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“Wonderful, if we could only lose some the other guests”
Review of Turtle Inn

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Turtle Inn
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Placencia
Certificate of Excellence
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Wonderful, if we could only lose some the other guests”
Reviewed 21 February 2009

Turtle Inn is the 2nd Francis Ford Coppola resort we stayed in on our honeymoon. It is a beautiful, relaxed, thoughtfully designed resort on a lovely beach in Placencia. We had a few minor problems with room maintenance including a lock that never functioned properly, a squeaky ceiling fan above the bed, and bits of trash/cleaning rags left outside the cottage that never went away. That being said, the staff was extremely responsive and warm and you can't help but feel like an honored guest and friend. We stayed in cottage 18, a seafront cottage at the far end of the property. The location was ideal, it was very private (although the outdoor shower in the enclosed garden is quite viewable from the balcony of the private residence next door). The cottage is steps from the ocean and the view is amazing. That being said, next time we might save a few dollars and reserve Seaview cottage #17, 14, 1, or 2, which we think offer the same level of privacy and a lovely view at a lower price).

One substantive complaint is that you can't take a bike for a ride unless you return it by 5 pm when the dive shop closes, which seems arbitrary and inconvenient (we get that they want you back by dark, but sunset was much later than 5 pm).

We weren't very active -- we had exceptional massages, and did a half day fishing trip in the mangroves on the bay. Our fishing guide Paolo was excellent and extremely patient (he spent a lot of time unhooking my lures from the mangroves). We did take advantage of the water transfer, which was well worth the $100 Belizean to avoid the long bumpy road. Finally, we witnessed an exceptional act of heroism by Liston the beach bartender, Tyrone, one of the beach captains and a third beach captain, when they heard cries for help from offshore. A local fisherman's boat had been flipped by a powerboat and he had been swept out to sea, entangled in his fishing lines. The 3 Turtle Inn staff jumped into sit-atop kayaks and raced out to help him. The rescue took about an hour and they truly saved the life of the fisherman who could not swim and was several hundred yards offshore in a strong current when they finally reached him. We were very impressed.

Our only problem with our stay was a problem one could encounter anywhere, particularly at beach resorts. A group of 6 30-something Americans traveling as a pack (if not a hoard) seemed to think that they were the only guests and therefore could act anyway they wished. They were loud, boorish, and showed up a table away wherever and whenever we tried to enjoy a quiet evening. They actually made the families with toddlers look quiet. The staff helped by moving our table more than once, and were most solicitous, but I would have appreciated it if they would have let the sextet know that others were complaining (we weren't the only ones). For me, the rooms here are the tops, but Blancaneaux is the winner as it seems to attract a more sympathetic clientele.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank WanderingOne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (191)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
NYC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2009

My husband and I went to the Turtle Inn for the first part of our honeymoon. From beginning to end, our stay there was magical. The garden-view cottage was impeccably clean and decorated in original carvings and textiles. Every detail was thoughtful, and we loved our private patio and outdoor shower. The cottage was tasteful and well designed, down to the wires being hidden inside bamboo and a "shell phone" (an actual conch shell) made to call the front desk without modern technology messing with the romantic vibe.

The staff were friendly and greeted us by our names, but they were in no way obtrusive. We would leave our cottage to go for a swim, and the room would be remade without our ever seeing anyone enter or leave. Any questions we had were answered with courtesy and clarity.

We took advantage of the meal plan, and we were happy that we did. It more than paid for itself in the amount of lobster we ate! We never had to think about what things cost, which would have probably swayed our ordering otherwise. We especially recommend the open-air grill for dinner. They served grilled fish and seafood (grilled lobster was out of this world) along with some tasty side dishes. Fantastic!

We also used the kayaks and bikes they had available for guests. We kayaked in the bay looking for manatees or crocs. We didn't find any, but had a nice time anyway. It was an easy bike ride into Placencia on the bikes, and from there you could go boating or fishing with other travelers. You could also get more of a feel for Belize outside the grounds, as the atmosphere of the Turtle Inn was definitely a luxurious enclave amongst the less developed environs.

