClick, Evoline ltd and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Mayoka Boutique Hotel 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:
- Mayoka Boutique Hotel Honduras/Roatan - Sandy Bay