There is no international rating system when it comes to stars for hotels and resorts. If there was, I would imagine that standards would vary greatly for different cities and different countries. In New York, for example, valet service and a top notch crew of doormen would be imperative with your NYC-priced + 5-star experience.
In Belize it would certainly mean something different.
For the last few nights, I stayed at a resort in the making…It’zana Resort & Residence and had a gorgeous dinner at the “pop-up” restaurant Limilita on the Placencia Peninsula. And, from what I can see, they are moving ahead to set a new standard for resorts in Belize.
Years ago, the property was a resort called Labu Hati and set on a long strip of beach between Seine Bight Village and Placencia.
I stayed in one of the four temporary beachfront casitas. Temporary…felt like a strange word. My suite was absolutely gorgeous. With amazing attention to detail – plenty of coffee, cold beverage, lots of fresh water, real milk, and granola for breakfast. Gorgeous furnishings, decor, SHEETS, towels. I was definitely ready to hitch it to the bus and take her home with me.
My first night, I was invited to dinner at Limilita on the beach. And was completely WOWed from start to finish. It is a weekly dinner for guests both visiting and those who live in Belize and for potential investors. This, I imagine, is meant to set the tone for the entire resort to come…and it is done just beautifully.
The older resort is behind the table – set to be torn down over the summer.
Deliberately casual rustic beach chic? I probably want to work on that terminology – it’s a mouthful. But everything is so well thought out…so beautiful. The dinner really was an experience.
All led by a 27 year old Italian named Enrico. The perfect face and personality for a resort like this – he led us through the menu and the wines…tall and slim with a small hand-done bow tie. Quirky and smart, warm and funny and ridiculously knowledgeable about food, wine and rum..way beyond his years. (I think I asked him 3 times about his age – to possibly catch him in a lie.) I am not sure where they found him. But I would sign him on to a life-long contract quickly.
–> Enrico later sent me an article he wrote about how he first landed in Belize.
The food was fresh, local, light and delicious. And thought it was a hot, it was an absolutely gorgeous night.
What a super cool idea.
The next day, I took a tour of the one model house that has been completed on the lagoon side of the peninsula. The resort, when finished, will have a Great House and gorgeous pool on the beach side along with beach cottages.
The lagoon and marina will be lined with houses – 1 to 3 bedrooms and I took a look at the 2-bedroom model home. All with THE view of the gorgeous Maya Mountains and the stunning sunset they have in the south of Belize.
Here are my photos.
This super fun bathroom…
And outside space that will have a small pool.
There is no nook left neglected…all deliberately designed and landscaped. It’s absolutely beautiful. And the plan for the Great House is amazing. Intimate, charming and incredibly chic.
I imagine thousands and thousands of hours of planning went into giving this resort a very distinct cohesive personality. And along with the amenities and the service, that’s what makes a place 5-stars to me.
I can’t wait to see the project when it opens. But until then…after 3 nights in my casita, I was off on the 6:15am bus back to Belize City. Enough time to take a picture of the sun peaking over the horizon.
I forgot to mention that It’zana will be the sister resort of Ka’ana Resort in Cayo. Another gem in Belize.