Just a reminder: All room rates in this travel guide are for double occupancy in the high season and may or may not include the 9 percent hotel tax. If you’re traveling alone or between May and November, expect discounts at some (but not all) of the following hotels.
The Seaside Guest House (3 Prince St., tel. 501/605-3786 or 501/607-8534, seasidebelize [at] btl [dot] gmail [dot] com, US$20–40) is popular among budget travelers. The couple of rooms are tiny, barely bigger than the beds, but the common spaces are good for meeting travelers from the world over. Choose from shared bunk space or private rooms. There is hot water in the community bathroom, a breeze on its ocean-facing porch, and a friendly, family-run atmosphere in this former Quaker house. Three cheap meals a day are available for US$5 each. If you know you’re coming to town, make a reservation—the Seaside can sometimes fill up fast.
On North Front Street, Smokin’ Balam Guest House (59 N. Front St., tel. 501/601-4510, smokinbalam2 [at] yahoo [dot] com, single US$15, double US$20–25) has four rooms, all airy with fans, two with private bathroom; all have access to a caged balcony over Haulover Creek as well as the nice café (meals from US$2). There’s a gift shop, a pay phone, and Internet access downstairs. The guesthouse also offers weekly/monthly rates, bag storage, and a friendly atmosphere.
North Front Street Guest House (124 N. Front St., tel. 501/227-7595, US$15) offers seven spartan rooms with shared basement bath. It’s a bit decrepit, but it’s worth considering if the other places are booked up; eight rooms have foam mattresses and fans. The back porch overlooking the neighborhood is the high point.
The Belcove Hotel (9 Regent St., tel. 501/227-3054, www.belcove.com , US$33–52), centrally located on the southern bank of Haulover Creek, just west of the Swing Bridge, is well taken care of, clean and bright, and easy to recommend. There are 13 rooms on three stories; options include shared or private bath with fan or the works (air-conditioning and TV). The porch over the creek is fun to watch boats from, and cheap, lively eats are right next door at Deep Sea Marlin’s Restaurant & Bar. Tour packages will keep you busy on the reef or at inland sights. The only downside is the seedy two blocks on Regent Street between the hotel and the Swing Bridge; take a cab to and from the hotel door.
Three Sisters Guest House (36 Queen St., tel. 501/207-3139 or 501/203-5729, US$32) has three big, clean rooms with private baths and fans, plus a massive, cavernous common space, all on the second floor of an old building on Queen Street. It’s good for groups, friendly, and has lots of beds.. Additional rooms are also for rent in an annex on Albert Street.
On the Northside, Sea Breeze Guest House (18 Gabourel Ln., tel. 501/203-0043 or 501/621-9651, http://seabreeze-belize.com , US$25–40) has nine small, clean rooms with fan and TV, some with shared bath, others with private baths and air-conditioning, all in a rickety building with a nice common space and an Internet café downstairs. It’s very secure (behind razor wire).
The Hotel Mopan (55 Regent St., tel. 501/227-7351, www.hotelmopan.com , US$50–65) is an old standby (built in 1973) with a very pleasant rooftop lounge area. There are 12 rooms, some with ocean view, all with tile floor, private baths, TV, free wireless Internet, minifridge, and air-conditioning. Balcony rooms are worth the extra couple of dollars.
Coningsby Inn (76 Regent St., tel. 501/227-1566, US$60–75) has 10 rooms with TV, private baths, air-conditioning, wireless Internet, and minibars. There’s a second-story bar and restaurant; breakfast is US$6. Staff can help plan your tours as well as your wedding! Both Hotel Mopan and Coningsby Inn are in Southside, near the House of Culture .
On the Northside, toward “the Flags” roundabout, the Bakadeer Inn (74 Cleghorn St., tel. 501/223-0659, US$55 includes breakfast) has 12 clean, well-kept rooms with comfy beds, private baths, ceiling fans, TV, and optional air-conditioning in any of the rooms (singles, doubles, triples, and quads available), as well as laundry service, a dining area, high-speed Internet access, and a cozy common space.
Another functional place run by a second-generation Belizean-Chinese family, is the Royal Orchid Hotel (153 New Rd., corner of Douglas Jones St., tel. 501/223-2783, US$50), a four-story hotel across the street from a pizza shop; the 21 rooms have hot and cold water, private baths, air-conditioning, and TV.
