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Hidden Valley Inn
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Reviewed 27 September 2012

First some back ground: I did not want to rough it or worry while on my honeymoon. Cost was not such an issue because this was a splurge trip for us. That being said I hope this review will help you.

I had done hours upon hours of research to find the right hotel. I literally read every review about Hidden Valley Inn(HVI) that exists on TA and many on other sites as well. I was eyes wide open about what to expect. For this reason, I can easily say I was not surprised by anything. Some people say they don't like certain charges that they had on their bill or something was not to their liking. I am a bit of a nitpicker but I couldn't find much of anything to complain about because I already knew exactly what to expect. So, I will give the good and the bad with some explanation. It does look like some things have changed since we went(at least the website).


THE GOOD(really, great!)
-we were pampered from the get go by the congeniality of the staff, the accommodations, the treatment. (hand massage and delicious lemongrass tea while reclining on a comfortable couch, all prior to checking in)

-The grounds near the cabins and lodge are immaculate and well considered, very lush and welcoming

-The rooms are very spacious and with many modern conveniences for being so far in the middle of nowhere

-The louvered windows and ceiling fan more than made up for not having A/C (I'm a spoiled American) It was deliciously fresh and almost cold at night for our stay

-The food was absolutely delicious. People can complain about the prices; it's all listed on their website, it's in the middle of nowhere, of COURSE you have to eat there, it should not be any surprise. It was not every day fare, definitely upper level cuisine and amazing service! I couldn't get enough of the Belizean Big Belly Breakfast and the multi course dinners were varied and excellent.

-Tea time was a nice chance to snag some fresh tea, pastries and finger foods, and enjoy some down time before dinner a few hours later

-The bar had an extensive collection of cocktails, plus beer and wine, which we certainly enjoyed

-The in house library was big enough for both my wife and I to find books we swapped ones we brought to get new ones we enjoyed

-Turn down service was a new experience for me, and always had fresh flower petals decorating the bed

-For the life of me I cannot remember our guide to Caracol, Rio on Pools and Rio Frio Cave, but he provided an excellent tour with humor and information. the lunch was great too! I love the punch.

-We reserved Secret pools and falls for the day which I can't emphasize enough was beyond my expectations. The seclusion of the falls, the flora and fauna, the wonderful basket lunch and chilled sparkling wine, the falls themselves where we swam lazily and jumped off the rocks, it all combined to an unbelize-able experience. Yes, I just went there. I can't emphasize enough that this experience is well worth it(if they still offer it)

-I'll close with the check out/billing. We were given a detailed bill, no rush to review it or any attitude from the helpful manager(again, the name escapes me!), and we did take our time reviewing it. We found no issues with extra or surprise charges.

THE BAD
-If it had been hot, the no a/c would have made it much different

-The overall reserve, not the main are around the lodge/cabins, still suffers from the effects of forest fires and pine beetle infestation. Can't be blamed on the Inn but it is what it is

-The beds in the rooms, while comfortable enough, were twin beds lashed together. It must be hard to transport queen/king size beds i guess

- Being so far out, it was not possible to visit San Ignacio. Then again, we weren't there for very long and our time was full. So it is possible but it will cost for the trip.

-We didn't get to visit so much of the reserve because of our short stay. I recc'd giving it more time than us if possible!

In summary, our trip was everything i expected it to be because I did so much research. HVI is a wonderful choice and you will not regret it if you know what you are doing when you book there. It was an unforgettable experience and maybe we can go back for the 25th ;)

Room Tip: We loved our room, not sure there are any bad ones really.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Vanhecht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2012

will probably be a few years from now before we go back, but what a place. freedom to explore yet the safety of a walkie talkie. waterfalls galore, cycling and walking. only wish we had had more time there

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank j p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2012

