Palmetto Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Copán's original hotel is the best in town and tries its best to cater to group tours and independent luxury travelers—and everyone in between. While the result is that it is not on the same level as Hacienda San Lucas it is a better choice if you want to be close to the ruins and be able to stroll the historic cobbled streets of town at night.
Hotel Marina Copán is right off the main square in the very walkable town of Copán Ruinas, less than a mile from the archeological park. The tallest parts of the hotel are three stories, but the hacienda–like public areas are mostly on one level and feature wood supports, red clay roof tiles, and white stucco walls.
The reception desk is just a place to check in, with the attractive free–form pool in the courtyard beckoning guests to change clothes and jump in. Surfaced in blue tile, it has a shallow kids' area, a deeper section with waterfall, and a surrounding stone deck with lounge chairs and table sitting areas. A hot tub gets more action on cool nights.
The comfortable bar adjoins the pool and with $2 beers and $3 rum punches, is a popular place to socialize. A gift shop on site will do in a pinch, but better offerings are within strolling distance.
The restaurant is on two stories, with an open area with a view above and an enclosed air–conditioned level at ground level. The menu sticks to local favorites and predictable international fare, but you certainly can't complain about the prices: the most expensive dinner option tops out at $12 and you can't spend more than $7 on a room service breakfast with coffee. With most guests being international visitors, bilingual service is far more professional here than that of most Honduran hotel restaurants.
A basic gym with a few aerobic machines has a sauna as well and massages can be arranged for a reasonable fee. Internet access at a public computer or by WiFi requires a $10 fee.
Standard rooms should be avoided unless you don't have a choice, especially the darker and mustier ones on the first floor. The fastidious housekeeping crew does its best, but some of these rooms date back to the opening in 1945. Thankfully some were going under the sledgehammer at inspection, with the future room count being cut down to add more larger quarters. The current ones have red tile floors, heavy wood beds of two doubles or a king, local artwork, and solid wood wardrobe closets with plastic hangers. At $90 a night it's hard to complain, but furniture is limited to two plain wood chairs and a small desk, while baths are reminiscent of a motel apart from the dark brown marble vanity. At least the 27–inch TVs get plenty of channels.
In a hotel where the Presidential Suite is only $250, if at all possible, snag for one of the four suites. These get you a full living room and kitchenette. Executive suite number 331 is great if you like a nice view: it has two walls of the living room and two balconies (one furnished) looking out at the plaza church and red tile rooftops of the town. The presidential suite adds a second bedroom. Some of the suites have a whirlpool tub, though in the dry season the water tends to be less than clear. You are basically paying for double the space and more light since suite guests don't get any special treatment. None of the rooms come with robes, slippers, safes, or more expensive toiletries. Unfortunately, for now all the suites are on the upper levels, with a lot of stair climbing, so settle for a standard if you have mobility issues—until the new renovated rooms are available.
The local family that owns the hotel also owns a tour company, so the staff is accustomed to setting up excursion, including to another of the family's holdings: a coffee plantation outside of town. Room service is available from early morning until the restaurant closes and the hotel has a private secure parking area.
Web Address: www.hotelmarinacopan.com
Total Number of Rooms: 50
Published rates: $90 to $250
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.