Near the Fort George Radisson, the Chateau Caribbean (6 Marine Parade, tel. 501/223-0800, www.chateaucaribbean.com , from US$89) resides in an 84-year-old wooden building with wide porches, ocean breezes, and plenty of character, but it is overall in need of some TLC. The 16 rooms are well worn but have private baths, cable TV, fridges, wireless Internet, and air-conditioning. The lounge areas, restaurant, and bar have big east-facing bay windows; definitely ask for an upstairs room.
Located in Buttonwood Bay, a residential area three miles north of downtown and seven miles south of the international airport, Villa Boscardi Bed & Breakfast (6043 Manatee Dr., tel. 501/223-1691, www.villaboscardi.com , US$75 plus tax, includes breakfast) is an excellent option, only a block away from the sea. Its seven rooms are spotless, with white tile and white paint, bathtubs, and secure parking; the place is popular with business travelers, but it also has a honeymoon suite and dinner special. There’s easy access to the international airport, and it’s a short ride to downtown Belize City. Several restaurants are within walking distance, including a mellow oceanfront bar.
In the same area as Villa Boscardi, but a few blocks on the other side of the highway, in the Belama neighborhood, D’Nest Inn (475 Cedar St., tel. 501/223-5416, www.dnestinn.com , US$70–80) is a two-story Caribbean-style bed-and-breakfast surrounded by an English garden and run by one of the sweetest, most accommodating couples in Belize. Gaby and Oty offer five comfortable rooms decorated with Belizean antiques, all equipped with private baths, air-conditioning, TV, and wireless Internet. Wonderful multicourse breakfasts feature lots of fresh fruit and conversation with your hosts.
The Princess Hotel and Casino (Barrack Rd., tel. 501/223-2670, U.S. tel. 800/233-9784, www.princessbelize.com , from US$120) has 170 concrete rooms, all with the same air conditioning, cable TV, and breakfast. Overall, you’ll find much better value elsewhere, particularly at the B&Bs mentioned above. But if you’re looking for lots of on-site entertainment, the Princess houses Belize’s only cinema and bowling alley; there’s also a pool, a gift shop, a beauty salon, a conference room, bars, restaurants, and a tour desk. The on-site marina has docking facilities and water sports, and the popular casino and disco are open midnight–4 a.m.
The Great House (13 Cork St., tel. 501/223-3400, www.greathousebelize.com , from US$150) is a beautiful colonial-style boutique hotel, built in 1927 and recently renovated to show off its 16 unique, colorful rooms. Both tiled and hardwood floors offset the pastel walls and modern furniture; the rooms in back have more charm than the rest. Downstairs, you’ll find car rental and tour services, plus a high-end real estate company, a business service center, and the Smoky Mermaid restaurant.
After World War II, visiting dignitaries from England came to Belize with plans for various agricultural projects, but they couldn’t find a place to stay. As a result, the Radisson Fort George Hotel (2 Marine Parade, tel. 501/223-3333, U.S. tel. 800/333-3333, www.radisson.com/belizecitybz , US$139–174 plus tax) was built, and it remains the premier accommodation in town. The Radisson’s 102 nicely appointed, full-service rooms sport all the amenities you’d expect, including outrageously priced minibars. This grand resort-style hotel has two swimming pools, a poolside bar, the Stone Grill (an outdoor restaurant where you grill your own meat), and fine dining and a massive breakfast buffet in St. George’s Dining Room.
All the restaurants host special events and happy hours. Full catering facilities and banquet rooms are available. All kinds of tours, from diving to caving to golfing, are organized right out of the hotel. Renovation in the Villa Wing includes bathrooms, a new business center, a gym, and an expansion of Le Petit Café, connecting it to the Villa Lobby with expanded seating and wireless Internet.
The Belize Biltmore Plaza (tel. 501/223-2302, U.S. tel. 800/528-1234, www.belizebiltmore.com , from US$140) is the local Best Western branch, three miles north of the city center (seven miles south of the international airport) on the Northern Highway. The Biltmore is popular with business travelers; its 75 midsize rooms surround a garden, pool, and bar and have cable TV, phones, and modern baths. There’s also Internet service, an excellent gift shop, and an overpriced dining room (US$12–20 per entrée of mediocre international food) and lounge. The hotel may be convenient for flights, but the Biltmore is walking distance to nothing, so you may feel a bit trapped.