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“Amazing place, plus tips about visiting Ambergris”

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Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums
Ranked #7 of 55 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 December 2011

We have just returned from a trip to Ambergris Caye, aka Paradise on Earth. We stayed at the Grand Caribe and had an amazing experience. We stayed in the 3 BR ocean view suite, about $1000 cheaper than ocean front. The view was amazing. The only reason to spend the extra money would be if you did not want to also look out over the pool area, but since I have kids, I appreciated being able to scan for where they were. This seems to me a very family oriented placed. It was definitely getting more crowded the day we left (Dec 25) - which is to be expected for Christmas week - but since there is so much space I cannot imagine this being the issue. There are actually 5 swimming pools - 2 large adjoined with a little baby pool over this and a waterfall bridge, and two lap pools, also 2 hot tubs. Plenty of space for everyone. My kids loved the pool and the beach. If you want to swim in the ocean off the beach, you should bring water shoes, but the water is calm and clear. You can't really see much marine life close to the shore. I know there are places you can snorkel right from the dock, but in Belize you do better taking a boat out (more on that later). The staff is wonderful. I don't understand one of the reviews complaining about housekeeping. Our place was immaculate. They loaded the dishes and ran the dishwasher every day. If you leave laundry by the door to the laundry room, they will wash and fold for you. We could have packed much lighter with this service. The rooms are gorgeous - and we had two balconies where we could eat, relax, read and feel the breeze. We had one small problem with our door knob not working, and it took a few efforts to fix it, but they always sent someone right away - this is not the US, and a few quirks are to be expected. My kids (9 and 11) said this was the best vacation they have ever taken, and we will definitely go back to Grand Caribe. We biked up north on the island (a fun thing to do and bike rentals are reasonable) and checked out some of the other resorts, and I liked Grand Caribe best for our needs. I also got quotes from several places, and I think GC is by far the best deal - though this will not last as it gets discovered. It is so new it is not in any guide books yet. BTW I know the Phoenix is rated highly by TA, but it is right in town and seemed like one of the least appealing places. Mata Chica is beautiful - not for kids - more of a romantic couples get away. Coco Beach and Belizean shores also looked nice, but not as many pools and only some units had a view. Some things I wish I had known: the kitchens are very well equipped, but food is expensive on Ambergris. I would bring pasta/dry goods/cereal from the states (and less clothes). I would also spend a day or two either in Belize City (which is not supposed to be so nice) or San Ignacio to cave tube and see Mayan ruins, since these trips are expensive from Ambergris. I would take this time to buy food on the mainland where it is much less expensive, and then take a boat to Ambergris rather than a plane to have more room for groceries. The restaurant at Grand Caribe is just OK - certainly not fancy - more of a poolside bar. I think they assume everyone will go right next door to Aji's which is lovely - right on the beach with strings of lights and rustling palm leaves - but would be very small if there was rain. It is expensive to get into town, and you can't walk or bike after dark, and it gets dark around 5:30. You can take a cab (about $20) or water taxi for $5 each way ( you can buy a week's pass for $25). People also rented golf carts, but apparently there had been a lot of rain the week before, and the roads had deep pot holes and were muddy, so we didn't trust ourselves with these in the dark. The restaurant at Mata Chica (where we did not eat) will send a boat for you (but they make up for it with their prices - though it is supposed to be worth it). In town we ate at The Reef (recommended by locals - we were not impressed) and Elvi's (which everyone recommends and is great and cheap). DO NOT Miss the ice cream and DandE's in town. To the left of the Grand Caribe is a yoga retreat - we did a very nice class here (drop ins are welcome) and had a lovely lunch with yummy smoothies. We snorkeled almost every day, and you MUST go with Little Alphonse (his number is in the Frommer's or Fodor's guide book). Arrange it directly - not through the hotel - to save money. Alphonse and his cousin Russell are the BEST guides. They made us feel like family - truly - and kept us safe. They swim with you and bring up sharks and rays for petting, show you all the cool fish (puffer fish, angel fish, grouper, lion fish, sea turtles, rays, sharks, anemones and urchins.... it is amazing!). We did one all day snorkel with just our family (since there were 6 of us) and went to Caye Caulker - a quiet little island that apparently is what Ambergris was like 15 years ago, definitely more mellow and less built up). We also did a full day excursion to cave tube and see ruins. This was EXPENSIVE - and we should have booked directly. The advertised price was $190, but we ended up paying $240 a person once you added in admissions and boat. Inland Tours had a brochure that said they still charge $190 including boat and admissions, so that would have been a big savings for 6 people. Still it was well worth doing, even if it was a lot for one day, we were somewhat rushed through the ruins and the tubing. Alphonse and Russel don't do this tour, unfortunately. There are several ruins to see, and they are all supposed to be fascinating. We did Xuantatich and it was spectacular. Our guide was very knowledgable. I would have loved to do the ATM cave, but with hiking and swimming I think it would have been too much for the kids. I am reluctant to share all this since I sort of want to keep all this for myself, but have at it Trip Advisorees.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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13  Thank AtlantaJamie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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721 - 727 of 775 reviews

