This review is long overdue... my husband and I spent a wonderful week at Tranquility Bay to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary in late April of 2012. We are Caribbean bums and have traveled to many of the USVI's and BVI's, Mexico a few times, and the Bahamas, so we were looking for something different and less commercial. We heard great things about Ambergris Caye, and were about to book the Victoria House until we found TBR through Trip Advisor. We didn't know anyone personally who stayed here so we were nervous that the reviews were too good to be true. But to our delight, everything was picture perfect from the moment we stepped on the yellow TBR boat to make the 40 minute ride to the resort. I don't even know where to begin when expressing why you must visit this place during your lifetime, so I narrowed down the top reasons why we were so impressed.
1) TRUE beachfront access- We counted 32 steps from our porch to the water. The villas have beautiful french doors that we opened every morning with gigantic smiles on our faces. We have been very disappointed in the past when we pay a premium for "beachfront access" only to find out you're 100 yards and a few sidewalks away from the ocean. That's not the case here... it's heaven at your front steps. Literally!
2) Relaxing atmosphere- We both have stressful jobs and live in a big city, so we really wanted to unplug from the world. And that's exactly what we did. The staff was accommodating without being intrusive, and they went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed and then some. And to be honest, we were a little worried when we arrived and saw kids on the beach. We don't have children yet, so we didn't want our relaxing trip to be overtaken by loud screams and cannonballs in the water. (We have been to the Atlantis a few times and had a horrible experience). To our delight, the families were very respectful, the kids were really relaxed/well behaved, and the villas are far enough apart so you're bothered by anyone. The whole week, we were up at sunrise and in bed after the sunset (and some rum punch). A few of the days we didn't see any other guests aside from breakfast and dinner... everyone does their own thing and keeps to themselves (but in a friendly way). They also have a good selection of books and board games you can borrow from the restaurant.
3) Great food- Top notch, fresh, authentic. It doesn't get any better. We were a little disappointed that lobster season isn't until the May/June, but the fresh fish, conch, and shrimp were just as delicious. The drinks are also great, but they add up at $10-$12 a pop. We stopped at a store on our way in from San Pedro and stocked up on rum and mixers, so I'd suggest doing that to save a little $$. The refrigerators in the room aren't very big, so you can't actually cook, but I'd also recommend keeping chips and salsa, etc, to snack on during the day.
4) Spa services- While there isn't a spa on site, the manager arranged for a licensed masseuse to give us 1 hour swedish massages in one of the villas that wasn't occupied. She had everything set up when I arrived (full spa-like experience with scented candles and oils), and opened the french doors so I could hear/feel the ocean breeze. The quality of her service was excellent and I think it was $100 pp plus tip.... you can hardly find prices like that in the states!
5) Snorkeling and fishing- TBR is a 30 kayak trip from one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. The coral is just off the coast, and it actually causes the waves to break, so the area from the shore to the coral is like a giant calm fish tank. We rented snorkel equipment for $10 a day and spent our afternoons kayaking to new locations and swimming face down in the water, admiring the abundance of tropical fish. We also did the day trip to HolChan and the guided sunset fishing trip with Gordo- highly recommend both! They are very helpful if you're a fishing newbie (we definitely were), and the best part is they clean & cook your fresh catch for dinner that evening. They prepare it "Caribbean Style" which is seasoned with salsa, sour cream, peppers/onions, then wrapped in foil and grilled. We were so in love with the preparation that they let us back in the kitchen and showed me how to make it at home. (Which I've done several times... we call it our "belizian fish" and it's always a hit with guests!)
6. Remote location- TBR really is a hidden gem. You aren't bothered by other tourists, beach peddlers, or really anything at all. You'll see more herons than you will people. This is a place to visit if you want to relax, tan, swim, snorkel, read, fish, eat, drink, and unwind.
I could go on and on about how great our week was, but you have to experience it yourself to truly understand. We were so sad to leave, we truly felt like a part of the family. We can't wait to book our next trip and will absolutely make TBR a part of our travel routine for years to come.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A relaxing 12 miles North of San Pedro Town, Tranquility Bay Resort is a secluded paradise. 10 Separate cabanas line the nicest beach on the island. The only resort on the island where it is safe to snorkel from the beach to the reef! Relax and enjoy our beautiful setting from our water top restaurant and watch the Tarpon, Barracuda and Eagle Rays swim under our dock lights! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tranquility Bay Hotel Ambergris Caye
- Hotel Tranquility Bay
- Tranquility Bay Resort Belize/Ambergris Caye