Hi there. First up, temper this review with the fact that we only stayed the one night.
So then - the first and lasting impression of Blancaneaux is of a lodge that's seen a serious amount of attention lavished on its grounds, on its rooms and above all, on the sense that you are the lucky beneficiary of Mr Coppola's friendship and that he's invited you to stay in his sprawling, serene estate for the weekend.
The greatest pleasure to be had was simply strolling around the place, taking in the fantastic trees and plants where hummingbirds and other brightly colored birds skitted to and fro, wandering down to the river to stand at the edge the peaceful river which descended down to a polite waterfall,having a nose around the enormous vegetable patches which supply the kitchens and admiring the 17 somnolent horses which are available for riding on one of a number of different trails.
The long list of interesting excursions were one of the main reasons for choosing Blancaneaux. Keen to see wildlife, we went on a rather disappointing 'Moonlight Jaguar Quest'. I don't mind not seeing much (one Grey Fox aside) but I just never felt we were seriously looking for any. And whilst we knew the chances of seeing a Jaguar were about zero, I feel anyone who puts 'Jaguar' in the title of a trip is at best, being disingenuous and at worst, deliberately misleading - sadly, this is something hotels and tour companies throughout Central and South America are guilty of. The complementary birdwatching tour the next morning and the Barton Creek Cave tour the next day was much better and the latter represented better value for money (though all the trips offered by the nicer hotels are, in my view, very expensive).
Also expensive are the meals with a quality of food which don't match the New York prices. Nice enough but nothing special. And oh - make sure you book the Guatemalan restaurant in advance - we were confined to the (Italian) Montagne restaurant because the former was booked out - a shame.
I'll end on an up-note - the staff and the guides were, to a fault, very, very friendly - and indeed all the Belizean people we met were the same. And the lodge also very kindly laid on a lovely birthday cake for me upon my arrival, my girlfriend having giving them the nod beforehand.
So if it's cake and tranquil natural beauty you're after, this is the place. If you want to see a Jaguar on the other hand, you may need to give up all your worldly possessions and move to a treehouse in the forest.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. For more than a decade the resort was used as a family retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993. Tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blancaneaux Hotel San Ignacio
- Blancaneaux San Ignacio