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“Wonderful” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Smokin' Balam Guest House

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Smokin' Balam Guest House
Ranked #20 of 26 Belize City B&B and Inns
Cambridge, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2013

Absolutely wonderful family, very accommodating. Offered a very safe and comfortable home-like feel when I stayed there! I think Belize city can be a very interesting place to stay for a few days. It's not the place to stay if you're just there for sight seeing or pleasure but it is culturally very interesting. However, it is not the safest city and I felt like Anna and her family allowed me to really see the culture of Belize city without ever feeling in danger!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CC2211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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15 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    2
    6
    5
    1
    1
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Families
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Mexico City
Level Contributor
24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

If you travel with your life's savings in your backpack and an array of superexpensive items, you're safe with Anna and her draconian paranoid grandma tactics.
The first thing you must note about Smokin Balam is that it's a bait and switch "LowCost" guest house where the low price of the room hides the fact that they're out to get every dime and nickel they can from you.
They charged me $10 for WiFi and they never refunded it after i had to leave the next morning.
They scolded me for talking to the kids on the street and they lock the doors at 11PM. It feels as a State of Siege and it really robs you of the simple joy of travel, just my two cents.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Xochipillitzin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Seattle
Level Contributor
71 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2010

Although this is not the sort of accommodation I'd normally seek out I really have to hand it to Smokin' Balam and Anna for doing such a fine job.

The location just a couple blocks north of the swing bridge is perfect for everything you might need for a short Belize City stay. The ferries to the cayes are within minutes of walking and there are tiendas every few storefronts for supplies. Just across the bridge on the right hand side is some excellent local grub with Punta beats come nightfall.

Anna and her family are no nonsense folks who get the job done and probably won't take any lip off of some surly backpacker. I mention this only because as a truly budget accommodation, I'd be surprised if it ever gets too loud or unruly. They just wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior, and why should they? So rest assured, your rest is assured.

The effort put into securing the place each evening is impressive. Fort Knox on the shores of Haulover.

There's a great little restaurant in the lobby as well as a local gift shop and internet access too. All this for under $20 USD for a double room with shared bath.

The next time I pass through Belize City I'm definitely staying with Smokin' Balam.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank vialux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2010

I want to take the opportunity to give Smokin' Balam, in Belize City, a rave review and strong recommendation. I had to stay in Belize City upon arrival on my transit day, and found Smokin' Balam on Lonely Planet. The landlady, Lara Ann, is a true gem. Belize City is a rough town, and I was a solo female traveler. I had a full half day to spend before being picked up by my boat to nearby Turneffe Atoll. Lara Ann brought me along with her daughter to walk around town, to the Belize museum as it was Locals day, so I could receive free admission along with her family. She took me to a local bakery to try pastries, and on my departure, she even sent me along with fruits from her kitchen!!! Because of Lara Ann, I experienced the true Belize, and the unforgettable local hospitality. The guesthouse itself is sparkling clean, equipped with fans, and sits on the river. If you need a place to stay in Belize City, please find Smokin' Balam and Lara Ann!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank scuba_escape
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
162 reviews
150 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 260 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2010

My first impression of this place was not a good one. We looked at a room and then decided to check the cheaper and more basic place across the street aswell. The owner seemed to take offence at this and told us to go there if that was what we wanted. Normally I would have walked away at this point but as it was getting dark and we were leaving the following morning for Caye Caulker we decided to stay.

The room was ok although the toliet and shower were only seperated by a curtain of the kind used to partition hospital beds 'for disabled people' she told me, 'how the hell would they get up the stairs?' I thought. At least you flush the toilet paper here unlike the rest of Central America. There was nobody else staying there and the shared bathroom was perfectly clean so I would recommend taking a cheaper room without bathroom.

The windows were all mosquito netted but perplexing there was a big rectangular space high up on one wall where they were free to pass.

There's an internet cafe downstairs but no wi fi. Just down the street is a chinese restaurant. The owner recommended we get the food to take away as the area is not a good one at night. Wasn't so bad the following morning though. The location is very convenient for taking the water taxi to the Cayes. They leave from 5 minutes down the road.

Overall I think this is an ok place to stay if you're stuck in this city but I would try not to be as it's a hole as are most Central American capitals.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Supadappa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Smokin' Balam Guest House

Property: Smokin' Balam Guest House
Address: 59 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize District > Belize City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 26 B&Bs / Inns in Belize City
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Smokin' Balam Guest House Belize/Belize City

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