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Portofino Beach Resort
Ranked #18 of 54 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 2, 2013

This is my second time to S. Pedro, and I stay again on this hotel to beach. Is been improve a lot so wonderful pool and casitas, the rooms they are very attention to details and clean, also the owner very pleasant at your arrival they remember my previous stay and they welcome me with a special attention, and take care of the guest organize all the trip at the island and any request is well taking care.I specially love the restaurant Italian food with a toque of caribbean,and the plates well down.Good job Sandra and Jan...

Room Tip: Take the suite is large and good view not expanse
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Taricco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2013

It was an absolute pleasure having you again. We are so glad you came back and that you loved all the new improvements. We always try our best to surpass guests' expectations!

We hope to see you again for a third visit!

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353 - 359 of 650 reviews

Reviewed August 25, 2013

Stayed here for 5 nights at the beginning of August. It was our first stop in Belize. The staff are friendly and helpful. The food was good. My husband went fishing and the restaurant cooked us the barracuda and snapper which he caught; both were amazing. The trip the Hol Chan was great- turtles, sharks and rays, our guide was really good, managing a group of mixed ability and confidence. Overall a great place to start our adventure in Belize.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank lennie21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing your experience. We are glad that you enjoyed every aspect of your stay with us and we surely hope that you also enjoyed the rest of your Belize trip.

We look forward to welcoming you again one day!

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Reviewed August 20, 2013

First of all I have never travelled anywhere where the whole staff was as awesome as what we experienced. The owner of the resort is indeed very fortunate have such employees. It was great experience and we would go back in a heartbeat. My wife loves the casinos and the staff set up a flight, taxis, and boat ride for her and it was a breeze. We did have a few minor issues. They gassed up the boat after they picked us up and the fumes were pretty bad. The air conditioning in the smaller cabanas had a hard time keeping up if they were turned off when you weren't in the room. But the biggest thing you need to be aware of is that you need to plan your tours/plans with the boat schedules in mind. Being isolated means that you can only leave the resort by water. The resort has a boat that makes a couple of runs a day and there is a water taxi($11 American each way). As long as you know that then you will love it. The food is great on the island and some resorts will send their boat for you at no charge if you eat at their restaurant. Portofinos restaurant is great also. My wife bought some fish from a local fisherman on the dock and the restaurant cooked it up. Can't get any fresher than that...If I had any suggestions it would be that the hotel offer bicycles for their guests to use. Also the AC unit's could be beefed up a little. Maybe add few more runs of their private boat..especially the weekends. Gas being $13/gallon may mean they should charge a little for it, but it would give everyone a little more options. We would go back tomorrow!!!

Room Tip: If there is a large group get the mansion vs individual rooms. our friends got it and they had two...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBelize, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 21, 2013

It was indeed a pleasure having your family with us! We are glad to hear that you enjoyed our little piece of paradise as well as our staff. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful team here at Portofino.

We apologize on behalf of us and as well as the boat captain for filling up the boat after picking you up. This shouldn't have been done. However, our main boat captain is currently on vacation and our temp didn't realize it was inappropriate. This will not happen again, we appreciate your feedback as this is how we can address these issues and prevent them from happening again in the future.

We are glad that you still enjoyed your stay with us and we hope to welcome you again some day!

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Reviewed August 11, 2013

We picked Portofino based on the reviews and were not disappointed. It's a very intimate little resort with only something like 15 cabañas/rooms, some surrounding a nice pool along the beach, some in a couple larger houses. We had one of the poolside ones, which had a very high, traditional palm thatch roof, wood floors, strong ceiling fans, AC, and a divider wall from the neighboring room. We were not at all disturbed by neighbor noise, even though our cabaña was next to the main restaurant/bar building. The rooms are very comfortable, a bit rustic, and although there was a mosquito net we did not end up having to use it. The staff were very warm and professional, and always willing to help with information or organizing. We had very positive experience with the dive master Roberto, in particular. Definitely take advantage of the reef and nature reserves!

The only thing to keep in mind is that the resort is about 6 miles up the coast from the town of San Pedro, reachable mainly by boat (or a long bike ride on the beach), the resort has a boat that goes to town a couple time a day, captained by the ever-patient Moh. There are also water taxis running every couple hours. We didn't spend much time in San Pedro, which is your typical island town with local shops and tourist dives, but rather found many nice places to eat and drink along the beach south of the resort. The food on San Pedro (Ambergris but no one here calls it that) is very good. The resort bar was great and the restaurant is fine but its nothing to write home about, and is a better value for lunch than dinner, we tended to wander down the beach for that, but it is dark so bring a flashlight!!

We had a great stay, the perfect way to start our vacation and get relaxed, after which we headed to the mainland, rented a jeep and drove around seeing the amazing sites which we highly recommend over doing everything package tours. If you are a couple or with a family, Portofino is a perfect spot. If you're single and looking for more action, better to stay closer to town I think! For us it was ideal and we will come back if we make it to Belize again!

Room Tip: We definitely recommend the poolside cabañas, we were close to pool and bar/resto but didn't not...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank serabm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Thank you so much for your review. We are happy that you chose Portofino for the first part of your vacation. Most importantely we are delighted that it was just what you were hoping for.

We would love to welcome you again if you decide to come back to Belize!

