Discover Tropical Luxury at This Recently Opened Beachfront Resort in the Heart of Central America

Costa Rica seems to be getting all the love this year as the ultimate vacation destination. But as seasoned travelers know, with great love comes great crowds. Adventurers looking for a similar mix of first-rate beaches and jungles that are less well known and far less developed would do well to direct their gaze northwards on the map to Roatán.

“Dream getaway” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mainland Honduras. But Roatán, the biggest of the country’s bay islands in the western Caribbean Sea, is reachable by direct flights from a growing number of U.S. airports. And while travel experts may not be calling it the “destination of the year” yet, if you’ve fought the masses for enough space to lay down a towel at the world-famous beaches in Costa Rica, you know that that can be a good thing. A visit to the newly-opened Kimpton Grand Roatán Resort & Spa is the perfect excuse to get familiar with this up-and-coming destination while it remains relatively under the radar.

One community that’s well aware of what Roatán has to offer is scuba divers. The Kimpton Grand Roatán Resort & Spa has a prime location where dramatic cliffs drop off into a sparkling beach that is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef. It’s some of the most accessible reef diving you’ll find anywhere, and even snorkelers will be treated to a dazzling variety of marine life just steps away from the sand. Help yourself to complimentary gear and slather on some reef-safe sunscreen in the pool area before jumping into the clear turquoise water where a hidden world invites exploration.

It’s tough to compete with swimming next to sea turtles through coral canyons and along vertical reef walls, but the beautiful and elegant Kao Kamasa Spa is an excellent reason to spend a day inside once you’ve had enough sun and sand. An invigorating pool circuit takes you from the hot tub to the cold plunge, with temperate options along the way. There’s also a mesmerizing tiled fountain made for sitting in (all the better to observe the cold plungers attempting to suppress squeals). 

Step outside to the spectacular infinity pool that’s reserved for spa guests, offering the most tranquil ocean view on the property. Design touches and local art pieces inside the spa pay homage to the island’s indigenous Pesh community, whose ancient traditions are incorporated into the techniques used in treatments, from massages to facials.

Top Takeaways

Location: Roatán, Honduras

Rating: luxury (not rated yet as it’s brand new)

The vibe: A swanky and stunning beach hotel where floor-to-ceiling windows in the open-air lobby offer sweeping views through to the Caribbean Sea

Food + Drink: The property boasts no fewer than four options to fuel hotel guests for their island adventures. At the all-day Vos Café & Bar, get a cold brew and a slice of banana bread in the morning, or stop by in the evening as it turns into a lively meeting spot where a local musician might be strumming away on a guitar. Two oceanfront bars may tempt you outdoors: at the Sea Cat, snack on California-inspired beach food like ceviche and aguachile, or head to The Drop Off for wood-grilled or fried whole fish and craft cocktails. Back inside, enjoy the glow of candlelight at the signature restaurant Alera, which uses locally sourced produce in a range of cuisines. Don’t miss the chance to try Garifuna-style soup, a hearty regional dish featuring an assortment of fresh seafood in a thick and flavorful coconut broth.

Our favorite thing about the hotel? A daily social hour draws guests to convene for each evening’s main event: sunset. There are innumerable Instagram-worthy areas, indoors and out, to enjoy complimentary wine and elevated snacks (think crunchy brioche bites topped with perfectly seasoned beef tartare and fried shallots) while the sun goes down over the ocean and lights up the sky.

Notable amenities: Spa, fitness center, four restaurants, and bars, pet-friendly accommodations (their motto is “if your animal fits through the door, you can bring it”—a principle that was once tested with an actual camel)

Rooms: There are 119 guest rooms with breathtaking ocean/sunset views, as well as luxury standalone bungalows

Pricing: Rooms start at $400/night

Closest Airport: Roatan Airport (RTB) is about half an hour’s drive from the hotel

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