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“Lovely villas, wonderful staff, and perfect location”

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Pelican Reef Villas Resort
Ranked #5 of 54 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
TN/TX
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Lovely villas, wonderful staff, and perfect location”
Reviewed March 22, 2009

My husband and I traveled to Belize over spring break with our children aged 12, 14 and 18. Before arriving at Ambergris Caye we stayed in the jungle in the interior of the country, and traveled via Tropic Air from the municipal airport. From the moment we arrived for our 4 day visit, we felt welcome and relaxed. Eliazar was very efficient in making sure we had every tour arranged and all our needs met. He and Cesar were there from sun-up until late every day cheerfully fulfilling every request!
The pool is beautiful and deep, and nicely shaded for those (like me) who do not need additional sun exposure. The water was chilly, but this is the end of the Belizean winter, so we expected cooler temperatures all around. The landscaping on the resort is wonderful, well tended, and full of flowers. I was impressed with the gardening skills!
The pier is private, had a shaded gazebo, and serves as a artificial reef right in front of the hotel. My daughter and I easily snorkeled there, seeing hundreds of fish. (Look for the pair of angel fish hiding under the bottom stair.) Even the upside-down jellyfish we found were a fascinating discovery!
The beach area is exceedingly clean, the chairs sturdy and comfortable, and there was plenty of room for all the guests with lots of room to spare. It was very easy to find sun or shade at all times of the day. Though the water is shallow and is full or seagrass, this is the case with the entire island. Removing the sea grass is prohibited by the government without very steep fines and fees, as it is not healthy for the environment and creates erosion of the beach. My daughter and I simply took the resort kayaks out into the deeper water closer to the gazebo where we were able to swim and play with ease. There is essentially no boat traffic in this area, so it was very safe. We met several pelicans out on the water as well!
The resort is at the south end of the island, a short bike ride or golf cart drive from town. We were so happy to stay in this quiet and clean area, as opposed to the congestion we saw in the other areas.
Ride the bikes! We took them into town several times, and rode back via the beach, which was very interesting and fun. It gave us a first hand look at the other hotel beach areas and pools, which I assure you had no advantage over Pelican Reef.
When you go into town, look for the French Bakery near the airport--buy bread there before you get it at the grocery stores! Also, I thought the fruits and vegetables were much nicer at the small stands outside the stores. Do not miss the frozen custard (aka delicious rich decadent homemade ice cream) at Dande's in town.
I much prefer the quiet luxury of this resort which is not jammed together with other hotels and other establishments right next door. We loved eating outside with the breeze, birds singing, and quiet. Even with the resort full, I felt I had plenty of privacy and personal attention from every member of the staff. The owners, managers, staff each made a point to greet us personally, take interest in our lives and family, and make us feel at home.
The interior of the villas is beautifully decorated and fully equipped. Gourmet kitchens, beautiful and spacious bathroom and bedrooms, and soft, comfortable bedding were standard. I certainly did not expect anything so wonderful! The kitchen has everything you could possibly need to prepare all your meals. The towels in the bathrooms are thick and luscious, and the tubs and showers are big and very private. My kids loved splitting up and watching satellite TV or one of the many DVD's in the resort collection on one of the 3 TV's in our villa. It made our evenings quiet and restful so we could begin each day full of energy again!
Though it did not bother me enough to change any ratings, I do feel there should be better window coverage, especially in the master suite of the 3 bedroom unit. The views were stunning and the morning sunrise very nice for me, but my teenagers really needed darker rooms, as even the lights from the villas at night shone into the plentiful windows. I think blinds or blackout curtains would be a nice touch, and would make the rooms even more perfect.
The AC units are loud. There is no hedging about this. We found, however, that if we just ran the units for a couple of hours before bedtime we could turn the AC off for the remainder of the the night and all through the day and remain very comfortable. There are huge very quiet ceiling fans in every room, which keep the villa a nice temperature.
Lori, and Greg and new addition Colton along with their dogs Budda, India, and Maggie are the jewels of this establishment. I am sure they spend hours being certain that each guest has all arrangements made prior to arrival, and will tirelessly answer any and all inquiries you may have. They have incorporated wonderful individual service and comfort into luxurious villas in a breathtaking setting, but made it seem as if we were all friends, too. We would love to return to Ambergris to visit them even if for nothing else!
If you are planning a visit to Ambergris Caye, you will miss out on a fabulous experience if you stay anywhere but Pelican Reef!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank red5tn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Scottsdale
Level Contributor
39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2009

