REVIEW ANTHONY’S KEY RESORT
This is a long review, but wanted to try and touch on a lot of things that we felt people might want to know about
First we will talk about the travel to and from Roatan, which we found very stressful at times. The papers that you are given to fill out on the plane before entering the country (pack a pen) should be filled out as best you can. The stewardess does not know how, or at least ours didn’t. We asked her about part of it and she said that it was to be left blank. We did and when we got there the customs person was very angry that it was filled out wrong. Us not speaking Spanish and them not speaking English very well he was not able to communicate it to us and finally tore ours up and filled it out himself. The process going through customs was extremely slow since it appeared a lot of people had asked the stewardess how and got the same answer. They need a sample one on the plane. Returning into the US in Houston was a nightmare and all though we had plenty of time between flights as we’ve experience the mess of customs before, many of the people returned missed their flights. Make sure you have a minimum of 1 ½ hours between your flights to go through customs. We weren’t allowed to take water on the plane from Roatan even though it was bought after going through their extremely slow search of everyone’s bags and going through security
We lost track of how many times we had to be either searched or scan our luggage in Houston and the lines were long and slow.
On to the resort part of this review. At the airport they are there just on the other side of customs holding up the signs for the various resort shuttles. They wave and call out to see who is for which resort. This does not mean that you can go to the front of the line or bypass the customs agents as so many thought. What it does is everyone from the back of the lines start give up their place in line to shove up to the front of the lines thinking they get to go through causing a massive bottleneck at the beginning of the customs and then with the heat and stress of the long plane rides people start cutting in front of everyone else trying to be exempt from waiting in line. Needless to say everything slows down because of this. The resorts should just let everyone come through without trying to guide them through. Once you get through, the luggage takes forever to get on the belt so there really is no hurry, you’re all going to get to the resort about the same time. Then the resort reps are real helpful in getting your luggage taken care of and showing you where to go and what to do. We had Gregory doing our luggage and he was very helpful both directions.
Bus to the resort wasn’t very long at all, was air conditioned and we weren’t packed in like sardines. You take your carry on luggage and the rest come later. It will arrive about an hour or so after you get to the resort, so make sure that you have a bathing suit, sandals, suntan lotion and anything else you might think you need before the rest of the luggage gets there. It was hot and we headed right to the pool as soon as we got checked in. Check in went pretty fast and they brought you a rum punch while you were doing it. They also held lunch for us since we arrived right after the lunch time ended. That was very nice of them since you don’t get much to eat on the plane. You turn in your passports and confirmation flight information or tickets and they will confirm your flight and even got our tickets and boarding passes the day before departure. Was a very nice touch. The women at the front desk were very friendly and always ready to answer any question. They have safety deposit boxes at the desk to leave your valuables in, free of charge. About 4”x 4”x16” so if you have anything bigger, it won’t fit. We brought a cable for our computer in the room, but never felt that there was a problem, just didn’t want to take the chance with the computer, but left the camera and stuff laying around when we weren’t diving and other things of value and had no trouble.
The owners were always visible and ready to help in anyway. We talked several times with one of the brothers who own the resort (Simir?) He seemed to really care about the resort, the environment and the Island. When we had asked at the front desk about the WiFi that was supposed to be available at the resort they said that they didn’t have it. We had brought our computer because they advertised it. We still would have brought it to download our dive pictures, but wanted to be able to email from our computer. We bought their $10 2 hour access code for their computers which they had several to use. Then when we met the owner we mentioned this to him and he said that they did have it and would check on why we were told they didn’t. He had an answer for us in about 2 minutes. Seems that while he was off it went down and they were waiting for repairs. It was back up the next day. He checked with us to make sure it was working. He seemed to be a very nice man. Never met his brother or father but they were available also.
The resort is set in a beautiful tropical setting. The lobby, restaurant and bar are on the hillside so if you don’t mind walking up a long set of stairs at least 3 times a day then you’ll be fine. We enjoyed the exercise, but some of the more out of shape people were complaining about climbing them. (see photo)
The dive boats were all fairly new and kept in good shape. They kept them clean and seemed to be kept in good working order. The tanks were all in good shape, lots better than the ones we have used in other dive places. Once the captain heard one leaking when it was turned on and he immediately took care of it. We had all our gear but the equipment that we saw that others had rented all looked like fairly new stuff.
