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“Absolutely Incredible - Don't believe the negative reviews”

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The Placencia Hotel and Residences
Ranked #17 of 20 Hotels in Placencia
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 February 2011

My wife and I took our two boys (8 and 9) to Belize and stayed at the Placencia. It was absolutely amazing. I’m so glad we didn’t pay attention to the whining negative reviews. You just have to know what you are looking for and pick a place that matches your plans and lifestyle. This is an incredible resort property and is perfect for an active family wanting to experience the best Belize has to offer but still stay in extreme comfort. If you are looking for a “Spring Break” kind of all-inclusive you will be disappointed with the Placencia. But if you want a fantastic relaxing vacation with the opportunity to get off the resort grounds and experience a beautiful country and have a very safe and enjoyable luxury resort to come home to every night, this is it. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly and the resort grounds and facilities are unbelievable. The resort is relatively small, so no there is not the disco and party nightlife but if that’s what you’re looking for there are more than enough traditional all-inclusive options elsewhere and you probably wouldn’t enjoy the Placencia anyway. This resort is for those that truly want to enjoy the beauty and culture of another country but appreciate the safety, cleanliness and service of a luxury property.
Our accommodations consisted of three full bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bath and flat screen TV and the kids thought that was great. The rooms were kept quite clean but without ever making you feel like you were intruding on the housekeeping staff like so many of the larger resorts. The food was quite good – even the buffet where we ate most meals. I know there have been some negative comments about the food in other reviews, but you really have to remember that this is another country. If you only want what is familiar, then stay in Canada and the US. Part of the experience of going to another country is to experience their food, customs and culture. If our two boys could get through the week without ever really complaining about the food options, I would hope that most grown-ups could have an open mind too. The authentic dishes were delicious and the fresh fruits and vegetable are incredible. There were always at least three options for main course and at least one of those was reasonably tame for the unadventurous. We really had no complaints about the food and we all enjoyed the local flare (even our boys valued the chance to experience something outside their comfort zone).
The pool is immaculate and quite warm and never crowded – big bonus over the typical all-inclusive. The resort grounds are very enjoyable and well-groomed. They are not huge but you can visit their organic garden, the beach is beautiful and the water is very warm and the entire area around the resort is owned by the same company as the resort. There are residence houses and a lagoon just outside the gates and lots of opportunity to explore the area. If the water near shore is not as clear as you like (there are some grasses near shore but they don’t really present a problem for most people), then jump off the deck outside the pier restaurant. It’s a great way to feel refreshed. One recommendation is to be sure to have good insect repellant (Ben’s, Sawyer’s or Ultrathon or the like) and keep it with you, even at the pool. Around 4:00 or so the no-see-ums (aka sand flies) come out. While they are about the size of a fruit fly, they bite like crazy and they will leave an itchy bite mark. If you apply good bug spray when they first appear, they’re really a non-issue. Otherwise we had no problems with bugs.
We went snorkeling, took a trip up the Monkey River into the rainforest and went cave kayaking on the Caves Branch River. The cave kayaking was incredible. It’s a bit of a drive (about 2.5 hours) but the scenery is beautiful and the experience is definitely worth the effort. But be warned – it is an active tour and requires all participants to be in relatively good shape. Our boys are very active and love to explore nature and new things, so they did well, but I would guess not a lot of kids their age would have done nearly as well. The actual kayaking is about 4.5 hours and requires about a 10 minute portage through the rainforest (which is an amazing experience in itself). This is not an amusement park ride though – it’s very isolated and you can’t “get off” if you change your mind. But if you are relatively adventurous and want an amazing experience deep in nature, I highly recommend this one. It was a highlight.
If you love Belize as much as we did, stop by and see Wayne and his team - Pat and Kim - at the sales office. The future plans for this place are incredible and, from what I saw, the prices, while definitely not cheap, are likely an excellent investment. There are residence options for just about every budget and preference, so consider speaking to the sales team. They are incredibly friendly and enjoy showing you around. Plus they have some great ideas for how to really experience this amazing country. No I do not work for the Placencia and I am not getting paid to say this. Wayne and the team just really added so much to our vacation it would not be right to forget to mention them. And who knows, someday I may take my own advice and explore ownership a little more seriously. Visit the Placencia and you’ll understand.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank 4FamilyTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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260 - 266 of 339 reviews

