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“Perfect for us!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of DC & Szana's Country Cabana

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DC & Szana's Country Cabana
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Beachfront, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 15 San Pedro B&B and Inns
Seymour, Connecticut
Level Contributor
54 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Perfect for us!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We liked Tio Pils. Comparatively inexpensive. Good central location. Very friendly staff. Good value. Basic rooms with some ammenities.

When on vacation we normally do not spend a lot of time lazing around the room or hanging out on the deck or pool. We want to be out sightseeing and doing things! We want to eat what the local people are eating! Maybe having a drink on the deck as the sun goes down. For this Tio Pils was perfect. It's not a "resort". Honestly, what's the point of going to a place like Ambergris Caye and staying on the resort grounds for your whole trip? You could do that in New Jersey.

For some reason (my assumption) I thought the ocean view rooms were at ground level and you could walk right out onto the beach. As it turns out, all seven rooms are on the second floor. All have access to a lovely shared balcony but only rooms 1,2 & 3 have ocean views. We originally booked an ocean view room but had to change our plans due to some emergency surgery. When re-booking, only room 4 was available.

Let me just comment that, unlike some other places that wanted a cancellation fee to make a change, Dora was very accomadating and allowed us to simply apply our deposit to our new dates. American Airlines wanted another $266.00 PER TICKET to change...

We didn't feel that there were any secruity issues mentioned by other reviewers. The hallways were well lit and the whole area felt safe to us. Our room (#4) was on the inside corner by the office. Although the office wasn't ALWAYS staffed, it was staffed often enough for our needs. And there was a sign on the door telling us when someone would be back.

There was also a whiteboard next to the office with daily events listed and recommendations of places to eat and things to do. Other specific recommendations and answers to our questions could be found by asking Dora and she was always spot on.

The room itself was clean and included a small refrigerator and cable TV. WiFi was available but I didn't bring anything to use it. A/C worked very well and was quiet. There was a coffee pot in the room and coffee was provided - but for us, only on the first day. I think it was just overlooked. No big deal, we were up before 6:00 everyday and going out for breakfast anyway so I never mentioned it to Dora. The shower water pressure was good and, though it took a little while for the hot water to come up, it was nice and hot when it did. Bottled water is provided in the room and bottles can be refilled for free at the office. Drinking the tap water is not recommended as it has a slightly salty taste. There was no dresser but there was an open free-standing wardrobe and tables with shelves on each side of the bed. The bed was comfortable and quite long enough for my 6'1" height. Towels and linens were in great condition. Like others in the vacinity, this building is older (1970s?) and could use some updating. It seemed that they were working on some of this. As you can imagine, repairs are a constant battle in this environment. I think they're doing a good job.

Breakfast next door at Lilly's Treasure Chest was very good and they were open early. We went there twice. I don't know if Lilly's is still associated with Tio Pils (formerly also named Lilly's) or if they are now separate businesses.

As far as the staff, we mostly interacted with Dora and only briefly with the housekeeper. We can't say enough nice things about Dora. She's friendly, knowledgeable and really made us feel welcome. Since I did not bring a laptop, she was willing to log on and print our boarding passes for our return trip. Out of all the places we've stayed over the years, she was the only one who sent a personalized e-mail after our trip thanking us for staying there and asking for any suggestions to improve. While some owners have responded on TA to negative reviews, scrolling down you'll see that Dora responds to almost every review. I think that says something about her willingness to please her guests.

We'd recommend Tio Pils and would stay there again.

Room Tip: #4 was nice. Close to the office, not down the hallway like #5-#7. Rooms #1-#3 had ocean views but t...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Dear CT-wni, it's guests like yourselves that make what we do so very very worth it. We entirely agree that our hotel is perfect for the traveler who plans to explore our beautiful country and island by day, and relax on our large deck by evening and night. :) There is so much to see and enjoy!

By nature, I am a people pleaser and find true happiness in making others happy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review but not nearly as much as I enjoyed meeting you and your lovely wife!

It's true, our hotel is one of the oldest on the island and although not perfect we are constantly trying to improve. :)

Thank you again for staying with us we we hope to see you again in the near future!

-Dora
Owner/Manager
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96 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    45
    27
    7
    7
    10
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10
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Arcata, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

This hotel is older but still nice. We had a fridge and free water. The owners of the the hotel are so nice!! this was perfects stay because you are right on the beach and easy access to everything. there is no security, but on some nights there was security. Their are cameras. I don't think it is that necessary though i felt safe the entire time and i was a party of two girls.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
cmthomas29106, Thank you very much for your short and sweet review. We are always happy to hear that our guests enjoyed their stay! It keeps us motivated! We look forward to having you here on your future visits to our beautiful country Belize!

Until then we wish you all the best,

Dora
Owner/Manager
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Los Gatos, California
Level Contributor
103 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Tio Pil's is a seven-room motel on the second floor of a two-story building located on the San Pedro beach. It is steps away from Amigos del Mar and other dive/snorkeling tour operators. The sign in front says "A room with a smile." Indeed, the proprietor is quite pleasant. However, the motel is staffed only during the day and only during times when clients are expected to check in or out. This became an issue for me with regards to security.

Three of the seven rooms are located in the front with a great view of the water (rooms 1, 2, 3). Room 4 is located on the side of the building. Rooms 5, 6, and 7 are located down a back hallway. I stayed in room 6. You must pass the office to gain access to the back hallway, but because the office is closed at night, anyone can gain access.