We loved the Turtle Inn and met very nice people staying there as well. We would go back in a heartbeat. We would love to check out Blancanneaux as well, as I'm sure the level of service must be comparable. We went to the interior jungle and stayed at Chaa Creek, which was not nearly as nice as the Turtle Inn. Great job, Francis Ford Coppola!

  • Liked — service
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank lipanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco Bay Area
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 January 2009

Just returned from a honeymoon stay during early January, 2009. We loved it and I'm already thinking about coming back for a family reunion.

As others have written, the property is amazing. Francis Ford Coppola has created a tropical paradise and a mood.

Everything here is scripted for an amazing visit - between the welcome drink, the outdoor lighting, and the thatched roof Balinese style accommodations that are amazing (our "cottage" was incredibly spacious - larger than some NYC apartments). I had withdrawal from the outdoor shower with the banana tree when we left...

While the food is good, but not great, the benefit of staying at the Turtle Inn is that you can easily dine in nearby Placencia. We stayed here instead of Blancaneaux because we wanted dining options. Its true, prices were high at TI, but not exorbitant and everyone takes advantage of the sunset happy hour.

I've seen reviewers complain about the bugs and iguanas. Both are everywhere, but the bugs can be managed with spray and the iguanas are harmless. It is after all, Belize, not Boston.

One word of caution: book early. We wanted to stay longer, but the place was completely full, despite the crummy economy. All the other hotels we stayed at were nearly empty at the same time...

  • Liked — The feeling that you are in an amazing tropical paradies
  • Disliked — We couldn't stay longer because it was already booked
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank JYR71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
33 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2008

We just returned last night from a relaxing and luxurious stay at the Turtle Inn for six nights. The property is impeccably maintained and unique in its design. The pool area is lushly landscaped and provides a perfect view of the beach, water and pool bar. The cabanas are beautifully appointed...the outdoor shower and front porch make them top notch! From the second you walk up through the drive, you are transported to a property that is 100% five star.

The reason I named this post "Rustic Luxe" is b/c it must be noted that, despite pure tranquility, incredible service, and gorgeous landscaping, rooms and restaurants, there is no air conditioning, television, phones, or Wi-fi. The rooms don't have glass windows, but rather open air shutters with screens. Some may associate those luxuries with five star accommodations. After a visit to TI, I am sure that you would agree that they are not synonymous. However, if you think that climate control/lack of exposure to the elements would be a crucial component to your vacation, then this may not be the stop for you.

Besides the physical property, the service is what stands out. Words cannot describe the utter friendliness, professionalism and hospitality of the staff. Whether waiting on your table at breakfast or raking the sand outside your room, every single person was consistently welcoming and friendly. Neither my husband nor myself ever experienced any form of pressure regarding the excursions or any type of snafu in our stay. After the first day, everyone knew our names and had our room cleaning and turn down service timed perfectly. The staff knew what drinks we liked, how we liked our coffee and how we liked our beach chairs. Before the excursions, they would ask if we wanted our breakfast delivered to our rooms since we needed to wake up early, etc. It is a "your wish is my command" attitude among the staff.

On to some tips/observations if you are considering the TI:

1. The TI is located in Central America or the Continental Carribean. It is very lush , green and "rain forest-y" as opposed to the gleaming white sands of the Carr. islands. It is not European or American in vibe. As such, the beaches are pretty and the water is unbelievable but you will notice more of a "jungle/mountain feel" as opposed to a clear water, white sand, European quaint town atmosphere (in the vein of St. Barth's, etc.) There are some creepy crawlies and wildlife that have not been present in my past Carr. trips. It is just crucial to know what you are getting into before deciding if this is the right trip for you.

2. You must bring "Off: Deep Woods" and Cortesone. I got very bitten up by some type of small undetectable gnat while outside by the pool and on the beach. Again, knowing about it ahead of time will help you assess whether you would like to visit Belize/Turtle Inn. This is not something to blame on the property...again, Central America/rain forest/etc. Small biting bugs live there.

