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“A Renovation Worth Waiting For”

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Plaza Resort Bonaire
Ranked #8 of 22 Hotels in Kralendijk
Reviewed 24 February 2010

Having been to the Plaza twice in the past year, I can say I'm quite satisfied and will return again. Recently, we stayed in the newly renovated Grand Suites and they have been very well done. In the past, we were bumped from the Grand Suites as the renovations were in progress. The staff were very accomodating regarding that room change and went overboard in meeting our requests facilitaing our second trip. Let's face it, one goes to Bonaire not to be in a room, but to be on the reef, but if the rest of the resort primps up as nicely as the Grand Suites, taking an afternoon off from diving will time well spent.

I've been diving in the Carribean since 1982 and security in all the islands is more an issue each year. The Plaza has addressed this with very unobtrusive security personel frequently on patrol. Rather have them there than not.

Hat's off also to Toucan Diving at the Plaza. Those guys are the best!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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Thank Karpata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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564 - 568 of 1,157 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2010

Like many vacationers my wife and I went to Bonaire to scuba dive. We were attracted to the Plaza by the attractiveness of the property and above all that it advertised that it caters to scuba divers. The Plaza's on line marketing states "Plaza Resort Bonaire proudly offers its guests the opportunity to experience the infinitely colorful underwater world of Bonaire". We also understood from the Plaza web site that five dive boats are available for guests at the resort for guests to access to dive sites. I made our reservation in June of 2009. Upon arriving at the Plaza, I was told by a manager in the dive shop, that all dive boat activities were unavailable to in the afternoons for an entire week of my stay. The Plaza had booked an 85 member physician group and guaranteed use of all dive boats exclusively for that group in the afternoon. This effectively meant that my wife and I were denied resort dive facilities that was marketed to me by the Plaza on is web site and by its agent in Massachusetts I advised the dive shop manager that if the Plaza or Toucan Divers had advised me that I would be denied diving privileges in afternoons that I would have selected another resort. I asked that I be allowed to have access to these dive boats in the afternoons and was told by the dive shop manager that if I attempted to enter any of the resort's dive boats during the afternoons I would be involuntarily physically removed from any boat. I indicated that these business practices violated consumer protection laws in the US and in particular in Massachusetts . Those laws preclude false and deceptive marketing activities including so-called "bait and switch" practices. I explained that the Plaza's marketing in no way indicates that guests would have restricted use of any resort facility and most importantly the dive boat operations which we were most interested in. That is, the Plaza Hotel cannot rightly sell the general public on a full service scuba dive resort and only provide use of dive boat operations on a one half time basis. I was told that the Plaza does not follow the consumer protection laws of the United States and that those laws are not applicable in Bonaire. The dive shop manager was essentially saying that the Plaza is free to disavow (not live up to) its marketing materials which induced me to select the Plaza. I find this approach high handed and insulting. The only response to my complaint was that I should dive at another resort if I wanted to have boat dives in the afternoons and that the Plaza would facilitate me diving at another resort. In essence Plaza management by its actions was telling that if a better business deal comes along the Plaza and its related organization, Toucan Divers would cater to that group to the detriment to individual patron use and enjoyment of Plaza facilities which is a good reason for the general public to steer clear of the Plaza Resort Bonaire.

Stayed: February 2010
5  Thank jakeoie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PlazaResortBonaire, Marketing at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded 23 February 2010

Plaza Resort Bonaire and Toucan Diving cater to divers in a friendly, professional and well organized manner. Luckily, this has been reflected over time, and the popularity of Toucan Diving is a result of these practices. Any and all divers that enter into the dive shop are treated with the same level of respect and consideration regardless if they are traveling as part of a large group, small group or on an individual basis.

Boat diving is not regularly pre-scheduled on Bonaire prior to arrival. Assignment of the boat schedule is offered at the day of check in. We never guarantee that there will be open slots available on a random basis. Sometimes the mornings are available for a 2 tank boat dive while other times afternoons are available. It can vary week over week and day over day. If a client is not flexible and insistent on a particular schedule, Toucan Diving will make alternative arrangements for them. No one is ever turned away, but we do request that the diver also offer a level of cooperation and respect to our dive masters.

We do our utmost to ensure that every diver leaves Bonaire with their expectations fulfilled. It would be on a rare occasion, if ever, that anyone leaves our dive shop with anything less. "Bait and switch" is not something we practice at Toucan Diving, nor has it ever been. An 11 boat dive package is not sold with the schedule attached to it. If a client is inflexible and would like to dive only during certain times of the day, we recommend that client schedule their dives prior to arrival on Bonaire or any other dive destination they would like to visit. For the safety of the other divers, if a client states they will just come and jump on the dive boat, this will not be allowed or tolerated. As stated earlier, our divers and their needs come first, but we will not allow that to inconvenience the other divers nor compromise their safety.

