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Thread: Bonairian

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    US
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    33

    Default Bonairian

    Hi,

    We are considering visiting Bonaire again after a gap of several years. I've been looking into the Bonairian Hotel (formerly Summer Drams Ocean Club). I like that you can snorkel directly from the hotel and that it is more romantic looking than some larger places. I was concerned to see a couple of reviews from 2016 that indicated the hotel and restaurant might have been without staff during the day. In the past, we have happily stayed at the Chateau Bellafonte, which also does not have overnight staff (and no restaurant at all), so we understand the difference between this type of place and the larger, busier resorts, but we wondered if anyone has a sense of how professional the Bonairian operation is. We really like the idea of a smaller place where we don't always have to drive to snorkel. We have also thought about the Black Durgon, because we'd love to get to snorkel the reef there, but we are concerned that might be a bit too spartan for us. Any thoughts or advice for us re the Bonairian or other options. Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Coral Paradise is a really nice spot, Located next to Capt.Don's. They only have 6 or 8 rooms with a swimming pool. 1 min walk to use The Capt Dons facilities and restaurant and snorkel there. I believe still very well rated on Trip Adv, stayed there years ago before we bought our place on island.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Bonaire
    Posts
    46

    Default

    I can offer you accommodation if this is the kind of place you're interested in www.vrbo.com/1219460
    Welcome back to Bonaire!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    West Milford NJ
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I have not been very impressed by service eating at the Bonarian, I don't imagine being a guest there would improve anything. I would stay at Bellafonte and walk to Windsock Beach or Bonairian for breakfast lunch or dinner. Windsock Beach has come a long way. I love the neighborhood.

  5. #5
    BostonDavid is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    17

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    We're snorkelers, going back to Black Durgon this March for the umpteenth time since 1989. Yes, it's "spartan", but it's also under $100/night double with hot breakfast, vs. ~$250/night, no meals, at the Bonairian. Except for Doris's breakfasts and her excellent room cleaning, there's almost zero "service" at BD. No restaurant, but you're welcome to use the oceanside kitchen to prepare your own meals (and clean up afterwards!). Yes, you can snorkel directly from both places, but I think there's no comparison. Not much shallow water coral left either place, but the fish life in the hard shore around BD far surpasses what we've found in the past (post Lenny but before Omar) south of the airport. Then there's the "feel" of BD - you're not just a hotel guest but part of a group sharing the place. And it's beautiful - the rooms are in a building on a bluff overlooking the well-maintained palm-studded courtyard (if you have a water-side room - 3 of the 10 rooms are street-side, no view, and right on the street). So: spartan, quirky, not for everyone, but we're among those who like it and speak highly of it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    67

    Default

    Couple of years ago, when staying elsewhere dropped by DG and loved the atmospehere of it. The common cooking area seems to have created a great community sense. Tanks on site. Diving starts almost from your door. I remember seeing few good size iquanas leisurely walking around. Still have their smiling portraits somewhere in the ‘cloud’. We loved it and thought would be a good option for a short 1-2 week stay.

    Only downside at the time was, we could not get a straight answer on his room rate. He basically said something like, “ when you come back I will give you the best rate”.

    Well, that did not compute properly with me and had forgotten about the place until I read your thread.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    6

    Default

    have you looked at sand dollar

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    109

    Default

    We stay at the Sand Dollar and it is a great fit. A couple of nearby restaurants and a nice walk along the shore.

    There seem to be as many snorkelers as divers when we have stayed there. We stay in a buffet/studio and it is nice and plenty roomy.

    HTH - Bea

  9. #9
    BostonDavid is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    17

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    Here's a clear illustration why there's no one answer to where to stay on Bonaire. Our 1st trip we ended up at Black Durgon (that's another long story). 2nd trip, we took a charter package (on Mexico's 2nd best! airline) that put us at Sand Dollar. We're cheapos, so we booked a studio, but Sand Dollar had vacancies and upgraded us to a one-bedroom. Lovely, and we could sleep in the bedroom without hearing the fridge cycle on and off. Really nice accommodations, beautiful grounds, Green Parrot was still there, a good restaurant in a gorgeous setting over the water. And yet, for us, too much bustle, an impersonal dive shop, an impersonal overall experience. Since then, we've always returned to Black Durgon. YMMV!

    I should mention that the Hato district, where Black Durgon is located, has many small residences, each seemingly with a dog. When one dog decides during the night or early morning that it's time to howl, all of the neighborhood dogs join in for a while. If this is going to bother you, you're better off in a resort with grounds that insulate you from local residences.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern NH
    Posts
    44

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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonDavid View Post
    Here's a clear illustration why there's no one answer to where to stay on Bonaire. Our 1st trip we ended up at Black Durgon (that's another long story). 2nd trip, we took a charter package (on Mexico's 2nd best! airline) that put us at Sand Dollar. We're cheapos, so we booked a studio, but Sand Dollar had vacancies and upgraded us to a one-bedroom. Lovely, and we could sleep in the bedroom without hearing the fridge cycle on and off. Really nice accommodations, beautiful grounds, Green Parrot was still there, a good restaurant in a gorgeous setting over the water. And yet, for us, too much bustle, an impersonal dive shop, an impersonal overall experience. Since then, we've always returned to Black Durgon. YMMV!

    I should mention that the Hato district, where Black Durgon is located, has many small residences, each seemingly with a dog. When one dog decides during the night or early morning that it's time to howl, all of the neighborhood dogs join in for a while. If this is going to bother you, you're better off in a resort with grounds that insulate you from local residences.
    If you experienced the Green Parrot, you are among the dwindling few. The Green Parrot disappeared in 1999 with the arrival of Hurricane Lenny. So did the adjacent dive shop. The current dive shop is run by Dive Friends and exhibits all the friendliness and quality consistent with Dive Friends' reputation on the island. "Bustle" is no longer present at Sand Dollar. In fact, it is decidedly laid back these days, being quite convivial and low key, with lots of enjoyment of Bari Reef right out front, among the best in the Caribbean. The shoreline (longest of any resort on Bonaire) also has some of the best snorkeling in a substantial elkhorn coral stand and the "aquarium," home to many species of fish in and around a fallen foundation of a long-gone hotel.

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