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“Upscale, quiet, very nice.”

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Pelican Reef Villas Resort
Ranked #4 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 14, 2009

My family of 5 (including 3 teenagers) stayed in a two-bedroom unit at Pelican Reef in March 2009. We took one of the less expensive units with pool and beach view and couldn't have been happier with it (unless it were a litte less expensive maybe!). The view from the master bedroom looked across the "infinite" pool out into the Carribean. Can't beat that. (see the photos).

Comfortable, convenient (more or less) and quiet. No casinos or noisy bar scenes, and private security patrols the premise at night.

The Villas at Pelican Reef are made up of 4 three-story buildings, each containing 6 condos (I think thats how it lays out). They'll keep telling you about "villas", so hear "condos" in your head when they say that. Our ground floor unit was great and practical. A full kitchen allowed us to buy some groceries from a local market to have on hand for lunches and breakfasts (since we were sticking around the hotel to simply lay on the beach, swim in the pool, get some sun, read, and do nothing else). We went into San Pedro (about 3 and a half miles away, north of Pelican Reef)(and $10 US by taxi) for dinners, although one night we were so tired of doing nothing that we ordered Pizza for delivery! :-)

They have no restaurant onsite per se, so you're on your own for food - although they do offer some breakfast and lunch menu items delivered to you. They have a nice perfect little pool bar you can swim up and sit at (on "stools" built into the pool in the water) on one side of the bar, or sit at tables and chairs and stools on the other side of the bar. No in-room internet, but wireless around the bar-area.

Two very nice bedrooms in our unit, our son was only too happy to sleep on the sofa bed in front of the TV (which got alot of typical US channels and all the normal stuff you're trying to get away from!) (There was another TV in the master bedroom that only came on once while my daughter was recovering from some sunburn.) Bathrooms were huge. The family that built the complex is originally from Houston so if you're from the US, you'll be very comfortable. (Heck, if you're not from the US, you'll be very comfortable too!)

The people that staff the Villas at Pelican Reef trip over themselves providing services for you. They'll order pizza for you (ha, ha!), schedule tours for you, give you a free cup of coffee at the pool bar in the morning, call taxis for you, rent you a golf cart so you don't have to take taxis all the time (golf carts being the main alternate mode of ground transportation in and around San Pedro besides mini-van taxis running around everywhere).

Everything's at a price, but you can get everything, it's that simple. They have chaise lounges permanently on the beach, they groom the beach every morning, they have a couple hammocks to relax in, some little toy "kayaks" free for use by the guests that you can try to paddle around on, and they have free entry-level snorkle gear you can use to swim around the end of the dock with where hundreds of fish hang out along with (we saw) at least one ray, one harmless little nurse shark, a barracuda (insists my daughter although I thought it looked more like some salt water gar fish), a couple moray eels, and dozens of pencil fish and schools of other fish. All hanging out at the end of the pier.

Speaking of taxis and golf carts, I didn't see anybody else say this, so I will: unless you're going into San Pedro more than a dozen times, rent a golf cart one day just for fun if you want to, but otherwise, just take a taxi. It's faster and - even at $20US round trip - cheaper than renting a golf cart. We rented the islands only stretch golf cart (that we saw anyway) which sat 6 people, so we got laughs whereever we went. So that was fun!)

This would be a great spot for honeymooners, great for kids, pretty much anybody. Like I said, we did -nothing- except go out to dinner. If we had more time, we would have probably done snorkling or diving on the extensive reef system just off shore.

FYI: We got to San Pedro and Caye Ambergris via the San Pedro Express water taxi from Belize City. $15 US a person round trip. You can't beat it.

