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“Emperor has no clothes?” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Turtle Inn

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Turtle Inn
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Placencia Village, Placencia, Belize   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 20 Hotels in Placencia
USA
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“Emperor has no clothes?”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2007

Read and beware, but go if it still sounds appealing to you. Overall, there are better places in the world to go. Incredibly beautiful Balinese rooms and lodge, yes, grounds immaculate, outdoor showers...but you can read about that everywhere else. We visited all 3 Coppola properties this trip. The same odd multiple Limited Liabilities Waivers and Forms were required to be signed at all 3. Wierd and bad introduction, though I must assume they only do it because they have had bad expereinces with unreasonable guests? We stayed in an Ocean View Villa, next door to the "Coppola Villa" for 5 days. (Staff says FFC and family have not been seen at Turtle or Blancaneaux for a few years.) Beach is narrow (15ft-20ft at most), perhaps due to the hurricane, grassy-bottomed water is hence not "caribbean clear" as it is out on the cayes or even on Maya Riviera. Never even saw anyone get in the water. "Oceanview" is really "ocean-slightly-visible-if-you-really-look-between-the-trees-and-buildings-over-there". Two pools, one in front of main lodge is very nice. Another new pool and new villas off to the side, no views and at my visit, still very bare of plantings, so avoid those pool villas for a lettle while. Restaraunt is not great, and very expensive. For example of a lunch, basil pizza had 4 basil leaves (whole) on the entire pizza, was very undercooked and doughy. Average dinners easily over $60 pp without drinks or dessert, and not impressed once with the food. (Know, we live in San Francisco area, so we are used to and expect to pay for good food.) Breakfasts however were tasty. "Fryjacks" and the homemade baked goods were mostly VERY good! Be aware the $25US delivery fee for orders at the beach, even though the beach is 2 ft from the cabanas and only 15 ft wide, and room service charge is $10US. There is another on site hotel restaurant, across the street near the dive shop, though it is not really promoted by the hotel and not well marked. We thought we were in the wrong place, as there were really no lights or signs of activity. We were the only ones there until the other hotel guests, who had told us about it, came by for dinner. Other restaurant options limited and mostly not too good, in town about a mile away. Bikes available to ride, or even walkable, but plan on taxis after one walk to town or one pedal. Town has paved over the famous sand "main street", so now it is really a sidewalk, and a new paved road is becoming the main street. Placencia had always sounded like a great, laid back, not over-developed yet a little hip sorta place, but it doesn' t quite work as well as other such places. Service at Turtle was not up to par for the ratings and the prices. As mentioned elswhere, hotel concierge supposed to book trips didn't seem to know much of anything, and when we asked, just said he was new and didn't know. Didn't offer to find out even basics. Service very disappointing overall. A big bowl in our beautiful open air screened bath somehow filled with water in a torrential rain, and the cleaners never emptied it out, even after I put a tray on top of it so they would see it! They removed the little tray every morning and refilled the soaps, but left the murky water to get even more fetid day by day. No way they could not see it. Asked 3 times for a list of activites/tours, as the concierge was not helpful and the one in our room was illegible due to previous guests' spills. Never got one. When checking out, we left our luggage with the bellhop so we could spend a few last hours on the beach. When we got to the desk at our appointed time for our pre-arranged cab, they had forgotten to call it. Waited 30 minutes. When we asked for our luggage, the unoccupied desk person pointed to the luggage, which was inside the enclosed lobby desk area with them, and told us to come around inside and get it. Not 5 star service, or even 3. And yes, we had tipped the first bellhop, though there is no excuse for the schlep-it-yourself attitude. While we had a nice trip, you can tell we were disappointed. All this being said, if it still sounds good, just plan to spend 2x what you think you would for very average at best food and wine and trips, don't expect 5 star service, you might well enjoy it. At half the price and half the ratings, it would have been a nice find, but as a Top 100/5 Star resort, I can't recommend it. They fabulous decor can't make up for the other shortcomings.