We just spent 3 nights and 4 days at the Pelican Reef Villas at the end of our vacation in Belize. As our title indicates, it was not our favorite place. The hotel is located at the very South end of the island, a solid 15-20 minutes by golf cart ride away from town. The golf carts cost about $65-$70 per day (you can get a better deal if you do not book through the hotel - but more on this later) but it is a necessity if you are staying here. The cheapest that we saw for the golf carts was $45 per day by the airport.

The hotel has a small but nice pool, but even in the hot season at the end of March, because the pool gets almost no direct sunlight, it is too cold to swim in. The beach front at the hotel was also nice and the ocean water was like bath water, but again we could not swim. San Pedro has seaweed grass that grows right up to the edge of the water. The beach by Pelican Reef had a solid half a mile of shallow water that was full of seaweed. I tried with the kids wearing swim shoes to swim, but the mushy stuff by the sea weed is like quicksand, and the minute that you step down to get into the water, your leg sinks in past your ankles into the quicksand. The ony way to swim was to walk out on the long pier and go down the ladder by the dock. We found this to be a huge negative, and our kids who love to swim did not swim the entire time we were at the hotel.

A second big issue of staying at Pelian Reef was Elizar (the main host) was clearly getting huge kick-backs from the tour companies. We asked him to arrange a snorkeling tour for our family of 4. His total charge came to $50 pp or $200 for 4 and the tour company could have up to 15 people in the boat. When I asked for a private boat for our family, the price went up to $240 in US dollars. This sounded very high to me for a 2 hour tour, so we waited until the evening and priced it out in town. For $90 US with no negotiating we found a private boat with 2 guides. One guide got into the water, let us feed the fish while we were snorkeling and held a stingray. It was great. People in town told us that the hotel gets kick-backs of a 1/3 of the tour price from the big tour companies and that is why the hotel will not set guests up with smaller, private tours that are much more enjoyable and cheaper. If you stay at Pelican Reef, I strongly recommend setting up your own tours or be prepared to get ripped off!

We had the same issue with Pelican Reef arranging flights. They will offer to book Tropic Air flights for you. I asked about the child rate into the Municipal airport (much cheaper for both adults and kids than flying into the International airport and only a 15 min cab ride away). Pelican Reef told me that there were not child rates. When I showed them the rates on the internet, right on Tropic Air's website, they said that their guests only wanted to fly into International terminal. I booked my flights through Ka'ana hotel (amazing place!!) and saved over $220 by accessing the kid rates and cheaper adult rates.

Our final issue with the hotel was that the air conditioning units are located in the master bathroom closet. As the AC cycles on, it sounds like a jet engine taking off in your room. It woke both of my kids during the night and I think it is just a design flaw.

The good points of the hotel were the rooms. The beds were very comfortable and the units were beautiful. We had good maid service during our stay although the hotel does constantly run out of beach towels.

I would not really recommend this hotel. It is the firsttime that Trip Advisor reviews led us astray. The best beach spot that we could see without all of the sea grass was Ramon's or Banyon Bay. The nicest hotel was Victoria House, but it too has the sea grass issue.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BZ_NZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pelican_Reef, General Manager at Pelican Reef Villas Resort, responded to this review, March 23, 2009
Trip Advisor is a valuable tool and we encourage all of our guests to leave reviews, not only to share the good but also the bad so that we can improve in areas of dissatisfaction. More importantly, we encourage our guests to give real-time feedback during their stay so that we may clear up misunderstandings or correct any mistakes that were made. We place a premium on customer service and when there are false accusations, it is not only very disheartening but also misleading and needs to be clarified. The points I will address are location and prices of tours, golf cart rentals, and flight transfers.

