Anthonys Key Resort
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
First let me start by saying everything you need is right at the resort. Restaurant and servers are great. Shout out to Joseph--so helpful and pleasant. Gift shop has such a nice selection of souvenirs. There's a snack shop that has additional items you may have forgotten. The rooms are great, extremely clean. The housekeeping folks are amazing. The dive operation is top notch. I believe we lucked out with our dive master, John Carter, he was attentive and truly loved what he does. I saw him clean debris from a dive site, get excited about different sites he took us to and smile so big when we were escorted out by a school of dolphins. He is truly the heartbeat of the resort. We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary there and since it was such a wonderful place we might try and make this an annual tradition. Just hope we are able to dive with John the next time. Truly a top notch operation. I highly recommend.
Resort:For starters, the resort grounds, rooms, and staff, apart from the dive operation easily earn a 5 or even a 5+. Since Anthony's Key Resort is an all-inclusive diving resort, I'll combine the entire experience as one, which is why the get a 3.We had a key superior room (with AC) and the rooms were immaculate and well furnished. Loved the porch looking out onto the Caribbean. We were in 33/34 right next to the shore dive shack. It was a shame that the weather in November prevented us from enjoying the shore-dive or snorkeling in front of our unit, but that's the risk of coming to the Caribbean in November and no fault of the resort.The housekeeping staff did a great job of getting to the room while we were out diving. It was always swept clean of sand (impossible to avoid tracking it in), the towels were changed, and the beds made. We never saw them, but they were great. Even the front desk clerks were helpful, handing out umbrella's when the rain started and making sure everything at the resort was going well. Our rooms (33/34) were at the far end of the key and the wifi was very weak or non-existent most of the time. Middle of the key had better wifi. I know I shouldn't gripe about it, but as a photographer, it's nice to have decent wifi to back up my days shooting. Nothing bad at all to say about the meals. The food portions were great and probably some of the best food we've ever had at an all inclusive resort. In the last 15 years, we've made multiple trips to all-inclusive's at Bonaire and on all the Cayman Islands, as well as Belize and the Turks and Caicos. When I say AKR had the best food we've had at a resort, I mean it. They did not seem to cut corners on the food at all. The wait-staff and kitchen staff were attentive and always available to bring you more drinks or help in any other way. Sometimes the wait for food was 15-20 minutes, but we felt that was totally reasonable. I can't say enough good things about the wait-staff and kitchen staff at AKR. The only minor bummer about the food is they really don't start hot meal preparation until a few minutes before 7. The shark dive meeting time is 7:15, so your going to be stuck with juice and some pastries if you do the morning shark dive. They'll tell you can order earlier, but the food won't make it before you have to head down to the boat. Oh and that's probably your only meal until you've finished the shark dive and a second morning dive, which means by the time lunch rolls around you're going to be pretty hungry. Only a minor inconvenience, but something that I think AKR could fix fairly easily. They know when the shark dives are and they know how many people are going on it, so communication between the dive operation and the kitchen could solve this issue a lot. Also, everyone in our group came down with mild stomach disorders. They tell you the water is safe, but I'd be skeptical. No one in our group missed diving due to illness, but by about mid-week there were several divers hiding in their rooms and paying worship to the toilet instead of diving. I think the "bugs" are just there and different people have different tolerances. Also had minor experiences with no-see-um's and mosquitos, but its a tropical island in the Caribbean. If you're really bothered by bugs, don't visit.Diving:For background, this is my third trip to AKR. I visited in 1986 as a teenage diver and loved it. it was a small resort then. In 2005, my wife and I returned and also had a good trip. The resort had grown, but wasn't noticeably over-crowded and nothing about the trip stuck in our minds as negative. This time, we brought our two teenage daughters for what we hoped would be another great Caribbean dive trip. My wife and I are very experienced divers with more than 7000 logged dives between the two of us. We both learned in the cold, low-vis of Monterey, CA and still frequently dive Southern California kelp forests where we live. Our own back-yard diving is second nature to us because we do it all the time, but considered challenging to most people who have only been diving in warm, calm, clear waters. Our teens (13 and 15) are both experienced in cold water diving and each have about 150 logged dives. We are serious divers who visit the Caribbean with the hopes of enjoying some calm, clear waters and