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“Fabulous Fun and Adventure in the Sun”

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Portofino Beach Resort
Ranked #18 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 June 2010

My friend and I just came back from spending one wonderful week at Portofino and we can't wait to go back. The day we got there Rafael was waiting for us with a welcome drink.
We stayed in one of the Cabanas which had a great view... We even had a hammock in our porch :-)
The kayaks are complimentary which we took almost every morning and headed to Mexico Rocks which is 10 minutes away from Portofino...great snorkeling spot.

We loved everything about Portofino, the staff is very friendly and always willing to help. Rosalie at the front desk booked all the trips for us and we didn't had to worry about anything. We spent all the time at Portofino until the last day where we went shopping to town.
We are definitely coming back to Portofino with our five sisters! Lorraine showed us the different Suites and we already know which one we will be staying :-)
I would strongly recommend Portofino!! We had the best vacation ever.... Thank you Portofino!! We miss you

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ginger412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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514 - 520 of 647 reviews

Reviewed 23 June 2010

WOWEEEE! My husband and I just returned from our week long honeymoon at Portofino.. I must say that the experience far outweighed our expectations.. We were endlessly pleased with every aspect of our trip and are now considering moving the Ambergris Caye on the heels of our honeymoon. I am sure the impetus to relocate is greatly influenced by the perfection of our hotelier. The personal attention to details, the kind and warm nature of the staff, the owners Sandra and Jan, has forever changed our view of ours lives and what is truly possible. We feel as if we have made life long friends and are already planning our next excursion there. We already miss them all, including Roberto, Orville, Rosalee, Rachel, Karla, Marlenee, Mo and more.. The other reviewer's whom detailed their positive experience were absolutely accurate.. to read the negative reviews leaves me wondering where in the world those travelers were or possibly what expectations they might have had and their frame of mind. I have personally been traveling for over 15 years from such places as Morroco, Egypt and Europe to Costa Rica, Mexico and now Belize. I would recommed this hotel over and over again.. Cheers to you Sandra and Jan for all of your beauty.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kittygato
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2010

My wife and I went to Portofino for our Honeymoon and had the most amazing time. The people who have given negative reviews on Trip Advisor don't seem to really understand Belize. Ambergris Caye is an untouched beauty. You won't find it littered with over development and mega resorts. It is quiet, quaint, and one of the most romantic places I have ever been. Portofino was amazing. The staff was top notch and took care of our every need. When the A/C in are room went out we were immediately upgraded to the Portofino mansion at no charge. The food was first class and we found that many people from other resorts were taking the water taxi's to Portofino for dinner. Sandra and Jan, the owners were awesome. They were very approachable and took a very hands on approach to ensure that guests were having a good time. I would definitley reccomend Portofino to anyone that is traveling to Ambergris. We had the time of our lives and cant wait to go back!!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank sleepintheback
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2010

If this were a budget hotel, it'd be wonderful. As a four star romantic resort, it is an utter FAIL. The honeymoon suite was hotter inside than out with the airconditioning on full, and it also didn't stay cool enough to sleep when we tried with the windows open. The suite jaccuzi was broken. We had a threadbare comforter. With a week left in our stay, they told us it simply wouldn't be fixed. So they moved us to a room meant for a family which was generally in poor repair and otherwise had its own issues, but had slightly more acceptable AC. The owners live on property, but don't appear to QA their rooms to find and fix the problems with them to an appropriate standard.

We want to have a wonderful honeymoon much more than we care about the money, but they didn't even offer any compensation that the room we paid top price for is unusable.

The staff is wonderful, friendly and helpful. We came on the highest recommendation of a friend and great reviews on tripadvisor, but clearly this place has declined. Now we would most highly recommend NOT staying here unless they dramatically drop their prices or considerably upgrade and repair. Paying for a VIP honeymoon package, this was by far the least I've gotten for my money anywhere in the world. I've had its equal for a tenth the money, and far superior for half the money.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank DaleLarson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2010

After reading the previous review, I feel compelled to write a story and defend, but I'll keep it short and to the point, like I was taught. During our week stay we had a wonderful time! We got to know the staff and owners on a first name basis. The place was very clean and friendly. When we had a slight problem, it was fixed...but word to the wise no one is a mind reader, you have to state your problem! As for the room, there's no door on the toilet room (but there's one for the bathroom), but you're probably with your spouse, so get over yourself. The bed was a bit hard, but nothing will be as nice as yours at home. The room was quite cozy and friendly. There were free recreational activities, water, dvds, and several trips to town by boat. They also organized whatever tour you wanted to go on.The food was good, a bit pricey, but that's part of vacation. Vacation is leisure, but it's also an adventure. You have to be open to changes and risks. I'm a huge to the minute planner, but I left that person at home and just had fun! I enjoyed every minute...except for the last few minutes of stepping onto the plane to come home!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank PStatt79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2010

