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“Extremely romantic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Portofino

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3.0 of 5 Resort   |   6 Miles North | PO Box 36, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize   |  
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Ranked #21 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Houston, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Extremely romantic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Hotel is owed by a couple. Very nice. A little ways off from San Pedro by boat taxi or golf cart. We suggest the golf cart but get a big one as some of the roads are not roads and can be very muddy so you want one with power. Suggestion is to do a pub crawl and stop at each resort along the way to see if you want to stay somewhere else when you come back (you will want to come back) Orchids in our rooam, Hibiscus on the bed shaped like a heart, flowers in the bath very pretty. Free rum drink upon arrival. You have your own little place with a hammock out front. Everyone is very friendly, helpful We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Keep in mind - you are not in US, You are in a Tiki Hut on the beach but a well spent week here.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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423 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (118)
Date | Rating
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English first
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

The food here was fantastic! The drinks were ok and the usual you can get anywhere. The prices were higher then some other places but the amount and quality of food was also higher. The server was also very accommodating and friendly! I would go back!

Stayed December 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

The Portofino is a very small and quiet resort north of San Pedro. The location is very good, with a well tended beach and dock. The staff are very helpful and worked very hard to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. Mo, Orville, Hector all made us feel welcome. Overall, the food was good but some menu choices seemed too greasy, like the quesadillas.
BUT, we were there the first week of December, 2014, at the end of the rainy season. The roof of our cabin leaked, the hot water was difficult, the water system went down for a few hours, the shower taps were plumbed backwards (hard to get used to), and the lamp by the bed had a sparking issue. The maintenance really needs to be stepped up a few notches!
So, a very pleasant location, mostly good food, great service, but needs some TLC.
Oh, and don't order shots - they are almost $12.50 USD with the taxes and service charges!

Room Tip: We stayed in a cottage, there are other choices without leaky roofs.
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My first trip to Belize was in 2006 and because of Portofino I fell in love with Belize!
That is why I decided to visit Belize again, and I’m so glad that I stayed at Portofino again. I was so happy to see Moh (the boat captain) meeting me at the airport, and when I arrived at the hotel, Orvil and some of their staff I met on my first trip were still there! It felt like I was home again!
During the years the island has developed a lot, for some good, however I liked Portofino’s location so much as it is nice and peaceful there. One day I went to town, and was so happy to be back at the resort as town has gotten very busy and everything I needed was right there at the resort.
The resort has a huge beautiful pool, with also a shallow area where you can sit with a chair in the water. They also have hammocks in the ocean, how cool is that! The guys from the dive shop are great! I went snorkeling and fishing with them and had a blast! Lillian Portofino’s masseuse gives the BEST massages I ever had! You have to schedule a full body massage with her!
The food from the restaurant was better than ever. They changed their menu and have delicious dishes. Everything is fresh and made from scratch. My favorite was their pasta as they make every day the pasta fresh! Also the chef has every evening a special, and Portofino’s completely cacao is so good!
The first time I stayed at Portofino, I stayed with my friend in the upper mansion and I loved it. I heard that the upper mansion got renovated so I wanted to stay there again.  Because, they had other guests staying there I wasn’t able to stay the entire time, but let me tell you that it was awesome! The newest design and decorations are awesome! I also stayed in one of the Colonial suites, and liked it a lot. The Colonial is very spacious with hardwooden floors, bamboo beds and a nice.
When I was there I asked the front desk if they could show me a Beach Cabana as I hope I can make it to Belize again, and those rooms are also really nice. I love the palapa roofs, the decorations and bathroom!
Now, and this is what Portofino makes it so special… is the staff! They are awesome! Every day they come to work with a smile, and take such good care of you! When you arrive, someone is meeting you at the dock with a eucalyptus towel, they have a fruity welcome drink for you and what I also LOVED was their soap butler service!
For me Portofino is a 5 star hotel with a 10 star service! Be prepared that when you come to Belize, you realize that it is still Central America, so don’t expect things to get like for example in Vegas or Miami. But when you love nature, friendly people, no mass tourism, excellent service and beautiful charming rooms with palapa roofs, Portofino is THE place to go!
I hope to be back Portofino as you stole my heart!

  • Stayed November 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

After spending five nights at the Sleeping Giant Lodge in the Cayo district, my wife and I were excited to see what the Portofino had in store. Until we got to the Portofino. The way they present themselves on their website is plain wrong and in some cases even a blatant lie. I also assume they are buying their Tripadvisor reviews - I can't imagine that this misleadingly positive rating is coming only from inexperienced travelers. Let's just skip to the pros and cons:

Clean and well manicured beach area.
Friendly staff.
Accommodating housekeeping staff.
Good quality of food.

You won't be able to swim at the beach due to sea grass (very common on Ambergris Caye).
Terrible, dark, outdated Beach Cabana rooms. Mold in the bathroom tiles. Old thatched roofs. No door on the bathroom/toilet area (due to the way they are constructed). Bathroom fixtures falling apart. Stains on sheets. Holes in the sheets. After seeing our Beach Cabana room and the condition of the sheets, etc, we asked for a new room. The head of housekeeping was very accommodating and we were moved to a larger, nicer room ("Colonial Suite" Jaguar Room, newly renovated, almost finished at the time we moved in). However, this room still had moldy tiles and no bathroom door.