Its hard to believe it has been almost a year that has passed, since we went to Belize for the first time in November 2011.When I started researching our trip , I read all the reviews I could on Tripadvisor. Hidden Valley Inn stood out from the rest with guest comments. So we took a leap of faith, booked our stay in the Cayo region for 5 fun filled days and jumped in for our trip of a lifetime. When we arrived at our Queen Deluxe suite we where amazed that all the pictures we had seen of our accomodations did not do justice to the beauty of our room.EVERYTHING was 5 star!The outdoor rock shower, and claw foot tub, the veranda with the hammock and the fireplace took our breath away. The little personal note on the fireplace welcoming us, was heart warming. I could write 5 more paragraphs on the beauty and the attention to little details of this Inn, but I have too many other things to comment on. Like the staff for one. Elmer Puc made me comfortable about all our plans before we even arrived. With fast and informative attention to all my email enquiries. He set up our transfers from Belize city to HVI, and then from HVI to Placencia. ( And with the nicest guides I might add) He arranged our tours, we did Caracol, with Fredy as our guide. As well as Rio Frio Cave and Rio on Pools. If you have any reservations about this tour, DONT. There is nothing the least bit scary about the armed escort in. Fredy who often does this trip up to 5 times a week, is an encyclopedia of information on flora, fauna, birds, plants, history of the Mayans and Belize in general, its astounding. IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY for a guide to ANY of the ruins.We also went to Cahal Pech and Xunitunich. Both also with our most esteemed guide Fredy. We did two cave tubing tours, Jaguar Cave and Calico Jacks cave tubing. Both where with transfers and we had a guide for Jaguar Cave. We also did a half day horseback riding excursion, once again, with just my husband , myself and a guide. ( Who was also the owner of the property and was very informative. Very gentle horses.)
Back at Hidden Valley Inn, we purchased the meal plan for breakfast and dinner for 4 of the 5 days we stayed. EVERY meal was a wonder unto itself. The chefs CANNOT be surpassed. The waitstaff, and the bartender, ( Raul, at the time,) attentive to our every need and want. Just incredible! The second day we arrived, my husbands arm fell off his eyeglasses. And the one thing we forgot to pack was a second pair.We went to the desk before dinner and mentioned the problem, and by the end of our meal they presented the glasses to him, fixed well enough that they lasted 7 months before he took them in and them professionaly fixed.That makes this Inn a 10 star hotel in our eyes.We unfortunatly did not put aside enough time, to spend investigating the Hidden Valley Inn Property as we would have liked. BUT, we did, take a private tour of the property and of some of the waterfalls. And we even squeeked out 45 min for a quick swim, just the two of us, at one of the smaller falls. HEAVENLY! Everynight after dinner we took some time for a quick swim in the beautifull pool and a nice soak in the hot tub, under the moon and billions of bright stars,.. ahhhh,... I wish we where back there right now. We spent a total of 3 weeks in Belize.Just over a week on Ambergrise Caye, 5 days on Mountain Pine Ridge and just over a week in Placencia. But The 5 days we spent at Hidden Valley was the jewel of our trip. And frankly it was the staff, that made this 5 star Inn, an 10 star Inn. Thank you for the trip of our lifetime. :) We will be back.You must experience it for yourself, its everything and more that you could imagine!
( Hidden Valley was just starting their spa services. We booked a his and hers in~ suite massage. Such a blessing after the bumpy road to Caracol.)

Room Tip: We booked the deluxe Queen Suite and it was worth every penny.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank slyshashee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2012

If you are looking to get away from it all, in a place surrounded by natural beauty, adventure, and an unexpected level of top notch service and food, Hidden Valley lodge in Belize is the way to go! We booked our trip last minute, a little hesitantly, as July is the beginning of rainy season in Belize. However the weather worked out perfectly, and the early off-season prices with inclusive meal plan option at the lodge was beyond excellent. Misael was a tremendous help via email in the finalizing of our plans before we left as well as once we reached the doors of Hidden Valley. He helped us understand the options we had for excursions and made all the bookings for us. This was so helpful, especially when an excursion needed to be rescheduled. Misael and all of the staff at Hidden Valley genuinely seem delighted to help you, and make your stay so memorable in any way they can.

Our stay included a roundtrip transfer to the airport. I absolutely recommend that you do not rent a car and try to do it on your own. Road signs were few and far between, and while there may not have been many roads, there were tons of turns and curves and I'm glad we did not attempt this on our own, like we have done during other travels. Oscar, one of the excellent guides at Hidden Valley, was waiting for us when we arrived at the airport. We cannot say enough good things about Oscar. We spent a good deal of time with him, from the drive to Hidden Valley to two other day long and half day excursions. He knows Belize inside and out from its wildlife to its Mayan history and more. He turned a 2.5 hr bumpy, curvy drive from the airport to the lodge into an interesting and upbeat tour in itself.

The location-- it is the definition of seclusion. There are no nearby restaurants and the town itself of San Ignacio is still not close to Hidden Valley. That is what we loved! This jungle lodge is high in the pine forest, surrounded by rain forest at the base. It has 90 miles of trails (with waterfalls!) on this property, that are for guests only. Mind you there are only 12 guest cottages! That is a lot of seclusion and beautiful paradise for just a select number of people at any given time. Just stepping onto the property you feel the serenity. Upon entering, we were welcomed into the sitting room of the main lodge and given complimentary hand massages while Misael told us all about the property.

Accommodations: Our bags were taken to our room/casita (Room 4- was great!) which was decorated in gorgeous tropical flowers all over. While the room did not have AC, it had screens and slatted windows so the cool air came in at night. The furnishings were made from the beautiful rich wood and the bathroom was updated and clean. Surprisingly, we didn't have much problem at all with bugs INSIDE the room. On several nights the strong rain lulled us to sleep. Aside from the casitas there is just the main lodge that includes the charming dining area with a separate bar room. Another thing we looked forward to each evening was meeting at the bar (after a nice shower after the day's adventures) and talking with the staff and the handful of guests that were there, sharing stories and meeting other people. Outside the main lodge is a beautiful veranda with a pool, hot tub, and tables and chairs. Be sure to see the peaceful yoga hut of Yokel Chan, a short walk away on the property. We enjoyed an early morning couples yoga lesson with the charming Katherine.