Overall, a positive experience. The hype you're reading in these reviews is pretty much for real.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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6  Thank blitzin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2009

I loved my stay at Pelican Reef Villas! The staff was amazing. Eliazar and Cesar were more than helpful and made us feel comfortable from the moment we arrived.
The owners of the resort were extremely friendly. They took pride in making us feel welcome and at home. They even let me borrow a sweatshirt one night for my night dive!
The villas are beautiful, clean and comfortable. The kitchen came in handy for daily breakfast and snacks. A small grocery store is right down the block for convenience.
I only had a couple issues: 1) Pool is small and shady 2) no restaurant on premise (you can order breakfast and lunch for outside eating though)
Other than those two things, I was very happy with my stay.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Rubes1011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

What a trip! My boyfriend, my sister, and a long time friend accompanied me on a dive trip to Belize from March 28 - April 4, 2009. We chose Pelican Reef Villas because even before we arrived, the staff was accommodating us. Lori and Greg, the managers, were wonderful about making sure we had the best of everything the hotel has to offer. Eliazar and Cesar were there for us from the minute we arrived and assisted us in making dinner plans, finding our way around, booking spa appointments (if you ever go there...look up Master Lee in town- he is amazing) and anything else we needed. The rooms were beautiful and very comfortable. Everything was clean and luxurious and lovely. We really enjoyed having a full kitchen and a washer/dryer at our disposal. The cleaning staff was always prompt and thorough and completely considerate of our schedule. The grounds were wonderful as well... beautifully kept and very private. Pelican reef has its own private beach and a nice pier off the property so boats can pull in at their leisure. As divers, this was key for us. We were picked up every day by the dive companies that we used right outside our hotel! We couldn't have asked for a better perk. The pool was small but never overcrowded and always comfortable. We especially liked the swim up bar....Cesar makes a great "Horny Monkey" cocktail and i recommend giving it a try! Honestly, we felt like we had our own private residence and a staff there just for us. The hotel is about 2 miles (or a 10-15 min ride) from town and that was another bonus. It was secluded and peaceful and we actually enjoyed the drives on our golf cart into San Pedro. Just gotta beware of the speed bumps! I would absolutely go back and I completely recommend everyone give Pelican Reef Villas a visit.

Other places I highly recommend:
Ecologic Divers
Cari'bean Tours
Wild Mango's
Blue Lotus Restaurant
Hidden Treasures Restaurant
Blue Water Grill
Elvi's Kitchen (for lunch)
Victoria House (bar)

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jen-Zaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2009

we cannot say enough good things about our stay at pellican reef. they went over the top to make sure that our stay hassel free on every level. reservations,suggestions for family tours, where to eat, where to shop. they had all the bases covered. everyday we were greeted with a smile. they were great with our children. our son loves cesar! we had to buy a new blender just so he can practice making chocolate milk shakes! we will DEFINITELY be returning to ambergris caye and pelican reef. thank you lori and greg for the nicest, most relaxing spring break. say hello to eliazer for us and thank you so much again. take care! the passons

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank ibrennan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2009

My wife and I spent a February week at Pelican Reef with our three kids aged 2,4 & 6 and everyone had a great time. Pelican Reef is a smallish development of condo apartments on the beach 15 minutes south of San Pedro, the main town on Amergris Caye. The owners rent out their places through a central management and the arragement seems to work well. There is a small bar near the pool and a kitchen that can handle basic breakfast and lunch orders (shrimp burger recomended) and all of the staff are tremendously friendly. Eliazer is the main guest-liaison and he is always willing to help with restaurant recommendations or reservations, with booking fishing trips, snorkling, parasailing or whatever takes your fancy. Cesar, Eliazer's sidekick, is a very pleasant and helpful person. The location is very good for those who want a little peace and quiet - if you want a lot of nightlife right next door then stay in San Pedro town, but you will miss the magic of having your own piece of Belizian beach to yourself some of the time. Rent a golf cart for the week and you will find that the trip into town is a lot of fun- especially with young kids. The apartments are spacious and well suited to families- much better than having two small hotel rooms or one big one. Finally it's very refreshing that Belize is not yet blanketed with Holiday Inns and Four Seasons and the like and this is a good part of its charm. Go check it out and stay at Pelican Reef. I had a great time and you probably will too.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank MASF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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3  Thank red5tn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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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 reviewResponded 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.
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Additional Information about Pelican Reef Villas Resort

Address: 2.5 Miles South | Beachfront, 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
#3 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: $364 - $416 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 2.6 Mls 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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