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“Absolutely beautiful grounds. Fantastic Tours. Bad spa. Eh food.” 3 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
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Brooklyn, New York
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Absolutely beautiful grounds. Fantastic Tours. Bad spa. Eh food.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

We spend our honeymoon between Ambergris Caye (Matachica) and San Ignacio (Blancaneaux Lodge). My pros and cons are below.

Pros:
- Absolutely beautiful grounds.
- Fantastic guided tours. I mean incredible. Both to the ruins and to ATM.
- The indoor and the outdoor showers in the deluxe room are amazing.
- Great service and staff.
- Great drinks at the bar.

Cons:
- The food in both the Italian restaurant and in the Guatemalan restaurant was below average.
- Our spa experience was very weak. The man who did my massage had the roughest hands I've ever felt. It's like he was wearing gloves made out of dead skin - gross.
- The music in the spa and restaurant caters to an 85 year old crowd. Its really horrible.
- It's rare to find anyone at the resort under 50.
- Our deluxe room had so little light that it was hard to get dressed in the morning. The rooms could use a little work actually. Not very romantic.

Room Tip: We didn't use the private pool in our deluxe cabana at all. I wouldn't waste the money. Alth...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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298 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (67)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

This is a good place for a couple or a family that wants the luxuries of an American Hotel in a third world country jungle inn. It does not have air conditioning but you don't need it (at least when we were there in April) because you sleep in charming little huts with open screens. At night the staff comes down and pulls down canvas screens for privacy and warmth. They also light little candles and leave good sweets. We had a one room hut but many are larger since most people come with school age kids or young teens. There is a central house with a living room kind of place and then a dining room. The grounds are very manicured like an American resort. There is also a wonderful big swimming pool that is often empty which is great for a plash in such a hot place. The main activity we found on the grounds (there may be more) was a jungle walk for about an hour and a half to a waterfall. You can swim at the base and this is a primitive and great. The walk was quite hard fore me (middle aged and out of shape) but everyone else seemed fine with it. The final climb down (and then up) was tough for everyone except the natives who hopped from rock to rock easily. So what is wrong with this place? First it is really not in a very pretty location like some other lodges like Black Rock. There is a curious lack of singing birds for example and the jungle appears kind of lifeless. Also you are trapped there without a car. It iis about an hour off the main road so dusty and pitted that you won't believe it. Then you are trapped here unless you have a car. What people do is pay the hotel to take tours to local caves and to the Mayan ruins. These trips are not cheap since the hotel essentially adds a substantial charge over the price you would pay in nearby San Ignacio with the same vendors. Also you can't really go anywhere else to eat unless you have a car (you need to have rented a four wheel jeep - Crystal in Belize is great for this). I would suggest that you figure out if you want a hut close to the administration room (better for internet which otherwise is only available near the main desk) and also allowing you to hear the artificial water fall or further away which may have more of an isolated jungle feel. The food is quite mediocre and if you thought otherwise because of watching the Godfather movies and reading about Francis Ford Coppola you will be disappointed. Finally families and couples do not mingle as they do on other lodges, each stays to itself so it is not a place to make new friends. Overall it had a much more commercial feel than other lodges you will find in this Pine Forest area. I always had the feeling that the manager spent most of his time trying to sell us the next day's excursion since I suppose that is what the owner's of the hotels expect of him. It does not make you feel like they want to provide much of an experience for you at the actual hotel. However if you are or are traveling with a person who is ill at ease outside of the USA luxury resort this may be the best place for you in Belize. I notice that the guide books sing its praise though it does not score as high as you would expect it to (given the guide books) on Tripadvisor which will offer you some better options. But the Thai massages are just great.

