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“Great Trip - Management reviews mixed”

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Turneffe Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Brentwood, California
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Great Trip - Management reviews mixed”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2005

I would have to stay that our trip to Turneffe Island Lodge was pretty great. We went with another couple and well, the four of us don't need much outside stimulation to have a good time which was good because this is a pretty quiet island. There were only about 12 other guests and not everyone is there to be sociable - many people are really there to dive and fish. So if you are looking for a good time it will be hit or miss. Turneffe Island is all about diving, fishing, and relaxing. The worker staff was somewhat engaging. I don't think they are supposed to mingle with the guests much but they were fun and we got a volleyball team together one day.

We mainly chose Turneffe Island Lodge because we wanted to go somewhere relaxing AND dive. And we definitey got what we had hoped for. The diving was phenomenal and as other reviews have mentioned it is great that you are literally 5 minutes away from most dives so you can come back from the first dive of the day and take a nap and eat lunch before you go out again. I agree with previous reviews that the divemasters seemed knowledgeable but quiet.

The food at Turneffe was better than we could have imagined and everything made from scratch. I bought their cookbook from the gift shop before I left!

The rooms were great and you must get the cabana on the beach! The room was clean and spacious. We never used the shower inside - always the one outside. It was GREAT!

The management staff consisted of two couples. The women were extremely friendly with all of the guests but the guys needed some prodding to engage with people and have a good time. One of the gentlemen did not engage much at all and was very stoic. The bartendar was great.

Great resort for a diving couple......

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
28 Thank Krista B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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374 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (131)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2005

A top shelf resort, Turneffe Island Lodge is a great destination for scuba diving or just a very relaxing holiday. Getting there was as easy as stepping off the plane. We were greeted at the airport by the manager and our bags were whisked away only to be waiting in our rooms shortly after we arrived. The boat ride was comfortable and the staff was waiting on the dock when we arrived promptly 90 minutes after leaving Belize City. Note that Turneffe Island time is 1 hour later than Belize City.

Check-in was smooth, the air-conditioned rooms were neat and clean and cool. We had one of the private cabanas and it had its own screened-in porch with rocking chairs. By all means spring for the private cabana if your budget allows. Meals are served family style, it was excellent and there was always plenty. Coffee and Tea is served to your room at 6:30. Breakfast is at 7:30, Lunch at 12:30 and Evening meals are at 7:30, a little late for some but always proceeded by drinks and appetizers around 6:30.

Our trip was seven nights, Saturday to Saturday. We did a morning dive and two afternoon dives Sunday, two morning dives and an afternoon dive Monday-Thursday and two morning dives on Friday.

Sunday was our first checkout dive. All dives were drift dives except this and the Blue Hole.

Monday night a major lighting storm hit the island and knocked out the internet service and some of the hot water systems. The staff had the hot water re-routed before morning so none of the guests even knew of the problem.

Tuesday was a trip to lighthouse reef and the Blue Hole. The other two dives on Half Moon and The Aquarium, were worth the trip. Between the last two dives we were served a fabulous picnic lunch on the half-moon island “Red Footed Booby” bird sanctuary. Seeing the birds nesting was a added treat.

Wednesday we had a group of porpoises join us on all three dives. What a special treat that was. The dive staff said they see them often.

Thursday is normally reserved for a night dive in place of the afternoon dive but our group requested the afternoon dive instead and was accommodated without a problem.

Friday evening was a wonderful outdoor Bar-B-Q. Except for the mosquitoes it was indeed paradise. Bring bug spray. The screens on the rooms do a great job of letting you sleep without them but they are certainly there in force after the sun goes down.

Boats were fast and comfortable and all of the dive sites were just a few minutes from the dock. The dive master was extremely knowledgeable about the reefs and located a lot of marine life for all of us to see. We were all diving with computers and most of were on 32% Nitrox. There was no fixed time limit on dives and all of us were allowed to dive our own profiles and one hour dives were common. All of our gear was set up for each dive exactly as we set it for the first dive on Sunday. After the last dive on Friday, our gear was rinsed and set out to dry. Certainly first class service all the way.

The hotel staff was also first class, our rooms were always supplied with fresh towels when we returned from diving and our beds were turned down each night when we returned from eating. Check-out was as smooth as check-in. Our flights were confirmed for us when we returned from diving Friday. A pre-invoice was available for review prior to the final bill on Saturday.

The grounds were immaculate. Combed sand beaches, flowers, palm trees, hammocks on the shores and beside the rooms, chairs on the beach, a sailboat and sea kayaks. Some parts needed some repairs after the recent hurricane but repairs were on-going when we were there and we learned that they were closing for two months shortly to undergo a complete renovation.

Not much else to say except that we will certainly plan a return trip. If your looking for a great place in the middle of nowhere to relax and/or go diving, put this place on the top of your list.

Helpful?
28 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redding, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2005

Well, let me start by saying that this place could be IDEAL. Management of this place either doesn't know customer service or they don't care. I'm not talking about on Island managers, but, owners and upper management. By the way reservations are taken in Houston, the main offices for Turneffe Island Lodge, not agents. During the time we stayed there they "lost" guests, forgot about them until half their trip was over. Absolute rudeness from managers to some guests, not all but some, they had their favorites. Offensive behavoir to some older guests that travel alone. All suggestions and comlaints were ignored, and any communications with management were met with an attitude of no one cares. In my opinion this is because of the upper Management's total lack of respect for guests AND their employees. Like I said this place could be ideal if they make some changes. ???