Reviewed 8 February 2011

We traveled with our grown sons and daughter-in-law. We chose Belize specifically for the ruins, and were not disappointed. We all had different rooms - ours a beach front bungalow, son and daughter-in-law a garden view suite, and our son a garden view room. All were spotless and comfortable. Having travelled to many countries in the Caribbean and South America, Belize was what we expected. Although the trip over from Roatan was a bit tiring, it was an amazing experience being able to fly in a small plane over the barrier reef - well worth the aggravation of the Roatan airport. We are happy we chose to travel this year so our kids would have the experience of that last leg of the flight. When the new airport is built in Placencia, that opportunity will be lost.
We thoroughly enjoyed the tours of the ruins which were awe inspiring; the trip to Blue Creek was amazing. We especially enjoyed the visit to Blue Creek village to enjoy some traditional Mayan culture - the real thing, not commercialized at all. Our day of snorkelling at Laughing Bird Caye was fantastic, topped off by dolphins swimming beside our boat as we entered the lagoon on the way back. This is a great place to visit if you want to see some amazing sights and are interested in the Mayan culture, but also a great place to relax. As for the food - folks, it’s just food, you can eat anywhere, anytime. We were well fed and felt the selection was adequate, but we don't travel for the food - we travel for the culture, relaxation and some adventure. I would recommend this to anyone looking for those qualities. If you want to spend days walking on the beach or lazing by a pool, eating and drinking, you might consider a more commercialized location.

Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
1  Thank Shufreek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2011

The interior and exterior of the buildings are very exquisite and the location is absolutely beautiful (it is Belize). The rooms were immaculately cleaned and serviced every day as well as the grounds. The pool/bar was fabulous, however there is no Jacuzzi.

The staff was very nice, but about half of them were not very experienced. There seemed to be no set standard of performance or timing as everyone went about their work whenever they got around to it. Meals took one to two hours and were moderate to low quality. The shuttle made it into town whenever they made it (they refused to commit to a specific time). INTERNET ACCESS IS $5US PER HOUR OR $30US PER DAY-YOU PROVIDE YOUR OWN COMPUTER.

Overall it was a positive experience as it was very clean (a high priority for me), but the food and activities were quite poor.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank kitnkbudle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2011

First off....Do not believe the negative reviews below...These are from people who do not do the proper research and expect New York style dining in Central America....Wake up people...Anyway....The food at the resort was excellent...Breakfast, lunch and dinner....The meals are served buffet style at the Pier which is a great place to dine. The rooms are modern and clean....We asked for an upgrade and they immediately gave us a beach front villa at no extra charge.....The staff at the hotel were great....Especially, Tony, Luis, Juan, Erica...The list could go on...The pool at the hotel is fabulous. This is a resort that you visit to unwind and relax...They had bands playing almost every night which was great...The beach is kind of mirky, but who cares....The pool was great. The ride to town is about 30 minutes from the hotel and costs $50.00 Belize ($25.00USD) which is pretty fair considering it is a half hour cab ride.....Great place in town to have Gelato....Tutti Frutti and the Barefoot Cafe is a great place to eat....Go on Saturday and hear our buddy Gram play some rock'n'roll....

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TTTCentralOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2011

The employees of the Placencia are very friendly and want to help when asked.We needed a bigger room as we were staying for 2 weeks with all of are dive gear and they helped us out very quickly with a one bedroom suite.The first room was nice but overlooked the construction out the back.Sunwings room description of what you get isn't accurate and they don't tell you that there is things that have been removed from there brochure over a year ago such as complimentary in pool diving lessons.You are only allowed one glass of wine at dinner and they have to get 5 glasses out of one bottle.Only local liquor is served at the bars and if you want other North American brands you pay extra.The all inclusive does not include any of the items on the hotel restaurant menu and this is also an extra charge.If you go to town it will cost you big.They don't tell you that you can pick up the Ritchie bus out at the road for a dollar Belize each way.Check the schedule times first.A cab will cost you $50.00 Belize each way ($25.00 US each way) The buffet was good but not great and the selection wasn't like most all inclusive resorts.Heidi the restaurant manager was great with us and helped out when we needed her help on a group booking.You can only book one sitting in the restaurant per week and you can't double up even if you are sitting with other friends who have booked in there name. The one bad thing that ruined my holiday and trust in the hotel staff was that when we changed rooms I took my dive tank night lights and put the 3 of them on the kitchen table. I know they were there as I checked all the batteries before we went diving and we didn't require them for day dives.When we returned that evening one of my lights was missing from the table.I told other staff members I wanted it returned and I wasn't going to tell management if it returned.It didn't come back and I reported it.I never heard another thing about it.Overall a nice hotel and good people but the diving is to far from the good reefs and the hotel dive boats aren't very good at telling you they don't go out to the better reefs.The dive masters we had on our 2 hotel dives were not very good.I basically took over the dive for them when the dive master went up to the surface with one person and didn't inform us of what he was doing.I have advance training and know how to properly take care of resort divers.The second week we used Avadon divers by the airport and they run one of the best dive operations I have ever seen.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sixmilelake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2011

