The Phoenix Resort (U.S. tel. 877/822-5512, tel. 501/226-2083, www.thephoenixbelize.com, US$360–650) takes the luxury thing up a couple of notches in San Pedro. This condo resort has 27 of the largest furnished suites on the island, with every amenity you can imagine both in and out of your room. It has a pool, restaurant, gym, and spa, all in a big white-walled compound toward the north of town, on the beach side, as well as full concierge for activities on and off the island.
South of San Pedro
Still one of the island’s top class acts, Victoria House (tel. 501/226-2067, U.S. tel. 800/247-5159, www.victoria-house.com, US$175–1,650) has a luxurious selection of suites and several multifamily mansion-like villas. Expect grand, colonial elegance on a well-manicured, tranquil piece of property about two miles south of San Pedro. The stucco and thatched casitas with tile floors are placed around several sleek infinity pools; you also get a full-service dive shop with private guides, the Admiral Nelson Bar, and one of the top-rated restaurants in the country (Restaurant Palmilla).
The Villas at Banyan Bay (tel. 501/226-3739, U.S. tel. 866/466-2179, www.banyanbay.com, from US$300) is a “luxury family resort” with all the amenities in its 40 suites, including a whirlpool tubs. Lots of activities and lessons for chil-dren are available; full dive/inland trips can be arranged. There’s also a respected on-site dock restaurant, Rico’s.
North of San Pedro
Amid the boxy construction projects north of the split, you’ll find some of Belize’s most well-known and well-run properties, all only a few hundred yards from Belize’s famous barrier reef.
Less than three miles north of San Pedro, El Pescador (tel. 501/226-2975, U.S. tel. 800/242-2017, www.elpescador.com, from US$200) was constructed in 1974 as one of the world’s premier sportfishing lodges, and it has evolved into a modern resort for sportspeople and their families. There are 14 rooms in the colonial-style mahogany lodge and private one-, two-, and three-bedroom villa accommodations around stunning swimming pools and palms.
Capricorn Resort and Restaurant (tel. 501/226-2809, www.capricornresort.net, US$200) offers a more intimate experience. Stay in one of three cabanas decorated in tropical colors with private bathrooms and showers made for two. Rates include a continental breakfast, bikes, and kayaks.
Las Terrazas (U.S. tel. 800/447-1553, www.lasterrazasresort.com, US$225) is a slick affair of 39 fully equipped “residential townhomes” around a pool area and restaurant serving “southwestern cuisine with Caribbean flair.” This is a full-service luxury resort with many activities and packages.
A little more than four miles north of San Pedro is the small, stylish Mata Chica Beach Resort (tel. 501/220-5010, www.matachica.com, from US$256), with 24 spacious casitas, suites, and luxury villas, all styled with local art and Oriental-tinged decor. It offers a full range of amenities, a spa, bar-side Jacuzzi, infinity pool, plus a vast swanky lounge, which connects to the Mambo restaurant. The resort does “grand or intimate weddings, honeymoons, and secluded getaways.” Their six-person beach mansion goes for a cool US$1,015 a night, plus taxes.
Next door, go for the full rock star treatment in one of two 3,000-square-foot villas at Azul Belize (tel. 501/226-4012, www.azulbelize.com, from US$1,000, all inclusive); watch the horizon from your private rooftop Jacuzzi with one of Azul’s famous frozen mojitos in hand. Your enormous three-floor crib boasts a full Viking kitchen, ladywood beams, wrap-around balconies, flatscreen TV, and wireless Internet throughout the property. Or, unplug at the infinity pool or adjoining Rojo Lounge, where world-class chef Jeff Spiegel prepares some of the island’s best cuisine. In 2011, Azul expanded to include several high-luxury options, including a massive 14,400-square-foot villa with its own pool, patio, swim-up bar, and beer on tap.
Portofino (tel. 501/226-5096, www.portofinobelize.com, US$250–335) is another longstanding luxury lodge, right on the beach, but with a deep swimming pool and an excellent on-site restaurant (meal plan US$55 per day). They have 15 units, including two treetop suites, and a honeymoon/VIP villa with full amenities. You can use their sporting equipment to play around all day—it’s only a 15-minute kayak paddle to excellent snorkeling at Mexico Rocks.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition