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“Actual paradise but DON'T use the hotel dive shop”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Turtle Inn

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Turtle Inn
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Placencia
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“Actual paradise but DON'T use the hotel dive shop”
Reviewed 18 June 2006

I hate having to give 4 stars not 5 because the actual hotel is spectacular; it’s like something from a film set. The staff are friendly and welcoming on the most part and the food is wonderful- you have to try the home made pizzas- they are to die for. The downsides are that the ocean although it looks beautiful is full of sea grass so i really didn't like swimming in the sea at the hotel. The hotel has a method of using a concierge to book trips with. This sounds great but truthfully i have never had to go through so much effort and stress trying to book day trips. The concierge comes around the dining area at night to ask what you are planning on doing tomorrow; this is when they will let you know if a trip is cancelled which it often is as they require a certain number of people to do it and the hotel doesn't have many people. This i find stupid as it is too late to make other arrangements in town so you find you are stuck for the next day. And what happens if you aren't at dinner in the evening and have a meal in town, well you sometimes find out a trip (especially diving) is cancelled at about 10pm or even the morning you are meant to be going- i find this appalling and so i found you couldn't look forward to trips because you aren't sure you are actually going until the taxi arrives to take you.
I would also advice any divers to NOT use the hotel dive centre and to use people in town who actually know what they are doing and care about their customers. An example (and there were many) was that me and some friends booked to do a whale shark dive trip which last for the day. There were only 2 days left of the whale shark trips as the whale sharks only come around the full moon. We booked and i know for a fact there were 6 divers going (the minimum required is 4). I asked the lady who runs the dive centre if the trip is definitely going to happen and she said yes. I then get a call the night before at 11pm from reception saying the trip is cancelled and they don't know why. I then go to the dive centre pretty miffed off in the morning to find out why, i hear 3 different versions from 3 different members of staff including one saying my friends (who were staying in another hotel) had cancelled. I called them and they said they had done no such a thing. To cut a very long story short i found out that the evening before 2 people who had just flown in had decided they wanted to rent the boat out for a private whale shark trip (this is not even offered by the dive center so god knows how much they had to pay) and even though most dive centres would say ok but not for tomorrow as the boat is full, this dive centre cancelled on 6 people some of which were told the morning of the trip. I have never known a dive to be cancelled for any other reason other than weather and then to lie is so bad. I find the service of the dive centre appalling and can i also add that the so called dive boat that takes you out on whale shark trips all day from 8am to 6pm doesn't even have a toilet- so i have no idea what you would do if nature called- thank god it didn't happen to me.
Anyway to sum up, go to turtle inn as it is the most amazing place we have ever stayed. Don't book trips with the hotel and DO NOT use the hotel dive shop, i have dived around the world and this is the worst one i have been to, don't get me wrong it looks great but the staff have no idea about safety and you can tell they don't really want to be diving. No night dives are offered since they don't want to work so late which sums up the attitude of the dive center. Any way rant over and if you do get on any trips Belize is beautiful.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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
Boston, MA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2006

Ah Turtle Inn. If only you lived up to your website hype....

Turtle Inn is beautiful and much care was taken in appointing the grounds and rooms, but that's where the care stopped.

We stayed for only one evening as a special treat on our last night of our Honeymoon in Belize. (We had rented a home the week earlier and had also stayed at the AMAZING Ek'Tun.)

To start off, we had requested an early check in and were guaranteed that the room would be ready by 1pm. We arrived at 2pm - the room was not ready. By 3pm, the room was not ready. By 4pm, the room was not ready. They offered us a free Turtle Drink, but as I don't drink, they didn't offer to treat us to a water or even a coke. By 4:30pm, the room was ready, mind you - 1 and 1/2 hours after normal check-in. As a consolation, they offered us an upgraded room, which only makes me wonder what the heck was going on in our original room?

We were lucky to be there on a Friday evening for the Garifuna performance which was phenomenal - we had a great chat with the performers. Our dinner, however, was disappointing. My wife had a pasta dish with artichokes and choke she almost did! - The artichokes still had a multitude of thistles.

To make matters worse, we returned to our room after dinner - excited about our last evening together and we were greeted to the most overzealous turn down service I have ever encountered - not only did they turn down the bed, but they took the liberty of opening up the sleeper soafer - assuming as two women, we were sleeping seperately. I can understand this confusion but the front desk attendants and both concierges on duty were told we were on our honeymoon. Multiple times.
When we went into the bathroom, ants were marching EVERYWHERE.

I really wanted our last night to be special. And it was, in its unique awfulness of ettiquette.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Renee F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 16 June 2006

We reached Turtle Inn after Blancaneaux Lodge and La Lancha. It was very peaceful. The staff were excellent and the other guest extremely friendly. It seems to attract that kind of crowd.

We had a cabana on the beachfront. I would definitely recommend these. Although the sea itself is not worth getting into. The food was wonderful. However, as with other FFC's places, the wine list is limited to his own wines (although not on the menu, they do have several champagnes, so ask if desired). A small criticisim is that there is not much privacy between bedrooms. But this is not as bad as La Lanch and Blancaneaux. The outside shower in the cabana - one for each bedroom - was wonderful.

Not the place to go if you want coral reef trips - head to Ambergris Caye - the reef here takes a while to get to and can be very rough water.

Very peaceful. The spa is a basic hut near the road and speedboat mooring. Bijou but the woman working there was brilliant. We hired a speedboat to go snorkelling much closer to the coast and had a great time - although experienced divers/snorkellers might find it dull as much of the coral is destroyed.

In summary - a very relaxing, peaceful and quiet place. There really is not much to do at all. It's not 5 star al la Four Seasons in terms of pool , service etc. It is too Carribean-chill for that. But all the better for it I think.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Muskegon, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2006

We were looking for a unique resort to celebrate our 30th anniversary. When we stumbled across the Blancaneaux web site, we fell in love after the first web page. We booked 3 nights at Blancaneaux followed by 3 nights at Turtle inn. We read a few negatives in other reviews, like it's too expensive and the bugs were terrible. Well, if you do your homework, you know you're not going to a low end resort going in and you know what you are willing to spend for a nice vacation. We had a fabulous time. Bugs love me, I'm a mosquito magnet, so we brought our bug spray. But we never found bugs to be a problem at either resort, and we never used bug spray the entire trip. The meals were great, the service was excellent, and the accomodations were some of the nicest we've ever stayed in. When we checked into our villa at Turtle Inn, we just said WOW, as we walked into our room. It had a similar floor plan as the Blancaneaux villas, but much larger, lots of extra sitting area on the porch and in the room, and a great courtyard with an outdoor shower, which you probably know is the coolest thing ever. Had a great time at Turtle Inn. Meals and service were the best, and the bartender, when we were there, looked like a young Tom Cruise, real nice kid. At Turtle Inn you can easily take a cab into town for a 5 minute ride, but be prepared that it's a very small town when you get there. Don't get me wrong, we had a good time at the bars and ate at DeTatch a couple of times, but it's not like there's tons of shopping, etc, not anything close to the small town of San Ignacio up by Blancaneaux. Had some drinks at the Bare Foot Bar, which seemed to be one of the popular hang outs. A couple of girls from Minnesota worked the bar and their mom owned a small gift shop in town. The Purple Space Monkey, along with several other buildings burned to the ground late one night and it sounded like the entire town was up fighting the fire. It was very sad to hear the locals talk about it. We seemed to run across a fair number of people from the states that either moved there to start a business, or bought property to retire in Belize for a good part of the year. We met another couple from the states that owned a bar in Placencia and another guy from Canada who married a local and they owned another bar on the water at the south side of town. We went snorkeling with a small dive shop in Placencia and had a good time, or you can book it right at the resort. Belize is pretty undeveloped, at least in the parts of the country we saw. But you can tell there are lots of new developments getting started so I think it's going to rapidly change. The weather for the first week of May was sunny every day and we never got a drop of rain, even though we read that May is called the Thunderhead month, the month before the rainy session starts. It was hot when we were at Turtle Inn and was warm sleeping at night, but bearable with the ceiling fans. I'm sure I've left out a lot of details, but I hope that helps anyone trying to pick their next vacation. If you're looking for something unique, quiet and romantic, with great food, service and accomodations, these two resorts are a great choice.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank PKBear02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
vancouver
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2006

We have just returned from a seven night stay at the Turtle Inn and a three night stay at the sister resort Blancaneaux Lodge. After many all inclusive trips to Mexico, Dominican Republic and Hawaii we felt we needed a change and when we saw the website for Francis Ford Coppolla's resorts we said "how cool is this" and quickly booked our trip. It was very much a familly trip as we were traveling with our two daughters ages 18 and 19. I can't recommend these two places enough as they both exceeded our expectations in every way (check out the websites). Our daughters had the trip of a lifetime and were totally blown away with the country, the ecotourism, these resorts and the hospitality shown by both the local people and the very polite staff.

