Where to begin….. My wife and I had booked a Penthouse Suite at the Brand new Sands Villas in San Pedro Belize for a Trip in December 2012 through January 2013. I typically stay at the Phoenix Resort however this was a last minute trip and they were completely sold out. The Sands Villas are brand new condo’s and sit adjacent the Belize Yacht Club and La Voile Rouge Resort which are all owned by the same owner and managed or should I say extremely mismanaged by the owners sister Julia Torres. I had been emailing with Julia for months prior to our vacation, she sent me what she told me were pictures of our unit fully furnished (brand new) and even a photo view from our “supposed” balcony. Two days prior to our departure I emailed her once again to confirm everything was good to go, confirm she rented us a golf cart for the 11 days were going to be at the resort and inquire if the pool had been completed and was ready to go. Initially she had told me that the pool was to be fully completed by thanksgiving but when I emailed on 12/27 she said that was still not complete and should be ready before the New Year but everything else was set. This set off some red flags as she had clearly been lying to me for months.
After three flights and ten hours later we reached the Sands Villas in a Taxi, I looked over and the Sands Villas entrance was still not complete and someone from the resort flagged us to enter the Belize Yacht Club Entrance. We entered the front office and stated I was here to check in to the Sands Villas. A woman at the reception immediately looked stunned and almost scared and stated, the Sands Villas are not complete yet and you need to talk to Julia Torres. Now, you can imagine after a 10 hr travel day, getting confirmation that everything was fine via email two days prior we were infuriated. About 10 minutes passed and Julia approached us and confirmed that Sands Villas were not yet complete, and we could not stay there. I noticed several other people at the BYC she was running back and forth talking to, obviously with the same problems we were encountering. I flat out said to her why the heck didn’t someone call us to let us know, and/or email me that there were any problems two days prior.
Enraged, I told her this was unacceptable, she offered to find us a new place, however, as anyone knows luxury hotel / resorts during the peak season in San Pedro are non-existent and sold out months prior. She had a cab take us to two places which were completely unacceptable. When we returned she asked the receptionist (who came with us) why she took us to two other resorts as she only authorized her to take us to one, she began yelling at her, told her that the $50 taxi money was coming out of her salary for not listening to her, and she began crying hysterically. My wife and I were horrified, asked Julia why she was being so unprofessional and paid the receptionist. After that incident, (it’s now 6:30PM and we left at 4:00 AM) my wife and I explained that the two other resorts they had taken us to were unacceptable and demanded Julia do something. I was at wits end and told her she committed fraud, at that point she threatened to call the police and have me arrested. Are you kidding me??? I should have had her arrested her for committing FRAUD. At that point we had no other options, no hotel, and yes no golf cart which Julia personally confirmed she had rented for us and had delivered to the hotel for the duration of our stay. She said the only place available was a 1 bedroom at the Belize Yacht Club but could move us to their other property La Voile Rouge Resort the following day to a 2 bedroom. At this point my wife and I were tired sweaty and felt like we had been completely taken advantage of, these property owners were beyond terrible and of course had committed FRAUD. The room they put us in at the Belize Yacht club was a complete dump, I wouldn’t put my worst enemy in this room (See my pictures), the blinds were broken and dusty, the windows would not close or lock, the door knob was broken, the patio furniture was from the 1980’s and broken, the indoor furniture was old and dirty, the kitchen had mold on the counter tops, the sink was dirty, all appliances and cabinets had nasty mold and food particles on then, the bathroom was even more horrid, the shower was full of mold, the backing of the mirror was peeling away, the sheets had stains on them, and there was only AC in the one bedroom. Not to mention we saw at least two cockroaches’ s scurry under the fridge. It is clear now why The Belize Yacht Club and La Rouge are rated as some of the WORST places to stay in San Pedro on Trip Advisor and several other travel sites. We did not feel safe but had nowhere to go at the moment, the resort had scammed us and committed blatant fraud.
The next morning several guests came up to us who obviously heard and saw what was going on the day before and told us of their own nightmares. Virtually 90 plus percent of them had the same issues, they booked the Sands Villas only to come down and it was not finished, were offered to be put in another room at either the Belize Yacht Club or La Voile Rouge Resort, felt that Julia was an unprofessional con artist and had yelled, bullied, threatened, them, didn’t feel safe, and that the accommodations were horrible. Not to mention that Julia did not, and would not credit them difference in rates (same with us). Trust me when I say you couldn’t pay me any amount of money to stay at the Belize Yacht Club or La Voile Rouge ever again.
The following morning they moved us to LaRouge (see pictures) which was just as horrid and not nearly worth the money we had paid to stay at the Sands Villas. They called it a 2 bedroom but really it was a 1 bedroom, with another bed in the family room instead of a couch. The appliances we old, dirty and moldy, the stove was dirty and had tinfoil underneath the burners, the balcony had no furniture, the bathroom was moldy and dated, the sheets were stained, and the bedroom closet door kept falling off. I would say the place had not been updated since the mid 1980’s at best…
During the day I called several other resorts and they were all booked up, no surprise there, we felt trapped in an unsafe environment with con artists as managers/property owners. For 3 days we stayed at La Voile Rouge, and learned many things about the resort, managers, and owners from talking to locals, local business owners, other resort managers, guests and yes condo owners. Julia is property manager and the sister of the owner of the resorts (dumps). According to these folks Julia should not be a property manager, is unprofessional, nasty, abusive, rude, bullies both guest and staff, and is a con artist. The property owner from what we were told is also shady character, known as a con man, and into some shady dealing. According to the people we talked with, the Sands Villas was supposed to be completed years ago and many of the owners thought they had lost all their money as communication would lapse for months if not years on the progress or lack thereof. My wife and I got the impression that the management /owners intentionally committed fraud, double booked rooms, didn’t inform guests that the Sand Villas was not complete in attempt to bilk guests out of their money and fund its completion, as they are/were having cash flow issues. Luckily for us we booked with AMEX so they will never see a dime from us.
We just happened to meet some people at the BYC pool one afternoon (which by the way is called the ION Pool with terrible service, very dated furniture and a bar tender who would go missing for extended periods of time. The people we met were actual people whom had or were in the process of purchasing their condos at the Sands Villas. Julia told them to come down as the condos were completed and they were ready to close. Needless to say none of their units were finished, one woman’s condo at the Sands only had bare concrete walls, no windows or doors. As it turns out the unit we had supposedly rented (penthouse unit) was actually owned by one of these couples!!!!! So, not only did Julia commit fraud by not informing us the Sands Villas were not complete BUT she double booked our condo with the actual owners who she knew were coming down as well, unbelievable.
Luckily we were able to escape this hell hole, the manager at The Phoenix Hotel, Mark whom we know was able to do us a favor and accommodate us for the duration of our vacation. We packed our bags had a taxi waiting to the north of the main entrance and RAN out of there. Needless to say the rest of our trip was a true pleasure.
Our advice to anyone even remotely thinking of booking any of these resorts is STAY AWAY… unless you are looking for an absolutely horrifying experience of a lifetime.
No rooms are good here, I would rather sleep on the beach
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.