I don't normally write reviews, but I felt compelled to do so in this case. It's hard to believe that the other reviewers and I are even talking about the same place. After reading all the Trip Advisor reviews for San Pedro hotels, including Portofino, and the hotel's own website, we decided on Portofino for our final 3 nights' stay in Belize (we stayed a total of 9 nights in Belize at 3 locations). We thought we were saving the best for last and went for a "Junior Beach Suite," thinking we were splurging on a nicer unit at a "higher end" hotel. What a disappointment. This place did not meet our expectations at all. We're pretty flexible and tolerant travelers, have stayed at many different "star" levels of hotels, both rustic and luxurious, and we enjoy the adventure of going to new places that are unique. But we were so dissatisfied with this place that we even considered leaving after the first day and forfeiting our prepaid hotel costs, just to get out of there. But we decided to try and make the best of it. First of all, I feel that the hotel's website misrepresented the hotel and services. For example, we knew that the only way to get to and from the hotel property to the town of San Pedro (for shopping, restaurants, golf cart rentals, bars, etc.) was by boat and I will say that the pick-up service from the airport was efficient and well done. But the hotel advertises on their website that the boat makes several runs daily into town. That wasn't the case. During our stay, there was an early boat run about 9 am and the next one was at 5 pm. And "maybe" another one at some non-specified time, but they couldn't tell us in advance, it depended on the arrival of an incoming guest. Not exactly a schedule designed for the convenience of the guests. We were told to "just take a water taxi." But believing their website, we were counting on their boat for transportation because the commercial water taxis would have been $44 dollars (US$) round trip for two people each time we wanted to go to town. That's an expensive cost add-on to an already pricey hotel stay. So we were held hostage to the whim of the hotel's boat scheduler or we could add $44 to any meal or activity we might want in town. Also, the "suites" were advertised to have a king-size bed (ours didn't and the bed we had didn't feel like it had a real mattress, but a casing stuffed with something lumpy), double sinks (nope), a comfortable sitting area (it had two tiny, uncomfortably angled, wooden slatted chairs that I couldn't even sit in to tie my shoes, let alone relax and enjoy a book), and a mini-bar (we had an empty mini-refrigerator and two glasses; that's not my definition of a mini-bar). The shower was dingy, needing patching, the hot/cold water knobs were reversed, the open toilet area was dirty with no privacy and there were ants everywhere. There were only two skinny, bent, wire hangers in the closet. The floors and ceilings in our structure were wooden, so the footsteps from the upstairs guests sounded like clog dancing. Finding a comfortable place to sit was a challenge (especially on the rainy days). Besides the impossible-to-sit-on mini-chairs in the room, there was a ripped hammock and an absence of deck chairs on our veranda. To their credit, when we commented on this, the front desk provided some stiff-backed wooden deck chairs and a replacement hammock. Unfortunately, the new hammock was infested with mosquitos and when I spread it out and lay down on it, my back was covered in bites in less than 30 seconds, even though I was protected with bug spray and clothing. The small lobby was really the only place to sit semi-comfortably, if you couldn't sit out on a beach lounger (e.g., if it were raining) but it was dark and gloomy in the lobby. The other place to sit was at the bar on a bar stool. The bartender was condescending and snapped at me for not knowing about the front desk procedures. We were shocked by his rudeness. The morning complimentary continental breakfast was fair, with a generous portion of fresh fruit, but to eat in the restaurant in the morning was to battle a constant attack of flies all over the food, our faces and swimming in our drinks. The waitress would make jokes about how bad the flies are, but I didn't find it amusing to drink coffee with a fly drowning in my cup or eat fruit as flies landed all over it and our tableware. So we scarfed up breakfast, just to get away from the bugs fast. The restaurant is supposed to be elegant, but it too, was a disappointment. It was too expensive for the quality, selection and setting. Right next to our table (and upwind) they lit up a bucket of smoking mosquito coils which doused us throughout our meal. Afterwards, my clothing smelled like I had just been in a fire. And they allowed an unleashed dog to wander the restaurant (the other diner who brought the dog didn't see this as a problem and neither did the wait-staff.) I think it's inappropriate for a restaurant that's supposed to be elegant and romantic to allow a dog to go roaming and sniffing around the patrons' tables. This is not the lodging quality or service I'd expect from a $220-$340 per night hotel, regardless of location. The stay at Portofino wasn't a totally negative experience. It had a few good points. It has a remote, quiet and clean beach, although you can't swim in the water off the beach because of the seagrass. But going out on the crystal clear water was lovely. There was a mosquito net over the bed, which was necessary, even with a/c in the room and it was much appreciated . The a/c worked well. They provided a large dispenser of drinking water in the room. They didn't charge extra for the water whereas some hotels might, but since you couldn't drink the tap water, it was a necessary amenity. They had a generous selection of shampoos and soaps in the bathroom. We signed out their complimentary kayak and some snorkel equipment, which was a nice service and kayaked to a good snorkeling spot not too far from the hotel. They had a computer with free internet access for public use and free wi-fi in the lobby. The dinner wait-staff in the restaurant were cheerful and the front desk staff tried to be helpful, although sometimes they appeared a bit put out that we were interrupting them from their other business.
In summary, our stay was a disappointment. This hotel goes on my list as one of the least favorite places I've ever stayed in the WHOLE WORLD!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank TehdeeBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2010

