My wife & I stayed at Blancaneaux for the first part of our honeymoon - overall we had a lovely time but there were some downsides...
Arriving after a long, long journey from the UK and a bumpy ride in with Theo (Who had a wealth of knowledge - great first guide to Belize!) we were delighted to be given the very tasty Jaguar Juice welcome drink and lunch before going to our cabana. On seeing the special drink was basil mojitos we had to try one - yum!
After our lunch we had the orientation session which was a little bit odd. I'm used to hotels requiring a credit card on check in of course but I've never before had to sign a legal disclaimer pretty much absolving Blancaneaux of any liability for anything. This was the first we'd learned of this disclaimer and once you're out there there's not really much choice but to sign - really I felt they should have made this clear before we booked.
We soon forgot about that though on seeing our cabana, number 11. Absolutely gorgeous - so spacious with a private plunge pool and outdoor garden shower, flower petals decorating the floor and bed - wow! Really stunningly beautiful & we loved having the plunge pool & private deck during our stay.
The property & grounds are really pretty too & it's lovely to walk down by the creek with the little waterfalls.
Possibly useful to know - the wifi is quite good, free, and worked in our cabana as well as the main bar and restaurant areas.
Food choices at Blancaneaux are very limited, as other reviews have said the choices are between the main Italian restaurant and a tiny Guatamalan one. The food was nice but we did feel we were pretty much gouged with the prices for everything. It's not like there's any other restaurants out in the pine forest so once you're there it does feel a bit like they take advantage. Particularly on our last night there - which we'd wanted to make special, honeymoon after all! - my wife's main course was $48 BZD for effectively a bowl of soup, a tiny bit of chicken and beef and some rice - rather painful. The wine was good but again very expensive.
Overall we did feel a bit ripped off with the focus on charging for absolutely everything. Of course they have to make a profit but in my view a good hotel will almost make you feel you are welcome friends, not paying customers - and Blancaneaux didn't succeed in this regard.
We went on quite a few trips - Xunantunich, Barton Creek Cave, the ATM cave and two horseback rides including one to Big Rock Falls. They were all good & in fact the Blancaneaux guides were all excellent - very impressed! Israel in particular who took us to both Barton Creek and Xunantunich was so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
We'd read previous reviews so knew to expect the bumpy ride to & from the hotel, but it did start to get a little bit tedious for every single trip - especially the ATM trip where there's a really bumpy section at the other end too! Wouldn't be so bad if you were just coming to stay at Blancaneaux and only had to do each way once.
Getting back to the positives though we really enjoyed cocktails at the bar, the lemongrass mojito was absolutely delicious & Edmund the barman was a great guy too. A great place to while away a few hours of an evening! My wife also really enjoyed the full body treatment at the spa - practically floated out. :-)
To sum up, it is a lovely place to stay and was a great start to our honeymoon, but it is very remote and you certainly pay for it! If you're mainly here to see the sights and do the various trips then I'd really suggest staying somewhere closer to San Ignacio. In retrospect I probably wouldn't stay as long; 6 nights was enough that the food had started to get a bit repetitive... If you're just looking to completely unwind and relax for a few days though then I would recommend - it does feel like getting away from the real world.
One last note... We've now moved on to Matachica on Ambergris Caye and are really glad we chose to do jungle then beach, not the other way around! After all that exertion in caves and the bumpy roads some sand and sea is just what the doctor ordered. :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. For more than a decade the resort was used as a family retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993. Tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blancaneaux Hotel San Ignacio
- Blancaneaux San Ignacio