  • Stayed June 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
37 Thank TFK444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
55 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2005

Diving - very good diving with competent, friendly dive masters. Most of the dives are genuinely within five minutes of the dock so surface intervals are spent on dry land and not on a (potentially) pitching boat. This is a good dive outfit.

Fishing - the guides undoubtedly know the water but that's about the extent of the guiding. Some are shy and/or quiet and take a little getting used to. Bonefish can be found but are very skittish and fished hard at. Lots of permit and it would definitely be worth bringing tarpon gear in the right months - lots of them in the mangrove lanes.

Food - as good as advertised and better!

Accommodation - We stayed in one of the cabanas on the beach. Very nice, very private. A/c a bit noisy. Outdoor shower lovely.

The management team were out on their feet during our visit and talked of having not had any time off in months. This showed sometimes. They also sometimes reverted to their mother tongue in front of guests - I feel that this is inappropriate. If it weren't for this Turneffe would be a definite recommend.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank Flaherty99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara
Level Contributor
33 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2004

Wow! This resort was so much more than I expected. We booked a 4 night package, but before we had been on the island an hour we knew we'd be staying the whole week. Our week here was as fun and relaxing as 3-week-long vacations we have taken elsewhere.

The resort is on a tiny caye (only 14 acres) with big white sand beaches, far from any other development. The buildings are painted a quaint yellow and white with rich hardwood interiors. There is a nice lounge area just off the dining room with a full bar. The pool is very pretty, too. The pictures on the resort's website don't do justice to the fantastic cabanas because the screened porches don't look as open and airy as they really are, and the interiors look smaller than they are. The regular rooms are nice, too, and since we didn't spend a lot of awake-time in the cabana, we might be more frugal next time we go.

Socializing is a must because the number of guests is limited, meals are taken as a group, and the dive boats keep the same groups of 10 or so throughout the week. The bar hopped nightly, but only for a short time, as people tended to go to bed early after long activity-filled days. Most people were divers, but there were fishermen, too. Everybody was happy. Most of the 17 dives we did, including the famous Elbow, were less than 5 minutes away, often within view of the resort. We saw healthy reefs and plenty of sea life, including drum fish, toad fish, nurse sharks, eels, tarpon, baracuda, etc. We took a day trip to dive the Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye and Long Caye. Be forewarned: to dive the Blue Hole you will need to be advanced certified or enrolled in the resort's advanced course. Don't complain- it's their job to keep you safe.

The most fabulous thing about the resort, and there are a lot of fabulous things about this resort, was the staff. The divemasters, Brad and Marcel, were uniformly declared to be some of the best anyone had dived with. The same praise went to the fishing guides. Sherman, the bartender, is a fun and delightful person who makes a mean margarita and can show you some excellent bar tricks. The kitchen /dining room staff made great meals served with warmth and grace. The new management, two young couples from Denmark and Israel, were very friendly, but seemed a little exhausted. Their exhaustion was well-earned, however, as everything moved seemlessly. Also, it must be very hard to keep up with 30+ active talkative Americans.

I hate to put any negative in here at all. However, there was an apparantly well-supported rumor that only 1/2 of the gratuities we charged on our credit cards were passed on to the identified staff members. This could be exaggerated, or be due to deductions for credit card fees and income taxes, but next time I will bring $300-$400 cash for gratuities. Also, we were charged sales tax on our charged gratuities, and were unsuccessful in challenging that.

All in all, this was one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

(P.S. Booking for this resort is done through an agent in Houston, so the person who had the bad experience is not complaining about the resort itself.)

Helpful?
34 Thank zxg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2004

First, I am very big on the customer experience and customer service. Long story short, I booked a trip with this company by accident. I was confused, thinking that I booked with Turneffe Island Flats, not Turneffe Island Lodge. I discovered the incorrect booking within 24 hours booking the trip and requested a full refund. The Sales Department (Norma and Carolina) said that I was not entitled to a full refund as I had agreed to their terms and conditions and if "I was not sure I should not have booked" (of course they used 'Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt' while booking the trip, Christmas time, telling me that all of the rooms would sell if I did not book right away). So I spoke with the head of operations and the company President and they agreed to refund all but $100. To date, they have not delivered on their promise; they ignore my emails and refuse to provide the level of service they promised to deliver. I am deeply disappointed in the performance of this company...

Helpful?
29 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2004

This by far was the best resort I have ever stayed in and I have been to many places around the world.If you like being on a private island with no one else around this is the place for you, but be warned this resort is primarily for sportsfishers and divers.To start rent a private cabana on the beach it has a fenced porch and an outdoor shower. the one restaurant is family style like camp the food is to die for all home made and the bar tender made some awesome drinks Lizette and Rob are the managers and they are great, as well as the resident pooches Cashew and Pal everyone is genuinely friendly.I suggest if you are going to Belize spend 3 nights here and spend the rest of your time on the mainland.
you will not be dissappointed.

Helpful?
15 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turneffe Island Resort

Property: Turneffe Island Resort
Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Turneffe Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Turneffe Island Resort is a secluded 14-acre private island located 35 miles off the coast of Belize. We offer 7 night, 4-night, and 3-night Diving, Fishing and Resort packages. Packages include airport transfers, deluxe lodge accommodations, scheduled activities, all meals and hors d’oeuvres served throughout the day. All accommodations are located on white sandy beaches. All rooms include indoor and outdoor showers and spectacular ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turneffe Island Hotel Turneffe Islands
Turneffe Island Lodge

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