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Reviewed 5 January 2016

We were excited to travel to Roatan for this Christmas vacation as we had heard that it was a beautiful spot to explore and visit. WE LOVE EXOTIC, BEAUTIFUL, FUN, BEACH DESTINATIONS, BUT ROATAN IS NOT ONE OF THESE PLACES.

FIRST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT ROATAN - THERE ARE THE WORST SAND FLIES IN HISTORY. We spent the majority of our time there scratching and suffering from these attacks. If you must come here - bring tons and tons of bug spray and salve as you will need it. It is almost impossible to go outside without getting killed. On the last day, we also heard that they are attracted to the salt water - so you need to shower off the second you get out of the ocean. My kids got eaten alive in a way I have never seen and we have traveled to the Panamanian rain forest, remote parts of Fiji and the Thai jungles and nothing could have prepared us for this.

In fairness to Xbalanque:
- Patsy, the part owner, was not there. She was back in the states. I use the phrase part owner, because Marcos, who was there - made that clear to us on the ride from the airport that he was not an employee but 20 percent owner... I didn't really care to know that.
- Roatan itslef has become overrun with cruise ships - at one point there were over 7 docked on the small island. This is the crux of the problem with the place and it was not lost on the service we received at Xbalanque. The whole island and especially the PEOPLE, are designed to extract as much money out of the pockets of cruise ship visitors during the 8 hours that they get off the boats during the day. You constantly feel ripped off or that you are getting screwed. Prices are super inflated and usually it is impossible to do any activity without a wait or the constant - "Sorry, we are all booked with the Cruise Ship crowd." The tourists are Cruise Ship tourists and that is not a bad thing - just not our thing.

Now specifically for Xblanque. The place is lovely and the beachfront restaurant is very good. The pool in front of the beach was also great and they have Kayaks and a stand up paddle board - also fun. As far as the rooms go, they are really nice, but the new part of the hotel is very up to date and clean. The rest of the hotel is not so much. We stayed in the back house separate from the hotel, which is lovely and private, but not the best for a beach vacation where you want to be right in front of the ocean. The walk to the beach is very rocky and the decor in the house is also not very beachy. And the Jacuzzi was either always broken or just not turned on. The rooms were nice and comfortable with nice bathrooms.

The place was fine and food good and especially for Roatan which is very middle of the road. But again, the service is the key problem here. Marcos was available only when he wanted to be. He would never get texts if we wanted something, but magically his text would work if he had to charge us for something or tell us check out times. He was far more interested in having his breakfast than the satisfaction of his guests. We tried several times to confirm bookings for Scuba to no response - later we discovered that he had already given our times away to other hotel guests at their Scuba shop, which is why he disappeared.
There was a very sweet girl working as an intern at the hotel from IOWA, who just arrived a week before we got there. She was deemed the concierge, even though she know nothing about Roatan or the hospitality business. Again, she was very nice, but we didn't travel across the globe to an exotic location to have this kind of experience. Randy, the bartender, was great and from Roatan. That was the extent of the staff and the guidance.

Every remote beach we tried to escape to was either ugly or filled with garbage.

Roatan has incredible diving as it is surrounded by reef. We snorkeled and scuba dived
and it was great! The Xbalanque is associated with a good dive shop who can take you on private tours - Quality time divers. They were great - especially Anya who took us out.

If you are heading here and looking for some of the highlights: Find the Hole in the Wall bar - near Jonestown. Very cool and unusual - you have to get there by boat. Find the PAYA BAY resort. Beautiful and remote (nudity optional).

So, in summary, if you are looking for an American "tourist" vacation in a far off island where the entire place serves the cruise ship crowd - this is your vacation. If you are looking for something with culture, great indigenous people and beauty - this is not it.

Room tip: Book the NEW part of the hotel in front of the beach.
Date of stay: December 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Andrew H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Xbalanque2013, Owner at Xbalanque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 12 January 2016

Part of the beauty and charm of Roatan is that it is not like Cancun or Cabo,it has not been overly developed by high rise hotels and businesses. Most of the local businesses are privately owned by smiling native islanders. If Cancun is what you are looking for, you will be disappointed. If friendly local people, beautiful beaches, island life where you can still see Garifuna people in wooden fishing boats, living life the old island way, Roatan is a charm. It is a shame you did not see these places.Of course along with true island life there will be some trash.And who caused this trash is the tourists. It is us that is ruining the environment. Tourism takes its toll on islands.
Most of the trash washes up on shore from Guatamala and then it is difficult to dispose of. Beauty is not only skin deep. You have to look beyond this and see how gorgeous this island is.I traveled many places before I chose to build Xbalanque, and Roatan won my heart because of its natural beauty and its friendly people. It is a shame you did not see this.
Xbalanque is not a big resort, but we strive to please our guests. I never had any contact from you that you were displeased.We help arrange excursions and transportation but we do not offer chauffeur service. I know that you enjoyed the heated spa on the beach.
It is very clear that Heliconia is a 2 minute walk from the beach and you had a golf cart.
Xbalanque sees no cruise ship activity so this confuses me.
We continue to improve and take heed of guests suggestions.