The second night I was there, a couple was drinking and having sex on the floor outside my door. After a loud exchange, I was able to get them to move on. I had no phone and no way to call for help, so I was fortunate the altercation didn't turn into something nasty. There was a security camera pointing down the hallway, but no one staffing the camera. The security camera was thwarted because the people turned off the publicly-accessible hallway light and closed the door to the hallway to ensure they were not seen by the camera.

To the motel's credit, the next day they took swift action. They moved the light switch to a location in the office and they removed the door to the hallway. However, the security camera is low enough to be disabled by spray paint or tape. The bare-bulb light in the hallway can be disabled as well. Anyone who wants to control the back hallway and rooms 5, 6, and 7 can do so.

As to comfort, the double beds are great for short people but I found my feet hanging off them. When I turned on the tub faucet, chunks of dark material came out along with the water. The room is cleaned daily, but the maintenance is lacking a bit, evidenced by the rust and mildew in the bathroom.

If you want to stay at Tio Pil's I suggest you stay only in rooms 1, 2, or 3. There are many other small, inexpensive hotels in San Pedro, so you might consider searching for one that is staffed 24 hours a day.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms 4, 5, 6, and 7 because they are out of the public eye. Rooms 1, 2, and 3, are on the bea...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, January 9, 2013
Dear DigitalRabbit,

First of all, we'd like to thank you for taking the time to write us a review we appreciate the feedback! We are happy to announce that we have hired night-time security during the hours that the office is closed.

We apologize wholeheartedly for the incident that occurred while you were here and are glad you noticed that we took swift action. Although you say there are many other small inexpensive hotels on the island, it would be quite the challenge to find one with 24 hour staff in our ideal location with the convenient amenities we offer, while keeping their rates low.

As for the comfort of the room itself, our Double Beds are Standard US Size as the mattresses were purchased in the US. When we offer a room we specify the size of bed available. If we had known you were taller and that you'd prefer a Queen bed, if one were available, we would've gladly put you in a room with a Queen bed. As for the rust, we live on an island surrounded by sea and salt and we were one of the FIRST hotels to open, no matter what, with time, everything rusts. We check the rooms thoroughly before each check-in to ensure that they are cleaned properly. If you felt like there was more we could have done we would have appreciated it if you had brought it to our attention while you were with us.

Once again, we appreciate the feedback ! We've hired security and will be working diligently to improve in every way we could for the comfort and happiness of our future guests.

-Dora
Owner/Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

I stayed here for a couple nights and for a resort place like Ambergris Caye, this hotel offers a clean cozy place right on the beach at a good value. Service is pretty good and the mini fridge is nice to have. Little touches like shampoo, coffee, hair dryer, make this a good deal and the location is excellent. I would recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: The deck is shared with hammocks, chairs, tables, a lounger, so if you want more quiet take a back r...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, December 5, 2012
Thank you very much for your kind review, FreedomVoiceJ. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed staying at our inn and are even more pleased to know that you would recommend us! We love it when our guests enjoy our basic but clean rooms, friendly service, and stellar location! We hope you return soon.

-Dora
Owner
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Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

I stayed at Tio Pil's over Thanksgiving and had a great experience booking my room online with Tio Pil's. The hotel rooms need a little updating, but they were very clean and the location is great. It's right on the ocean with a wonderful view. It's very close to Front Street, and there is a restaurant downstairs, so at times you could hear music and people having a good time. Dora, Gustavo, Felipe, Felipa, were all beautiful people and very accommodating. This is a family owned and run business and they all go out of their way to make your stay a good experience. I enjoyed just sitting and talking with this family and they also had a lot of good suggestions for restaurants and things to do during my stay in San Pedro. Thank you all for helping to make my trip more enjoyable!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, December 5, 2012
Judy S., we really really enjoyed having you here. You were such a pleasure to host. We definitely enjoyed talking and sharing experiences with you. We couldn't' have asked for a better guest. :) Thank you for writing us a review, we appreciate it wholeheartedly. We hope all is well with you and your dog, Emily! Happy holidays!

From: Dora, Fel, Gus and Felipa!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cuero
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

My son and I stayed here November 2012-I really loved this place, it has a awesome view of the water, and I so enjoyed watching the people walking by.
We ate at Lily's which is the restaurant right next door and they were really nice !
The owners are so super nice and I enjoyed visiting with them and they helped us out finding golf carts and where the fun places to go---Great place -not new and does need a little face-lift, but I will still there again--
Texas

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, November 14, 2012
Texas, we really enjoyed having you both here, especially because of the great conversations we had. :) Thank you for your kind review! It's what keeps us motivated! We will be looking forward to having you here again, hopefully very soon.

All the best!

-Dora
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

This was a really good find in San Pedro - it was relatively cheap (compared to other places on Ambergris) and with friendly, helpful service. The rooms were comfortable, clean and had a great shower. The balcony with hammocks and seats overlooking the water was a lovely place to relax. It was in a great location - 10 minutes walk from the airport and near loads of dive shops and places to eat. Although breakfast isn't provided, there's coffee in the room and a fridge, and a great wee restaurant downstairs. The free water refills was a nice touch.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
Dora P, Owner at DC & Szana's Country Cabana, responded to this review, November 14, 2012
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to help us tell others about our little place on the beach. We enjoyed having you here and hope that you will be back to visit soon!

-Dora
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Additional Information about DC & Szana's Country Cabana

Address: Beachfront, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a quaint, classic, beachfront inn with air conditioned rooms, cable, internet, and a beautiful ocean view patio. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
DC & Szana's Country Cabana Belize/San Pedro

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