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“Total Escape”

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Matachica Resort & Spa
Ranked #8 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
New York
1 review
“Total Escape”
Reviewed March 4, 2009

From the moment Captain Chris met us to take us by sea to the resort - we knew we were going to completely escape for six days. The resort sits north of san pedro town and the only access is by sea. The second largest barrier reef in the world is a short kayak ride away from your casita. The location is perfect for water activities of all kinds - sailing, snorkeling, diving in some of the best reef formations in the world. The sport fishing is legendary - and and when you are waterlogged you can head inland on a trip to explore Mayan ruins. After an exhausting day of diving or doing nothing, the staff cares for you like you are family. Every night we ate fresh local food prepared exquisitely in the hotel's restaurant - which gets a lot of traffic from folks staying at other resorts. The fish, chicken and pork are all exceptional.
The guests all stay in private casitas (book the beachfront casitas if you can) with bath and living area - and a private hammock and beach chairs. While there are other guests there - you feel completely alone most of the time. We sat out on the dock for sunrise and on the beach chairs to watch the full moon come up and we couldn't have been more relaxed.
The attractions are the scenary and activities - and your travel companion. There are no phones, no TV, only two computers in the main building, and not a lot of 'action.' That's what we wanted. It's heavenly for two people in love - would be purgatory if you are not getting along with your partner or get seasick - since the only way to get to matachica is by sea. Keep that in mind - and have a great trip.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NewYorkRise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Pittsburgh, PA
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2009

For me, Matachica could have been perfect. Great location, beautiful facilities... but the service left a lot to be desired.

The start was certainly promising, as airport pickup/check-in couldn't have gone any smoother. In fact, our whole first day was really pretty great.

The trouble came the next 2 days, as the service really worsened. I don't know if they were short-staffed, or if the managers weren't there(we noticed that things seemed to go much more smoothly when Oswalt was at the bar, or one manager [didn't catch his name, but he didn't wear a uniform, which led me to believe he was in charge] were around), but suddenly everything became a chore. Getting a beach towel became a 45 minute ordeal (this happened to me me 3 different times, and I heard other guests grumbling about it), the bar was often unmanned, and the general feeling among given from some (certainly not all) of the staff was that helping the guests was a real inconvenience for them. Beer bottles and cocktail glasses from the night before were on the dock until midday. We'd reserved a snorkeling trip on day 1 for day 3; 2 hours before we were set to leave, I went to the front desk to confirm (by the way, we'd been hanging around the lobby all morning), and the gentleman said, "Oh, you're the only ones, so we can't take you. I guess I could call around and see if someone else can take you." We ended up having to reschedule to the next day.

Also, the restaurant was pretty good, but very over-priced.

So, in summation, beautiful property with very inconsistent service. Maybe they're resting on their laurels, or maybe we caught them on a bad stretch. And it's not like anything horrific happened; it's just we were expecting more from such a ballyhooed property.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rwtrum0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matachica, Owner at Matachica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 2, 2009
As the owner of Matachica I was certainly concerned with your disappointment with your experience at the resort. We pride ourselves on our service and take our guest's reviews VERY seriously. Please be assured that I have begun an immediate and comprehensive investigation of your complaints in order to ensure that any weakness in service experienced during your visit is corrected. No excuses but rather commitment to the top flight service that makes Matachica so special.

Daniel Lighter, Owner.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 5, 2009

My girlfriend and I cannot say enough about the exquisite comfort, service and surroundings of the Matachica resort on Ambergris Cay. From the water taxi ride from San Pedro, we were greeted with pre-ordered cocktails of our choice upon arrival and given a friendly, laid back tour of the intimate complex. Talk about Fantasy Island. Staff greeted us with warm smiles and open arms and management personally went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Luggage magically appeared in our colorful casita which was elegantly appointed; Island local flair meets upscale chique. The restaurant was top shelf, the hot tub overlooking the view was sublime and the perfectly manicured white sand beaches were heavenly. Be prepared to be off the grid. No room phones or TV and internet access only in the lobby and entertainment center. But this is exactly what WE wanted! Everyone felt like family by the end of the week, but in a totally non-invasive, chilled out way. Even the music in the lobby and dining room at night was excellent. Props to management for their cool lounge stylings and overall, calming and intimate experience. We loved Matachica!

  • Liked — Relaxed cool atmosphere. Island time.
  • Disliked — No complaints
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank daveyhj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2009

Just got back from our 8 day honeymoon at Matachica. I won't repeat what everyone else has said, but just want to let you all know that if you are going to Belize or going on your honeymoon...definately go to Matachica! It is wonderfully relaxing, remote and beautiful. Everything is first class! We stayed in the new pomegranite room which...although its set back from the water...is lovely. We did the Hol Chan snorkeling with Chris...which was awesome. He showed us the moray eel, sea turtles and even got us close enough to a nurse shark and some rays to touch them. We also did the Altan Ha ruins trip which i thought was lame, but my husband liked alot. It takes an hour on the boat and then another hour on a bus to get to the ruins. Then when you get there, the site is packed with cruise ship passengers and our guide (while friendly enough) didn't seem to know all the much about the history. We spent about 30 minutes at the ruins and were then ushered to a "jungle spa" for lunch and a relaxing time at the pool and mineral hot tub. The lunch was fine, but the pool was cold and the hot tub too hot and neither were as nice as the facilities at Matachica.

