Tela Bay, Honduras
Hands down the most ambitious and luxurious resort in Honduras, Indura is a mainland project on the sea with the country's first PGA golf course, a spa, and impressive rooms.
With spacious suites in free–standing structures on stilts, a long stretch of beachfront, beautiful design, and a long list of facilities, Indura is the kind of resort that only needs a well–trained staff to vault it into lists of the world's best. It has that too, so why isn't it gracing the covers of style and travel magazines around the world? Well, that might have a little to do with the location.
While Honduras boasts plenty of seafront, nature preserves, and the ruins of Copán, the country has suffered for nearly a decade on the tourism front. At times that has been due to political instability, but in recent years the high violent crime rate in the two largest cities has made the international news. So it's especially bold against that challenging backdrop that some of the wealthiest business owners in Honduras have invested what it takes to make Indura one of the best–designed resorts not just in their country, but in all of Central America. It's not even a contest against any other hotel in Honduras. It measures up favorably with the best in the region, destination resorts such as Mukul in Nicaragua, Four Seasons Guanacaste in Costa Rica, and Victoria House in Belize.
Opened in the beginning of 2015, Indura Beach and Golf Resort put its two main attributes in its name. Lounge chairs and bubble–shaped ones to shield the sun adorn the wide sandy beach. Friendly attendants man the bar on the deck and hop on a bike to fetch meals from the main building when the beachside grill isn't fired up. Elevated paths lead from here to other points on the property, where fifteen buildings that house four suites each are scattered around and surrounded by landscaping.
The golf course here is the only PGA one in the country and one of the few in Central America outside Costa Rica. Since this is still a budding activity, it's easy for guests to take their pick of tee times—"foot golf" using a soccer ball is more popular with the locals. The course is challenging but fun, with some holes situated beside the ocean. When there aren't views of the water the nearby mountains provide a dramatic backdrop. Water hazards located along the 18 holes host plenty of birds but can be a true hazard for ball–seekers as well: some are inhabited by crocodiles.
Guest rooms here—all large junior suites—have plenty of lounging space inside and out. The premium ones look directly out at the ocean waves from their balconies, while others are further back and face the golf course or vegetation. Soft overhead lighting and attractive lamps highlight designer furniture and custom storage spaces made from local hardwoods. Nothing feels like an afterthought in these well–designed quarters, from the hand–blown glass lanterns by the entrance to the adjustable reading lights that don't shine in your sleeping partner's face. Rich hardwood floors and wall accents join headboards made from large slabs of wood cut vertically from very old trees.
Bathrooms are expansive and well–equipped, with a large separate soaking tub, a shower than can easily hold two, and plenty of closet space with good hangers. Elevated double vanities of polished granite are on hardwood counters laid out with a variety of ESPA toiletries. All the amenities expected in a top luxury resort are here, such as quality robes, an electronic safe big enough for a laptop, complimentary Wi–Fi, refrigerator, and large flat–screen TV. The wraparound deck is inviting for sunrise after a sound sleep on the plush pillow top mattress.
The local Indura masseuse worked out my muscle kinks better than anyone in recent memory after a coffee grounds exfoliation treatment on my feet. The treatments cover a good range and are reasonably priced, with massages and facials taking place in several suites in a separate spa building. These suites and the relaxation room look out on plants and waterfalls and a water channel runs through the center of the building after emerging from a bubbling fountain.
Where the luxury resort experience falls short in many Central American hotels is at mealtime, but that's not the case here. A talented chef from Mexico supervises a kitchen crew making the most of the fresh seafood and ample local produce—some of it grown on site. You can order Honduran or Garifuna favorites if you want to go local, but even those will be beautifully presented. Otherwise you can get healthy grilled fish with steamed vegetables or a decadent steak with all the trimmings, topped off by French desserts and an aperitif. Plenty of dishes go well beyond the basics, with surprising complexity for this part of the Americas.
The signature restaurant is Bazul, off the lobby in the main building. With a soaring angled roof and open kitchen, it has several spaces that can work for groups or romantic couples. It serves buffet breakfasts and occasional lunches, while the rest of the time it's a la carte. A grill is located by the beach when occupancy is high (which it usually is on weekends) and there's another dining spot at the golf course. The Bahari lobby bar is the beating heart of the complex and there is drink service at the multi–level pool with lounge chairs and daybeds.
A coming convenience store on site will be a welcome addition since the resort is a significant drive from any commercial locations. There's plenty to do nearby when it's time to get out and about, however. The best excursion is to the Jeannette Kawas National Park, a wildlife refuge on the Punta Sal Peninsula you can see from the beach. The Lancetilla Botanical Garden and beach town of Tela are nearby, plus you can get to Pico Bonito National Park and back in a day. There's a well–equipped gym on site for workouts.
English proficiency is good in most customer–facing positions, despite the majority of the clientele being upper–crust Hondurans so far. This fine resort has plenty of external challenges to overcome, from garbage that has traveled a long distance washing up on the beach to a tough crime situation in the city housing the closest airport. The Indura Golf and Beach Resort owners and well–trained staff are rising to the challenge though to make sure every guest has a superlative experience from the first moment their driver greets them at the baggage claim exit.
Indura is now part of the Curio collection by Hilton, which means Hilton Hhonors members can earn or redeem loyalty points here during their stay.
Web Address: www.induraresort.com
Total Number of Rooms: 60
Published rates:$250 to $550 including tax
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.