Keep in mind that all rooms will be incredibly noisy due to the way they are constructed. There is no insulation (which you will notice when the resort sprays against mosquitoes twice daily: It helps with those little bugs but the fog ends up in your room.)

Inept breakfast staff. Dirty mugs replaced by dirty mugs. Dirty cloth napkins. Dirty shirts on the waiters. Forks and knives were dirty on 4 out of 5 days. We had to ask for everything in the complimentary continental breakfast. They brought the fruit and the bread out, but we had to ask for the juice, the coffee, the butter, the jam, the cheese, forks & knives, etc. We got the hang of it after a few days and asked for everything up front so it wouldn't take forever.

Loud neighbor. Now this is where we took offense. We stayed in the bottom floor of a two story bungalow ("Colonial suite, Jaguar Room"). The person staying above us woke us up shortly after 5:00 am the first four mornings with very heavy/loud footsteps. My wife finally had enough and asked her if she could be mindful of her lead foot condition. My wife offered to lend the person her flipflops to soften the noise. To the person's credit, they did not wake us again from stomping. However, the person did wake us with the noise from her TV. The real kicker is that the person above us is the godmother of the owners children.

Yeah, they put a non-paying person in a suite above us and let her run roughshod. Apparently she visits every year and refuses to stay in a different room. Remember that before booking the Jaguar Room. That's about as unprofessional as it gets. It would be one thing if it was another guest, but a friend of the owner is inexcusable. We spent hard earned money to take a vacation. The idea of taking a vacation is to sleep in and relax. That simple pleasure was taken from us by the lead-footed bestie of the owners.

Food prices. The quality of the food was good, but it did not excuse the ridiculously high prices the restaurant charged. $33-35 for fish. The last time I checked, this resort is on an island - surrounded by fish. In fact, they charter fishing excursions for guests. How in the world is a fish entree this expensive? I could have gone to Mortens steak house or Ruth's Chris for these prices! The resorts explains the rates with logistics and having to ship everything. Let's be serious: It is still Belize, we are talking about. A country where you can get an entire meal in a non-touristy place for 3 USD per person. Ambergris Caye is entirely touristy, so I understand that prices are higher. However, in the city of San Pedro you can easily get an entree full of lobster tails for $12. So please, Portofino, stop insulting your guests with these prices.

Dive Shop. The guys at the dive shop are the ones that charter your snorkeling/diving excursions. We made plans to go to Hol Chan AKA Shark/Ray Alley at 9:30 one morning. However, when we got in the boat and after we had left the pier, they informed us we were going to Mexico Rocks. After we got back, I told the guy that that wasn't what we had arranged and he said that they told us at breakfast about the change in plans. That would of been great except for the fact that nobody said anything to us. They confused us with another couple. Basic communication. We ended up going to Hol Chan later that afternoon, still paying full price per person.

They also charged us for the Mexico Rock excursion that we didn't even want to go to (we ended up negotiating it down to 50%). Those guys are nice and friendly but it's a bit like a used car dealership. We talked to other couples about some of the excursions and learned that the dive shop makes up their rates as they go. That explains why they don't want to give you anything in writing - shady place but unfortunately the only one that close.

In summation: Although the Portofino had some nice people who where attentive to your needs, you'd be best served booking somewhere else.

  • Stayed October 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Manager at Portofino, responded to this review, 2 weeks ago
We are sorry to hear that Portofino Resort was not the highlight of your vacation in Belize but very pleased that you enjoyed your stays at The Sleeping Giant.

Thanks very much for taking the time to share your compliments and concerns about your recent stay, particularly those of our well-manicured grounds and housekeeping staff. I’m very disappointed however, to hear that you did not enjoy the extraordinary, personalized service that so many of our guests comment on. It’s this very aspect of the Portofino experience, according to our many repeat guests, that’s the deciding factor when planning their next vacation.

Indeed, the beach and swimming area is very shallow and has a lot of sea grass. While this is not necessarily a swimming hazard, we understand it is an inconvenience to our guests. Unfortunately it is important to the ecosystem of the island and protected from dredging or removal under the laws of Belize. The best available option has always been to go to the end of the pier.

For the food and beverage issues, lack of attentiveness and disinterest are not qualities to be encouraged in any business. I will discuss your concerns with our Food & Beverage staff and managers. We are very sorry that you did not enjoy the restaurant as much as most of our guests. Everyone is different, therefore likes and dislikes are a matter of personal opinions and tastes. We do our best to have as much of a variety on our menu in our effort to exceed our guests' expectations. On the same note, we try to keep our prices competitive in the market and you will find that due to our location, there are a lot of additional costs associated with providing meals this far away from town and this creates prices significantly higher than other restaurants located in San Pedro Town.
Your observations concerning the room will be examined most carefully being as they are at odds with much of the very positive feedback we receive concerning the cleanliness of our rooms. We offer day and night time housekeeping. Understanding full well the importance of a good night’s sleep, we take care in selecting high quality beds and bedding, including our sheets. Any bedding that is worn in any way is replaced immediately. We inspect our inventory regularly – and will do so at your recommendation - to ensure that it meets our very high standards as well as yours. We take the matter of guests’ complaints very seriously and view any instance of guest dissatisfaction as an opportunity to review our product and services and make improvements for the benefit of future clientele. Issues with faulty equipment will also be reviewed by management. This matter is going under review with our housekeeping and maintenance staff.
As to the issue with the thatch roofs, they are replaced annually and minor maintenance steps are done periodically. The thatch does degrade over time and it is why we replace them.
As for the issue with the noise of the guest, we apologize for the inconvenience however we don't control the activity of our guests. We would make an effort to convince the guests to be mindful of others.

