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“Beautiful high end beach resort”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Turtle Inn

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Turtle Inn
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Placencia
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Beautiful high end beach resort”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2009

After spending three great nights at Coppola's other resort, Blancenaux, on the recommendation of other guests we decided to try out turtle inn. Beware, this is somewhat of a comparative review. Turtle Inn is larger than Blancenaux, and is a generally more expensive property with the focus being the beach. The rooms are larger, with the property having a bit more of the "Playa del Carmen" feel (for those who have been there). While not nearly as large as Mexico, It has the typical grand central building (thatch roof), with open restaurant and bar.

Cabins: We checked in and sat down with the manager who gave us the run down on the property, made us sign a few things, and showed us to our cabin. The cabin was fantastic. It was probably 20ftx30ft, with a fridge, couch, work areas, safe, and small table for eating. As with all Coppola properties, there was a reasonably nice double bed and no a/c. The porch was screened in, with some rough-hewn and wicker furniture. Hardwood floors, and high loft ceilings (with fans of course). We were in the 3rd row back from the water, a "partial" ocean view... I suppose we could see the ocean if the bushes were cut back, and we stood on our tippy-toes. but that was not a problem, there was good breezes, and the 50 or so feet we needed to walk to the shore was not a problem. The cabins on the beach (which are at a premium), appear to be beautiful.

As with Blancenaux, the attention to the bathrooms was great. Japanese style, with open screens to the private courtyard. Inside the bathroom is a small garden, and the courtyard itself was full of hibiscus and small palm trees. Additionally, there was a outdoor shower with lots of water spilling out of a bamboo pipe. Very nice, and private.

There are two pools at Turtle Inn. One is between the main building and sea. I did not swim in this one. The other is in the "newer" area, and is a neat triangular shaped salt water pool. It was always clean and nice. Because it was low season, there was almost never anyone in this pool.

Food: We tried two of their three restaurants. The first, the restaurant in the main building which is basically Italian. We tried had a salad and calzone. The Salad was big enough for two, which they did not tell us. We asked about the size of the calzone, and they had said it was medium. I'm a big eater, and it was definitely a large calzone. The prices were moderate for this class of resort. I think the calzones were around the equivalent of 15-20 US, with the salads around $8 US. Not bad price for the quality and quantity. The food was good quality, and as much as possible grown on the resort itself. Again, not necessarily the best food you have ever had, but good enough that only the most picky eaters would be dissatisfied. We also ate at ?Mama Luba's? across the street, It is considered one of the Inn's restaurants, however it appears to be run by locals making Belizean food. We had the chicken curry, and chicken stew. As with most Belizean dishes, it came with rice, beans and coleslaw. The food there was deliciously home cooked. Probably the best Belizean food I'd had (think of a slightly less spicy and slightly differently spiced take on Jamaican food). The restaurant itself was quite charming, basically a shack with screens and a small kitchen that you can look into while you eat. Also, you can eat on a nice patio and watch the lagoon (well, I assume the view is nice as we ate there after dark, so could not see much). We also ate in town at Wendy's, Fodor's choice. It was good, but not as refined at Mama Luba's.

Sports: Because it was low season, there was not a lot of activities going on, but the coordinator was very eager to help. So much so, that I wondered if she was new to the job wanting to prove herself. It's worth noting if you are a diver that in low season, there may only be a dive or two going on in a week.

They have kayaks and trimaran for use (free). We took out one of their two sailboats. It was an interesting design, where the "captain" sits in the center hull, manning the sail and operating the rudder with pedals. Unfortunately, the sail was in rough shape (patched and a little spent). The rudder pedals had a nasty habit of falling out of the broken track, and the hammocks between the outriggers where torn and saggy. That said, it was still fun, and we could get it to work... just unfortunate that a high end place like this did not take better care of their equipment. Maybe the other boat was better, but it had no hammock on it. The guy who took care of the boats said that parts were on order, but it sounded like they were dragging their heals a little.

