This is our third year coming to the resort and we love it every time! Let me say that we are not coming as all-inclusive guests therefore I can't speak to all of the issues those folks are having. I think it is mostly a function of the "all-inclusive" mind set which has not really come to Belize yet like it has in other places.
The resort itself has five star buildings and grounds. It has a great location between the ocean on one side and the lagoon on the other side. It has happy, and super nice staff that we usually become friends with every year. This year is not an exception. Manuel was a great guy and helped us with all of our questions, and activities.
We are self-starters, so I never depend on a resort to entertain me. We would borrow a bike in the morning or a kayak, do that for an hour or so, come back, swim in the pool to cool off, and then maybe borrow a fishing pole and go fishing in the afternoon or just relax on the beach, etc. There are two shuttles to the village every day. One is at 10am and the other is at 5pm. All you have to do is show up at the front gate around the those times and you will be able to ride them. If you don't want to stay down in the village all day, there is a bus back to the resort at 12:45pm for which you have to pay a whopping $1 a person to ride. It is a decommissioned US school bus but was clean inside and a pleasant ride back. Just be sure to stand up and yell "Stop!" when you want to get off as bus stops aren't really followed at all.
I know everyone complains about the beach and to be fair I have never even attempted to swim there. It looks nice, and they have some very nice places to sit and look at the waves, etc. But the abundance of sea life: sting rays, jelly fish, sea grass, etc. really keep it from being the Carribean dream beach that an island would have that is encompassed by a coral reef. On some days the water is slack and clear. That is a great day to go Kayaking. On other days when there is wind, you get a lot of wave action and on other days the water can get cloudy. This is all part of what makes Belize great! You still have the ecosystem going full blast and not really messed up by our ideas of what a great beach experience should be (our own person swimming pool, sanitized and devoid of life). If you want to swim in something like this the resort has Belize's largest swimming pool that is right next to the beach. No jelly fish there :-)
We had some great experiences there this time. Riding our kayak just off of the beach area we spotted dolphins on two occasions. We got within ten feet of them before they swam away and left us. We also went fishing a couple of times off of the new pier. We got some shrimp from the local supermarket and that helped us catch six assorted fish from the pier. Then we took those fish to the chef at the resort and he cooked them up for us for $12 a person. They were excellent (snapper, and croakers)!
As for things that could improve at the resort, entertainment is probably number one on the list. When I envision this type of resort in my mind, part of it is sitting on a beach listening to live steel drum music or some other type of live music, wafting over the breeze. Live music and performers would make this resort so much better and if they hired locals would not cost very much. I would encourage them to only hire performers who are doing Caribbean type music. If I want hip hop or disc beats, performers in the US would do a much better job. When I am sitting on a beach in the Caribbean I want to hear Caribbean music and I want it on a Steel Drum or guitar, not a sad synthesizer. Even if it wasn't live, like on an ipod, that would be something to help the mood.
Also, when it rains, have some type of activity that you can do with the guests. An activity director would probably be helpful, someone who could plan and come up with things for the guests to do each day, and especially when you have a rainy day to keep them from coming home and posting bad reviews of your resort on Trip Advisor :-)
Wifi- you should have a free option for this. Make it limited to 1GB of free traffic a week and most people would be happy with this. When you are away from home, you need your internet to keep in touch with family and business. Getting charged $50 a week just to do emails stinks. Another option would be to have a resort computer or two where guests could sit down and write emails to home. Just a simple option like this would make guests feel more relaxed that everything at home is fine and really would cost the resort much money.
It is crazy that you have to pay $50 a week for internet access when you can go to the village, sit in the BTL office and get free wifi even if you are not a customer. Or go to Dawn's grill and Go a small restaurant, and spend a small amount on lunch and get free Wi-Fi. This is something that needs to be addressed!
We love this resort, we love this area. We will keep coming back as many times as we can. If they could just iron out a few wrinkles here and there, it could take this resort to the next level.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Placencia Hotel is the fastest growing Hotel in the general area offering the finest amenities and service to an ever discerning clientele visiting Belize. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Hotel Placencia
- The Resort Placencia
- The Placencia Hotel And Residences Belize