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“Beautiful stay, but hard not to feel ripped off...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Blancaneaux Lodge

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Blancaneaux Lodge
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Central Farm | Cayo District, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize   |  
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Hotel amenities
Newbury, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful stay, but hard not to feel ripped off...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

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. :-)

Room Tip: The deluxe honeymoon cabanas with plunge pools are beautiful, and very private!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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278 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 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

We really enjoyed our stay at Blancaneaux. This is a top rate property in a beautiful location with great service and enough activities to keep you busy if you want, and enough options for relaxation so you don't even need to leave the property. After a relatively long drive (2.5 hours from the airport with the last hour traveling on really really bumpy dirt road), the property itself is a welcome oasis in the pine mountains of Belize. We enjoyed many activities, including a canoe tour through a mile-long Mayan burial cave, a hike to a nearby waterfall for swimming and a day trip to Tikal. While Tikal is amazing, the 6 hour round trip to the Guatemalan site isn't too fun (especially because a couple of hours of that is on that same bumpy road you drove in on).

We traveled over spring break, so it was very busy at the hotel (with lots of kids). We had to split our time between to classes of room. The honeymoon room was a bit cold at night on the water, but when we later changed to the luxury cabana with dipping pool it was a little slice of heaven.

There are only two restaurant options on the property. The Guatemalan restaurant is harder to get into, but has better food. The Italian restaurant was good, but frankly we were tired of the options after just a couple of meals there.

The roads really became tedious after just a few days there as well. We planned activities every day that we were there, but to get anywhere, you have to travel these roads less traveled. Apparently they just had an election where officials promised to make the roads a priority. Let's hope so, because this was enough to make us not want to return.

Room Tip: If you can, upgrade to the luxury cabana with a pool... the room is so nice you won't want to le...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Kansas City, Missouri
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

Where to begin. First, it is important to know we stayed there on our honeymoon and bought a honeymoon package (approx 4,000 for 3 nights with tours/some meals).

We are picked up at the airport and took a 2 hour drive to the resort (this may have been the best part of the trip actually). Our driver, Theo was so cute! He talked non-stop the entire way and you could tell was very proud of his country. HE even stopped the car a couple times and had us get out to smell different plants, try fruit etc. Yes, its the bumpiest road we had ever been on but with Theo, it was the last thing on our mind.

We arrive at the resort, keep in mind they knew when we were arriving, and the room was not ready for another 2 hours. The first person who greeted us and explained out package immediatly asked for a credit card and was actually pretty short with us. IT was just a weird way to start the conversation. Not congrats, not how was the ride, just we need more $ (like we could leave w/o paying-they knew we were going to turtle inn next and there is no way to leave this place if you dont have a car).

When our room was finally ready, we took the long walk to the HONEYMOON cabana #12. The room itself was BEAUTIFUL!!!! Just stunning really. However, considering they spent two hours cleaning it, we were suprised to find a basket (clearly sent to the previous room occupants) filled with trash from food, left over cookies, a note from whoever sent the basket.

After we had to wait so long for our room to be ready and took the 2 hour drive, we just wanted to take a nap. We lay down and immediately hear SCREAMING coming from the only other HONEYMOOON cabana on the resort. There was a family with young children staying next to us and you could hear EVERYTHING! There was one very unhappy crying/screaming child and b/c the place is open with screens, there is no way to block out the noise. For that much money, you expect that the resort would not put children in a honeymoon cabana. It should be private, relaxing and quiet.

When it becomes clear we wont be getting our nap, we decide to go have an early dinner. It is completely dark outside and the resort is very large. We were supposed to get a flashlight upon checking it but "we are all out." There are 12 cabanas here. Seems like it might be a good idea to have more than 12 flashlights on hand. As we just arrived that day, we did not know our way around and since we had no flashlight, it was very hard to know where we were going.

The waiters are great here! Really nice people who always called us by their name. We tipped each of them an extra 10% (10% service fee is already included) each meal. The food was not good at all. If this restaurant was in Kansas City, we would never come back. The Caprese salad had tomatos that were not even close to being ripe.

After dinner we went back to the room and heard more screaming children. The next morning we woke up and had our "private" tour of Carocol. I will not name this guide as I dont want him to lose his job but here are 2 examples of how the tour went. Not kidding.
1) our tour guide telling us about Carocol, "This place right here, well, there was this guy. I cant remember his name but he had a son and there was a huge battle right here. The information is conflicting but it happened b/w 100BC and 800 AD." REally, someone fought someone in a 900 year period. Amazing! There were other tour guides giving tour at the same time, so I left ours and tagged along with another group
2) we were looking at some of the ruins and our tour guide got out a post-it from his pocket and had us look at it to figure out the equinox.

After this day long tour (you also see a cave etc) we return at the resort at 4:00. We left at 8:00. We decide to sit at the bar and have a couple drinks. Again, service here very good and bartender was no exception. At around 5 we make the hike back to our room, walk up the stairs and guess what? Room locked! We didnt even know the rooms locked b/c we were never given a key upon checking in! We broke in with a credit card and told them we did not have akey as one was never provided to us. Again, for this kind of money a room key and flashlight would both be a good idea.