Staff: Overall, nice with some very nice standouts. The manager is relatively new to the job, something like 6 weeks. She seemed nice, but perhaps a little phony (which stood out. One of the nice things about Belize is the people, they seem more or less to be genuine and interested in getting to know you... she was American). I suspect, and this is just my gut, that the place might have been trying to improve its management. But note, that said, the place was very well run.

Grounds: The grounds around the cottages were very nice, mostly coarse sand with lots of bushes, rough stepping stones, the occasional palm tree, and flowers. Each morning I noticed the staff raking the grounds (particularly if there was an evening/night storm - Very intense btw). It's not a large place, and around 1 yr ago they expanded to the North adding around 6 additional cabins. Strangely, there is a fellow who owns a house between the two sections of the resort. Apparently it is a real bone of contention with the ownership, as they wanted to buy it, but they could not agree on price. They have done a good job of masking the fact that it is there, and depending on where you stay you may not even realize that it's there at all (or assume it was just the managers residence).

Beach: One day I tied snorkeling, and to be honest it was not a great experience. As with almost all of Belize, there is sea grass, and small reef growths right off the shore. Where I was is not a great place for swimming (I think there is an area that they cleared for swimming further down). It had been stormy the night before, and I found the sea was murky, and there was some garbage on the bottom. This was unfortunate, but hard to control as the area is really a small town with lots of private houses. There was some aquatic life, but I did not see a lot. Perhaps it was just the day.

Overall, this is a very nice place. There was not really anything wrong (besides the sailboat), and most things were very, very nice, but somehow I was less impressed by it than Blanceneaux. Although, to be fair, some other guests who came from Turtle Inn saw it the other way around. I guess it depends on what you are looking for. If there is any complaint against the place is that it is somewhat expensive when you compare to Mexico, Dominican, etc. When you compare it to other high end places in Belize (where 4 or 5 star tend to be more expensive), it is only a little more or around the same. If you are interested in a great luxurious beach get away in Belize, with a lot of local flavor, and it's in your price range, you really can't go wrong here.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Larrabee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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608 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (186)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, TX
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2009

Traveled with my husband and another couple and we had all read the negative reviews on trip advisor. This place is sooo much better than even their own website shows! The staff were friendly, knowledgable and wonderful. The jungle hike, snorkeling and diving were all great. Good food and drinks. The place across the street has excellent stewed chicken (a must in Belize). We asked the staff were to go out in town so we had a great time at night. We stayed in a villa so the ocean breeze kept the rooms plenty cool. There were plenty of security guards and the managers walked the grounds often. (FYI: we were in one of the villas on July 3rd and if anyone heard screams it wasn't from a break in!) The outdoor showers are amazing. We had no insect issues in our rooms. Keep your feet up while at the outdoor bar...no one in my group let me in on that tip so I was the only one that got several sand flea bites. Overall we had a wonderful experience and would highly recommend Turtle Inn to anyone!!

  • Stayed July 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank meggriff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2009

Beautiful, but .... beware the road noise; the serious local development taking place; the smell from the lagoon; the plentiful plastic rubbish in the sea; the bed bugs; the Italian restaurant - My 70+ Mum was served raw chicken. We complained and it was scooped off her plate onto her side plate, taken to the kitchen, covered in sauce, brought back on the same side plate and scooped back onto her same bloodied plate. The chicken was still raw. We complained again and were given a free meal for which we were expected to be deeply grateful. I am just thankful that, after an anxious couple of days, my Mum wasn't poisoned. However, she did receive a body covered in bites from her bed! The young, wealthy Americans who frequent this hotel are as noisy and overbearing as you would expect. The reception staff never smiled and only dealt with complaints of 'no hot water for 24 hours' grudgingly. V good trip to Jaguar reserve with great staff but we won't be going anywhere near Turtle Inn again.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Foxy49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ontario
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2009