3. DO A PACKAGE!!! I have read numerous accounts about the expense of TI as well as the advantages of a package. I cannot agree more! The food is delicious, esp. considering that Belize is not a cuisine destination. We loved all three of the restaurants on the property....the pizza at Mare and grilled seafood at the Grill was a particular delight! We did the package with 3 dinners, 5 lunches, and 5 breakfasts plus 2 excursions. The headache of worrying about cost as well as dealing with what is included/what is not was totally taken away. We enjoyed the happy hour each day at the TI and bought drinks throughout the day at the pool...a bulk of our non-package spending was on Belikin beer and the awesome mojitos! It was nice to know that most of the trip had already been paid for before we arrived. If we had not gotten the package, I know we would have been pre-occupied with the cost of each individual meal on-site. As people have noted prior, the restaurants are certainly not cheap and, therefore, having a package that includes the entirety of the meal (with the exception of alcohol) is a deal.

4. I highly recommend just booking your excursions (see above about package) with the Turtle Inn. We were again pleased that we didnt have to worry about the cost once we got there. That being said, even if you don't do a package, I still recommend that you talk to Jason, the concierge, and book thru TI. Their tour operators are truly incredible. Again, personalized experience, not crowded, and the guides are infinitely knowledgable. We snorkeled on Laughing Bird Caye and toured the Monkey River. On both tours, we ran into other groups who were not being nearly as well taken care of as the TI crew. Our guide thru TI was able to find the monkeys immediately off of the Monkey River and this other group actually tried to join ours b/c they had been waiting for their guide to show them something for about 45 minutes! As an aside (that I could do a separate post on), the snorkeling and Monkey River Tours were amazing. I highly recommend them both. We saw so much beautiful marine life (including multipe pods of dolphins and manatees) and enjoyed the relaxing boat rides to both locations.

5. Tipping: A 10% service charge is included in all meals. This was a source of confusion prior to our going so we clarified this ahead of time. On each meal, even the ones in the package, the service was so incredible that we added a 10% tip on top of it so that the servers received 20%. Tips are not included in packages. We also tipped on drinks at the beach bar.

6. Bring books, Scrabble, cards, and games, etc. The main activity at TI is relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Obviously, the excursions are awesome but a lot of the appeal of the resort is "down time." It is not a Club Med type of resort with pre-planned lessons or sports. With the exception of lounging, eating, kayaking, venturing into the town for provisions on the complimentary bikes, and doing the excursions, there is not that much else to do....which was IDEAL for us! Just hanging out enjoying the scenery and drinks was the true main activity.

My husband and I truly had an incredible time at the TI. It is a luxurious and decadent spot for a true vacation. We actually came back relaxed, which is a rarity!

  • Liked — Unique, beautiful, well-appointed
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Nolanative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 November 2008

My wife and I just returned home from a week at the Turtle Inn for our Honeymoon. This was the best vacation either of us have ever been on. The service is outstanding. You can connect in a very personal way with all of the staff. By the end of the trip we had made friends with quite a few of them and they really helpped make this the most memorable trip. From Listin and Jesus at the bar to Rudelino and Suzette in the restaurant we will miss you guys. I have never been anywhere before where you can get an amazing breakfast, lunch, or dinner every time. Thanks Chef Aaron! The excursion packages the resort has are awesome. You can spend the day rummaging through some unexcavated Mayan Ruins, cliff jump off some waterfalls, take a hike through the Jaguar Preserve, or do something as simple as a snorkling trip to the many Cay Islands. Francisco was our tour guide and the man is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to his craft. If you spend some time there I recommend asking for him. Our little cabin was fantastic. Open air with screened in windows made for a very comfortable night. They are spaced out far enough that your neighbors are not a bother. Oh yeah the outdoor shower is a must do. The town of Placencia is a quick 5 minute bike ride away (bikes are complimentary from the resort) and the people there are super friendly. I felt very safe with my wife and I walking down the street at night. (P.S. Anton's Tatoo shop is the place to get some local ink done. He did some fantastic Mayan pieces on my wife and I). The Barefoot Beach Bar and Tipsy Tuna's Sports Bar are both very fun and very reasonably priced for a night out away from the resort. We are both looking foraward to a return trip in the very near future as there is way to much to see and do in just one week.

