My wife and I spent 4 nights at Hidden Valley Inn last March, and we would have to rate it as the most special vacation we have spent together to date. We have travelled fairly extensively in the Caribbean, and this was not our first visit to Belize. The gentleman who met us at the airport was great. Our luggage having been delayed, he took us shopping for some essentials in Belize City, which was an interesting excursion in itself. Then off for the 2 hours drive to Hidden Valley, through scenic central Belize and then up into the highlands. The staff at Hidden Valley were exceptionally helpful, always willing to answer questions and make suggestions. They were very flexible in terms of customizing whatever we asked for. We had all our meals on site. The food was excellent and creative (OK – so the steak was mediocre one night), and it was obvious that a great deal of personal care was put into service generally. We drank a lot of lemon grass tea – in fact, took the recipe and started boiling up our own version at home. We went zip-lining at a nearby (1/2 hour drive) facility, and visited a local butterfly farm. Apart from that, we did not leave the resort area or go on any tours. I would however recommend the tours if you have not been to Belize or seen Mayan ruins before.
My wife said that the pedicure was the best she had ever had, due largely to the extent and quality of personal attention. Very often spas and other ancilliary services at hotels and resorts are tacked on as relatively low quality money spinners – not in this case. We did some personalized pilates and yoga stretching classes, and the visiting instructor was very good – you can tell when someone is adjusting exercises to an individual’s capacity.
We ran, walked, biked and canoed for several days, and really did not see any one else except on the service roads. Felt perfectly safe. You do have to be prepared to interact with nature. In many cases, you are walking through the forest, over and around logs and trees etc. The forest trails are obviously designed to be as minimally invasive and as eco-friendly as possible – which means a somewhat reduced comfort level. Not being professional hikers, we used sticks for support on the steeper trails. We used Off as a standard insect repellent – no problems noted. We were not really looking for wildlife, but we did spot a river-otter that splashed off the path next to a stream and swam away as we approached. Similarly, we were not bird watching, but there were numerous birds to hear and see, and the serious bird-watchers at the lodge seemed quite happy. The views were exceptional, for example of Vulture Falls. We did rent Secret Falls for the day, and the experience was well worth it (did I say “amazing”?). The pine trees are in recovery mode from the beetle infestation about 10-12 years ago – I can only imagine how they looked in full growth. The resort area has two main eco-systems – tropical pine forest, and tropical rain forest, so there is a lot of variation in vegetation and wildlife.
Great fun lighting the fire in the room at night – not something we get to do regularly. Not air conditioned, but the temperature was fine for us. Little or no light pollution, so the star views at night were dramatic, as expected. No problems noted with internet or phone access. Rooms were clean and well maintained. Amenities reasonable for the price point, especially given that you are a long way from urban areas and you are trying to minimize ecological impact. I think also that some or all of the profits are used to maintain the nature preserve. All in all, would highly recommend this for couples, particularly if you are reasonably active and looking for an opportunity to relax and reconnect in a quiet, natural environment. Probably not bad for families as well, if you are bringing the kids to see nature.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hidden Valley Inn, a Luxury Life Style Boutique Hotel with only 12 rooms, is located on a 7200 acres private reserve in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo District in Belize. This intimate eco resort offers quality accommodation, fine gourmet food and attentive service in a natural environment. The flora, wildlife and bird watching here are truly unique in the region. Guests staying at this Intimate Luxury Boutique Hotel enjoy exclusive access to over 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as many secluded Crystal Pools and Waterfalls set in a tropical rainforest. For those seeking romance, one of the waterfalls may be reserved exclusively for the day.Situated in the Maya mountains, also serves as a convenient base for visiting the various scenic and historical attractions of the area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hidden Valley Hotel San Ignacio
- Hidden Valley San Ignacio