We extend our apologies for the inconvenience of tours and will be sure to share your dissatisfaction with the team at our onsite dive/snorkel shop. We will work to sort out the issues you mentioned with the tour team.
Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your concerns as we value the feedback and constructive criticism that our guests provide us with, as it’s a great opportunity to improve our facility and services.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We booked the first week of our honeymoon at Portofino and had an amazing time. The quality of the food was excellent and we chose to eat there most nights despite having a lot of choices in town. Hector and Raphael took great care of us, cant go wrong with any of the seafood choices. If you like to relax at a small resort where you get to know everyone and feel like family this is the place for you. This is a place to relax outside of downtown, and takes about 20-25 minutes on their free water taxi from Fidos. Even with a few rainy days the staff made sure to go out of their way to make sure we had a good time. Had an excellent few trips with Clinton for both fishing and snorkeling. Be sure to book the Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley snorkeling trip them as it was an unforgettable trip despite bad weather.

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Manager at Portofino, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Thank you for sharing your experience with our resort here. It truly is an honor to help make special occasions such as this even more special. Our staff has always made everyone feel like family. One of the unique experiences about Belize.

Snorkeling is always a great experience and the Hol Chan experience is always amazing.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you home again.
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Portofino resort showcased the true beauty of the beaches found in Belize. Situated on a stretch of beach accessible from the main town by boat (a member of the staff is always willing to take guests to and from town), the resort creates a truly relaxing atmosphere.

The rooms are very well kept, being serviced twice a day, and somehow the large amounts of sand I always dragged in were swept away discreetly. If I had ever gotten tired of the beach, a large pool with loungers was just outside the rooms, so there was no shortage of area's for soaking up the sun. There is also a dive shop just 2 minutes away, and the dive team that works there are great fun and very knowledgable about the coral and marine life in the area.

The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, I looked forward to seeing them every morning for breakfast! I did, after 5 days of eating at the resort, get a bit tired of their menu. Although everything I tried was delicious and well presented, a more extensive menu would be a treat!

Room Tip: I stayed in one of the cabanas/bungalows which offered a large room and bathroom for either a couple...
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  • Stayed November 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Manager at Portofino, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Thank you for sharing your experience with our resort. We are thrilled you enjoyed your stay at our little piece of paradise. The staff is dedicated to making everyone feel relaxed and having our resort look great to all our guests. We do hope we have the oopportunity again to pamper you.
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Additional Information about Portofino

Address: 6 Miles North | PO Box 36, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in San Pedro
#6 Spa Hotel in San Pedro
#11 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#17 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#19 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Portofino 3*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Characterized by its warm and friendly hospitality, Portofino is the epitome of barefoot luxury, unpretentious and relaxing… for most; it will be an experience of a lifetime. Our small, boutique resort offers just 17 beautifully appointed rooms, ranging from charming beach cabanas to spacious suites, dotted amidst swaying palm trees, in a private setting with unmatched personal attention and the modern comforts of home. It is a haven of tranquility, where guests will enjoy the subtle sounds of the nearby waves lapping over the reef, gentle breeze, breathtaking sunrise, star studded night sky and spectacular views of the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea. The perfect setting for a romantic getaway, intimate wedding, honeymoon, family and friends.Portofino offers leisure options to suit every taste. Relax in our fresh water outdoor swimming pool; enjoy a great book from our book collection or simply indulge yourself in a massage on the beach under our hand thatched palapa hut. Explore the underwater world with snorkel equipment or skim along the surface in our complimentary sea kayaks. Delicious meals prepared by our resort chef can be served in the privacy or your beach cabana or suite, on our private dock with a romantic setting or at the Portofino Restaurant. Sip on amazing tropical cocktails at the Green Parrot Beach Bar or perhaps a late afternoon snack from the Green Parrot Bistro. Take advantage of our DVD library and unwind in front of the flat TV screen in your room. Or, simply take in the view. In short, relax and enjoy! Reception in the main building is manned by professional and knowledgeable staff. From, activities bookings and directions to itineraries and dining reservations, our friendly and professional staff is eager to assist you. Access to PORTOFINO is by boat only, and therefore we offer a complimentary meet and greet service at San Pedro Airstrip and boat transfer to the resort, an approximately 20 minutes ride. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Portofino Hotel San Pedro
Portofino San Pedro
Portofino Belize/San Pedro

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