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Reviewed 14 January 2010

We stayed in Plaza Hotel during the first week of january in a very relaxing holiday ruined at the end by KLM ( the most unreliable airline ) who left us stranded for 54 hours waiting for a plane.
The most remarcable feature of this hotel is the quiteness : Even if quite busy in the new eve holiday season there was absolutely no activity going on and the most exciting moment of the day was the sunset when all the people gathered at the beach bar for happy hour beer drinking.So if you require privacy and complete realx this hotel is for you ... My 17 year old son was very bored.... The customers mainly Dutch where families with small children or seasoned couples.
Pros and Cons
Pros

The sea in front of the hotel was an extraordinary acquarium where just after some meters you could snorkel and see the most incrediblle fishes and corals. They call it the home reef and really every time you get into the sea it gives you a great emotion.

The hotel beach was nice and clean and you can always find shady areas with lounge chairs to relax all day

The room we got was a suite recently renovated at the first floor with a lovely view on the ocean. It was large enough for 3 persons and the furniture was of good quality. However we did not like some particularities as the open view shower and its stall that does not contain water splashes. In addition the electronic key was continuously failing and had to be reprogrammed

The gardens and the marina where nice and full of animals like parrots and the iguanas that where a real surprise

The staff at the reception where reasonably helpfull.

Cons

The room and hotel areas cleaning services where poorly staffed and inefficient. The most striking example is the consistent finding of iguana excrements on the pool side.

The two restaurants present on the site where serving very poor buffet breakfast and medium quality lunch and dinner . However their real problem was the very low level of service may be due to the absence of trained management. Going to those restaurants remembered me the old times when i was visiting east europe comunist countries. A lot of staff not managed for which you where not a customer to preserve but another person they where obliged to feed.
The" non " activity center. On the beach there was an activity center that was basically selling activities done in the island outside the hotel. Nothing was organised inside the hotel itself. As i said this may be a pros if you like quiteness but it seems to us going too far. As an example there was a beach volley field always empty exept two evenings a week when some local players come to practice. My son loves to play beach volley and he was very frustrated by the absence of activity. May be this lack of activity is due to the type of customer but may be the hotel could try to push some action.
The hotel marina had no water taxi to klein bonaire as advertised so you where obliged to go to the town pier.
The hotel is quite far from the town and the road even if it seems safe and lighted during night is not so nice due to the presence of wild dogs . It is better to rent a bike or motorcycle from the local Macho shop which has very efficient and welcoming staff.

In the hotel there was also a diving center we did not use so we have no information on it

In conclusion go to this hotel if you like privacy and marine life. Rent a vehicle tour the beautiful island of Bonaire and eat at the nice restaurants in the town. Take a boat tour and get the emotional view of the corals and fishes in the sea around the island.
You will enjoy your holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank MilanoSwimmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2010

We arrived and were taken to our room. I had read some reviews on trip advisor and was concerned with some of the negative comments but as soon as we saw our room our minds were put at rest, it was clean, spacious, modern and the ocean view was out of this world!
The staff were very friendly and always made the effort to say hello.
The dive school was outstanding and made everything so easy. My son was a little nervous about diving again and Toucan couldn't have been more helpful!
The food was great and the buffet breakfast was a treat every day.
I have to say I was very confused about all of the negative comments I had seen on trip advisor - we would recommend to friends and will be going back to Plaza as soon as we've saved up enough money!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank minxter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2010