Reviewed 4 December 2011

This is the ONE resort where I’ve found the reviews are “truely” accurate. Grand Caribe actually exceeded my expectations…..and they are high!

This is a VERY nice resort, located directly on the beach, with FABULUOUS views of the Caribbean! Every condo has a great view, even the ones that aren’t advertised as “ocean front.” So take a tip and save yourself some money ….. rent “ocean view.” My wife and I stayed in Unit C-4 and it had wonderful, unobstructed views….just as the write up described!

The staff at Grand Caribe were very nice and helped us arrange just about everything; Tropic Air reservations, golf cart rental, dive trips, they even paid for transportation to and from the airstrip! The staff also helped me surprise my wife by making the unit very romantic (flower petals, champagne). It worked!

The condo is new……I mean BRAND new and so are the furnishings! It is very spacious, with top-of-the-line everything: Belizean made mahogany furniture, high-end artwork and oil paintings, stainless steel appliances, granite counters…you name it. This place was nicer than any home I’ve ever lived in!

If you are looking for luxury, great staff, and don’t mind paying a little extra for it, this is the place. 
The resort is the best distance possible from the town: 10 minutes by golf cart, so you can go there to have dinner.. and far enough so you don’t have to worry about the noise of town. A lot of nights we walked north on the beach to have dinner. There are many restaurants that are quite good. The place was perfect in my opinion.

Oh yeah….the pools were HUGE and very clean and with 3 of them, they never felt crowded. Drinks are served at the swim up bar! What can be better than that?!

Room Tip: We stayed in Unit C-4, which is on the second level and it was perfect! Don't pay extra for &qu...
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  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank RobCase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2011

The condo we rented for a month at Grand Caribe was absolutely beautiful. Every piece of furniture in our condo was made from local mahogany. The kitchen had top of the line appliances. The rooms were so spacious. Since we fly fished during the day, we had a full washer and dryer in our condo to use as we pleased. The staff that cleaned the condo was great too. The pool was awesome! The restaurant under the pool had great food. There was also a beautiful ocean view of the sunrise every morning. The next time we decide to fly fish in Belize, we are heading back to the Grand Caribe!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled on business
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Thank HarborTownFlyFishing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2011

I stayed at the Grand Caribe during Oct/Nov 2011. This was my first trip to the island and Belize. I did some research on quite a few place and the Grand Caribe sticked out a bit. It is a new place about 2 years old.

The people are very friendly and were trying to be helpful. Although the place looks really nice, with cost/value and my experiences in mind I am not sure if I would stay again. It might be a good choice for a families or couples.

