Lost in Belize II: Where to Stay in Ambergris CayeCaribbean, Central and South America, Dispatches from the Road, Hotels & Resorts, In-Room Reviews, Spa & Beauty — By Holly C on March 5, 2010 at 6:00 am
I’ve made my way to what some Latins call La Isla Bonita (a.k.a. “The Beautiful Island”). Lapped by an ocean that’s the underside-of-an-aquamarine-stone green and decorated with coconut trees on white-powder beaches, it’s easy to see how Ambergris Caye got its nickname.
San Pedro is the island’s main town, and couldn’t be more of a contrast from the New York City I’d left behind. As a guest of the Phoenix Resort, I headed to the pool with my Macbook tucked under my arm. Before I could even boot it up, I heard a voice say, “We don’t like to see tourists working too hard.” Behind me was a grinning Belizean gardener. “You can relax-you’re on island time now.” He was right: To get the full experience, I had to back away from the laptop and do the kind of surfing that didn’t involve the world wide web.
Yes, the newly-opened Phoenix Resort may have free in-room wi-fi, but there were far more tempting ways to spend my in-room moments sunning on the private veranda overlooking the Caribbean, soaking in the Jacuzzi tub stocked with Aveda products, and lost in the king-sized bed with fluffy white comforters that made me imagine I was in a cloud. Warning: The Phoenix is so comfortable it tempts me to be a “lazy” traveler and stay put rather than explore: I splashed around in the saline infinity and lap pools, got a cacao-masa scrub glo from the onsite Sol Spa, and ate fresh-caught grouper at the gourmet Red Ginger restaurant. They even offer morning power yoga classes three times a week, but I missed them because I was out diving.
Apart from the comfort of the accommodations, I’d also recommend the Phoenix for the location: It’s right near the heart of San Pedro so you don’t have to take a water taxi or golf cart to get around. Amigas Del Mar dive shop is less than a five-minute walk away (which is especially convenient when trips to the Blue Hole start around 5:30 a.m.). There are a whole slew of restaurants and bars on the beach right outside the resort’s gates, or you can leave through the front door to enter the town’s cobblestone streets for some window-shopping.
I definitely want to come back here with more people: The Phoenix has one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos which easily fit families, friends, or couples who want a laid-back-but-luxurious vacation spot. During low-season rates can drop by almost 20 percent, so May 1st to December 18th are the times to go to get the best deals. Next up: What to do (besides dive!) and where to eat in Ambergris Caye.
Photo Credit for Resort: Mike Bristol