I would like congratulate the Turtle Inn for being everything my wife and I could ever imagine. We spent 10 spectacular days and couldn't have been happier with all aspects of our stay. The service was without a doubt unparalleled from anywhere we have ever stayed. This is not a huge resort hotel, if you don't like nature, if you don't want to see a bug, if your life revolves around blender drinks this is not the place for you. The biggest difference is the people working at this resort, from Jason and the girls at the front desk, to Abraham and Henry in the restaurants and Manuel at the bar and everyone else in between you couldn't ask for a better group to assist you in having a great holiday. This was our honeymoon and we weren't looking for a million different day trips to do, we went in to town to eat at least once a day, we had drinks by the pool (great pool)and at the bar and the rest took care of itself. The food at the resort is very good, not cheap but not overpriced either. We ate at all three of the restaurants, the Italian, the Grill, and the Belize inspired restaurant. The resort provides bikes to ride in to town as a courtesy, these are great for day trips, there are also taxis that are very cheap that go into town anytime. The thatch roof cabins are beautifully constructed and well maintained with the staff coming twice a day to clean and turn down the room in the evenings. There isn't any air conditioning so it can get quite hot but nothing a couple of fans didn't remedy. I wouldn't have any trouble recommending this place to someone who was looking for something a little different from the "norm"

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank OntarioJames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Queens, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2009

Since all the beach front cottages were all booked, I spent a little extra and stayed in a beach front villa (2 bedrooms/2 bath). Beach front means cooler air and ocean breezes. It was our honeymoon trip and I must say the extra room was ridiculous at first, but we got use to having a day time bed and bath vs. one we used in the evening. It became especially useful once you realized that multiple showers each day are a requisite to staying comfortable and clean in that region. I read just about every review and almost cancelled my stay but I am soooooo happy I didn't. I was looking for a honeymoon experience that would offer something out-of-the ordinary (something different). That's exactly what we got by staying at the Turtle Inn. There's absolutley nothing to do at Turtle Inn other than eat; unless you decide to go on one of the excursions or ride a bicycle into town. We went on the fishing and snorkerling trip and came back having caught fish that the resort later prepared for us at dinner time. We had the great pleasure of having the luxury to go fishing with the best fisherman in the country...Captain Eworth. You'll have to ask for him by name because they're pretty random when it comes to who they send you out with. The best authentic Belizean food in town were at Wendy's and Omar's restaurants. My husband and I came back relaxed, healthier, and wondered if maybe the "simpler" way of living is really what we should all aspire to. It was a great trip!! Things to know........As long as you bring your OFF spray and are prepared to wear it as your new fragrance throughout your entire stay you will be just fine. I also brought outdoor deck spray that I sprayed in the room at night. It worked fine because all the windows and doors were exposed to the elements so it was like being outdoors. Also, be sure to ask for a floor fan for your room (it might already be in there). Lastly, ask for a net for your bed. I recommend that you use the net when sleeping at night. The spa is exposed to the elements which meant that mosquitoes were abound. I personally could not enjoy my massage because I kept looking out for mosquitoes. I would skip the spa. Other than that as long as you are not expecting modern amenities with luxury accommodations you should have wonderful trip. It's a rustic, romantic, and relaxing resort.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mfaust1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2009

