Thursday, 6 November 2014

Roatan Review

Handsome firefighter and I took a little trip sans kiddos in March to the beautiful island of Roatan. 
We were specifically looking for a place that had:
a) amazing beaches
b) awesome snorkeling  and
c) was not a huge monstrosity of a resort.

Our research led us to Roatan, which is a tiny island off the coast of Honduras.

Roatán, located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, is the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands.  The island was formerly known as Ruatan and Rattan. It is approximately 77 kilometres (48 mi) long, and less than 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) across at its widest point.
Honduras is renowned for having the highest murder rate in the world, which is a little scary.  There are many conflicting reports about safety on Roatan.  It's a third world country, and many of the residents live in extreme poverty.  I can honestly say that I didn't fear for my safety while we were there.  That said, we used our common sense while travelling in Roatan and would never put ourselves in a situation where we might be vulnerable or targeted by criminals.

Upon a great deal of researching (mostly on TripAdvisor) we decided to stay at Infinity Bay.  We literally read through hundreds of reviews... most of which were quite positive.  I like to take negative TripAdvisor reviews with a grain of salt, and definitely read between the lines... because not everyone has the same needs and priorities for their vacation spot.  Many of the negative reviews that I read were fixated on the lack of reliable WIFI.  C'mon people!  You're on vacation in a tropical paradise!  Put down your iphone and chillax!

MALARIA - One of the first things that I found concerning were the conversations about malaria.  Many reasons why you might want to get take preventative measures... and many reasons why you might not.  We decided that the potential side effects of the malaria meds were of more concern that our actually risk of contracting the disease.  We did use bug spray.  Mosquitoes weren't an issue at our resort at the time of year that we visited.  We came back unscathed without a skitter bite, and malaria free.

SANDFLEAS - There were also many reviews with concerns about the sandfleas.  I didn't personally find them to be much of an issue, although I did notice kids at the resort with many little bites around their ankles and legs.  I did liberally apply the Cactus Juice, which is a local non toxic bug repellent, and that  might have helped.

SERVICE - Service at Infinity Bay would not be at par with other 5 star resorts I have travelled to.  The staff there were quite warm and friendly and a pleasure to interact with.  I don't think they really understood the basics of good service, and I would blame that on the management... not the staff.  Many times we set our own table because there was cutlery, glassware, and napkins missing.  Many times we just got up and grabbed what we needed, because we simply couldn't wait for the staff to bring what we needed.  Guests with a 'type A' personality will likely lose their marbles here.  During our stay, we watched many tantrums from guests who weren't coping well with the excessively slow and sometimes non-existent service.  We are pretty 'low key.'  I don't think our needs are particularly high... but I did find the lack of service frustrating at times.

FOOD - We very much enjoyed the food at Infinity Bay.  The selection was quite limited.  It's a small resort, and the buffet is rather tiny, but everything we tried was really tasty.  The seafood was great.  If you are a dessert person, then I'm afraid you're completely out of luck at Infinity Bay.  Aside from the odd square or tiny pastry, dessert consisted of fruit.  If you are a picky eater, you may find yourself challenged by the limited food options.

The Sunwing all-inclusive plan included afternoon snacks, which were a bit of a joke.  A chafing dish would be set on a table in the afternoon with some chicken wings or fries and perhaps a fruit plate would accompany it.

DRINKS - Drinks were 'meh.'  We were on a Sunwing all-inclusive plan and there were many limitations on what we could and couldn't choose at the bar.  For instance, if I wanted a cosmopolitan... it was not included.  Many of the bar guests were paying above and beyond the all-inclusive plan to get the drinks they wanted.  Bar service is slow and inconsistent.

ROOMS - Our room was quite nice, and clean.  Rooms are more like mini-condos with full kitchens.  We had no issues with maid service or cleanliness during our stay at Infinity, but did have to request additional towels and toiletries at times.

BEACH - The beach was lovely.  The snorkeling right in front of the resort was amazing, probably the best I've ever seen :)  We saw barracudas, sea turtles, and fish galore.

KIDS - We didn't bring our brood of children on this vacation.  Infinity Bay seemed relatively child friendly, but didn't have any organized activities for kids.  The staff seemed very accommodating and did appear to go out of their way to work with families who brought children.

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