Staff- Once again they were all extremely friendly and service oriented, making each person feel like very special guests. One night we requested to have dinner outside and with no problems at all it was arranged- and we had a beautiful dinner under the stars. We met the general manager Amon, who was 100% concerned with his guests and their stay. We had just one mishap which was at the end of our stay and a mixup with the bill. While we had to leave early the next morning, the staff had cleared it up for us by the time we returned to the states. We were thankful for their attention to the matter and getting it resolved for us how they could, even after we had left the property.

Food- we too were surprised at the high quality of the food and the to die for specialities each night. We splurged on decadent soups, entrees, and desserts each night. Anthony is an amazing chef! He and the others even prepare packed lunches (beyond just your ordinary sandwich) for us to take on our excursions each day. This was an excellent amenity to have when you are out exploring either the property or other offsite tours during the day. We spent the last leg of our trip on the island of Ambergris Caye and definitely were longing for the food at Hidden Valley!

Property- we had allocated just one afternoon to exploring the property and if we had only known what it had to offer we would have stayed another day! We spent about 4.5 hours hiking the trails and swam in two of the most gorgeous waterfalls we have ever seen! Butterfly Falls and Secret Falls are NOT to be missed on your trip here. With such a small number of guests staying and such a huge property, it is an amazing feeling to have a slice of heaven in the rain forest practically to yourselves for the day. It was breathtaking. We have to return to explore more of this property and its hidden coves of paradise.

Excursions- Again we cannot thank Oscar enough for safe, fun, informative, and adventurous excursions. From the Mayan ruins of Caracol to ziplining through the jungle at Calico Jacks- it was a thrill! However, you HAVE to do the ATM cave exploration before you leave Belize. This is one thing NOT to be missed. It is unlike any other cave in Belize and I'm sure you have read by now it is a must-do. You will need to allocate most of your day for this excursion. If you want a thrill of an adventure, climbing (and even swimming!) through a cave, seeing artifacts and even the calcified remains of a Mayan princess, you need the ATM cave tour checked off on your bucket list!

Lastly, about Belize in general, don't forget the Deet bug spray. Like others have mentioned, you will have more "no see ums" bites than mosquitos at the Hidden Valley property, but outside the pine forest the mosquitos are pretty prevalent. We took anti-malaria pills before going just in case, as we knew we would be exploring the mainland, before hopping over to the island for relaxing on the beach. However, none of this should sway you from exploring the beautiful country of Belize and all of the adventure it has to offer.

Hidden Valley is an amazing "jungle lodge" and serene retreat with top service and food, a wonderful respite after days spent exploring. Thanks to all the staff and owners who made it so great.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BagsArePacked1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMHVI, General Manager at Hidden Valley Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 10 December 2012

Dear BagsArePacked1

Where do we begin..... we are humbled by your descriptive review, that has covered our operation in detail, leaving 'no stone un-turned'.

Thank you from the Hidden Valley Inn Team, and hope to see you return to Belize in the near future.

Kind Regards

Amon Johnson

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2012

To the owner's of Hidden Valley Inn:

Thank you so much for investing in this property and making it available to people like Ashley and I to enjoy. We just absolutely loved it!

To the owner's: the staff that you have working for you did an excellent job! Very personal and professional and they just did an absolutely awesome job! Misael was extremely polite and kind and helpful. He assisted us with any and all questions that we had. He was fun and upbeat and just took great care of us!

And we have to give amazing PROPS to the chef and sous chef. One of the unexpected and amazing delights about Hidden Valley was the incredible food. A unique menu was provided each day and all of the offerings were 5 star meals! We live in Charleston, SC where the culinary experience is always top notch and his cooking skills reminded us of the amazing talent in our city!

The bar staff, the wait staff and everyone were great. We loved the pool and the hot tub and really enjoyed the atmosphere.

The highlight of the trip without a doubt was the amazing terrain offered by the property. Everyday we either hiked or road bikes to a new exciting and amazing part of the landscape. The waterfalls were so exhilarating. The hiking was vigorous and challenging and the plants and trees and birds and wildlife were all just awesome.

Hidden Valley was an incredible surprise in terms of all that it offered. We were excited to spend time in the mainland but we just weren't prepared for the all the beauty, great food, and excellent service. It was the delight of our entire stay in Belize.

Thank you again to the owner's and staff at Hidden Valley for an awesome trip. We just loved it and hope to return some day.

Sincerely,

Bryan and Ashley

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank AshleynBryan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMHVI, General Manager at Hidden Valley Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 10 December 2012

Dear Bryan and Ashley

Words cannot express our gratitude for the wonderful review of our People and Property at Hidden Valley Inn.
We wish you all the best and hope to see you return some day.

Regards

Amon Johnson

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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