seeing some colorful fish. Because of our experience, we are independent divers who generally avoid diving with groups. I explain this because more "vacation" oriented divers who only make 10-20 dives every year while traveling might be a much better fit with AKR's dive operation than we found ourselves to be. AKR was our choice, honestly, because the 2 for 1 special made it cost effective and too hard to turn down.My memories of AKR from 1986 and 2006 are that it was much smaller. The resort has grown to the point that it's a virtual "city" of divers showing up each week. They have close to a dozen dive boats now, if not more, and the dock is a zoo in the morning an afternoon. One of my biggest complaints about the dive operation is that they really run things for the convenience of the staff and operation, not for the divers. They basically take a "cookie cutter" approach to the operation and heard all the divers into the same category regardless of experience or what the individual divers are trying to accomplish. There were days of "hurry up and wait" and then being herded like cattle so they could make one announcement to 200 people all at once. This "cookie cutter" process started with the pickup at the airport. We stood in the customs line for more than an hour because ALL the airline flights land at the airport at the same time, on the same day. Maybe the whole island runs things for their convenience, rather than the convenience of the arriving tourists? Once we made it through that line, AKR busses were waiting outside. But instead of departing to the resort everytime 10 or 15 arrivals cleared customs (there were at least two AKR busses that I saw), they wait until all the busses are packed to the gills and then bring everyone to the resort at once. They gather everyone around the lobby area and do all the paperwork and policy stuff "group style". For arriving travelers, it is much nicer to show up in a small group, get your info and then off to unpack and dip toes in the water. But that means that the staff has to repeat intro procedures a bunch of times instead of doing them just once and probably requires more staff. Things like this, done for the convenience of the staff/resort and not the customers, kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. When weather turned bad (not the resorts fault at all), they bussed us to the other side of the island. At least they have a procedure in place to get to where the diving is good. It went downhill from there, though. They literally cram each bus to maximum capacity, even looking inside each bus and making sure the "jump seats" were being used before sending the bus off. Most people don't go on vacation to be packed onto a bus like weekday commuters on a crowded subway. Why not stagger the boats a bit and send the busses a few times. I know it costs a bit more to you, but just the act of bussing the divers costs them 1 dive each day (typically AKR offers 3 dives a day, unless they bus you for weather... then you only get 2 because they won't bus back and do an afternoon dive). The divemaster we were assigned wasn't great either. We had the same guy all week, except for the shark dive. Our divemaster seemed pretty typical of AKR divemaster staff. As I said earlier, our group doesn't even want a guide, especially one who literally bangs on this tank with a metal rod every 60 seconds to point out every banded coral shrimp, coral crab, spotted eel, and puffer fish. If you can't find those things on your own, relax, breathe, slow down, and scan the reef a bit more. You'll see all of those and a lot more without some tank banging dive-guide having to point them out. And that peaceful underwater world will return to its normal quiet state. Maybe a couple of raps on the tank suffice if you find something really cool like a seahorse or a frog fish, but A COUPLE of raps is all it takes. Oh, and more raps to tell people which direction to go, ask them how much air they have, and gesture angrily at them because the surge pushed them into the coral. Lucky for him he had a metal rod and not one of those bungee style tank-bangers so many divemasters have. I would have been tempted to cut the bungee off just to prevent the banging, but then again maybe someone beat me to it and that's why he carried the rod in his hand! I had a few words with the divemaster on day one, before the first dive, and layed all this out, hoping he would listen. He did, but only long enough for it to go in one ear and out the other. I guess he decided that the customer doesn't get to choose how to dive, even if it's safe for the customer and everyone else. In my world, as long as no one is doing anything that's unsafe for themselves or anyone else, diving should be up to the diver. And for the record, nothing about any of my dive profiles was "unsafe"... never even got below 90' on the entire trip! The divemaster also seemed to decide, on a whim, whether it would be a drift dive or stationary dive. By "on a whim" I mean after the dive has started and all the divers are in the water. He said it was because he needed to see which direction the current was going before he made that decision. I get that currents change. In most other destinations we've been to, if the DM can't tell from the boat, he jumps in and checks to make the call before anyone jumps in. Our particular divemaster even had terrible trouble trying to inflate his surface signal device the one time he had to use it while drift-diving. I literally gave up on him and continued my dive with my family and several other divers from the group who were equally fed up with his performance. Then I used my own signal bouy when it was time to end the dive. Speaking of ending the dive, the dive master started off telling us every time that the dive would not exceed 45 minutes. With max depths of 60-70 feet (which is perfect), 45 minutes on Nitrox 32 is a joke. By the end of the week, I think he started mumbling his dive time recommendation because the experienced divers on board who didn't want to dive with the group had all collectively decided that a 60 minute bottom time is more appropriate. Yes, many of us had enough air and deco time to stay another 20-30 minutes, but I've always felt that a 60 minute dive is fair and staying 80 or 90 minutes might make too many waves. 30-45 minutes for everyone, just because some divers on the boat run out of air, get cold, or get bored, is not reasonable for those of us who want to stay longer. And despite their demands to keep in control of the dives, the dive staff doesn't help schlep any gear onto the boats. They will set it up for you once you get it there, but that's not really a help for most experienced divers. One final note on the diving/divemaster situation. The shark dive is spectacular. The best experience on the whole trip. The primary divemaster for that is NOT an AKR employee... the shark dive guys run the shark dives for many different resorts on the island. Sergio, I think, was his name, and he was "the bomb". Despite only being with us for a couple of hours, he was easily able to discern who the strong divers were and who he needed to keep an eye on and he safely let the divers "off leash" to swim freely with big sharks. It's a $100US upcharge and worth every penny. If weather had allowed us to do it earlier in the week, we probably would have done it more than once! AKR has a great set up for Nitrox, with multiple analyzers and a bank of tanks. Their "good" factor for Nitrox stops there, though. All the tanks are aluminum 80's, which goes right back to doing things in that cookie-cutter approach because its easier for the operation. Divers come in all sizes. Making a 5'00" tall 100lb 13 year old girl strap on an 80 that goes from her knees to the top of her head is ridiculous. I get that steel 100's are too expensive for an operation like AKR, but get some aluminum 50's and 63's, slap nitrox labels on them, and fill them with 32%. The small divers don't need 80 cubic feet of air and will be more comfortable diving in a tank that fits them. They're system of tape with the name of the boat where the bottle is supposed to go isn't great either. About 1/2 the dives, they had to go find our bottles when we showed up because they hadn't loaded the nitrox yet. I could go on about the dive operation, but the bottom line is they just need to re-assess and start doing things for the convenience of the customer, not for the business. Stop with the "cookie cutter" approach and get back to the basics... customers are are there to dive, but diving is something different to everyone. A big start would be to simply stagger the boats. Too many divers in the same place all at once. Send a 7AM boat, an 8AM boat, a 9AM boat and so on... have the divers sign up for what time they want unless that boat is full. If it's full, they pick another boat. Some people get lucky and end up on a boat with only a few other divers! Finally, the reefs. As I said, we've done a lot of diving in the Caribbean and generally like it. I was sorely disappointed by the amount of trash draped across the reefs around Roatan. Glass bottles, beer cans, plastic water bottles, plastic bags, pieces of clear plastic, eating utensils... we brought it all up. I've never seen so much garbage on a reef around any of the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Turcs & Caicos, Belize, or even the reefs her in Southern California. Perhaps it was the weather... we had storms and rain the whole week, and the garbage was being blown or washed out to see at a higher rate. We dove shallow and it was VERY surgey during almost all the dives, which probably drags the trash all over the reef, but AKR could do some outreach into the Roatan community (like resorts at other destinations) and work with the locals to pick up their trash. I'm not sure we'll visit again, but there's always pricing to consider and the two-for-one helps out a family of four. I guess for that, just know that you're getting what you pay for and what to expect out of the trip. AKR is probably a good place for beginners or "club" divers who only do a few dives a year, and want a simple swim around while being shown some colorful coral and easy to spot critters. The resort itself gets an A+ for service and the food is top quality too. With so many people getting sick, maybe test the water once a week instead of once every couple of months like we were told they do. For experienced divers, think twice or at least go into it with the realistic expectation that you'll be lumped in with all the other divers and not treated like an individual.
I'm going to start this review with the negative, as that was how our trip started.Upon arrival, we had a somewhat bad experience (unlike the remaining 7 days). Our group was shuttled through the resort like cattle for a VERY unfriendly orientation. Food was offered but it was quite bad (again, not consistent with the rest of our stay). I then met with the dive shop as our group of 20 planned on shore diving. AKR's website says shore diving is available monday-saturday (closed sunday). Being that the day was Saturday at 11am, I was told that we could NOT shore dive on Saturday, until we had done AKR's orientation. I mentioned we were ready to be orientated right now but was told, "Orientation will be done on Sunday" (the day in which shore diving is closed). I mentioned that the website states shore diving is open on Saturday, we are here on Saturday, and we are all advanced+ divers here at 11am to dive. Again the dive manager told me, "No" I perceived his tone as unempathic and combined with the poor arrival process, this was starting out very poorly. A number of people in our group were very upset within the first hour. The next day we arrived to be "orientated". Orientation consisted of doing a giant stride of the back of the boat in 5 feet of water and then taking our mask off, putting it back on, clearing it and then giving an okay sign. Total elapsed time was 5-10 minutes for 20+ people. Something that could have easily been done on Saturday! Rather than on Sunday (the day in which they don't allow shore diving). My point of sharing this is not to complain. I am hoping by stating this, that AKR hears this as a viable customer service issue and fixes their policies and inflexible procedures to ensure a better guest experience upon arrival or there after. On with the review.Our cabin was great. The housekeepers were great. The premises is great. The boats are great. The dive guides are great. The diving was great. The waitstaff was great. The food was generally good.My only other suggestion would be to include beverages and/or alcohol in your packages as most other resorts do.Thank you for taking the time to read this.
This was a return visit to AKR. THE two for one special makes this resort difficult to pass up. They are very organized, the accommodations are excellent and so is the food. The staff is very friendly and always trying to help. The diving is great in Roatan and AKR makes it easy to just enjoy the beauty! You can't go wrong with a visit to Anthony's Key Resort if you are a diver or snorkeler.
We spent a week diving at Anthony's Key Resort, the diving and staff were great. We loved our dive master John, and boat captain Jimmy, both great guys. The diving was great. The reefs are very healthy and there is lots of life. The resort is very americanized, everyone speaks english and you can even get blue moon at the bar, but it was still a great place to visit. Food is good. We stayed at a hill room to be closer to the dive shop but the stairs suck. Overall very impressed with the dive operation and the reefs. We did 18 dives over the week, our favorite dives were the Odyssey Wreck, Mary's Place, The Shark dive and Spooky Channel.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- Welcome cocktail
- Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Dolphin show
- Entrance to Roatan Museum
- 3 single tank boat dives per day
- 2 single tank boat night dives per week
- Buoyancy control workshop
- Air tanks, weight belts and weights
- Day excursion to Maya Key
- Island fiesta night on the Key
- 2 snorkels daily by boat with guide
- 1 night snorkel by boat with guide
- Fish and coral underwater ID cards
- Reef ecology lecture & Fish ID slide show
- 1 dolphin beach encounter
- 56 wooden bungalows including 46 on the key and 10 on the hill
- Bars ($)
- Dive shop ($)
- Internet desk ($)
- Medical services ($)
- WiFi (lobby)
- 1 king-size or 2 double beds
- Ceiling fan
- Full bathroom with shower
- Alarm clock
- In-room safe
- Balcony or deck
- Maximum occupancy 3 adults (or 2 adults and 2 children)
- 1 king-size or 2 double beds
- Maximum occupancy 3 adults (or 2 adults and 2 children)
Resort Location Map
Anthonys Key ResortHonduras,Honduras
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Anthony's Key, Sandy Bay, Roatan IB3107 Honduras
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