  • Liked — The staff. 5 diamond quality service!
  • Disliked — The bed was a bit to firm for my wife and I, but we have a tempurpedic at home and are spoiled.
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank bobbycot79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2008

My wife and I stayed at the Turtle Inn for five days and four nights for our honeymoon. We first stayed at Blancaneaux before being transferred to Turtle Inn. Based on our stay, here are the pro’s and con’s of TI:
Pro’s
-The rooms. Our seafront cottage was really, really nice and much bigger than the riverfront cabanas at Blancaneaux. I believe this is because Turtle Inn is newer, but who knows. Friends we met at TI were upgraded to a seafront villa free of charge while there. While we weren’t this lucky, it’s nice to know they did stuff like this (they did not do this at Blancaneaux).
-The pool is sweet. Really sweet. It has a great view and there’s a bar right by it.
- The staff. Just like Blancaneaux, the staff is awesome. Andy, Jesus, Suzette, Jason….all very cool people. They’ll also teach you how to sail and fish in kayaks if you’re bored.
- The grounds are nice and very well kept.
-Turtle Inn is really close to the village and it’s a fun bike ride to town. The only restaurant we found open was Wendy’s. Wendy’s food was so good we kept going back!
Con’s
-The ocean has a bunch of seaweed on the floor so it’s not ideal for swimming (unlike, say Robert’s Grove). We spent most of our time at the pool as a result.
-We went on the snorkeling trip to Laughingbird Caye and were soooo disappointed. The trip was cut short by ½ hour with no explanation given, visibility was bad because of the season and recent storms and we didn’t see anything breathtaking. The snorkeling trip was at least $50USD more expensive than using a local outfitter in the Placencia Village or even Robert’s Grove.
-The mosquitos were bad, but not as bad as Mountain Pine Ridge.
-We went exploring and checked out the Francis Ford Coppola villa while there. It was unoccupied so we peeked in there. There was a huge rat trap in the place, which led us to believe rats may be a problem in Placencia. Later on our honeymoon we saw a dead rat in front of our room at Robert’s Grove. You’ll notice a lot of hotels on the beach have pet cats and I think this is why.
-The price. A huge dinner at Wendy’s in Placencia Village will run two people $40USD. And that’s with drinks, appetizers and everything else. A dinner at Turtle Inn will run $100USD easily with drinks.

Overall, we really liked Turtle Inn, probably more than Blancaneaux. If the place was a little cheaper it would be five stars across the board.

  • Liked — People, Food & Rooms
  • Disliked — Cost,Rats & Snorkel Trip
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank DonnieKat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Worth
2 reviews
Reviewed 20 October 2008

We had booked the honeymoon package so we spent our first few nights at Blancaneaux lodge. This was the surf part of our surf and turf Honeymoon. We went snorkeling and to the Jaguar preserve. The Jaguar preserve was beautiful but you had better be ready for some serious hiking. Aside from the Jaguar preserve (which was worth it) we spent all of our time by or in the water. The only complaint was the "no see ums" They are tiny gnats that bite like a mosquito. Turtle Inn did not have the bug nets around the bed like Blancaneaux did and the last night I could hear the bugs buzzing in my ears. But the bugs did not by any means ruin the trip I would go back tomorrow, very worth it.

Also the sea food is not prepared like it is in the states. The food was excellent in taste but you had to work for some of it (i.e. shrimp we ordered was not shelled) But if you have no problem eating lobster than this should be a cakewalk. Again despite my complaints it was a trip of a lifetime!!

  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank CubsFan00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turtle Inn

Property: Turtle Inn
Address: Placencia Village, Placencia, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Stann Creek > Placencia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Placencia
#2 Spa Hotel in Placencia
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Placencia
#4 Family Hotel in Placencia
#6 Romantic Hotel in Placencia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Turtle Inn 4.5*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury and unspoiled beauty on a pristine white-sand beach.Turtle Inn is a true labor of love. Less than a year after Francis and Eleanor Coppola acquired this beachside refuge in 2001, it was swept out to sea by the forces of Hurricane Iris. Turning disaster into triumph, the Coppolas led a two-year reclamation project, creating a magnificent resort that is consistently ranked among the best in Central and South America.This 25-room seafront hideaway combines natural wonders with luxury style. Accommodations are in individual thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings and naturally cooled by the ever-present sea breezes. Just steps beyond your private deck, the white-sand beach dissolves into the clear Caribbean ocean. In addition, the resort has two infinity swimming pools for enjoying the day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turtle Hotel Placencia
Turtle Inn Belize/Placencia
Belize Turtle Inn

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