At these welcoming inns, a limited number of guests enjoy an ideal mix of amenities and privacy
The island of Bonaire is where travelers come to escape the crowds and the high-rise resorts. And there’s no better way to soak in the charms of this quiet Caribbean gem than at a small guesthouse, where a limited number of guests are accommodated in suites and apartments that provide a relaxing base for water sports and island adventures. Here are three of our favorites.
Budget conscious travelers will be attracted to this quiet and charming property, where kitchen equipped apartments cluster around a central landscaped courtyard and pool. But attractive rates don’t compromise comfort or quality. Accommodations, which range from studio and one-bedroom units to an eight- person penthouse, are spacious and tidy, and sport a cheerful tropical theme. Those less inclined to cook need look no farther than the palm-shaded central courtyard, which is home to the open-air dining room of Chez Madeleine, one of the best restaurants on the island. For a special treat, guests can place an order for the fresh baked bread, which is delivered warm to rooms each morning. The Yacht Club is located near the Harbor Village Marina, and a mile north of downtown Kralendijk. It’s a two-block walk to Eden Beach, which is one of the island’s better stretches of sand, and a good place for snorkeling, as colorful coral reefs begin 30 yards offshore.
Combine the casual intimacy of a sports lodge with the amenities of a boutique hotel and this is what you get. Each of the eight junior suites and two master suites at Sonrisa offers a full range of indulgences such as premium bedding, flat-screen TVs, in-room WiFi, mini-fridges and private patios or balconies, all at rates below what you’d pay at a major hotel. But what really sets this property apart is the ambiance. It’s a favorite with active sports enthusiasts, and the vibe is casual chill, with an on-site barbecue grill and poolside hangout area where guests gather at the end of the day to swap stories and enjoy a cold libation. The Caribbean is just a short walk away, and there are rinse tanks and dedicated storage lockers for kite surfing and dive gear. The resort serves savory complementary breakfasts, and all the restaurant choices of downtown are an easy five-minute stroll away.
In the local Papiamento dialect, Blachi Koko means coconut palms. And that’s what the current owners planted when they renovated this classic Antillean colonial estate to include 3 two- bedroom and 2 one-bedroom apartments. This is a prime choice for couples or groups who want more than a hotel room, as each unit includes a kitchen and separate living and dining areas, along with private gazebos and patios in a garden setting. It’s a five minute walk to Kralendijk for shopping and dining, and the sea is just steps away, where a small beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling or shore diving. If a larger beach is on your wish list, then head down the road to the Plaza Resort, which gives Blachi Koko guests free access. Add a day pass for privileges at Plaza’s pool and lounge chairs with beach towels. It’s like having the best of both worlds.