What makes a vacation resort great? Well, first we need to define the word "resort", because it has become pretty over-used in the industry.
From Wikipedia: A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for vacations and/or tourism.
With that very general definition as our starting point, let's peel the onion back on "relaxation" and "recreation". These two terms are unfortunately quite specific to the vacationer. One person's definition of relaxation may not be the same as another's.
For some, sleeping in, reading a book by the pool every day and going out for a great dinner and a couple of drinks is the very definition of relaxation. For others, getting up early and going out on a charter to haul in the big one is the way to unwind. The same is true of recreation. An avid diver and an avid golfer will tend to see a given resort quite differently. Therefore, any analysis of vacation resorts must begin with the recognition that their greatness is truly in the eyes of the beholder. In other words, it's all about fit.
Which Roatan Resort Fits You Best?
So, how do we evaluate the fit of a resort as a potential guest? For us, it comes down to being clear on exactly what type of vacation you want to have and then evaluating prospective properties on five factors:
- Location (where the resort is physically sited),
- Accommodations (the nature and quality of the rooms/suites/condos/villas),
- Amenities (the range and caliber of the extras offered on site),
- Service (the quality of the personal attention and care provided),
- Value (the overall assessment of "bang for the buck")
Let's start with Roatan's locations.
Roatan is a rich and complex place. It has many towns and villages with distinct cultures and heritages. But for the first- or second-time visitor, we can simplify Roatan's main resort locations into three categories: on West Bay Beach, in/around West End and at self-contained Resorts dotted about the island.
West Bay is the classic, shared beach location, and its nicest occupant is Infinity Bay, soon to be joined by Grand Roatan. If you like a condo/hotel (condo-tel) feel with a beach bar and lots of tourists vying for a common pool and public beach chairs - this is the location for you.
West End is a village and a neighborhood. People live, work and play there. The nicest places in West End are the Coral Vista Villas that line the Western side of Half Moon Bay. If you like to be walking distance from a wide variety of stores, restaurants, dive shops and nightlife, West End is the location for you.
There are numerous self-contained resorts on Roatan - from the venerable Anthony's Key Resort in Sandy Bay to the world-class Pristine Bay Resort just outside of French Harbour. If you like a sense of separation and seclusion from the masses and don't mind a fair bit of driving to see anything other than the resort, these locations are good options for you.
So what's your location? A shared stretch of world-class beach, a vibrant village with lots of options or a gated resort? Whatever the case, Roatan has them all and you're well on your way to finding the best Roatan resort for you.
In the next post of this series, we'll tackle the second defining feature of a great vacation resort: Accommodations.