We did the dolphin swim which included the dolphin encounter. We had a one year old dolphin by the name of Bailey. He didn’t stay around as much as his mother did with the other group, but we did get to touch him and do some petting. You are allowed to take one picture with your camera and the only other pictures you get are the ones that the resort takes that you can buy later. No cameras are allowed during the swim, which I can understand since the dolphins were getting scratched by people trying to take pictures and not controlling their cameras. The dolphin swim, they release 11 dolphins and if they want to interact with you they will. They were pretty shy at first but if you go to the bottom and start playing around they will come over to see what you are doing. We had to go catch our dive trip so we missed the last 10 minutes of our encounter, so if you do it make sure you don’t have a dive trip planned too close to the encounter as some people take awhile to get there and get ready so it might start late and you will miss part of it. Sign up early in the week as times get booked fast. We talked to other people that did both the swim and the dive with them and they preferred the swim because you got to interact and touch and pet them. The dive you could take your camera, but only 2 dolphins were released to play and you were instructed not to touch them.
The chance of them interacting was a lot stronger with the swim.
The pictures, if you buy them were expensive. $10 for each 4x6 and $15. For an 8x10. They download all to a disc for $40. So we had her put both our pictures on one disc and that was $40. If you separate each person’s encounter you will have to pay the $40. Each.
Make sure that you bring spare batteries for all your electronics from home. We had to replace a battery in one of our dive computers and it was about 4 times higher there. One woman needed batteries for her flashlight for one of the night dives and found it was cheaper to rent the flashlight from the resort than buy the batteries.
We had an air conditioned room over the water on the key. We shared a covered deck with the room next door. The room looked to have just been re-done not too long before and was clean and well kept up. We kept the curtains drawn during the day when not in the room to help the air conditioner keep the room reasonably cool. It was a lot more livable than the rooms without air conditioning. We noticed that our room was sealed a lot better then the ones without. The ones without had spaces between the floor board and walls that you could see the outside. The non insulated rooms all seemed to have a bigger problem with bugs including red ants.
We used our natural bug lotion made of catnip and lavender, (bug off) that we bought at our local farmers market before leaving home, for our skin and then sprayed our clothes with either off or deet and seemed to have only a couple of bites on the couple of times we forgot to do anything to protect us. Other people seemed to be eaten alive even though they said they used spray. Maybe our catnip and lavender was the key since we are usually the ones the bugs like. One night on the dive boat waiting to take off on our night dive the mosquitoes were eating everyone alive until the boat took off. Only noticed the mosquitoes the one night. Some of the other rooms hadn’t had the repairs done so they were a lot worse than ours. We didn’t have much storage in the room for our clothes. About 6 hangers and no drawers so most of our clothes were just sitting on the counter in the bathroom. One of the other rooms we looked at had lots of shelf space so it must depend on the room. The shower head could have used replacing as the water came out in one stream. The water heater was about 6 gallons so it’s hard to take showers together if that is what your used to. Pulled the shower curtain closed one day and it fell off and hit me in the head, so make sure that the rod is tightened up good as it is just a spring rod. Toilet pressure is real low so you have to hold the handle down until it all flushes. There was an ice chest in the room that you could keep drinks cold in. There is no hair dryer in the room, so bring yours. They give you one little travel size shampoo & conditioner on check in but the only other time they put any in there was about half way through when we put the little basket out in the middle of the sink when we left to go diving as a hint. We never saw her to ask for more, so don’t know if they are supposed to replenish it every day and just didn’t or if they only give you it for the first day in case the bags are late arriving. We brought our own just in case and were grateful we did.