My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at the Placencia Hotel. It's treasure is their staff. (Elda, Kernney, Christy, Luis, Heidi, Suchelly, Geneva, Juan and Marlon.) They do everything in their power to make your stay enjoyable and their efforts are very sincere.

Getting there, going over Roatan, was not a positive experience but the powers to be are working on a new runway, close to the hotel, to accommodate larger planes. Also, departure taxes, in both places, (Belize and Roatan) may be a setback for some but the effort to see Belize is worth it. We paid for the "Elite Plus" option with Sunwing. It offered separate check-in, preferred designated seats on the plane, and first to arrive at the hotel. Leg room, on these airplanes, is a concern for my 6' 4" husband.

A twenty minute ride, from the small Belize air strip in Placencia, has you arrive at the hotel. The registration was smooth and efficient. The grounds are emmaculate and beautiful to behold. The infinity pool is luxurious but only 4 ' deep. The lounges, around the pool and the beach, are the most comfortable, I have ever seen. The only problem, I could see, would be availability if the hotel was at its capacity. There were only approximately 30 people when we were there for the second week; about 80 people the first week.

We upgraded our room to ocean view. It had a sitting room with two couches (make into beds), table and chairs, kitchenette with coffee maker with coffee and tea, sink, microwave, refrigerator and dishes, bedroom with Queen size bed and bathroom with a Roman tub. Tub was a nuisance to climb into as we use the shower part of the ensuite. Toiletries provided: Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hair dryer, extra towels, face cloths, kleenex, two terry robes. I always take a night light for the bathroom and it was needed.The room (108) was located on the 3rd floor walk-up, in one of the original buildings, so it was next to the lobby, clean and about the only room that could view the ocean except for the beach bungalows below. In this instance, we didn't sit out too much because the afternoon sun was trained on the balcony. I would recommend going for a standard gardenview room, 2nd or third floor, because they were the newer rooms around the pool. The pool was always quiet so it didn't interfere with your occasional down time.

The food was okay. You could always find something to eat. Some days you were treated with a tasty fare. I was disappointed with the seafood. I guess, for safety reasons, they steam the fish. Consequently, the pan fried flavour, we all adore, is missed. The pier restaurant was the highlight. At breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you could admire a glourious sun rise, sunset or watch birds and fish darting in the water.

We loved the place but we could see that young people and especially children would be thoroughly bored here. There are no beach or around the pool activites during the day. There are bicycling, kayaking and fishing off the pier. This is a fishing, skin diving and snorkling paradise. All these activities are arranged, at a cost, away from the hotel.The nightly entertainment is mediocre. We retire early so it wasn't an issue. If you need a quiet, restful, safe, romantic, tour oriented, accommodating place to stay. This is your dream come true.

The outside tours were exceptional! This is why we came to Belize. We went on the Monkey River Boat and Jungle Tour. I highly recommend this adventure. The jungle walk is informative and visually stunning; not to mention the roar of the Howler monkeys. We've never been in a true jungle setting so learning about its hidden wonders was a treat. The boat ride up the river is truly amazing: crocodile sightings, iguana lazily perched on a jungle branch, herons, egrets, manatee and much more.

The Lubaatun and Blue Creek Cave Tour was another highlight of our trip. Ruins are my true interest and they lived up to their mystical presence. The cave exploration was a new experience for my husband and myself. Running shoes, long pants, and sleeves were required for most of these tours. Do it! The walk through the jungle was the most difficult hike we have ever experienced but well worth the effort. The swim in the cave is awesome! There are three stops. We made it to the first inner waterfall: a 20 min. swim with rest points. I am claustophobic by nature but the largeness of the cave and head lamps for viewing made the time very enjoyable and mystifying.

The tour to Xunantunich, a ruin near San Ignacio, was outstanding. The best part was getting there. The Hummingbird Highway is truly a wondrous ride similar to the mountainous jungles of Costa Rica. To reach the ruins, you have to take a water ferry ride with the vehicle. The ruins are very well preserved and awe inspiring. The swim in the Blue Hole was all right but maybe the other option is better.

Our only concerns were:
1) Our main wish, when visiting a tropical place, is to swim in the ocean. The beach was immaculate and clean but the ocean was always cloudy. We like to see the bottom when we venture into the depths. Most of the time, we compensated by jumping in off the pier restaurant deck.
2) The loudness and selection of the music, at the pool bar and during the entertainment at the pier restaurant dining, was deafening at times.
3) We took over $160.00 U.S. funds in one dollar bills for tips. It went quickly. The hotel could not change our larger U.S. currency into either U.S. or Belize dollars.
4) Take bug spray or use Avon Skin So Soft to ward off bugs: sand fleas and mosquitos. The latter worked the best for me but you have to be consistant about application. They usually appeared around 4:00 pm.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank HamiltonLovebirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2011

December 27th - January 10th

I’ll first say that enjoy your free glass of Champaign on the flight because you’ll need it for the rest of the trip. Actually they should just give each person a bottle. What Sunwing doesn’t advertise it that once you are dropped off in Rotan you are asked to leave the plane and go to the most unorganized airports I’ve ever seen. There was no Sunwing Rep. around to tell you where to go or what to do. Finally after being told to stand at this door, then that door, then back to this door again, roughly three hours later (yes that’s 3 hours later) it was announced that you should listen for your name and then go to some lady at which time you were given a coloured piece of paper. This was your boarding pass. A pink piece of paper? That was your boarding pass... honestly I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Then you had to stand at the door because you were not allowed to leave the airport and point to the porters where your luggage was so they could load it on to the small plane that was to take you to Placencia. Really Sunwing, there must be a much, much better way than this.

Now for the Placencia Resort. From the outside this resort looks to be one of the best in Placencia. But looks are deceiving so don't be fooled. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the resort there just wasn’t anything right either. It is very remote and about 45 minutes outside the village of Placencia which is a $30U.S. taxi ride each way.

The rooms were O.K. Not great but not bad but really we were in Belize and coming from Toronto in January who’s going to spend time in your room anyway right? Wrong! There was nowhere else to spend time. I mean you had the pool and bar there but they closed at 6:00p.m. so if you wanted to meet people and have a pre-dinner drink you were out of luck There was no place to socialize or to just sit and read a book to get a break from the heat , no lobby, lounge or anything. We went for New Years and they didn't do anything..Well 5 people singing Karaoke! There's no nightlife at all and very little for the kids to do however I do have to applaud Louis who did offer to take our son for a tour of the organic garden.

The beach was grainy and hurt to walk on, not sandy white that you may expect. However it is a man-made beach so you are better off going into Placencia if you want beach. Oh and forget the “shuttle” there is a charge to travel into the town - even if you are staying all inclusive and they say it’s included when you check out it will be on your bill.

Moving on to the front desk. They are more than happy to not do anything for you. No wakeup calls, no arranging taxi’s and even if they say there’s a shuttle you almost have to stumble upon it as they won’t give you any schedule. There is also no media centre so if you’re hoping to check in or look something up then bring your own computer.

Now the food. In one word YUCK!!!! It’s the first all-inclusive that I actually lost weight in so that may be a good thing but I don’t think that they are going for the “diet all-inclusive” market. The selection was horrible so forget the all-inclusive and make sure you have money to eat out.

The staff tried but you could see that their hands were tied. If you do go make sure you back lots of books and don’t do the all-inclusive it’s just not worth the money and you also have to do the whole airport thing again. Also note you have to pay to leave Belize and Rotan. Roughly $100 per person.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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8  Thank newtravellerCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Placencia Hotel and Residences

Address: Placencia Village, Placencia, Belize
Region: Belize > Stann Creek > Placencia
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in Placencia
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Placencia
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Placencia
Price Range: £158 - £191 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Placencia Hotel and Residences 4*
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Placencia Hotel is the fastest growing Hotel in the general area offering the finest amenities and service to an ever discerning clientele visiting Belize. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Hotel Placencia
The Resort Placencia
The Placencia Hotel And Residences Belize

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