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Reviewed August 8, 2013

I have nothing negative to say about this fantastic resort. My boyfriend and I were treated like royalty, from the moment our boat pulled up and we were greeted with a welcome drink, to the flowers all over the cabana (picked fresh on the grounds), to the handmade soaps we could choose from to use during our stay, to the coconuts plucked for us to drink from, to the restaurant wait staff making every attempt to accommodate any whim or give advice on local day trips, to the handmade design of hearts imprinted on the blanket of the bed several days into our stay. (The fibers of the blanket allowed for a temporary design, like writing in the sand. I was so charmed when I saw it, I couldn't believe it.) While some books and reviews note that Portofino is "remote," we found that to be desirable: if you want to slum it at a hotel on the San Pedro beach--where you are constantly hit up for souvenirs or in the middle of kids playing soccer--go ahead, but if you want a charming, relaxing, paradise vacation, go to Portofino. Between Portofino's free boat taxi and the willingness of tour companies to pick up and drop off at the resort (we had a great experience with Amigos del Mar and Amigos Jungle Tours), we did not once have to pay for the water taxi to take us anywhere over the course of seven days. This may involve staying slightly longer or shorter in San Pedro to catch the boat when it comes, but this was not too much trouble. If you can't stand sitting at your restaurant for an extra 30 minutes and sipping another drink while waiting for the boat, then maybe you need to relax and actually behave like you're on vacation.

The continental breakfast was delicious and filling.

If you stay at Portofino, be sure to ask about the Palapa Bar and Grill. You will see it every time you pass between San Pedro and Portofino with the word "BAR" in yellow capital letters. It worked out that the Portofino boat was able to drop us off on its 5 pm run to San Pedro, and then pick us up on its return around 6.30. Inquire about the same thing--it was perfect!

The free kayaks and snorkeling equipment were a nice touch--and it was the first time I had done either! I learned how to scuba dive in the hotel pool before heading out to nearby Mexico Rocks for my first successful ocean scuba dive. (I had actually tried with another company in San Pedro first, and they were so impatient that I was an unsuccessful and stressed out diver until I went backwards and tried again with Action Divers at Portofino. I was able to leave feeling that I had successfully learned how to dive and enjoyed it, and I want to dive again. If you are new to diving and want a patient teacher, use Action Divers. Still, they are great for experienced divers as well.)

Be careful about straying from the cabana path; I tried to walk around and explore and got bitten like crazy by mosquitoes. But in the normal areas, mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies were no problem at all (late July to early August; it may be different at other times of year).

I have never had such a wonderful, paradisaical vacation before. My boyfriend and I are already talking about coming again!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Amanda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

'A wonderful, paradisaical vacation'..Thank you so much for such a great review. It makes us so happy when our guests leave from our resort with such an experience! We are so happy that you enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you again one day!

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Reviewed August 4, 2013

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.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank nochum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Thank you so much for such a great review! At Portofino, our staff is our greatest asset. We all work together as a team with one goal - to exceed guest expectations. Each and every one of our members have our guests' best interest at heart and are all willing to go the extra mile. We are so happy that you enjoyed the warmth and hospitality as well as the location and ammenities.

We look forward to welcoming you to Belize again!

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Reviewed July 29, 2013

We spent the last 3 days of our 10 day trip to Belize at Portofino. The resort is small and fairly remote which is a good thing! We went in to San Pedro one evening and that was enough for us - too touristy for us. Our room was nice - nothing to write home about but comfortable and the A/C worked great. We had two adults and two teenage boys - the staff brought in a separate twin bed for our boys to help us keep the peace :)

The highlight was definitely being able to use the kayaks (complimentary) and snorkel gear (complimentary) and paddle out to Mexico Rocks to snorkel. Its a bit difficult getting out there due to on shore wind but once out there it is AMAZING! Nurse sharks, eels, stingrays, great coral formations, etc.

The first day we were there, we talked to the guy who runs the dive/snorkel shop on the pier. He told us we "can't miss Hol Chan and Shark Alley" for snorkeling. We told him we might do that the next day but never committed. I then saw him later that day and told him we were going to spend out money on fishing instead of snorkeling (since we had already gone out to Mexico Rocks). Apparently he already made plans for us and told us we would have to pay even if we didn't go! I never gave him a firm yes - yet he went ahead and scheduled us. I was not happy but didn't want to risk having a charge show up on my CC bill so we ended up going. I would personally recommend just spending a few hours at Mexico Rocks via the kayaks (for free) rather than going to Hol Chan and Shark Alley (crowded and expensive). there must have been 75 people in the water when we went to both locations. But at Mexico Rocks we were almost always the only ones there. You see everything expect for the turtles at Mexico Rocks.

One word of advice - do NOT try and walk north on the beach after 5pm. We got eaten alive by sand flies and mosquitos one night! Worst experience ever.

However - DEFINITELY plan to have dinner or lunch at Mata Chica Resort which is a quick 15 minute walk south of the Portofino. If you make dinner reservations they will have a boat come pick you up (free) and bring you back to Portofino. AMAZING food at Mata Chica - not to be missed.

Overall, we really enjoyed Portofino and its proximity to Mexico Rocks for snorkeling.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank ChrisMcCrary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortofinoBZ, Owner at Portofino Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We are glad that you enjoyed our location and the resort ammenities. We apologize for the misunderstanding with Action Divers regarding the confirmation of your snorkeling and will be looking into better methods to prevent this from occuring again. We are also very sorry to hear that the walk up the beach was less than pleasant. Unfortunately during the rainy season, there tends to be a lot of mosquitoes in those areas along that beach that are not populated. Here at the resort, you don't tend to be bothered as much due to the fact that we fog twice a day to keep them away.

We are happy that your overall experience was pleasant and we sure hope to welcome you again one day to our little piece of paradse.

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Additional Information about Portofino Beach Resort

Address: 6 Miles North | PO Box 36, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in San Pedro
#9 Business Hotel in San Pedro
#12 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#17 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
#18 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#23 Family Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: $260 - $1,184 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Portofino Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 17
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

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