Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
Only accessible by boat across Utila's enchanting lagoon, the Laguna Beach resort is the ultimate spot to bask in the paradisiacal trimmings of the Honduran Bay Islands. It's as close as you'll get to luxury on an island that is built for diving and…more diving.
Arriving at Laguna Beach after a short boat–trip from Utila Town, the sense of privacy and intimacy is at once apparent. Charming cabins with private walkways over the water lace the lagoon side of the resort, while hidden white–sand, hammock–clad beaches bejewel the ocean side. The 14–acre luxury property is a real surprise on the 3 by 7 mile island with a tendency towards a rustic Caribbean style as opposed to sumptuous living.
It is a serene type of luxury that Laguna Beach offers. The rooms are not grandiose and imposing, but quietly comforting with brushed wooden walls and handcrafted bedspreads. The secluded sandy coves lining the property make solitude easily attainable, while the snug sofas near the bar mean socializing is equally practicable.
The reception area, bar/restaurant, gift shop and computer facilities are clustered in the central part of the property, while rooms in personal cabins stretch either side of the central area. An immense new swimming pool in the shape of a whale shark (a species abundant in Utilian waters) sits at the far end of the property and is an enticing spot to unwind. Trimmed with sand–colored Peruvian tiles, a hot–tub in the shape of a turtle is soon to follow this new pool development.
Sea life is of huge importance in Utila and people come from across the globe to dive in the island's waters. Laguna Beach provides some of the best dive training on the island, using the newest equipment and boats. Furthermore, the resort has made a momentous resolution to preserve the proximate marine life, by importing fish from abroad for their restaurant in order to prevent overfishing of local waters. Nevertheless, the cuisine at the Laguna Beach restaurant is second–to–none on the island, as their world–class chefs prepare the freshest seafood, meat and fruits for guests to savor at every mealtime.
One of the most likable elements of the Laguna Beach resort is the commitment of the owner, local man Troy Bodden, to continually improve his property. He has recently completed a new beach–house on the premises (the first of many) – a self–contained and slightly higher–class property tucked–away on the beach with impeccable views of the ocean. An alluring mahogany four–poster bed adorns the bedroom, while a state–of the–art kitchen/dining area means that guests who want to enjoy uninterrupted privacy can have exactly that. Bodden is also in the process of closing off a seawater pond to harvest lobsters that will be used in the restaurant.
If and when guests fancy a jaunt in Utila Town, one of the resort's 9 boats will happily take them across, while more energetic visitors can kayak over the short stretch of water and hire a bike or golf buggy to explore the rest of the island. On special occasions, the resort's large luxury yacht, the Utila Aggressor, is available for excursions and drinks receptions.
Web Address: www.lagunabeachresort.info
Total Number of Rooms: 20
Published rates: $130 to $200 including buffet meals and transfers
Review by Sasha Arms, photos by Silvie Koanda.