I would enthusiastically recommend Portofino for those who are looking for a quiet, small resort in a great location with unbelievable service and a devoted staff that is second to none.
If you are looking for a large chain-type resort, than this may not be what you are looking for. However with 17 units it is not crowded, and since it is 6 km north of town it is far enough away from the hustle-and-bustle of San Pedro, yet close enough so that you can get there in 20 minutes using the resort's complimentary boat service that runs several times a day, or with a water taxi.
My wife and I have very different vacation styles. Her ideal vacation is sitting near the beach, relaxing, and reading a book, whereas I can't sit in one place for too long. Portofino worked out very well for us. Our beach cabana was about 100 feet from the water with a perfect view. While my wife read I was able to borrow the resort's sea kayaks and visit Mexico Rocks, which is about 15 minutes out. Along with the sea kayaks the resort lends snorkel gear and life vests. Mexico Rocks is an area of the coral reef where there is a vast array of coral, sponge, and beautiful fish of all shapes, sizes, and colors. It is magnificent. I believe that Portofino is the closest resort to Mexico Rocks and the only one that I know of (or saw) that lends sea kayaks.
The staff is unbelievably dedicated, professional and attentive and go way out of their way to ensure that everyone's needs are met. Some examples:
1. I mentioned to the bartender that it would be really nice if I could get some fresh coconut. About 5 minutes later he arrived at the lounge chairs where my wife and I were sitting with two *fresh* green coconuts with their tops sliced open and straws sticking out. These did not come from the resort refrigerator. They were as fresh as they come.
2. I met Tristian (a member of the restaurant staff) outside one afternoon, and he happened to have some native Belizean fruit that resembles a lychee (kneck?, knepp?). He offerd me and my wife. Not because he was expecting anything, but simply because he wanted to share some of the real Belize experience.
3. A couple was having an anniversary, so the resort arranged a special candle-lit private dinner for them at the end of the dock overlooking the water. From my lounge chair I watched the restaurant staff shuttle back and forth from the restaurant to the end of the dock to ensure that the couple had a special evening.
4. Upon checkout there was an item on my bill that I was not happy with although there was no question that I had agreed to pay it. I made note of it on the checkout questionnaire. Here's what really floored me: I was standing at the Tropic Air counter in San Pedro to check in for my flight, and the phone at the ticket counter rang. The agent answered and handed me the phone. It was the hotel manager calling to apologize for the misunderstanding and explaining both how she would correct the issue on my account and prevent it from happening again in the future. To me this single incident shows the lengths that the hotel staff will go to in order to ensure that their customers are happy. All I can say is, "Wow!".
Overall we were very happy with the accommodations that we had. As appears typical with beach cabanas in Belize ours was semi-detached so we shared a porch with another guest. The cabana also had a 2nd story. So altogether there were four units in the cabana building. For us this did not detract from the privacy at all.
Furnishings were casual and beach-style with a bamboo motif and coconut and conch decorations. Our cabana was clean and everything worked well, though some of the furnishings showed some signs of wear in places. No complaints at all about the bed though, which had a canopy.
Overall we had a fantastic stay here. You will not find a more caring team dedicated to making sure your needs are met anywhere in Ambergris Caye. We would most definitely come back and give it a two thumbs up.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Characterized by its warm and friendly hospitality, Portofino is the epitome of barefoot luxury, unpretentious and relaxing… for most; it will be an experience of a lifetime. Our small, boutique resort offers just 17 beautifully appointed rooms, ranging from charming beach cabanas to spacious suites, dotted amidst swaying palm trees, in a private setting with unmatched personal attention and the modern comforts of home. It is a haven of tranquility, where guests will enjoy the subtle sounds of the nearby waves lapping over the reef, gentle breeze, breathtaking sunrise, star studded night sky and spectacular views of the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea. The perfect setting for a romantic getaway, intimate wedding, honeymoon, family and friends.Portofino offers leisure options to suit every taste. Relax in our fresh water outdoor swimming pool; enjoy a great book from our book collection or simply indulge yourself in a massage on the beach under our hand thatched palapa hut. Explore the underwater world with snorkel equipment or skim along the surface in our complimentary sea kayaks. Delicious meals prepared by our resort chef can be served in the privacy or your beach cabana or suite, on our private dock with a romantic setting or at the Portofino Restaurant. Sip on amazing tropical cocktails at the Green Parrot Beach Bar or perhaps a late afternoon snack from the Green Parrot Bistro. Take advantage of our DVD library and unwind in front of the flat TV screen in your room. Or, simply take in the view. In short, relax and enjoy! Reception in the main building is manned by professional and knowledgeable staff. From, activities bookings and directions to itineraries and dining reservations, our friendly and professional staff is eager to assist you. Access to PORTOFINO is by boat only, and therefore we offer a complimentary meet and greet service at San Pedro Airstrip and boat transfer to the resort, an approximately 20 minutes ride. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Portofino Hotel San Pedro
- Portofino San Pedro
- Portofino Beach Resort Belize/San Pedro