Any resort stay begins with the staff people you meet, and Ramon's Village has taken the concept of inter-personal customer service to its quintessential, and logical, conclusion. Like so many other reviewers, one can't help but dwell on the outstanding staff of this beautiful, idyllic resort village that less than a year earlier was partially burned to the ground. And while it's large, clean rooms and suites, palm-thatched roofs, beautifully appointed Caribbean furniture, soft comfortable beds and pillows, crisp sheets, and clean, white beaches were exceptional in every respect, the staff clearly stole the show in virtually every way.
While all the folks from the long time owner and his wife, Richard and Gina, who we had the pleasure of sitting and talking with on multiple occasions, to Ramon himself, founder and still operational head of his namesake resort, were friendly and engaging and always willing to share an anecdote or story at your table. It was the staff who created an atmosphere so uniquely compelling and engaging that you couldn't help but smile, and even laugh, every time you saw them, or in some cases didn't see them, but heard your name's being warmly shouted to you as you passed by.
They always greeted you warmly, always by your first name, and while some might think this is being overly gratuitous or insincere, or even too personal, one couldn't help but compare them to the staff in other resorts who neither make much of an effort nor even take the time to get to know you, that is other than the proverbial friendly bartender.
However, I would be remiss if I didn't single out one staff member in particular who not only endeared himself to us, but made our eight day stay a most remarkable and unique experience. Jack, who works as wait staff in the restaurant, but actually knows the ins and outs of every aspect of the resort, and the town itself, left an indelible stamp on our hearts and souls. So much so, that my wife actually cried when we said our good-byes. And to this very day, we still reminisce and laugh about his extraordinary anecdotal knowledge of US geography and popular culture.
But Jack's friendly parlor games aside, he had a true and sincere devotion to service and addressing our every need from modifying the menu for a picky eater to giving us tips about what to see and where to go on the island to advising us on the other good (or not so good) restaurants. He was always willing to give his time and energy to ensure we were satisfied, happy and enjoying our stay. You can't train a staff person to do this, it must be felt in their heart, and in jack’s case it was the essence of sincerity. When we met another genuinely friendly waiter at another Ambergris Caye restaurant, and subsequently commented on this to Jack, we found out he use to be an employee of Ramon's! No surprise there!
While we witnessed Jack, and his many other colleagues, including Vidal, Kareem, Mark, Kaedell, Chief, Andres, Steve, and Andy, being friendly and engaging to the other guests, somehow or another, we were made to feel just that little bit more special, which is the very secret to their exceptional style and service -- everyone was made to feel unique and just that little bit more special.
As for accommodation, where do I begin. The well lit rooms (in our case, the 2nd floor International Suite, which I highly recommend) were large and comfortable and with a wonderfully comfortable king bed; large sofa; lounge chairs; dining and writing tables; kitchenette with fridge; large, clean glorious bathroom overstocked with big towels and with great water pressure who could ask for more. But to top it off, one whole wall was nothing but glass windows and doors leading to a wide, ocean-front balcony that stretched the entire length of the building, and with the most comfortable “padded” porch chairs imaginable…perfect for relaxing after a long day in the water and “people watching.” My wife , Pat, would marvel that we could sleep with the three sets of French doors wide open every night and the sounds of the Caribbean Sea below lapping on the beach and the wonderful, cool Caribbean trade breezes (with no bugs) lulling us quietly to sleep. But her particular favorite was that she could stand in the large and generous shower and stare at the ocean while she washed her hair! Who knew!!
But the real reason we were at Ramon’s in the first place was to dive, and the 5 Star PADI Dive Company at Ramon's was First Class all the way. And like Jack, and the other staff, they went above and beyond in their willingness to make our underwater experience as memorable as our above water experience.
The famous Belize barrier reef diving, while always beautiful with visibility extending well beyond 100 feet, was filled with an incredible amount of sea life from herds of Nurse Sharks (acting like puppies around us), Green and Loggerhead Turtles, Spotted Leopard Rays, Southern Rays, Spotted Dolphin, large Grouper, Reef Sharks, Octopus, Squid, to virtually every known reef fish (and very few Lion Fish). However, it was the dive crew aboard "Miss Made," Ernest and "Belly," who really made our 13 dives so truly enjoyable.
They were attentive to our every need, including going above and beyond duty for us. When I realized I had forgotten my dive skin and rash guard, and the only local dive emporium was closed for Easter Weekend (FYI water temps never dropped below 82 degrees), DM Ernest literally gave me his own dive shirt off his back, letting me use it for virtually the entire long weekend until I could buy a new one the following Tuesday. I have dived around the world with many great dive companies, but this was the first time a Dive Master had taken the shirt off his back to ensure I was comfortable underwater.
They have great dive boats, and their habit of assembling, checking and disassembling your gear after every dive, as well as having the divers remove their BCD "in the water" to be hauled out by Belly made getting in the boat a dream for these weary legs. And by weary, I mean I never surfaced from a dive in less than 50 minutes, and for those divers who grumble about "abbreviated" resort dives, this was the exception to the rule in every respect. The diving was very memorable, although even in this pristine environment, one can detect reef decay and in some cases, destruction, and I can only point to man-made reasons why this is happening on the 2nd largest Barrier Reef in the world (FYI I also noticed it significantly in West Roatan in October last year).
Pat and I will definitely return to Ramon's, and frankly, it may be sooner rather than later. Although we still have many dive destinations on our bucket lists, Ramon's was special enough in virtually every metric to make
P.S. Please give our fond regards to Jack, Ernest, and Ramon and all the other staff, both named and unnamed. We will see you again soon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ramon's Village Resort is the premiere beach resort in San Pedro, Belize featuring authentic Palm Thatched Cabanas, fabulous beach, lagoon style pool, Ramon's Village Divers scuba diving center, Pineapples Restaurant, Tropic Al's and the Tiki Turtle Trading Company. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ramon`s Village Hotel San Pedro
- Ramons Village Hotel
- Ramons Village Belize
- Ramons Village San Pedro
- Ramon's Village Resort Belize/San Pedro