My husband and I took our belated honeymoon to Portofino May 19 - May 28, 2010. Let me start by discussing the hotel itself. We were picked up in San Pedro by Mo the water taxi driver, he was so friendly and willing to fill us in on all the fun activities to do while in Belize. Rosealie met us at the dock, and knew us by name and where we were from, it really made you feel like you were someone special. Rafael, one of the bartenders greets with you with a wonderful welcome drink, (definetly try the rum punch!!) You are taken to your room and made familiar with the property right away, you are made to feel right at home.
There are 17 rooms at Portofino, so we really got to know some of the other guests, who were all so friendly and cool to hang out with. There is also lots of room for time alone.
We stayed in the Queen cabana, it was gorgeous!! There were fresh flowers layed around the whole room, and it's so comfortable. The bed was very comfy and we had no problem with the water, whatsoever. We did have a door on our restroom, by the way and everything was very clean. The housekeeping girls go in daily to tidy up around you, but our things were never touched or moved. We felt completely comfortable leaving our belongings in the room, even unlocked most of the time.
The ocean is shallow until you get to the end of the dock, but you can swim a bit at the end of the dock and paddle out a short way via kayak to Mexico Rocks to scuba and swim, which I highly recommend!
The staff were all great, especially Mo, Rafael, Orville, and Karla. Karla works in the kitchen and we were up at 5:00 am every morning bothering her for caffine and breakfast before they even opened the restaurant, and she was so sweet and accomodating. She even packed us a couple of to go breakfasts for our daily adventures.
The owners are so wonderful, as well, Sandra, Jan and their kids are the best. They make you feel like you are their best friends and do everything they can to make your stay more enjoyable. True hospitality.
As far as adventures, we hit the Lamanie ruins, whom Rosalie booked for us, and it was wonderful. If you have a full day and don't mind hiking a little, it's well worth it. Deep sea fishing is a ton of fun, my husband actually won the Dorado Fishing Tournament while we were there. Night life in San Pedro is fun and safe. If you can, go off the beaten path and hit one of the local bars, you'll see a lot more culture and meet some amazing people. Scuba diving with Ecologic Tours was awesome. I had never dove before and was honestly terrified, Junior was my guide and made it so fun and easy that he put me right at ease 40 feet under the ocean!! I got a 90 minute massage with Ebony at the spa down the beach, (only a 15 minute walk) and it was the best I've ever had! A little on the pricier side, but well worth it. I had a pretty bad sunburn, and she did an extra aloe treatment for me, that made everything good as new!
The food at Portofino was really good and the service was excellent. We ate there most of the time, except when in town. In town, we ate from the vendors only. We never got sick and it was some of the best food we've ever had. You know it's probably safe if you see the locals eating it. Also, whenever you see the tamale vendor on his bike, hit him up! Best tamales ever and they're only about $2 US.
Obviously, to sum it up, I had an amazing time at Portofino and plan to go back. I would recommend to anyone looking for a small hotel to stay at with five star service!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank nedge645
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Portofino Beach Resort

Address: 6 Miles North | PO Box 36, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in San Pedro
#9 Business Hotel in San Pedro
#12 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#17 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
#18 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#23 Family Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: £193 - £846 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Portofino Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Characterized by its warm and friendly hospitality, Portofino is the epitome of barefoot luxury, unpretentious and relaxing… for most; it will be an experience of a lifetime. Our small, boutique resort offers just 17 beautifully appointed rooms, ranging from charming beach cabanas to spacious suites, dotted amidst swaying palm trees, in a private setting with unmatched personal attention and the modern comforts of home. It is a haven of tranquility, where guests will enjoy the subtle sounds of the nearby waves lapping over the reef, gentle breeze, breathtaking sunrise, star studded night sky and spectacular views of the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea. The perfect setting for a romantic getaway, intimate wedding, honeymoon, family and friends.Portofino offers leisure options to suit every taste. Relax in our fresh water outdoor swimming pool; enjoy a great book from our book collection or simply indulge yourself in a massage on the beach under our hand thatched palapa hut. Explore the underwater world with snorkel equipment or skim along the surface in our complimentary sea kayaks. Delicious meals prepared by our resort chef can be served in the privacy or your beach cabana or suite, on our private dock with a romantic setting or at the Portofino Restaurant. Sip on amazing tropical cocktails at the Green Parrot Beach Bar or perhaps a late afternoon snack from the Green Parrot Bistro. Take advantage of our DVD library and unwind in front of the flat TV screen in your room. Or, simply take in the view. In short, relax and enjoy! Reception in the main building is manned by professional and knowledgeable staff. From, activities bookings and directions to itineraries and dining reservations, our friendly and professional staff is eager to assist you. Access to PORTOFINO is by boat only, and therefore we offer a complimentary meet and greet service at San Pedro Airstrip and boat transfer to the resort, an approximately 20 minutes ride. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Portofino Hotel San Pedro
Portofino San Pedro
Portofino Beach Resort Belize/San Pedro

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