Sandy Bay ’s hotel selection tends to the middle and upper price categories. It’s often possible to find a local in the many wooden houses lining the beach happy to rent out a room or an entire cabin for a negotiable fee.
Many house vacation rentals are available across the island. Try Roatan Life Vacation Rentals (tel. 504/445-3130, U.S. tel. 970/300-4078, www.roatanlifevacationrentals.com ) for both short-term rentals and long-term leases. There are also listings on the website for Subway Watersports (www.subwaywatersports.com ).
Run by Bill and Cathy Service, Sunnyside Condominiums (tel./fax 504/445-3006, www.sunnysideroatan.com , US$50–200/night, US$500–1,400/week), on the beach at the eastern end of Sandy Bay, has rental options including two studio apartments, a condo, and two large houses, and priced for a couple on up to a group or family of six or more.
The Roatan Beachcomber (tel. 504/9929-4720, www.roatanbeachcomber.com ) also has a variety of accommodations, right on the beach. Two apartments are available for those who want their own kitchen (US$58–75 one bedroom, US$116–145 two bedroom), adjacent to the restaurant. There is a large wooden building on stilts that looks out over the water, and its simple cabin-style rooms have peek-a-boo ocean views; they are a great value at US$35–58 (the high end of the range for a/c). Each has a double bed, and mattresses can be brought in for kids. If a group rents several rooms, they can also request use of the common kitchen (off-limits to individual travelers). Lastly, there is a four-bedroom beach house available for US$992–1,334 per week.
While none of the digs are particularly fancy, the managers take exceptional care of the beach (our visit was post-storm when no one else was managing to keep the driftwood and seaweed off the shore, yet here the sand had been fastidiously raked), and the reef is a very short swim from the hotel’s private dock. Snorkeling equipment is provided, kayaks are available for rent on-site, and fishing charters and diving trips can be arranged. There is a restaurant on-site.
Still a bit up-and-coming is Tranquil Seas (tel. 504/445-3351, www.tranquilseas.co.uk , US$122 s/d), with a handful of lovely cabins in a lush tropical setting. The rooms are tastefully decorated, and a few have kitchenettes. An attractive thatch-roof restaurant and bar overlooks the small but nice swimming pool. There are plans to put a dive shop on-site, but for now guests can head a few steps down the beach to the Octopus dive shop at the Blue Bahia Resort. This will be a great place to stay when the kinks are worked out.
Roatán ’s most extravagant option, Mayoka Lodge (tel. 504/445-3043, www.mayokalodge.com ), is on two hectares of tropical gardens near town. The six-suite lodge has a swimming pool, tennis court, and two holes of golf, as well as luxuries such as a wine cellar, chef, car and driver, and, of course, your own private beach and dock. It’s all yours for a mere US$22,500 per week.
Just off the southern side of the highway, the Oasis Lounge restaurant (www.roatan-guavagrove.com , US$41/day or US$580/month) also rents efficiency suites, suitable for those with their own wheels to get to the beach. There is also a three-bedroom house for rent with a water view over the treetops (US$174/night or US$986/week). The lounge/restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.