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Reviewed 23 December 2015

We take an annual dive trip with our son before the holidays as our way of celebrating the spirit of the holiday. We have been fortunate to visit many special places but Xbalanque will make it quite difficult for us to continue to explore new areas as it is as close to perfection as it gets. No detail was overlooked in the design and operation of this jewel. Patsy has an incredible design eye and everywhere you turn, you find yourself snapping a photo of a special plant arrangement, interesting sculpture or special architectural feature. But it is the people here who truly make this place special. Starting with Marco and his entire family who went out of their way to accommodate our every need (yes thanks Mandy for taking me to Umbla Umbla and loaning me the money to buy the smaller version of those awesome vases at Xbalanque!). Betsy was doing an excellent job holding down the fort while Patsy was away, and Randy and Jose's smiles were the best way to start and end the day. Food awesome. Place awesome. See my separate review of Quality Time Divers (another superlative experience; we loved Marco and Otto). We'll be back!

Date of stay: December 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank tracynichols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Patsy B, Owner at Xbalanque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 19 January 2016

It was our pleasure to have you at Xbalanque. I regret I did not get to meet you but will look forward to seeing you on your return trip. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful staff who take great pride in their job. They are like family to me.
I am also fortunate to be affliated with Marco at Quality Time divers. They do an awesome job! Together with Quality Time, we can offer the best of both worlds, land and water.
i hope to see on your next trip to Xbalanque.

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Reviewed 21 December 2015

I had the unique pleasure of experiencing Thanksgiving this year at Xbalanque and, I gotta say, it has to have been the best Thanksgiving holiday I've ever had. Not only was I able to celebrate with my closest relatives on world-class diving excursions, fishing trips, and golfing outings, but we had a great time with the entire guest population. Patsy, Dennis, and their outstanding crew went out of their way to not only make us feel at home, but to feel like family.

Oh...and it's impossible to write a review without mentioning the food: TOP NOTCH.

This is a perfect way to reunite with family and friends. Period.

Date of stay: November 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank ColeSmothers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Patsy B, Owner at Xbalanque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 December 2015

As Stacy would say "always a pleasure" to have yall come. It was a great week and how great was diving in caverns! Thanks so much for the incredible photography.
I do hope it becomes a tradition.
Patsy

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Reviewed 20 December 2015

We live on Roatan part time and wanted a special place to celebrate my husband's birthday so reserved at Xbalanque for dinner with another couple. As we've been coming to Roatan for the last 12 years we have eaten at a lot of Island restaurants, everything from street vendors to more upscale offerings. Xbalanque was nothing short of fabulous!!! The food was delicious with generous portions and beautiful presentation. The service was perfect...not overbearing and bothersome but attentive, friendly and efficient. As if they'd actually been trained. We felt like we were at a private, catered dinner party. The ambience is wonderful with the lights of the tree, being poolside and really nice background music. The chef, a very young man, (not Ben) was so talented! He cooked the food perfectly and presented it beautifully. We can hardly wait to return. As they cater, and rightly so, to their hotel guests first, we will have to take our chances that they have room for us when we wish to return. Prices are a bit high, particularly for Roatan, but in line with fine dining establishments. You will NOT be disappointed when you dine here! What a gem! What a beautiful addition to Roatan's dining scene.

Date of stay: December 2015
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank Jimmi1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Patsy B, Owner at Xbalanque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 December 2015

Thank you for celebrating your special day at Xbalanque. We welcome reservations when we are not to booked with guests. I am very fortunate to have a great chef and staff. They truly care about Xbalanque and strive to make it first class. We cook only the freshest cuisine and sometimes that increases cost.
I hope that you will come back to see us. Thank you for your kind words.

Patsy

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Reviewed 14 December 2015

What an amazing trip, cannot wait to return! Patsy and her staff make you feel right at home, the service is impeccable. There is also direct access through Xbalanque to scuba diving, fishing, boating, etc. without going through other services. And be sure to tell Randy the bartender: "Ayudame, Randy! Salva Vida, por favor!".

Date of stay: November 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Service
Thank BSS0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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