  • Liked — rooms were incredible
  • Disliked — service, food issues, water
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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348 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boulder, Colorado
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2007

My husband and I spent five incredible nights at the Turtle Inn. We Shared the Seafront Kingfish Villa #7. We vacationed with another couple with whom we shared the spacious two bedroom villa. None of us experienced the poor communication nor the pushiness of which others have spoken. Though occasionally there was a few minute delay from the time we sought the front desk from the conch phone, we understood it was a more relaxed atmosphere in Placencia.

Our only negative experience was when my husband checked off a previous injury on the Scuba Diving waiver and was informed a doctor would need to check him out. We appreciated the cautiousness. What we resented was not having been told of the charge for the doctor beforehand. Also be aware of a 24 hour cancellation policy on any of the excursions you sign up with at the front desk, even if you sign up the prior evening. Aside from those two issues, our vacation was extremely relaxing.

We found the people working at the Turtle Inn to be very friendly and helpful. People living in Placencia were also warm and engaging. The lack of phone and television was a welcome change from any place we had been. It truly "allowed" us to disengage from the stresses of our typical daily lives and enable us to relax all that much quicker.

We loved all the attention to detail such as a shell on the shelf by the toilet paper in our villa and fresh flower petals decorating the restrooms by the front desk. It was lovely to return after sundown to find not only our beds turned down, but also the candles lit.

I suggest you take advantage of the outdoor shower as often as possible as well as take any fish you catch to the Turtle Inn chef. He will prepare your catch in a couple delicious methods.

The Turtle Inn is a place to which I dream of returning.

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2007

I won't add too much to the rave reviews, as most are correct, and a holiday at Turtle Inn is not to be missed. Having stayed there after Blancaneaux though I did feel that there was a certain pushiness within the sales approach, and felt annoyed by it to the point where I really didn't want to book any trips. But the beachfront cottages are not to be missed, perfect setting for a recharge!

  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2007

Turtle Inn is perfect in every sense of the word! I really recommend getting one of the beachfront cottages. Although all the cottages at Turtle Inn are beautiful, there is something so great about sitting on your screened in porch in the morning, watching the ocean, and sipping the fresh cup of coffee that the staff just delivered (as they do every day). We walked into Placencia once or twice for lunch -- it's a great place to walk around, but don't expect it to be a huge tourist town. We liked it, but just know that it is a lazy fishing village with some great restaurants on the beach. We didn't go there at night - so I don't know how fun it is at night. We simply walked into town - it's not that far and you get to see some neat "Belize style" houses on your way.

The staff at Turtle Inn went the extra mile for us on more than one occasion. On one day during our stay, my dad was having surgery in the U.S. The staff at Turtle Inn were so kind and patient every time I went to the front desk and asked them to dial the phone for me (they have to do the international codes, etc..). They put me in a private room for the calls, and never once got irritated when I asked them to dial the call again (they dialed it about 3-4 times throughout the day). Later in the day, one of the staff brought an email to me sent by a friend of the family saying that the surgery went well. The friend sent the email to the general email address for the resort and the staff delivered it to me within minutes. They really went the extra mile for us, which is typical of the service you will receive there.

The food at Turtle Inn is very similar to the food at Blancaneaux: wonderful. We ate a lot of fish (by choice, not because it was the only thing) and pasta. The pizza at Turtle Inn is amazing. Try one. In addition to the menu, there are daily dinner specials which change every night. There wasn't one thing on the menu that I wouldn't recommend. The chef at Turtle Inn is amazing.

We spent a lot of time at the Laughing Fish Bar (on Turtle Inn's property) - which sits 20 feet from the ocean. Noel was our bartender and is the best person to talk with!

We did the snorkle tour and really recommend it for everybody. Our guides were great! They knew where all the creatures lived so we saw more fish, rays, and a shark(!) than we would have on our own. The guides don't harass the rays or fish, but simply point them out for you to look at. We also did the Monkey River tour. It was a relaxing ride up the river - lots of iguana, crocs, turtles and yes, a few monkeys. Really fun.

I would return to Turtle Inn in a heartbeat. There was nothing I would change about our trip.