We made the mistake of booking the honeymoon package which I DO NOT recommend. Its no deal, in fact, its incredibly overpriced and it requires you to eat every breakfast and dinner at their restaurant, Mambo and on their timetable. Now don't get me wrong, the restaurant is excellent, but I got bored with it after a few nights and frankly I just cant eat a rich appetizer, entree, dessert and 1/2 a bottle of wine every night. Plus, I wanted to check out the other restaurants in the area which we couldn't do since we were locked into the Matachica meal plan. All rooms come with a hearty continental breakfast which is lovely. The honeymoon package comes with an american breakfast which was unnecessary in my opinion. After 3 days we realized we were never going to spend the approx $250 per day that the honeymoon package breaks down to and we tried to get out of it, but they wouldn't let us. We also tried to swap out the Altan Ha ruins trip with other trips, but they were going to make us pay an additional fee. They were very unclear about what came with the honeymoon package, which wines were included. etc. So I'm hoping you all learn from my - very expensive - mistake and do not commit to the package.

Just a few more things, I'm from boston and have had massages by the best of the newbury street spas. But i got the best massage of my life from Flor at Matachica. Maybe it was the warm tropical air, maybe it was the wonderful smelling rubs, maybe it was her fluid technique...i dont know....but I would go back there just for that massage. dont skip it!

Finally, review your final invoice carefully. All meals and drinks are written up by hand and then calculated at the end of your stay. We found several errors and overcharges on ours - i dont think it was intentional, but just pay close attention to what your ordering and paying for.

  • Liked — The beautiful casitas, the ambiance, the privacy, the lack of annoying children
  • Disliked — That we were locked into an overpriced
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Krista316
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 5, 2009

I had a great time here- absolutely loved the way it is designed....reflects excellent taste and a great commitment to providing an intimate, beautiful belizean experience. The bungalows were very comfortable and provided just the other-worldiness that I look for in a vacation spot. The restaurant, bar and beach are all warm, intimate and lovely. The owner is fabulous and so was the service. Nobody was overbearing, but I felt that we were well taken care of. Matachica is definitely a special find.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Leigh1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sun Prairie
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2009

We stayed for 8 days and I cannot think of a true negative about Matachica. I read all the reviews before we left for Belize and was intrigued by some of the poor reviews. Here’s my take on Matachica.

Upon arriving on Tropic Air, we were met immediately by our driver…a short gold cart trip to the shore and we boarded a Matachica boat for the 10 minute trip to the Resort. They took our Welcome drink order and started for the resort. Our arrival was seamless with no waiting. We rode with two other guests who would be leaving the next day and we got some good information about what to expect and do for the next week.

Ismail met us at the dock (more about him later) and escorted us to the lobby where we were given our drink and room key. We stayed in the Papaya casita, which I think may have the best view of the four beach front casitas. The view was unobstructed and door to Sea was 30 steps. The casita was excellent. Some people may find the closet a bit small, but how much clothing do you need to pack for a trip to Belize? Not much, since the temperature is perfect.

The menu in the restaurant is diverse. It clearly retains some of the Italian influence from the previous ownership. The food is presented well and the staff is very good. There are a few employees who are either new or less competent, but we never had bad service…just some that was less than perfect. The Christmas Eve dinner was a nice treat. Visitors from around the Caye joined the resort guests and created a festive atmosphere.

Matachica brought in Belizean dancers for the Christmas Eve entertainment and the act was cheesy and would not have been missed. Snickering was evident throughout the dining area and certainly led to some interesting conversation!

Captain Chris deserves many kudos for his work on the snorkeling trip to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. You cannot miss these side trips even if, like my wife, you don’t swim. Chris committed to taking her into the water and ensuring that she would be able to experience what is some of the greatest snorkeling in the world, and that is no exaggeration. The reef is beautiful and Chris knew where to find Moray eels and other great sites in the crystal clear water. More importantly, he provided Caroline with an experience that she would have otherwise missed. He could have easily had her stay on the boat, but that wasn’t even a consideration for him. I cannot thank him enough. Shark Ray Alley was unreal. Rays galore and even a few harmless sharks!

The trip to Lamanai has been panned by at least one reviewer, but I have a different take. The trip from the Resort to Lamanai did take a while (you travel by boat, bus, and boat to get there), but it was enjoyable. Seeing more of the country and its people enhanced the trip. Maybe our view is different since we were there for more than a week, but it was a day well spent.