There were a ton of children at the resort and one in paticular was SO loud that the wait staff was actually moving people away from her.

If you're wanting a quiet, romantic honeymoon with tour guides that know what they are talking about, DONT GO HERE. We will never recommend this hotel to anyone!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Mateo, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

Everything about Blancaneaux was excellent. Attentive service, beautiful surroundings, great accomodations and so many tours and activities to choose from! This not a place for those lookiing for the "Four Seasons" experience( no waterslides or kids club(hooray!)). It is a bit out of the way but frankly it the activities and tours that make this place so special. The remote nature of Blancaneaux is what makes it amazing. Almost the entire staff of Blancaneaux are from the local village of San Ignacio and therefore are extremely proud of their heritage and country. If you want to experience the beautiful and historically significant surroundings of western Belize, this is a must.

Room Tip: The two bedroom villas are awesome for families!!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

The rooms, food, service and location are spectacular, well described in prior reviews. Given its remoteness, it is amazing how this level of luxury can be sustained. That said, it wil only be loved by people that are willing to accommodate a rough road (really, not all that bad, and its what keeps the place remote), an occasional bug, and no air conditioning.

Our comparison would be Chaa Creek, which although also excellent, seems like a tourist lodge in terms of size, remoteness and sense of adventure.

Room Tip: Pay up a bit to get a room looking over the river. Do go see Curacol, a Mayan City still largely un...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wyoming
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

Yes, this is a poor third world country. Yes, the lodge is in the middle on nowhere. But it is incredible. One of the best experiences we have had.

We were met at the airport by a driver with fruit, cookies, and water and driven the 2.5 hours to the lodge. The last hour on a very rutted, pot hole filled dirt road with max speeds of 30 mph. There are two routes, we took one in and one out, and they are about the same. The lodge is beautiful with amazing service. The staff all knew our names, all introduced themselves, and anticipated any and all needs. The stay was effortless. Free continental breakfast (tropical fruit, juice, warm fresh baked breads) delivered to our room each morning. We stayed in cabana 12 which was beautiful, secluded, and private. There is an outdoor shower, plunge pool with private sundeck, and a comfortable bed. Turndown service with mosquito net and candle light was nice. There were some large ants on the property but very few insects and none in or around our cabana. We used a mosquito net but probably didn't need to. The restaurants provided simple, fresh delicious food with a few unique specials each day - we particularly enjoyed the pizzas. The excursions left from the lodge with lodge staff or handpicked guides. They were informative, adventure-filled, and unique. The combo trip to Caracol was an event of a lifetime with a gourmet picnic lunch. I already want to go back. It was actually the first place I've stayed that I didn't want to leave. But, it was quite expensive.

Room Tip: Cabana 12 has to be the best room for couples. Well appointed, beautiful wood floors, amazing outdo...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Jolla, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

We stayed here and at the Coppola Resort in Placentia. Both have beautiful landscaping and very attentive staff. We traveled with another couple and stayed at a two bedroom Villa at both destinations. At Blankenaux we stayed at the villa used by the Coppolas. While it was lovely architecturally, the advertised wi-fi was essentially non-existent. You would get a connection and moments later, lose it. Even worse, the lighting was so bad that at night we could not read or play cards with our friends.

At the Placentia Resort, we had the same problems, but there was also a huge tripping hazard when you went into the bathroom because they had used wonderful Balinese doors for the entrances to the bathrooms, which looked lovely, but included a fairly high threshold up from the floor.

Further, no one warned us that the roads to Blankenaux are pot-hole ridden, making for a very difficult 20 miles or so. Coming from the Belize airport, there is a better way to go (though San Ignacio) that shortens the really bad road, but the Resort gave us no notice of that.

For the kind of money for these accommodations in country with a relatively low standard of living, the Resorts were a disappointment.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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.
FFCPresents, Guest Relations Manager at Blancaneaux Lodge, responded to this review, March 28, 2012
Thank you for visiting Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn. While we are thrilled our staff was a highlight of your trip, we're sorry to hear we fell short of delivering on expectations.

We apologize for the issues with our wi-fi. Unfortunately, some of our equipment had been damaged during a recent storm and was under repair. It is now back up and running.

Also, thank you for bringing your lighting concern to our attention. We're able to provide additional lighting to any of our rooms upon request, but we could've done a better job of checking in with you after your first night to ensure you were taken care of.

Finally, while we do not have control over road conditions to and from the resort, we should have notified you of what to expect during the drive. We have addressed this with our staff so that all future guests will be properly informed.

We are grateful when guests let us know how we can improve.
Thank you again for choosing to stay with us - we do hope you'll consider visiting us again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blancaneaux Lodge

Address: Central Farm | Cayo District, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Cayo > Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Blancaneaux Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 20
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

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