  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2007

We stayed at Turtle Inn after Chrsitmas in 2006. We stayed in a Cabana (one bedroom on the beach) and paid $405 night (not including very high taxes).

In addition to the existing Cabanas, the Inn just opened new Cabanas (most are one bedroom and not on the beach), which opened during our stay. They also have a beautiful new (small) pool that opened by these Cabanas (bringing the total of pools to two).

The Turtle Inn did not disappoint from an appearance, cleanliness and room standpoint. It is gorgeous and for the picky traveler, you will not be disappointed with the Cabanas and resort.

Francis Ford Coppola did a great job with this private and well manicured resort which was leveled in 2001 by a hurricane and rebuilt by 2003.

Pay the extra money to get a Cabana on the Ocean and if possible, request one away from the bar and pool. Our Cabana was right next to the pool and bar and the screaming children (in the pool and while playing football) got to us. Hint: Book your stay when kids are in school, this will minimize this issue.

The Cabana is awesome and the outdoor shower and garden was the highlight. We never showered inside and thoroughly enjoyed this Bali-like feature. We even had a "pet" Iguana that we named Ziggy that perched on our thatch roof every day (very cute!).

The Cabanas are spacious but the bed was small. I believe there is another Cabana with a King bed, so you may want to inquire.

There is not TV at Turtle Inn (which is awesome) except for one small TV in a small room loosely called the Business Center.

Regarding the (lack of service), the rumor is that the management recently changed. Unfortunately, Turtle Inn suffers from a serious lack of communication and lack of great service. Below are some examples:

1. Turtle Inn never told us we needed to arrive in Belize City by 2:30pm in order to catch the last commuter (propeller) plane to Placencia. The last flight leaves at 4:45pm (Tropic Air). We ended up getting stuck in Belize City the first night (which I do not recommend).

Initially, Turtle Inn refused to credit us for the lost night but after confronting them with the fact that they never informed us upfront (or at booking) and the fact that they failed to mention this on their website, they refunded our first night.

2. The restaurant ovens went out twice during our stay which prevented us from getting our bread baskets for the (included) Continental Breakfast and the beach front bar lost electricity one evening during happy hour.

3. The service was below expectations and many times our requests were not fulfilled or done wrong. For instance, we had a torrential downpour and requested someone come wipe down our Cabana porch; no one ever came. Also, we came back to our room one afternoon and there were no towels; housekeeping came 15 minutes later.

4. Resort communication is poor. Many times we found out about the daily activities and special events from other guests. One such instance was the opening of the new pool, which we found out from another guest. It would have been good to know this previously given the amount of people/children in the "main" pool. Also, our waiter never informed us that we could order from the regular menu for New Year's Eve dinner and I was subjected to a pre-set menu (with mushrooms in the dinner entrée). Needless to say, I didn't eat much dinner that night. Also, there are lots of things to do (kayak on the lagoon side to see crocodiles, ride bikes, etc... which no one briefed us on). Most of what we found out about Turtle Inn was from others guests who, like us, learned from someone else. We all joked that it was like playing a game of telephone.

5. The Concierge comes around each evening during dinner to get your order for activities for the next day. We found him to be nice when he is in "selling mode" but very disengaged the rest of the time. At times, when we asked him questions, we got the impression we were bothering him. We expect more - and hence, we went into town and booked our tours with Joy Tours.

We recommend you go to eat (in town) at Wendy's (for breakfast or lunch) - try the conch fritters! DeTache Cafe (at the Sea Spray Hotel) is great for dinner - get there early as there is a wait. Placencia Trattoria is great for home made Italian food and the owner is a former New Yorker with plenty of attitude (and fun!).

Belize is beautiful and the (Mayan) people are wonderful. We'd recommend staying a few nights at Francis' other property, Blancaneaux before you come to Turtle Inn.

The beach is beautiful (but small) and intimate. We loved the private feel and could really relax.

The food at Turtle Inn is pretty good. Try the Turtle Inn "dessert bar" one night after you eat in town to enjoy the amazing desserts. It is tucked beside the restaurant.

We suggest you bring a game or two and it would be great if you left it behind. Others left a few behind but unfortunately, they are missing pieces. Scrabble was our favorite lazy afternoon game!

There is a fridge in the room so we headed into town (on bikes) to load up with our beverages. The room doesn't have a phone except for the cool conch shell phone to communicate with the front desk.

Make sure to bring lots of denominations of US currency - we brought 50 one dollar bills and they came in very handy. A ride to town (via taxi) is $5 US dollars or 10 Belize dollars. By the way, town is less than 2 miles away. We rode bikes during the day - fun, but my bum is sore!

For the price, Turtle Inn is reasonable. The quality of the resort is comparable to a Ritz or Four Seasons but much more intimate. Despite the above comments, I highly recommend it.

If you can get past the lack of communication and service, you will have a GREAT time. For those of you that love white glove service and more attention, you may want to go elsewhere.

We loved our Cabana and the resort - and made friends with our pet Iguana, aptly named Ziggy.

Enjoy paradise in Belize!

  • Liked — The Cabanas
  • Disliked — The Service
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avon, Ohio
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
178 helpful votes 178 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2006

This place is absolutely awesome. If you want a laid-back, relaxed beach getaway, this is it. Right on the water with combed beaches (multiple times daily), a sweet outdoor bar, gorgeous pool, hammocks everywhere, in/out restaurant.

I stayed here with my wife on our honeymoon for 5 days after coming from Blancaneaux. We booked the Chinese matrimonial suite -- and had no idea it was right on the water. There is a palm tree in the pictures you'll see where it leans way out over the water with a sign hanging from it. This is the front yard of the suite.

We fell asleep every evening and woke every morning to the sound of waves lapping in from the Caribbean. The suite itself was just perfect -- hardwood floors, wonderful bathroom, and fantastic "backyard" with little anoles and geckos everywhere.

I would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Liked — Beautiful views, sand, beach, water, service, food, everything.
  • Disliked — The bed was a bit hard and small... :)
  • Tips/Secrets — Book a trip and go.
  • Stayed February 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
milwaukee, WI
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2006

My wife and I just got back from 1 week in paradise. From the moment you touch down in Placencia you are treated as if you are the only people in the village. You are warmly welcomed with a great drink and briefed on the resort and everything they have to offer.

Our beach view cottage was beautiful, clean and quite large. The first thing we did was run to the outdoor shower. Every night at dinner the concierge comes around and asks what you might like to do the next day and offers coffee and tea service for the morning. Every staff member we encountered shook our hands and introduced themselves. They truly made us feel special.

The food- simply amazing. Everything is organic and most things are grown on Coppola's properties. The wines were fantastic as well. They also have a new very small place across the road, Auntie Luba's Kitchen. She serves traditional Belizean fare at very reasonable prices. Yes, it's much more expensive than eating in the village, but it really is worth it.

Overall it is a fantastic place to spend your honeymoon or a special trip. We met some great people, including the staff, and have so many special memories from our trip. I can tell you that we will be staying there again!

  • Tips/Secrets — Ask for Carlos as your server, he was great!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtle Inn

Address: Placencia Village, Placencia, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Stann Creek > Placencia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Placencia
#4 Family Hotel in Placencia
#8 Romantic Hotel in Placencia
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Placencia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Turtle Inn 4.5*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury and unspoiled beauty on a pristine white-sand beach.Turtle Inn is a true labor of love. Less than a year after Francis and Eleanor Coppola acquired this beachside refuge in 2001, it was swept out to sea by the forces of Hurricane Iris. Turning disaster into triumph, the Coppolas led a two-year reclamation project, creating a magnificent resort that is consistently ranked among the best in Central and South America.This 25-room seafront hideaway combines natural wonders with luxury style. Accommodations are in individual thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings and naturally cooled by the ever-present sea breezes. Just steps beyond your private deck, the white-sand beach dissolves into the clear Caribbean ocean. In addition, the resort has two infinity swimming pools for enjoying the day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turtle Hotel Placencia
Turtle Inn Belize/Placencia
Belize Turtle Inn

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