We stayed at Belizean Shores for 5 nights, as a family group of 5 adults and 2 children (thus the 14 thumbs). We were there for Christmas day, at the busiest time of the year for the hotel and the entire island. We were extremely happy with our stay at Belizean Shores, and will stay here again if we are fortunate enough to return to Ambergris Caye.
ARRIVAL: Getting here or anywhere else on the island takes some effort (some combination of planes or water taxis), but on arrival at the dock, we were greeted with a fun welcoming ceremony. We were then given an orientation and shown our rooms. Let the vacation begin!
ROOMS: The hotel is not tiny and not enormous; there are about ten buildings altogether, situated in a half-moon around the swimming pool, and each building has two upper and two lower apartments. Our party stayed in two adjacent, upper-level apartments in building 5. It is one of the farthest from the ocean, but we still had peek-a-boo views of the ocean, and could hear the surf from the balcony at night after the pool fountains were turned off. Our unit was immaculately clean when we checked in; a minor miracle considering how easy it is to track in sand or dirt. We took advantage of the kitchen; storing leftovers in the large fridge and cooking a few breakfasts and a Christmas dinner. The living room and bedroom are spacious. We were slightly worried about sleeping arrangements for both rooms: we had three adults in one unit and two adults plus two toddlers in the other. But things worked out OK; housekeeping staff helped us move a mattress from the loft down into the spacious living room so that my mom-in-law wouldn’t need to climb an additional flight of stairs. The loft wasn't safe for my brother's little children in his unit, but they had room for one child in their bed and placed the smaller child in a crib that fit wedged partially into the closet. The main living area in the upstairs units is roomy, with a soaring open space above, and space for a sofa and table and chairs and an extra bed. The exterior patio porch was a nice shady place to relax, eat a meal, look over the scenic pool, or watch the palm and ficus treetops for birds. The bathroom was not as roomy as the other spaces in our unit, but was adequate. The shower was large and tiled. Water inside isn't suitable for drinking, and guests can fill (provided) water jugs with potable water at a poolside well. Refilling the drinking water a couple times per day became a fun ritual. Water pressure was weak throughout our stay, and a couple of times the water stopped working altogether for a few minutes. The wireless connection behaved the same as the plumbing; it was spotty and never very speedy. Both plumbing and wireless probably both suffered capacity problems from a totally full hotel on a totally full island. At any rate, these were the only minor problems with our rooms.
POOL: One of our reasons for choosing this hotel in the first place was the interesting pool design, and we were not disappointed. It has an unusual topology, with sections of various sizes and depths, connected by long canals that entirely encircle the swim-up bar and the large hot-tub. Bridges over each canal drizzle water into the pool, and I enjoyed swimming laps through these passageways. The little kids in our party loved splashing in the shallow part and playing in the various water jets and fountains. There are submerged chairs and stools in addition to the usual deck furniture, and a couple of tiny islands hosting palm trees. We visited the large hot tub several times after sunset, where you can watch the stars and moon overhead while dissolving in a cauldron of bubbles. Hop over the back wall of the hot tub, and you are in the pool. I miss you terribly, Belizean Shores Pool!
WILDLIFE: I may be the rare traveler that visits a resort and hopes to find exotic wild animals sharing it with me, but I am, and I did. This is probably true of most properties on Ambergris Caye, but the same flowers and trees that decorate the grounds attract wild critters too. We saw iguanas and a basilisk sunning beside the pool, and along the path leading to the restaurant in back. Birds we saw on the property included a Common Black Hawk, Giant Cowbird, Tropical Mockingbird, American Redstart, Hooded Oriole, Great Kiskadee, Wilson's Warbler, Mangrove Warbler, White-collared Seedeater, Social Flycatcher, Ground Dove, and Grackles. Petrols wheeled overhead all day, and small flocks of pelicans flapped by occasionally. Hummingbirds battled over territory all day long, and a mob of parakeets raced overhead in the mornings but never stopped at our resort. I saw even more species of birds and lizards while walking the road inland from the resort, which skirts open fields and mangrove forests. My inner naturalist was very satisfied with this resort.
WATERFRONT: The ocean is only a dozen meters or so from the hotel property. Mature palms support several hammocks, and provide shade for many reclining chairs. The beach is golden sand and there's enough room to build small sandcastles. A beachside path runs for miles in both directions, and we enjoyed walking this unpaved trail and peeking into other resort properties, and visiting their restaurants. Most traffic is pedestrian, but the occasional bike or scooter passes by. A few locals were hawking woven craft tapestries along the trail, but not aggressively or obnoxiously. The water is beautiful but not very inviting for swimming; like almost all beaches on Ambergris Caye, sea grass grows in the shallow water. Just past the beach, a dock hosts an adventure outfitting company and serves a water taxi that runs down to San Pedro. At the end of the dock, a swimming area is marked off by buoys, and there's a small slide for the kiddies.
RESTAURANT – We had many good meals at the Belizean Shores restaurant, "Shells at the Shores" located at the back of the property. It's not terribly fancy, but is on the third floor with lots of windows overlooking the mangrove forests on the western side of the island. We especially enjoyed the conch ceviche here; it was the best of the four places we sampled this local delicacy in Belize. When one of the servers, Elder, discovered my brother and I like fiery hot food, he whipped up a complimentary batch of his special habanero salsa that was deliciously painful. Thanks, Elder! We also enjoyed seafood and chicken dishes here, and the Belizean specialties. We didn't have many sweets, but the guava cheesecake was phenomenally decadent.
STAFF – Every single encounter with staff was excellent. Mariana, the manager, greeted us and saw us off as we left, and was genuinely interested in our well-being. We visited the front desk several times and were always well served – Levi spent an hour helping us after we lost a credit card and needed to cancel it. In addition to Elder plying us with homemade salsas, our other servers were cheerful and talkative. Sandra told us stories about life in Belize, and brought us bananas from the kitchen after learning we failed to find them at three groceries on the island. The porter pointed out some iguanas for us, and the gardener, while collecting coconuts for the bar, graciously lopped the top off one with his machete, for us to drink on our porch. My mother-in-law enjoyed chatting with the housekeeping lady that tidied our room every day. The Belizean Shores crew made us feel at home, and made our stay more enjoyable.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.