The best option in French Harbour is Casa Romeo’s (tel. 504/455-5854, www.casaromeos.com, US$65 s, US$87 d, with discounts available in the low season), a large, stylish wooden house built on the dock, with a cool and quiet restaurant downstairs serving excellent seafood (the prices reflect the quality). The seven rooms are a tiny bit worn, but bright, whitewashed, and breezy with wood floors, air-conditioning, fans, and harbor views. Dive and meal packages are available, and rates come down for weeklong stays.
Upstairs from Gio’s restaurant and run by the same owners is The Faro Inn (tel. 504/445-5214, US$52 s, US$58 d), with seven decent rooms each with cable TV, air-conditioning, and hot water but, at the time of our visit, decidedly unfriendly staff.
A few kilometers outside of town toward Coxen Hole is the lavish Barefoot Cay (tel. 504/455-6235, U.S. tel. 866/246-3706, www.barefootcay.com), located on its own private 1.6-hectare cay (island) 100 meters off Roatán’s mainland. Rooms are modern and elegant, with tile floors, Balinese showers, wood furnishings, and white linens set off by colorful pillows. Rooms, suites, and villas rent for US$155–395 per person; weekly rates and all-inclusive packages (with or without diving) are also available. There is yacht moorage and a dive shop on site, as well as a beautiful outdoor pool. The dive shop (www.barefootdiversroatan.com) is pricier than those in West End or West Bay, charging US$40 for a fun dive and US$450 for the beginner’s Open Water certification.
Five kilometers from town the other direction (toward Oak Ridge) is
Santé Wellness Center (tel. 504/408-5156, U.S. tel. 510/455-4232, www.santewellnesscenter.com, US$168–191 d), a quiet hotel on its own cay in front of the large Parrot Tree Plantation. With just three guest rooms and owners that live on-site, everything at Santé benefits from a personal touch. Great snorkeling is available right from the beach, and there is a swimming pool for anyone who tires of the saltwater. Meals are fresh and spa-healthy, complementing the extensive list of spa services.
East of French Harbour
A bit farther east from Arch’s Iguana Farm is the entrance to The Coco View Resort (tel. 504/9911-7371, U.S. tel. 800/510-8164, www.cocoviewresort.com, US$1,100–1,390 for weeklong dive packages) which is, along with Anthony’s Key Resort, one of the oldest and most popular dive resorts in the Bay Islands. The hotel offers several room options, including homey, wooden ocean bungalows and larger apartments, built right over the water with lovely porches facing the water and sunset, and another 10 rooms in an oceanfront building, all with air-conditioning. Those looking for a few more amenities can consider renting one of the eight privately owned beach houses nearby, not used by their owners most of the year (U.S. tel. 800/282-8932, www.playmiguel.com).
Rates are US$326–627 per person for a week’s stay, depending on the property reserved and the number of guests (up to six can be accommodated). Diving is excellent right offshore—the reef wall starts 30 meters from the hotel and the wreck of the 42-meter Prince Albert is entombed in 20 meters of water nearby. Close by is the famed diving site Mary’s Place, usually the culmination of the weeklong schedule of dives. The dive crew is professional and friendly, and Coco View has a fleet of large, well-equipped dive boats, even with a hatch to come up from underneath directly into the boat in rough weather. Note: Children under the age of 10 are not allowed at Coco View.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition