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“True paradise”

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Tranquility Bay Resort
Ranked #23 of 56 Hotels in Ambergris Caye
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 28, 2013

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.

Room Tip: You really can't pick a bad room here because everything is literally beachfront, but the houses...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KJSmith11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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216 - 222 of 451 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2013

TBR was a dream. Great beach with reef right out your door. Kayaks, fishing, snorkeling, diving, hammocks and beach chairs in the shade. Kathryn was very helpful, Pani- "the hardest working man in Belize" is gem (thanks for taking me out snorkeling and for the black tip reef shark), and Caesar and Jose great waiters-service with a smile. Restaurant had good food with reasonable prices, and even cooked our caught fish. Also booking with Jerisue was so easy and she always responded to my e-mails within 24 hours even on weekends. This place has got it together and I have never been so relaxed on a vacation and so sad to leave a place. All of the other staff-don't know everyone's name - was also friendly and helpful. I hope to be back sooner then later.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank brancy316
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Let's see....this is an interesting experience to try and describe.

I decided to have my wedding at TBR and it was absolutely stunning! The entire week was amazing and so much fun! The weather was fairly mild all week, but quite lovely! Most of the staff at TBR are truly wonderful people, and so hard working!

We had roughly 20 people at our wedding, all of them staying onsite at TBR. The week was filled with snorkeling, wedding games, and some relaxation! It was an absolute ball...so much fun to have a full week with all your friends and family to celebrate a wedding! The food all week was also fabulous. The cabanas were very comfortable. We bought food in town, and went back once or twice because San Pedro, itself, is something to experience.

Hol Chan was SPECTACULAR! Our entire group went on this excursion. We had several marine biologists and dive instructors in our group, and they even said...bar none...best snorkel ever. It's sad because one would hope that the snorkeling would be just as amazing at TBR since it's relatively close (expect they fish the reef). The snorkeling at TBR is decent...definitely things to see, but just not on the same scale as Hol Chan. I will say that the location is EXCELLENT for beginners. A lot of first time snorkelers in our group learned to snorkel here at TBR. The water is fairly shallow and sandy patches allow for people to just stand up if they start to panic.

OK..enough of the good stuff...as there were many good things about the trip...the reason you are reading this review is to hear about what went wrong. The beginning and the end are what really speak volumes about this resort. The location, the on-site staff, daily operations - great. The management and reservations....ughhh where do I begin?!?

A month prior to my wedding, I was franctically scrambling to see if there was any way we back out of reservations at TBR. To this point, everything was basically a nightmare. I wasn't sure if monkeys had overrun the resort, or what?! It must have been monkeys, because they couldn't seem to figure out how to email me back. Like it got lost in cyber space. It's 2013. Things don't just get lost, you just got lazy. Communication is KEY, especially when you have a wedding and a group of this size...they certainly managed to respond to my first email about booking the resort (when the old managers were still there). After that - silence. We had a whole wedding to coordinate with them, but nothing. They eventually managed to return some emails back and forth via my mother. And my sister did a lot of legwork making multiple calls etc to get them on the same page. At which point, they tried to overcharge us for everything under the sun...and to sign on the dotted line agreeing to pay it all in advance. Right.

So instead, we took many of the arrangements into our own hands, as the resort seemed incapable. We arranged flowers, the cake, the photographer. They managed to get the minister to show up (yay! by some miricale), and with an overshadowing presence of my sister (maid of honor), they managed to get the chairs placed and rented at requested. The staff were wonderful in setting up the ceremony area, and it all came together beautifully! Wedding was a total success! Although not without many headaches prior to....but I was willing to let that all go...until....

We went to settle our bill, and they had grossly overcharged our group for the night of the wedding. Basically the manager said we got a little crazy, called my sister a liar, and failed to produce any shred of evidence as to how much alcohol was really consumed (ie clear tally, empty bottles etc.)...mind you, we all got up bright and early for our Hol Chan trip the next morning, not a single person hung over...

OK, but in the end, we agreed to disagree, and we settled the bill with them...but only after a big battle, and Pete (manager) disrespecting my sister. And I was willing to let it all go...because seriously...I had an awesome wedding...

Until....(flash forward a couple weeks)...my sister left a negative review of the resort (as she should have), and the management had the review REMOVED from TA. <--- Talk about dishonest! You want to know why they have such a high rating on TA...? Because they micromanage the reviews! (Ugh-disgusts me that TA allows this to go on)

We booked when the old managers were in place...and they were excellent (you can tell from the older reviews...they took the good with the bad, responding to each review). Pete needs to change his 'tude, or sadly TBR will cease to exist. For a resort that lives entirely off of great reviews and repeat business, it's critical that they maintain a high level of customer service.

So to conclude... I am sure TBR will continue to be great for small families, and couples, but don't come here if you want to have a wedding. It won't happen. Go someplace else and spend your money. Although I had a wonderful time, and wouldn't change my wedding for anything, I would choose not to have my wedidng here again, simply based upon the dishonest management practices that go on at TBR.

