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Barefoot Cay Resort — Roatan, Honduras

Between French Harbor and Brick Bay, Roatan Island, Bay Islands, Honduras

In an odd location next to a yacht marina and a commercial port, Barefoot Cay is nevertheless a clear winner when it comes to service and style, with some of the island's best accommodations plus a private beach and snorkeling area.

After making the four–mile trip from the airport, you cross over to the Barefoot Cay's Resort's small island on a water taxi and you may start second–guessing your decision at this point. While the hotel complex and moored yachts give a great impression straight ahead, your peripheral vision can't help but notice a dry dock to the right and a commercial fishing boat terminal to the left.

Once on the cay, however, those misgivings will quickly fade as you take in the beach and cove beyond, and notice the clear attention to detail that the American owners have put into the project. The swimming pool is gorgeous, with its cushioned hardwood chaises and shaded sitting areas with Adirondack chairs—perfect for a few lazy games of backgammon. Past this area, a long dock leads to a pristine gazebo out in the sea. From here you can jump off and go snorkeling on the surrounding reef, even exploring a sunken small ship. After floating with the fishes you can while away the afternoon on the private beach or glide around the cove on one of the resort's kayaks.

Only four bungalows are on the island itself while the other seven rooms are on the mainland above the dive center. All of them are stylish and have a sense of personality, looking nothing like any of the other "typical tropical" resorts that are the standard fare in this region. The bungalows are plush and stocked with nearly everything you could want, including quality locally made furniture and a wide array of kitchen appliances—including a blender, microwave, and coffee grinder. The key feature of the bungalows though is a set of louvered wood doors that slide open completely, allowing the living room and kitchen to open directly onto the beach, with a panoramic view of the sea.

The one–bedroom bungalows have a king bedroom, open living room and kitchen, plus a Balinese shower open to the sky. The two–bedroom units have two queen beds in each bedroom and a each has a full bath with Balinese shower. All have air conditioning for when it's too hot to rely on sea breezes. The rooms are colorful and bright but are stylish rather than gaudy, with painted plank wood walls, gray tile floors, wicker headboards, and hardwood cabinets. Amenities include what you would expect from a top hotel, with big fluffy towels and electronic safes, but there are also big flat screen TVs with DVD players, beach mats, and complimentary WiFi.

The studio units in the mainland building use more primary colors and are set up like a conventional rectangular hotel room. However, these also have a stocked kitchen with a full refrigerator. Terraces have a partial sea view over the main building and bungalows. Adjoining two–bedroom units get a full living room and a larger terrace big enough to hold everyone staying at the resort for a cocktail party. Laundry service is available and the tap water is purified.

Island cooks put together local dishes for the restaurant and serve as bartenders as well. Cloth napkins and fresh flowers are a nice touch and you can also choose to take dinner on the rooftop observation deck or on your own room deck. Outside of meal time, this restaurant/lounge area can also be a place to listen to music on the Bose stereo system or watch DVDs on the big screen.

A new dive shop is well–equipped, with a retail dive equipment store, all the necessary rentals, and a Crocs shoe outlet in the same building. A new gym just went in as well, with newer and more extensive equipment than at any other hotel in the area plus rooms for massages and facials.

Barefoot Cay is one of the top choices on the island for upscale travelers and it hosts more than its share of VIPs and wealthy yacht owners who need to meet up with friends or family. The location of this resort is a bit strange and you need a car to go elsewhere for a meal or drink. The resort is a good choice for those who want their own kitchen though and if you want more than a basic room and a dive shop.

Web Address:
Total Number of Rooms: 11
Published rates: $130 to $360

Review and photos by Timothy Scott.

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