First, let me re-buff some of the things of the recent reviews...there are security guards, they are on the property at night; things can happen anywhere--and have been in the international news--you have to be cautious anywhere you go. Bugs...well, yes, there are bugs there...but its in the jungle in Central America in basically a third world country compared to the USA, hello!!! Take the unscented smooth feel "Off" with you and you won't have any issues...you can also take the yard guard stuff you use at home and spray the parameter of your room. Trust me, I am ALLERGIC to mosquitos and I came home with no issues...I have one little bite on my arm!! We live in Houston, so we are accustome to heat, although we have air conditioning. We requested two fans for either side of our bed, those, coupled with the breeze, we did just fine. I will say, it was windy while we were there, so that probably helped! The service was terrific, the staff was very accomodating...we were upgraded to a better room upon our arrival and unfortunately didn't stay long, as another guest near us had a dog with them...a little yapping dog! After contacting the front desk, they moved us immediately. All of our requests were handled to the very best of their ability and they were extremely kind and friendly, all remembering us by name. We are both fairly well traveled and have had culinary experiences all over the world, and I can say, without a doubt the food was excellent. Try the Argula pizza....it was FABULOUS (at the main restaurant MARE). Also, to address the seafood restaurant...it's not open because they don't "catch" anything, it's not open when the weather doesn't permit, it's called the "Grill" because it's an outdoor grill, with tables on the beach, so if it's to windy or raining, they can't have it open. Be sure that if the Grill is open, that you partake in the lobster...it was probably some of the best we ever had. The rooms are beautiful, if you can afford it, book a villa even for just a couple, you have more room and a large sitting area, but the cottages are just as nice as far as amenities. The pool staff was super attentive, moving chairs, bringing towels and bringing drinks. OH! The reason they don't have "frozen drinks" is because its so hot and humid, your drink would turn to a watery mush! I had one of the best pina coladas ever, and it was on the rocks, sounds strange but tasted fabulous!! The mojitos are great, too. The pool has a great view of the ocean and there is a second pool on teh property as well. The water was fabulously warm and a great experience; if you like to read and have a drink and snack by the pool without a rowdy crowd, this is the place for you! As far as your travel there, if you are trying to decide whether to drive or fly in from Belize City, FLY! We decided to drive since it was our first trip to the country and although it was pretty, it wasn't spectacular and the 20 mile cut-off road to Placencia really is AWFUL...it's 20 miles of huge rocks and dirt, which takes about 45 minutes to go down. Fly in and stay at the resort, with the exception of going into town and eating breakfast at Wendy's (not THAT Wendy's)...Try the Jack, it's a huge calzone looking thing with just about anything that you want in it... Pancakes were great and the refried beans were yummy (being from Texas, that's saying a lot!!) The village itself is not much to speak of and quite frankly, not somewhere I would want to be in after dark. They claim that it's within walking distance from the resort, but for me and living in the city, it would be too far to walk. The massages are different than what you would expect at home in USA, they are in an open room down by the mangrove...there were nice, just different...if you are "modest" this is not the massage you want, as you are only covered by a towel. My only true recommendation "against" the resort would be that if you want to go fishing, contact Tarpon Caye, and book through them...we didn't and ended up having a short, not so great fishing trip with the Inn's recommended guide. Paulo was a nice guy, but not what we are accustomed to as far as guides go. The property itself is beatiful, the people are super nice...Although we had a few hiccups when we arrived with changing rooms, then discovering a beehive in our second room (I'm allergic), and quickly being moved again, we had a great experience. I would highly recommend the resort if you do want to just get away from it all. If you do go, be sure to meet Terry Ann, she is one of the most attentive concierge personnel that I have ever encountered.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank texasgirlandboy22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2009

we traveled to this beautiful resort from Blancaneaux which we loved. we were in a large single room for 5 people located behind a villa. we were awakened by screams coming from the villa in the middle of the night. several young men entered the villa from the beach by cutting through the screens, they were crawling through the rooms in the villa searching for electronics to steal. it was terrifying for everyone and there were stories the next day from other visitors that this had happened before. there are no security guards and no hotel workers on the premises at night. beautiful resort but don't dare risk it.

  • Stayed March 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank wworld09travelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManager56, Manager at Turtle Inn, responded to this review, 8 July 2009
I was General Manager of Turtle Inn for 3 years, from 2006-09 and there was never such an incident as this. The property does have Security Guards and Turtle Inn does not have any safety issues.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 Spa Hotel in Placencia
#2 Luxury 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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