ROATAN ISLAND, Honduras -- Roatan, emerging as the Caribbean's newest vacation hotspot, is now home to its largest and most bio-sensitive and upscale resort.
Infinity Bay Spa and Beach Resort opens this week with 55 of its planned 145 luxury villas now complete.
Located in the heart of West Bay Beach, Infinity Bay, the island's greenest resort, has been designed to protect the coral reef system that curls around Roatan's shores.
The barrier reef, second in size only to Australia's, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
"The reef is by far the most precious resource we have and we now know it is a lot easier to destroy than it is to preserve," says Scott Bocci of Infinity Bay Spa and Beach Resort.
"We are keenly aware of that and we have taken every possible measure we can to protect the reef."
Infinity Bay's state-of-the-art septic facilities put zero pollutants into the ocean and emit no odours. For their guests' comfort, the resort has also installed a reverse osmosis water purification system, making all the tap water throughout the resort and in all its rooms 100% potable.
The resort's water will also soon be heated by solar panels.
"Everything they have said they would do, they have done, and I respect that," says Julio Galindo, former Roatan mayor and owner of the iconic Anthony's Key Resort.
"I am very happy with what they have built -- they have taken things to a new level."
Roatan's coral reef system is one of the region's most biologically diverse marine habitats. The area is considered by many to be the best spot for scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing in the world, and has been a diver's paradise for years.
Phase I of Infinity Bay includes 55 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom extravagant suites, a beachfront restaurant, a fresh-water pool complete with three waterfalls, a bridge and an infinity edge, and a private dock with water taxi. Phase II, scheduled for completion in April 2009, will have 90 units, a full-service restaurant, a spa and health-club complex and conference facilities. The resort will serve both business and leisure travellers.
"It is by far the most luxurious resort on Roatan," says Bocci. Infinity Bay offers both vacation and ownership opportunities. Prices for completed units range from $260,000 for a studio to $575,000 for a premium two- bedroom villa. Preconstruction prices begin at $215,000.
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras, just a 2 1/2-hour direct flight from Houston.
The island, 58 km long and 2 to 4 km across, ranges from sandy beach and iron shoreline to mangroves, lush valleys and tropical hilltops.
IF YOU GO
For reservations, e-mail reservations infinitybay.com.
From Canada, phone 011-504-445-5016.
For ownership information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Honduran Institute of Tourism website at www.letsgohonduras.com