Room Tip: Close to the admin building if you want better wifi and further away if you want more of a jungle fe...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Our experience at Blancaneaux Lodge was exquisite. The staff was super friendly and helpful, our cabana had our own private pool. The attention to detail was amazing. We loved the outdoor shower and thoroughly enjoyed the dining and the river and waterfalls running through the property added to the ambience. According to staff such celebrities as Bill Gates, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, Robin Williams & Alicia Silverstone have all stayed at the Lodge. I would recommend this place to anyone without hesitation

Room Tip: get the deluxe cabana!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I can't understand the praise this place has got unless it is for historical reaons and the love of the Godfather movies (which I share.). In many ways it is like a medicore luxury resort plunked down in the jungle. Not only is it expensive but nothing is "for free." Anything you want to do outside of the hotel (and there is not much to do in the hote except for an interesting mountain walk to a great waterfall) requires a good deal of money to pay for tours that the hotel puts a surcharge on - but which you could book on your own in San Ignacio or on the Web for less. Presumably the clientelle is rich enough not to care and that is what they count on to make money by charging for merely booking the tours run by local companies for cheaper rates. The management has money signs in their eyes - the first intro to the hotel has the manager telling you they have a 10% surcharge for service but that you should not influence you to tip less "if you like the service." Nothing about Belize. Nothing about the ecology - only the fidicuiaries and having you sign a series of "release forms" relieving them of liability. The other resorts we stayed in did not do the same so this is not merely the local custom of hoteliers in Belize. There are, in fact, no "free" nature walks led by the staff - as in other places we have been nearby. The huts you live in are cute and fine and functional and are unusually rich in electrical outlets but the locale of the hotel is actually not so pretty given what else is available in this part of Belize. There is a lovey waterfall but it is man-made. There is a lovely swmming pool but no more lovey then in any ordinary US hotel. To me it is neither fish (a fancy resort) nor fowl (a true nature lodge). I would strongly suggest you try Blackrock which is nearby and is absolutely gorgeous and has all the features this hotel lacks - a pretty setting with breathtaking cliffs and rapids, free nature walks by the staff, communcal seating which allows you to meet other couples and an overall atmosphere which de-emphasizes "the bottom line." Here the manager's main occupation seems to be to get you to buy expensive tours. Despite by love of Francis Ford Coppola's film work - this place has no heart. And the food - even the Italian Pasta- is expensive and close to dreadful.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Oregon
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

It's an adventure just getting there, then pure paradise!
We had the private & luxurious Coppola villa. Open air living & dining room, screened in bedrooms. Sound of the beautiful river right outside our villa lulled us to sleep each night.
Juan, our "butler", took care of our every need and whim. Brought us delicious breakfast each morning - we ate at the 10 person Coppola table each morning overlooking the impressive waterfall (power from it powers the resort).
Then he'd set up our activities for the day, have our lunch packed & delivered to us, prepare our dinner table & serve us dinner, etc. Wow! We really wanted to bring him home with us to run our lives!
Only downside is all the mosquitos - but it's the jungle, what are you gonna do!?
We would stay at least a week next time - great base for exploring region!

Room Tip: All of the villas seemed good. Some more private than others. If this is important to you, ask for...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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.
Willmar, MN
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

We came here as a family, grandparents, adult children and teenagers. We had a river cabana and a villa, both were amazingly beautiful and in wonderful condition. The bar and restaurants were good. The teens ate everything! The activities were very age appropriate -- perhaps not good for younger children. We loved the cave trip, the zip line, horseback riding, informal hiking, swimming. The trip to Tikal is long and the local guide, while very knowledgable, did not reach his audience. It is an amazing place regardless.
The 45 minute drive into and out of the resort are "third world". If you are subject to motion sickness, bring meclizine or something similar. It is possible to fly in, but the landing strip looks like the road and is more subject to weather adversity.
Be sure to check out the gardens where most of the produce and flowers are grown. Blancaneaux Lodge is off the grid -- they generate their own electricity with a little, pretty, dam on the river.

Room Tip: The villas are located below the central area of the lodge -- about 90 steps, with hand rails. The...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

My family enjoyed a great visit at Blancaneaux. The staff is really fantastic. Everything is upscale, but without the bling factor. There are no TVs, no AC, etc. which makes it authentic. The guides they employ are great -- we visited Mayan ruins (Caracol and Tikal), caving and horseback riding -- and everything they arranged came off flawlessly.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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