First, I would like to address the location of Pelican Reef Villas. As stated on our website, we are 2 ½ miles south of the center of San Pedro, which translates into a 15 minute golf cart or bicycle ride. The island of Ambergris Caye is divided into two sections: North and South. The North end of the island is accessible to the town of San Pedro by water taxi while the South end of the island is accessible by taxi cab, bicycle, or golf cart. When traveling from Pelican Reef into town, the street is hard-packed sand for the first ¾ of a mile before switching to cobblestone pavement for the remainder of the way. If one is looking for luxurious accommodations with beautifully manicured grounds and beach in a quiet setting nestled between two private residences, then Pelican Reef is for you. On the other hand, if one is looking to be in the center of town around time-share salesman, “beach entrepreneurs,” and street vendors, then Pelican Reef may not be the right fit. We pride ourselves on being a very private, upscale complex and discourage solicitation.

Second, I find it very unfortunate that this family was misled to believe we mark up prices on airfare, tours, and golf cart rentals. First and foremost, customer service and convenience is the most important thing for us to provide our guests. When a reservation with us is confirmed, the next step is setting up transfers between the mainland of Belize and Ambergris Caye. There are three options for transfers to the island and, as you will see below, all have very different price ranges.

• The easiest option, and also most expensive, is a round-trip flight directly out of Goldson International Airport into San Pedro for $120.75 USD for all persons over the age of 2.

• The second option, which is cheaper but a little out of the way, is flying round-trip from Belize City Municipal Airport into San Pedro for $70 USD for adults (12 yrs and up) and $50 USD for children (2-11 yrs). *To be fair, the discounted child rates from Municipal to San Pedro were unknown at the time of the reviewer’s phone inquiry about flight transfers. However, it was explained to her that if Tropic Air was offering discounted prices for children 2-11 yrs of age, then we would obviously extend the same price.

• The third option, which will add approximately 3 hours to your travel time each way and is considerably cheaper, is to catch a water taxi from the Belize City Marine Terminal to San Pedro for approx $25 USD round-trip, per person.

We have an Activities Center on-site where all excursions, mainland and aquatic, can be booked. We believe the tour companies we work with are an extension of Pelican Reef. Through trial and error, we have picked only a select few to work with due to the following: competitive pricing, liability insurance held by the tour company, consistent and reliable service with an emphasis on safety, and proper licensing by the Belize Tourism Board. Where price is concerned, we charge exactly what they charge. Again…. Pelican Reef Villas charges exactly what the tour companies we work with would charge if a guest went to book a tour direct. That said, we do not discourage guests from searching for cheaper deals offered by individuals or other tour companies, but will continue to work with our preferred vendors for the reasons listed above.

Regarding golf carts, we have picked a reputable company to provide our customers with competitively priced golf carts that are properly and regularly maintained for optimum performance and reliability.

The other issues presented by the reviewer have been adequately discussed to the contrary by a number of other reviewers, so we feel there is no need to be redundant. I truly believe, as many of our guests do, that Pelican Reef Villas rivals the best of the best in Belize and we will continue to offer unparalleled service and heavenly accommodations on the island of Ambergris Caye.

Lori Ruddick
Pelican Reef Villas
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katy, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2009

Just returned from a four day visit to Belize. Stayed at Pelican Reef Villas and couldn't
have been happier with our choice. Our three bedroom condo was super spacious, beautifully appointed, very clean and comfortable. The property is lovely, well situated, right on the beach. they have a limited breakfast and lunch menu which was nice since we were only there for a few days and didn't want to buy a lot of food for the condo. The Frito Pie got a thumbs up from my sisiter, who is an expert! Located south of town, so it's quiet, which suited us very well. We just hopped on the golf cart for a fun (and bumpy!) ride into town whenever we wanted to get into the mix of things. The pool area is very pretty and great for relaxing in the afternoon. My husband were there with our kids, ages 13 and 17, my mom and sister. They loved the beach area for hanging out, throwing the frisbee, reading. It's a wonderful place to stay with kids, very family friendly. The whole staff really goes out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. They will help you line up tours, (we did a three hour snorkle tour one day and a day sail/snorkle trip another day - both were lots of fun), recommend restaurants (we tried Hidden Treasure - it truly is- we loved it, El Divino - we had a very nice dinner there on the patio, Blue Wave, a great lunch place, on the beach, and Caliente, another really good dinner, on the beach), arrange golf cart rental and have it waiting for you, as well as arrange the air transfer over from Belize City. In short, we loved it!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank flymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2009