San Pedro is a must visit. The Matachica boat makes several trips to town each day, so travel to and fro is free. You can opt for the Island Ferry, but that is a relatively poor value. We shopped and ate lunch in San Pedro and although it is a bit touristy, it too was enjoyable.

Other activities at Matachica are fairly limited, but the purpose of our trip was to relax and set aside any agenda driven thinking. No Blackberry, no e mail, not TV, no radio, just us and nature. We rode bikes to Palapa Bar & Grill, ran the beach, shopped at the Mata Grande Market, tanned, kayaked, walked miles in each direction and met locals who had moved to the island from around the world. We spent some time next door at Rojo and met the employees’ eight dogs! We did not want for things to do, and we weren’t overwhelmed with activities. You can set your own pace…

The weather was great. There is a constant wind that you learn to love. Although it was in the 80s and humid each day, it never felt like it was that warm or humid. The wind makes the climate near perfect. There was only one time that it really rained, and that was at 6:00 am on the morning we left. By 6:30, it was sunny and clear.

We loved our stay at Matachica and I would recommend it to anyone willing to travel without small children. There were teens with their parents and they were no problem at all. Younger kids would probably ruin the ambiance, so for you future travelers to Matachica, please leave your children at home until they are old enough to understand courtesy and decorum.

Now for a negative. This is not a personal attack, rather it's a message to the owners on how to improve the atmosphere at Matachica. The owners had their family in for mist of the time we were there. The family was great, (especially the grandparents!) with the exception of the omnipresent precocious teenaged nuisance “E”. "E" should learn graciousness and decorum as her other relatives have. Meals became a bit obnoxious when "E" felt the need to flitter around the room speaking much louder than is ever appropriate in a public setting. Hearing "E" talk about her love life was enough to make us leave the dining area during breakfast. With time, maturity may solve the issue. The good news is that "E" doesn’t live at the Resort.

Bugs were not an issue except when walking the road (which is not necessary) that runs behind the resorts. Bug spray is available, but the bug situation inside the Resort and on the beach was a non-issue.

More on Ismail. I wish I could hire him. He oozes customer service and class. He is crossed trained in a lot of positions throughout the Resort and he excels at each of them. He remembered my name form our first encounter and used it throughout the trip. We liked him and look forward to seeing him again in the future.

In a nutshell, pick Matachica if you are looking for relaxation and great service. Singles need not apply!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank mredmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2008

Matachica is the kind of place where, while lazing on the beach contemplating a mojito at one o'clock in the afternoon, you start thinking that marriage might not be a bad idea if you can honeymoon at a place like Matachica.

It may be a shlep (from NYC it's 2 hourst to Miami, 2 to Belize, a 15-minute mini plane and a 10 minute boat ride) but hey, I finished an entire novel (my first since finishing my Bachelor's) during that time.

You arrive to the dock, greeted by staff and a cocktail you ordered on the boat. You are shown your casita or villa (depending how hard you worked that year. kidding, kidding.) and are giddy that there are flower petals on your bed and your bath towels are folded in the shape of two swans kissing.

Then you have a tough decision- lounge by the beach or by the pool? I did both depending on the weather, time of day, and the bug situation (Nice touch: they keep Off! at the bar.)

After some winding down and finishing your second novel in as many days there is snorkeling, scuba diving, sea kayaking, sunfishing and probably more. I did none of the above. I read, ate the most amazing food I've ever had at a resort (and for being a vegetarian, that's pretty incredible) and probably consumed 17 mojitos.

Overall, yes, definitely recommended. Quiet, gorgeous, luxurious, secluded but not overly so (a quick boat ride to town will allow all your shopping needs, if desired).

Have fun!

  • Liked — The atmosphere
  • Disliked — The shlep
  • Stayed December 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank bexo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matachica Resort & Spa

Property: Matachica Resort & Spa
Address: Beachfront | 5 miles north of San Pedro, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize (Formerly Matachica Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in San Pedro
#2 Spa Hotel in San Pedro
#4 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#7 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
#7 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#22 Family Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Matachica Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Matachica Resort & Spa is an extraordinary, secluded and peaceful resort that sits on the beach facing the Caribbean Sea and the second largest barrier reef on the planet earth. The resort has 27 single unit casitas, each air conditioned with private porch. All rooms except SeaView Cabanas have one king sized bed, SeaView Cabanas have two queens. We also have one two-bedroomm 2-bathroom SeaBreeze Villa. All with beautiful Frette and Matouk linens, and exquisite decor. Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, spa, small gym, sea kayaks, snorkel gear, pedal boats, paddle boards, bicycles, complimentary internet access. A minimum age requirement of 14 years for children applies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matachica Beach Hotel San Pedro
Matachica Beach San Pedro
Matachica Resort & Spa Belize/San Pedro

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