Room Tip: Any room offers a great view of the water! Staff are quick to fix any issues!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank oobkeep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TBRBelizeMGR, Owner at Tranquility Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2013

We are very sorry that your wedding didn't meet your expectations. We have made many changes in how we plan weddings at the resort and have hired a new manager. Open Bars, in my experience are always a shock to the person paying the tab. We have therefore made changes in how we tally and report back to our guests the bill. We believe in transparency and that obviously was not evident to you, for that we apologize.

We have never removed a bad review, nor would we want to. I actually don't think this is possible as it would diminish the power of TripAdvisor. We feel these reviews are a record of experiences. We actually appreciate any and all feedback, good and bad. Every hotel has issues and how we respond on TripAdvisor and then follow thru at the resort say much about us.

Thanks for your review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

This was a fantastic snorkel trip ! The reef second largest in the world was right out front , no tour or boat needed . Great snorkeling in close for the young or in experienced. The variety or marine life and coral formations where outstanding . This is truly the place where everyone knows your name . I took day trips to Hol Chan , Mexico Rocks and Shark Alley , well worth it , the guide Yemen was personable and knowledgable.

Room Tip: All the cabins are different sizes and set up for various party sizes. Pick any one .
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013 via mobile

It's all about location! The proximity of the underwater world, the beach, charming cabanas, a restaurant and bar with appealing choices and the lack of overt commercialism combine to make TBR the perfect choice for vacation perfection.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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1  Thank pje_MN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2013

My husband and I spent five fabulous days (March 16 – 21) at Tranquility Bay Resort and we enjoyed every minute of it. As others have stated in their reviews, the location is isolated, and yet ideal if that is what you are looking for. We saw San Pedro only as we went through on our way to and from the resort, and were glad we did not spend any more time there. We loved being away from crowds and noise. Although we were told that the resort was fully occupied during our stay, we always had a lounge chair to sit in the shade, or a table in the restaurant. The beach there is just breathtaking, and I spent many happy hours enjoying the view of the beautiful sea while my husband fished nearby.

We stayed in the Budget Traveler’s Room, which was the perfect size for just the two of us. The room comes furnished with a small sofa, coffee table, and comfortable chair. The kitchenette contains a small refrigerator, coffee maker, dishes, cutlery, coffee mugs, and glasses. The air conditioning in the room made it very comfortable at all times.

Based on advice from other reviewers, I brought along several things I was very glad to have with me:

A small cutting board and two sharp knives (great for cutting up the pineapple and other fruit I purchased just outside the airport in San Pedro).
Packaged milk and flavored creamer for my coffee. The restaurant serves coffee in the morning, but I preferred making my own in our room to enjoy from our front porch.
A small plastic pitcher and tea bags – we liked having iced tea to drink every day.
Plenty of snacks!
An eye mask for sleeping (the curtains offered privacy in the room, but didn’t do much to block the light).
Sturdy Teva walking sandals for long walks north of the resort through the coral-covered beaches.
A hat with a chin strap, which stayed put even on the windiest days.

The one thing I wish I had brought along was liquor. They made delicious tropical drinks at the bar, but at U.S. $10 apiece, I didn’t drink very many while sitting on the beach.

During our stay, we did a half-day tour to Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley. We enjoyed the trip and had a great experience with Jamal and Yemen, the TBR employees who ran the trip and guided us in the water. I was glad we were on the TBR boat, with their employees, rather than with a private tour company.

We had a fabulous time at TBR, and we plan to return in a few years.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank maryschroeder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2013

This was our 4th trip to TBR. It has everything we want in a Caribbean vacation and it is does NOT have the things we want to avoid. We love to dive, snorkel, fly fish, eat fresh fish, drink Belikin and hang out on a beautiful beach away from the maddening crowd. Mr. Pete does a great job as manager: friendly, amiable, keeps the place running smooth, and accomodating. The dive staff is great. The bartenders are great. The ladies who cook are great. The staff keep the cabanas clean. I will continue to come back to TBR because it is far and away the best place I have found in the Caribbean and I have visited many a place.
What is so unique is that it is away from town, laid back atmosphere, close to the reef, clean nice beach front cabanas, beautiful beach, easy dive access, incredibly accomodating staff. Also they are not in your way, or in your hair, or pressure you. They absolutely try to accomodate you to the best of their ability ( which is considerable). All facets of the TBR do this. Enough said!
BTW, both manager Pete and I attended LSU and thus, Geaux Tigers!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank sstagg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tranquility Bay Resort

Address: | Basil Jones Cut, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#10 Family Hotel in Ambergris Caye
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Ambergris Caye
#15 Romantic Hotel in Ambergris Caye
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Ambergris Caye
Price Range: $125 - $315 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 11
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

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