The resort also has been working on a new island spot on the other side of the island. Our dive boat stopped there for the island lunch after our 2 morning dives and before the afternoon dive one day. It is a wonderful spot and they have really worked hard making it such. We were there the 2nd week that they had it opened and you should not miss going there if you can help it. Looks like they might be going to work with the cruise ships as a place for them to use when their resort dive boats aren’t there. It has another gift shop that seemed like it had more things than the one at the resort. Then it has a swimming pool, kitchen for the lunch, snorkel pier, beach area, it was truly and nice place. They have set up another dolphin encounter there too, so I’m sure that is for the cruise ships as an excursion. It would be a great place to rent for a wedding reception if they were open to that.
There is a little store down the street from the resort. Going out by where you sign up for the dolphin encounters follow the road to the end of the first set of houses and then make a right a half a block. It is very small, but the price is the same as the 2 for 1 night at the resort for beer. We noticed that it was cheaper on the way to the resort also, but the bus never stopped on the way to the resort.
The drinks at the resort were $2.50 a beer, $5.+ for drinks. We bought some bottles from the duty shop in Houston so we had what we needed except for the beer.
Everything that we had at the restaurant was good. You get 2 choices for lunch and dinner, fish of some kind and then either beef/chicken or pork. Soup or salad and a dessert. Breakfast they have cereal, some pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon and such. You can have an omelet, waffle or French toast made too. Coffee is decent and you can have juice too. You do tend to have about the same choices for meals, but the food was good. It’s not great, but good and all edible and didn’t hear of anyone getting sick.
We had always read about the diving in Honduras and thought that it would or should be great, but we were some what disappointed in it. The water visibility wasn’t that great, on best dive it might have been 60’, but mostly about 40’. The coral seems to be real healthy, but the life just doesn’t seem to be there. There weren’t the schools of fish like you see at other places, not much in the way of big stuff. I talked to a kid that had just spent a year in Utila working and he said that he was there 6 months and the life was a lot better, he took off to visit the rest of South America for 3 months and then returned for the last 3 months. In the 3 months that he was gone he noticed a decline in the life too by a lot. We wonder if this is a temporary thing or if this is a showing of what is to come. The best dive that we had was the last day of diving that we had. We went to the other side of the Island and went to Mary’s place and one other site that we unfortunately can’t remember what the name of it was. They were both great sites, but the second one had tons of green morays. The weather was great almost the entire time that we were there. The only exception was Thursday night we had down pouring rain, thunder and lightening that lit up the room all night and shook the room. The next day the seas were rough on our side of the island, but we were scheduled to go to the other side for diving at Mary’s place and they called and found out that it wasn’t rough over there so we decided to go ahead and do the dive. The dive shop let us take the bigger boat of 48’, which in the end we were extremely glad that we had the bigger boat as we weren’t sure the smaller boats would have made it or if they did we would have been pretty beat up. We did our 2 dives and the weather started to change when we were in the water on the 2nd dive. The ride back was rough and just got worse. Joel, our captain did a great job of getting us back in one piece with just myself getting a broken toe from bouncing around. The weather stayed about the same that night and until we left the next day.
All in all, we had a great time, the resort was about what we expected, room included. We booked before the price increase and feel that that was a good price for what you get since all inclusive does not included drinks and tips. For the twice the price rate increase, we just don’t think that it is worth the extra money. I know that the owners have a lot of money invested in their new island spot on the other side of the island, but you only use it for a few hours for one day so that seems too extreme. Maybe after they re coup some of the cost when they rent it to the cruise industry, if that is what they are going to do, they will lower the price or have more sales. There are a lot of places there and other places where the diving is better and the prices are lower for the same quality of resort.
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- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tucked away on the island of Roatan, Anthony's Key Resort is a legendary tropical wonderland where lush greenery rustles in breezy sea air. Pristine beaches rim turquoise waters. And wooden bungalows perched above a tranquil lagoon offer guests incredibly scenic views and a sense of perfect disconnection from everyday life back at home. For over 40 years, this family-run paradise has been home to divers in search of unspoiled waters, and lovers of natural adventure in all its forms.. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Anthony`s Key Hotel Sandy Bay
- Anthonys Key Sandy Bay
- Anthonys Key Hotel Roatan
- Anthonys Key Resort
- Anthony's Key Resort Honduras/Roatan - Sandy Bay