On the evening of August 27th, 2013, there was a major fire at Ramon’s Village on Ambergris Caye (see the post below for pictures). One of the island originals…27 years…an iconic hotel, dive shop and beach in San Pedro. Most of the island saw the terrible fire whether they ran to the scene to watch helplessly or the smoke billowing miles away. About 50% of the resort was burned to the ground.
The very VERY best news: Everyone made it safely out of the blaze. And other good news followed during the rebuilding process that began almost immediately.
Ramon’s and their construction managers (San Pedranos all – Coco Gonzalez, Wayne Alfaro and Armando Graniel) have been employing hundreds and hundreds of skilled and unskilled workers during the “low season” in Belize. Every Friday, the huge crew eats together and last week they served 242.
Over 200 people getting paid to work from 6am to sometimes 10pm in October, November and December is a minor miracle in itself.
As much as possible, they are using Belizean products. And the result (though currently covered with a bit of saw dust) is gorgeous. There is no question that Ramon’s Village is a resort in San Pedro. There is no faux-Venetian grandeur or Disneyworld McResort same-old sameness, the beautiful palapa, the carvings, the mahogany furniture, the lush gardens all say Belize.
Ummmm…and isn’t that why you came to Belize?
Beautiful Maya warrior carvings by Graniels.
Ramon’s is taking precautions like fire lanes, fire hydrants and a new water pump at the dive shop to keep Ramon’s Village safe in the future.
One of the cutest guys around Mr Einer Gomez, the General Manager of Ramon’s Village for over 20 years, gave me a tour around the property. Fully open in 14 days? I don’t know.
We watched these workers lowering huge logs to form the roof of the new bar, Tropic Al’s. YES, they will be serving alcohol. (Don’t believe everything that you read.) Einer said that it will have a bit of a tropical cocktail lounge feel. FOURTEEN DAYS!
He even offered to make a wager with me that the resort would open. A friendly bet.They are testing and retesting. The main lobby is on its second shade of orange but it’s not quite right. They are going to try it again…
These tiles were being tested for varnish.
Gorgeous ceiling in the gift shop.
Almost $20,000 BZD was spent on new plants and trees for the property. Most of the older trees like the flamboyants and the zericotes are starting to slowly, slowly re-grow.
The pool was emptied and refinished and looks gorgeous.
The resort has been open since a few weeks after the fire. Offering guests a discount, a room in the area of the hotel that was untouched by the fire and telling them about the serious construction, many have still come to stay. And some returning guests want to be a part of the construction. A few days ago, I passed Ramon’s and saw a couple (that clearly was not part of the construction crew) sanding some wooden posts.
And Einer told me about a tourist gentleman (or is it gentleman tourist?) who spent his afternoon learning to thatch. Very cool.
So…should I have taken Einer’s wager? Will Ramon’s Village be open in 14 days for a fully packed Christmas crowd? Based on the incredible progress over the past few months, I think the answer is a definite yes.
And since I snagged an invite to the December 20th opening party, I can give you the full Ramon’s Village scoop.
I asked Einer if it was a fancy dress party…oh no, he said, we are not formal at Ramon’s Village. Perfect.