Reservation / Costs:
The booking was easy and straight forward, however, I was a little disappointed that the extensive discount during off season only applied to two bedroom condos. A single condo apparently does not qualify for package discount for no apparent reason to me. However, they agreed to some discount as if I would be staying 14 nights. Still, I wonder why the overall costs of a two bedroom condo which is larger and needs more attention for 14 nights receives a discount of 7 free nights while mine was for about 2 nights for a smaller place.

Rooms:
I was staying in E8 which I can recommend and on the 3rd floor right to the left of the main building. The rooms are spacious and nice and so are the appliances and the kitchen. You have most of what you need to cook, dishes and Silver Ware, MicroWave, Oven, Dishwasher, Toaster, Refrigerator and Freezer with Ice Machine etc There are two Flat Screen TVs and complementary Internet access. There was a huge balcony with chairs and a table and a perfect view onto Sea and pool and sun in the morning until late into the afternoon. There is also a Propane Grill on the balcony although pretty dirty but most likely still working. The bathroom is great too and you have shower cabin as well as bath tub with whirlpool. All rooms have good AC and Air circulation.

You have complementary laundry but make sure to separate the cloth and instruct clearly at about what temperature.

The Pool is large but not too deep but you can swim. Right at the pool there is a pool bar to which they also refer as Restaurant. They serve simple breakfast, lunch and some snacks.

You can walk along the Beach North or South and reach some smaller Restaurants or other resorts, although some of the were still closed due to Off Season.


Not so good:

When I arrived, the room was not clean. Dishes still dirty as well as the bathroom shower. Since the cleaning staff was already gone, I had to do some preliminary cleaning myself and was hoping that they would take of the rest on the next day. Unfortunately, they did not.

Also, they offer you to take care of you initial provisions so that when you arrive you have food and drinks already as the nearest store is about 3 miles away. I already read about a common issue of expired groceries but they seriously put spilled eggs in my frig and expired cereals and they usually last for 2-3 years! I spoke with the manager and she apologized and promised to take care of this.

When I returned after diving, only some cleaning was done. MicroWave and Wine Glasses were still dirty, in fact I did specifically tell the manager about the glasses but they stayed dirty on the top shelf until I left after 12 nights and are probably still there.

On the other hand I received a big basked with a bottle of wine, some cheese, crackers and grapes as apology, which is nice, however, I rather like to avoid issues before they happen and it was still not resolved after telling them several times.

On opposite site of the main building, there are workers repairing and building parts and furniture for the hotel. They start working around 7am and you can hear them hammering. I was awake by then anyway but for those who want to sleep in they might need some ear plugs.

While the windows to the balcony is large and you have a Mosquito net there is only one other window. During the power outage, I wanted to open that window for a cool brise but that windows does not have a Mosquito so it had to stay closed. Other condos seem to have a net there too, perhaps just an oversight in this condo.


General comments:
If you do not intend to rent a Golf Cart you can easily reach San Pedro using a Water Taxi which is leaving fright from the pier roughly every hour or you can ask the Front Desk to call for a transport. I only used a Cart transport twice from the Airstrip on San Pedro to the Hotel and back.The trip from and to the Airport is complementary.

Apart from that I was traveling with the Water Taxi 5$ US one way. If you stay for a longer period of time you should consider a week/month pass which you can buy at the 'Amigos de Mar' pier station in San Pedro.

Since I was staying during 'Rain Season' there were quite a lot of Mosquitoes around, on Balcony, and when you go out at night. A repellent is a must and consider wearing light colour clothing rather than dark.

