Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire is the only all-inclusive vacation destination on Bonaire. They offer meals, entertainment, activities, and accommodations all in one location. Does all of that automatically equate to excellence? Not always. There is both good and bad at Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire. I’ve stayed at more than a handful of resorts in Bonaire and here’s my thoughts on Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire as the only all-inclusive resort on the island.
At Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire, you can expect buffet dining, limited activities (but the ones that are possible are notable), decent service, spacious rooms, a pool, a white sandy beach with a coral reef, and a dive shop. The property is large so there are plenty of beach chairs, lots of open spaces, and ample towels. The lobby is beautifully decorated with new chairs and a Caribbean flare. There’s a tour operator, a car rental agency, a convenience store, and a casino on site.
The Grand Ocean Suite that we stayed in was spacious and well decorated with a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea. It included a large balcony, two queen beds, air-conditioning, a flat screen TV with 65 channels, a safe, and a full bathroom with shower and soaking tub. The turquoise accents were stunning and the comfortable robes were a great added touch. The beds were not the most comfortable and we woke up stiff. The pillows were flat and we each could have used two just to feel like we had the height of one pillow. We did appreciate the dining table where we could eat snacks and play games at night. Everything in the suite has been upgraded with the exception of the beds and the pillows, but that makes a huge difference in your stay when you’re visiting for more than a few days.
The bathroom was beautiful to look at but not very functional for families. The open, exposed shower and lack of a bathroom door made it difficult to get any privacy. While we loved the design, the functionality for a suite with two queen beds wasn’t there. In the photo, you can see the reflection of the bed which means that you could see everything in the shower from the bed as well.
Bonaire is well-known as a paradise for snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, and other water sports so you’d expect to find similar activities at an all-inclusive resort. Plaza Beach Resort’s house reef is remarkable. We saw large schools of colorful fish, eels, octopus, squid, parrot fish, gray snapper, and tarpon while snorkeling from the beach. The activity center provided masks, snorkels, and fins and they were included in our package. There’s also a dive shop located directly on the property and they offer multiple options for both certified and non-certified divers. The Plaza Beach Resort website mentions kayaks, a sailboat, and stand-up paddle boards as part of the all-inclusive package but there are no longer kayaks and you need to be able to sail to take out the boat. There are no sailboat tours or a guide to take you out. Even without the kayaks or sailing options, we still loved the snorkeling at Plaza Beach Resort. It stood out so much that we didn’t even miss the other options.
The resort is family-friendly and there are lifevests for children, children’s games at the activity center, family rooms, a swimming pool with a separate section for small children, and baby-sitting services. The beach is crystal clear and has minimal waves so children love to play along the shore. The twelve-man steel drum band on BBQ night was Athena’s favorite entertainment and she danced on the beach while they played. The grounds are well-lit so even when the sun goes down early, the property is still child-friendly. The only major downside for families with children is that the entire resort is very smoker-friendly. If you don’t like being around smokers or prefer not to have your children around smoke, it’s difficult to find smoke-free areas at the resort. The suites don’t smell like smoke and you can usually find a place on the beach to set up away from smokers but forget about being anywhere near the beach bar and sometimes even around the pool.
The restaurant has a dreamy view of the Caribbean Sea and you can soak it in from almost every seat in the place. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All meals are buffet and dinner is served based on theme nights. They have Steak Night, Spanish Night, BBQ Night, Italian Night, Fish Market, Mexican Night, and Local Night. I could always find something that I liked but it was more difficult for Athena. She usually ended up eating rice, chicken, and bread. For picky eaters, the options are limited. Luckily, we missed fish night or I would have had a difficult time finding something to eat too. The service at the restaurant was left to be desired as well. During most meals, we found a table that wasn’t cleaned and we were never offered drinks. During two dinners, we didn’t even see a waiter. All buffet meals, three times a day, can be tiring as it is but with themed nights the options become even more limited. The amazing view doesn’t make up for limited service and mediocre food.
A pool is important to us when staying at any resort. Athena loves to swim and we don’t always want to be in the ocean. At Plaza Beach Resort, the pool is always clean and there are cute huts that surround it. It’s close to the beach, with ocean views, and only a few steps from the beach bar. We sipped our drinks poolside before taking a refreshing dip. There is a children’s pool next to the main pool and the tiles are not slippery. We used the pool every day and loved every minute. Add a few pool toys and we’d be all set.
There are some things that we loved about the resort. We could walk out of our suite and be directly on the beach. There are tons of chairs and lots of options for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The location is ideal. It’s only a few minutes drive to the airport and you can walk to the town center for restaurants, tours, shops, and a market. The sunsets are magical and the reef has the most amazing sights. The WiFi in the suite was well above my expectations for a Caribbean island. The rooms are modern and well-kept. Our suite was promptly cleaned daily with fresh flowers and no bugs. While the property is large, nothing is far away. We were close to the beach, the pool, the restaurant, and the activity center. With a few adjustments to the resort like new beds and updates to the dining options, Plaza Beach Resort has the bones to be an exceptional resort but it’s not quite there yet and I think it shows in the vibe of the staff with the except of the bar staff.
This is my second visit to Plaza Beach Resort and I would consider returning again, but next time I’m going to ask if they have a suite with new beds and a bathroom door or private shower. Since it’s so close to the town center, I’d also consider staying a few nights without the all-inclusive option. Most people come to Bonaire for the diving and snorkeling and it’s at its best at Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire.