Up a long private, winding driveway, over the crest of a hill with amazing views of the rainforest and sea, you find Pristine Bay.
The aptly named bay is exactly that – a perfect stretch of white sandy beach leading to the temperate, calm, crystal clear Caribbean Sea.
I am on the island of Roatán, 55 kilometres squared of tropical Caribbean paradise, and one of the Honduras-owned Bay Islands.
Pristine Bay is home to Las Verandas Hotel & Villas; a new and expanding complex of beach front villas and hotel rooms.
There are ten luxurious villas already completed – and sold – but more are being constructed, should you want to purchase a little slice of paradise.
I speak to general manager Keila Thompson about the venture.
She has been here since before the beginning, taking on the role in 2011 when the area was still a construction site.
She explains: “I watched the gardens become landscaped and as the buildings were whitewashed.”
The design gives Las Verandas the feel of an idyllic Mediterranean village.
“This is deliberate,” Thompson adds, “architect Gui Trotti was bought in to design the complex and wanted to create something that wouldn’t be found anywhere else on Roatán.”
Some 12 beach-front hotel rooms, two luxury suites, and ten sumptuous villas are already completed and in use, dotted up the gently sloping hill complete with manicured lawns.
Behind is a world-class golf course, The Black Pearl, designed by Pete Dye and used annually for the Rotary Club tournament.
“We get some clients for the golf, but what we’re mostly seeing is couples,” Thompson explains.
“And so we’re starting to see a lot more weddings.”
I can see why; Las Verandas is incredibly romantic.
Many of the villas have their own private infinity pools, while the lush, manicured gardens are ideal for romantic strolls.
The purple bougainvillea-lined staircase is alive with huge black and green butterflies and leads to two large infinity pools, dining area, and bar.
While beyond is the resort’s private beach – a perfect wedding setting.
Las Verandas is also taking aim at the MICE market on Roatán, offering a kind of privacy that many of the West Bay Resorts can’t match.
“We do lots of corporate events, we have a meeting room than can accommodate up to 50 people and companies come from across Central America,” Thompson tells me.
The whole concept of Las Verandas differs from what’s found in the popular West Bay area of Roatán.
“It’s just condos, condos, condos, over there,” Thompson explains.
“We are the first to have the free standing villas; it makes you feel like you’re not in an hotel, even with the hotel rooms – you still get the luxury as if you were staying in a villa.
“It’s a new concept in lodging for the island, and it’s exclusive.
“We’re a gated community, the beach is for our occupants’ sole use, and our guests really value that level of exclusivity.”
My room oozes luxury; the double height vaulted ceiling and marble floor purveying style and class.
The huge raised bed and regal mosquito net, high-quality linens, and tasteful teak furniture have been pulled together to create an overall chic atmosphere that even the most discerning international traveller would feel comfortable in.
Added touches like a turn down service, fresh flowers in your room, and gourmet Honduras coffee all work together to create an air of luxury.
Las Verandas is owned by hotel developers The Lancaster Group, working out of Huston.
The group has already developed the award-winning boutique hotel Victoria House, just across the sea on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
And now they are working their luxurious magic over here.
I have to ask about safety as we are technically in Honduras, but I feel silly doing it.
Located in a gated community, Las Verandas has 24 hour security.
I am miles away from another soul who’s not staying at the establishment, with just the comforting sound of the crickets to keep me company.
“We don’t have crime like on the mainland,” Thompson reassures me.
“It’s such a small community and we’re on an island.
“We have no car crime, for example, if you stole a car you’d have nowhere to go with it – it just doesn’t happen.”
But they do have some issues on the island – the roads, for example are riddled with potholes.
“Roatán is a tax gold-mine,” Thompson explains, “but it’s also owned by Honduras – a developing country, the money goes to the whole country and then we have to apply to get it back to use it for things like roads – it’s a lengthy process.”
Local and national elections are to be held this November and Thompson is optimistic about things getting done with a newly elected government.
“Most of our clients come from the US – those are the owners of the villas, and we do see a few people from Europe, but not many.
“We mainly have couples here, a few families but not many,” she adds.
When asked about the marketing that Las Verandas is currently doing, Thompson tells me: “Our marketing presently is in Central America and the USA; we’re targeting where the flights come from so Houston, Cayman Islands, Tampa, and New York.
“I want to do more, Las Verandas is already so beautiful and an amazing setting for weddings, we can do beach, or garden weddings, in or outside but we have exciting plans for the future.
“We’ve got big dreams for the place,” she concludes.
Just off the Caribbean Coast of Honduras is Roatán, home to the beautiful Las Verandas.
Just fifteen minutes from the international airport, Las Verandas captures the essence of the island with its deep blue skies, white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and sunset views.
Las Verandas provides accommodations for even the most discerning guests and boasts the island’s only golf course, The Black Pearl.
In addition to the Pete Dye Championship Golf Course, the hotel offers a wide variety of activities, including world-class diving, snorkelling, fishing, spa treatments and more.
Find out more on the official website.