We just returned from a nine day stay at the Plaza Resort Bonaire. Our nightmare began on arrival when we received our key and were escorted to our room expecting to enter the luxurious ocean view suite we had reserved and paid very well for in advance, of which a display of digital photos were available online and on the front reception desk. The room door was opened and the first thing we noticed was the smell of urine, a wet floor, deteriorating baseboards, and horrible beds. We immediately said "this is not what was advertised and what we reserved." We returned to the reception desk and were told that the renovated rooms were all taken, although we had reserved months in advance of our "romantic getaway." After much negotation, continuing to be told that no rooms were available per the advertisement, we said we would just go somewhere else. A phone call was made by the clerk in her native language, and suddenly a renovated room was available. The ocean view suite was nicer, but still not a four-star resort by any stretch of the imagination. The shower is poorly designed and soaks the floor because it is not entirely enclosed, the water control lever is too close to the handheld shower nozzle, which makes it impossible to regulate the water well, and it would be a hazard for scalding of young or elderly. The drain stopped up several times and the floor flooded, but after being called several times, no one ever came to repair it. We gave up and just asked for extra towels every day. The Concierge was given a list of restaurants to make reservations for the entire week. She assured us it would be done. She never bothered to tell us the restaurants were closed New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. All other restaurants required reservations and refused to take walkins although a predominance of empty tables was apparent. The hotel staff do not know the meaning of customer service or friendliness. If you greet them, you are ignored. If one of them is off duty, forget about being served until that person returns the next day. Breakfast is served only by buffet, $40 per couple and a very poor buffet it is. The smell of raw sewage was prominent at many locations and was rather overwhelming, especially when the sidwalks were wet at night. I could go on, but the hotel practices deceptive advertising, has a poor reputation on the island, obviously has a very poor training program for its employees or simply low expectations. I would not recommend this hotel at all! It is not only overrated, it is extremely overpriced for the value. Upon checkout, we were charged for the entire week of shore diving for each of us, a charge of $300, a $50 beach towel deposit, none of which was on our bill slid under our door the night before, Good thing we visited the desk to receive a final copy of the bill and to turn in the keys. Only then was it discovered. We never signed anything for tank rentals at Plaza and were curious as to how they arrived at that charge, and in fact we rented our tanks from Dive Bonaire because their prices were significantly less for nitrox. We were able to have the charges removed fro the bill. On another note, Bonaire was wonderful. The shore diving was fabulous, although challenging for a novice shore diver. Dive with someone experienced with compass usage and shore diving. The island has fabulous kiteboarding and windsurfing. We loved our visit to the island and will return, but we will rent a house in the future and would recommend that to others given our evaluation of the rental market and the availability of condos and homes. Friends stayed at the Sand Dollar and Buddy Dive Resort and gave them both good ratings. but we did not see the places personally. Another family stayed at the Divi Flamingo Resort and said it was also horrible. Do your homework but know that your diving experience will be fabulous! The reefs were the best I have ever seen. Good luck

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank vickip49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BCBScholts, director of sales & marketing at Plaza Resort Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded 9 February 2010

Plaza Resort Bonaire is currently refurbishing our rooms, and we are now focusing on the Grand Suite Room category. The grand suites had not yet been fully renovated in the week that these particular guests were staying at the resort.

During the holiday period, the resort was fully booked, which consequently meant there was less flexibility in accommodating our guests. We have no specific record that these guests were promised a refurbished grand suite, but we were able to change some of our bookings to make a renovated room available when they indicated they were not happy with the allocated room.

We have taken notice of the remarks about the shower in the renovated room, but would have liked the opportunity to explain the situation in person and apologize for the inconveniences caused.

Our Guest Relations Officer did make several restaurant reservations for these guests. Feedback from different local restaurant owners was that they did not arrive at the agreed upon time. Bonaire is a small island and dining out is popular. Most restaurants do prefer reservations before hand in order to better accommodate guests. The holiday period on Bonaire is also usually very busy, and although Bonaire has been affected by the worldwide economic crisis, the hospitality industry was fortunate enough to remain busy throughout Christmas and New Years. It is understandable that reservations would be preferred during this busy time of the year, and local habits and culture also do come into play here.

Finally, with regard to the hotel bill, we inform our guests upon check-in that a deposit of US $25 is charged for every beach towel handed out. This deposit is removed from the invoice upon check-out when guests return the beach towel(s). We do not typically include this charge on the invoice that we send to guests the night before as we assume the beach towels will be returned when checking out. As the largest hotel on the island, Plaza Resort Bonaire handles hundreds of transactions per day throughout the hotel, restaurants, bar, dive shop, and activity center. Although automated, some transactions take place manually and human mistakes do sometimes occur. This is one of the reasons we send a copy of the invoice prior to check-out so that each guest has the opportunity to check their bill.

Every tourist will experience Bonaire and its hotels in a personal way. We do appreciate the feedback, but we would also like to remind guests that there is always a different side to the story.

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Additional Information about Plaza Resort Bonaire

Address: J.A. Abraham Blvd 80, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Region: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Kralendijk
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Kralendijk
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kralendijk
Price Range: $148 - $585 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Plaza Resort Bonaire 3.5*
Number of rooms: 126
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoyment without limits, an all-inclusive vacation at Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire. This resort offers 126 spacious air conditioned oversized Suites, both Junior Suites and Grand Suites located either next to the Caribbean Sea or next to the marina laguna. Everything is included: from a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet in our restaurant with sea view to water sport activities, a diving school and a cozy beach bar. With the best beach on Bonaire and a beautiful swimming pool, there is nothing that will stop you from having a vacation to always remember. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Plaza Resort Bonaire Hotel Kralendijk
Plaza Hotel Bonaire
Plaza Hotel Kralendijk

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