Pelican Reef Villas are absolutely amazing. The owner and its staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The villa is superbly well-equipped. The kitchen had everything from microwave to oven and all utensils; perfect for cooking up a nice meal if you want to stay in. It is at the very end of Ambergis Caye so it is far from everything else but it offers a nice seclusion and cozy white-sand beach, with a dock that allows you to go in for a dive (though San Pedro water is filled with mangroves no matter where you go). The villa owners also have two adorable dogs.
It has a cute little pool, fantastic vibe, great people, gorgeous rooms.
I highly recommend this place despite it being the furthest form downtown. Villas are also really new, just opened 2007. You will not regret it.

Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank ohl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 12, 2009

We traveled to Ambergris Caye with a group of family and friends for my husband's 50th birthday. I don't have a single negative comment on Pelican Reef Villas. Before we even arrived, Lori assisted our entire group with flights, golf cart rentals, and tours. She also arranged a poolside birthday party for my husband with chefs for hire that cooked in our villa and served us the most amazing food. The staff was wonderful. Cesar and "E" were there everyday always smiling and willing to help out however they could. The villas and the property were just as beautiful as the pictures on the website portray. The location was perfect. It was far enough away from the "hustle and bustle" of San Pedro, but close enough to hop on the golf cart and be there in 15 minutes. The beach and water in front of the resort was beautiful, but watch out for the jellyfish (although rumor has it they are only around in Feb/March). I highly recommend Pelican Reef Villas. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Zaya09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, CA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2009

We had a fabulous time at Pelican Reef. The property is gorgeous, sitting on the dock I felt as though I landed in some amazing postcard. I thought the rooms couldn't possibly be as nice as the photos on their web site but they are (better, really). But what really made our stay was the staff. Lori, E and Cesar took care of everything to make our vacation an absolute joy. They arranged our flights, recommended restaurants, scheduled day trips for us with the best tour operators, brought us drinks and meals and so much more (oh and and were ALWAYS smiling).

I have stayed at 5 star hotels around the world and NEVER felt so comfortable or so well taken care of.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank blueboxes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2009

I just returned from a 2 week stay at Pelican Reef in Ambergris Caye and totally loved every minute of it. The location was perfect, the managers Lori and Greg and owners Joe and Rhonda and staff Matt,Cesar,Elistar made our stay worth every penny. I traveled from Calgary, Alberta Canada and not to many people in Canada know about Ambergris Caye but I did bring alot of pictures back and showed them off and everyone was jealous!! The dogs budha,india and next door neighbor dog "Cookie"gave us alot of entertainment(I miss them so much) The dog Cookie looks pretty skinny so anyone staying there please feed him(yellow lab) The security at the resort was outstanding so we felt safe at all times. Easy excess to San Pedro ,( a short 15 min.golf cart ride.) The condo was beautifully decorated and sound proof so you didn't hear other tennants. I was lucky enough to meet some very nice people and would like to say Hi to them;Arlando I will miss your entertaining stories and your easy going life style,Liz-you were a wealth of information about the island that made our trip extra special. I hope to see both of you again when we turn. I highly suggest Pelican Reef for anyone that wants the comforts of home and lots of relaxation!!!! The only negative thing I have to add is we wished there was a safe in the condo and don't forget to bring bug spray for night time!
Janet

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank magnificentCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pelican Reef Villas Resort

Property: Pelican Reef Villas Resort
Address: 2.5 Miles South | 2.5 Miles South, 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 ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#3 Family Hotel in San Pedro
#4 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come Experience Luxury! Swaying Palms, sandy beaches, and warm ocean breezes welcome you to Pelican Reef Villas. Experience unparalleled luxury, and service that is raising the standards, in one of our 2 or 3 bedroom villas. Pelican Reef Villas blends deluxe amenities and breath-taking views with a discreet location 2.5 Miles south of San Pedro to give your trip seclusion with real panache! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pelican Reef Villas Hotel San Pedro
Pelican Reef Hotel
Pelican Reef Resort
Pelican Reef Villas Resort Belize/San Pedro

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