The accomodation is in a class by itself. At times we felt were were at an exotic safari hideaway in Africa other times we felt we were in either Bali, Tahiti or on a far flung island in the Yasawa Group in Fiji.. We felt totaly relaxed, pampered and above all completely removed from the high paced lives we live back home. No phones and no TV.... only the stars at night and the sound of waves lapping at the front steps of our 2 bedroom villa to entertain us.

The restaurant menus were Italian inspired and heathy and were imaginatively enhanced with at least three specials each night. We never felt that we had to take a trip into town to find another place to try out because we were getting tired of the food. One of our daughters is a vegitarian who likes seafood but is otherwise wery dificult to satisfy when it comes to making a choice on a dinner menu and we were relieved to find out that she had little dificulty with meal choices especially when she found out that most of the vegetables are grown at their onsite organic gardens. The mediterranean and house salads are probably the freshest and best in the world.

We had Thai massages and aromatherapy massages and went on jungle boat trips, snorkeling trips to a World Heritage Reserve and even on a canoe trip inside a 12 mile long underground river system. What stood out here was the masseuses were actually from
Thailand and the trips were all expertly guided by very personable and knowledgeable registered guides.

Belize is a wonderful county to visit....population only 290,000...enlish speaking and from our experience very safe. The country is conservation minded and as a result sets itself apart from other countries in the region. Highly recommnded.

Helpful?
1 Thank wealthyone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, VA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2006

The Turtle Inn was supposed to be our perfect honeymoon getaway, but it didn't live up to our expectations. First, a reviewer on this site had warned that some of the cabanas were too close to the road and loud. I specifically asked about this, and I was told that my cabana was not close to the road, and it was more private than the others. The cabana was as close to the road as they get at Turtle Inn. As for privacy, we were right next to the service entrance, so the employees were constantly going by at all hours. I had printed out my e-mail correspondence with Reservations, and proved to them that I had been lied to. When you dream of an ocean getaway and get awakened by trucks at 6:00 am, it doesn't leave a good taste in your mouth. All gardenview cabanas are close to the road, and you will hear trucks early in the morning.

Next, I specifically asked to be on the ocean. I was told that I had to spend the first night in a gardenview cabana, but I would be moved to the oceanview cabana for the rest of the week. Of course, when I arrived, no one knew what I was talking about. The only thing they did was apologize and put us in an oceanfront cabana for our very last night.

One evening, we called the front desk to ask for a 7:00 am wake-up call. Later, the concierge verified the wake-up call while we were at dinner. At 8:00 am, they called us to see why we weren't at the dive shop for the Monkey River Tour. When I asked about the 7:00 am wake-up call, the only thing they said was "someone should have called you." Since we had already paid for the all-inclusive meal package, I thought maybe they could comp us a meal or some snacks, but that never happened.

In the time that we spent at Turtle Inn, I may have seen one or two other people get in the ocean. The water was not clear, the ocean floor was covered with sea grass and coral, and I had to dodge the trash. I'm not sure if Placencia uses the ocean as a dump, but the beaches were covered with trash. Turtle Inn made sure that most of the trash was not in front of the resort, but there was still trash in the ocean. When I talk about trash I mean bottles, pants, styrofoam, newspaper, oil cans--everything. This was not the Carribean getaway I envisioned.

Be forewarned that the excursions will take all day long. You will either travel hours on a bumpy dirt road or hours on boat. Most, if not all excursions leave at 8:00 am and return at 2:00 pm or later. The Monkey River Tour was a waste of time, unless you like birdwatching. Yes, we did see five monkeys gathered in a tree ultimately.

Overall, Turtle Inn is a nice resort, but it is not worth the time, money, or hassle to get to it. When you dream of a nice Carribean vacation, you do not dream of Turtle Inn. Go to the Virgin Islands or somewhere else. On a positive note, the service at the bar and in the restaurants was great. The Thai massage is spectacular.

Helpful?
22 Thank travelersfromric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 26 April 2006

Spent 4 days of our honeymoon here and had a marvellous time. The rest of the world melted away and our every need was taken care of. The service is refined and not overbearing. I'd highly recommend this place. We were repeatedly treated like we there the only people there. When not on tours we spent our time lazing at the beach or the beachside bar. The ocean breezes were beat only by the outdoor courtyard showers.

A couple of small notes to be aware of. There were a lot more families than we expected but the sounds of the ocean kept your eyes and spirit focused out to sea. Food and drink are expensive, but you know that going in. Service was excellent, if a bit laid back. Be sure to double check reservations, spa times, etc. English is spoken widely, so it's easy to think you're always being understood.

Stayed April 2006
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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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