There were two power outages during my stay not only affecting the Grand Caribe. It can take a couple of hours to return power.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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11  Thank Tim R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GrandCaribeBelize, Manager at Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2011

Thank you for your review.
We would like to take the time to write a short response to clarify some points.
Regrettably there were housekeeping issues/complaints during your stay and in response to this problem I personally went to check the rental. When I realized that the store who sends us the provision packages sent bad eggs and expired goods, we provided a gift basket for the inconvenience (we have had serious discussions with the company and we no longer use them).
In regards to the housekeeping problems, we aim for the context of these problems to be unnoticed by our guests; however in cases such as these it needs to be taken into consideration. The country was under hurricane warning during the time of your arrival and most of our staff members including most all our housekeeping staff paid due to the volunteer evacuation of the island. And although we stayed open for this period of time,we cannot tell our employees to stay, they are by all rights allowed to leave the island. However we tried to aim for proper housekeeping, and unfortunately there were oversights in your rental; and we apologize. This is no excuse however context must always be taken into consideration and there is no denying that the glasses were water stained, a window screen was missing, the microwave required cleaning and that the grill on the balcony was an utter oversight. (we in fact, do not allow grills outside on the balcony, the owner of this condo was not adhering to our protocol).

In regards to the cost of your stay. You did in fact get the fourteen night package on the one bedroom, a package we not longer provide. Your stay was for 12 nights, you paid for 7 nights and got 5 nights free, we provided a greater discount than the 7 night package with additional night rate which would normally apply to a 12 night stay.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2011

Complete unit with the amenities to enjoy paradise. Great rooms, amazing kitchen. Outstanding views of the Caribbean sea and the reef. Enjoyed swimming in the sea, great beach and very nice bloody Mary by the pool bar. very helpful staff. Away from town, very quite, just what the doctor recommended

Room Tip: The rooms by the sea have outstanding views, but quite honestly we enjoyed the view from our unit E...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank mariu40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2011

I recently had my birthday party at Grand Caribe and it was beyond perfect. The staff did a fantastic job at making sure my guests and I had a great time and were well taken care of.

After the party was over and everyone had gone home it was a real treat to head to a lovely beach front condo and enjoy a couple of days much needed r&r.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Laurie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

If there is a place in tripadviser where the reviews are exactly what i found when got there.. this place is Grand Caribe.
VERY nice hotel, in front of the beach, with FABULUOUS view of the ocean. Every condo has a very nice view.. even the ones that dont have ocean view.
People ther were very nice and helped us on all issues we got: they got our golf cart, plane tickets for belize-san pedro, found a fisher man when we wanted lobsters, booked us in the trips we wanted to see.. and when we asked where was better to visit, they came with a full explanation done by someone.. who knew the places... and spoke to us for several minutes, untill we had no more doubts about the trips.
The room ws NEW, (i mean REALY NEW), everything working (except from 2 light switches, but when we called reception, they sent a person imediately, who fixed the light) and with a lot of space.
The kitchen furniture was much better then the ones i have at home hehehe !
If you are looking for luxury, great staff.. and dont mind paying a little more (a little!) this is the place.
the pool was huge and very clean.
The hotel is in the best ditance possible from the town: 10 minutes by golf cart.. so you can go there to have dinner.. and far enough so you dont have to worry about noise. the place was perfect in my opinion.
I want to came back to belize... mostly because of this hotel. (belize is very nice, of course.. but the high point of the trip was staying here)
ah ! they payed for yours cabs from the airport .. on arrival and leaving

Room Tip: low season: ask for ocean view!
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Murchelon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums

Address: 2 Mils North of San Pedro, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
#7 Family Hotel in San Pedro
#8 Business Hotel in San Pedro
#14 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: £242 - £554 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums 3.5*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The unique layout of this premier resort provides the entire 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom condos with an unobstructed panoramic view of the second largest Barrier Reef! The residences are beautifully appointed with spacious, fully equipped kitchens. The living rooms and bedrooms have flat screens and all accommodations also have ipod docking, DVD and internet service. Concierge can arrange local flights, golf cart rentals, all tours including snorkeling, diving, fishing, sailing, mainland excursions, private charters, private chefs and babysitting. Contact us for your next vacation, honeymoon or any special occasion! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Caribe Belize Resort And Condominiums Hotel San Pedro
Grand Caribe Belize Resort And Condominiums San Pedro

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