The resort, the Villas at Banyan Bay, has been on Ambergris Caye for well over 15 years. Located on one of the prettiest beaches on the island – Maratumbo Beach – it is now under new management. And there are some changes to come to the 2 and 3 bedroom condo hotel in the year to come. But the first major change was an overhaul and updating of the old Rico’s Restaurant.
Here are some pics of the resort. I love all the flowers and trees that give keep the pool from the beach. I very much dislike feeling like you are on display while lounging in the sun.
Enter Pier 366.
The second question that came to mind was: What is the significance of the number 366? Lucky number? Most people pick 10 or under…maybe up to 15. Number of days in a leap year? THE TEMPLARS? Intriguing. I’ll have to get back to that.
The first? Well…I had many for the new managing partner of the resort, Andrew Ashcroft. He IS the son of the VERY famous and very wealthy Lord Ashcroft – a British and Belizean citizen.
But this is about the new restaurant. Not a time for those sorts of questions.
Yesterday was a media tasting lunch. The word tasting can be deceiving. This was more than a tasting…it was a feast.
The place looks fantastic – there have been some additions that make the space so much more comfortable. And they were starting with a gorgeous dock to begin with.
As you step onto the beach, there is a new bar. Perfect for talking with other guests and those who have stopped for a drink.
There is a new “swing lounge”. I love all the uses of the weathered looking Belizean hardwoods.
Our table was beautifully laid out. The long communal table is made of one serious piece of reclaimed mahogany. Old HUGE trees from the logging era can still be found at the bottom of the Belize River. This table must weigh a ton. It’s gorgeous.
And inside the restaurant…all open and an outside wrap around dock-deck as well.
The very personable, very passionate Chef Garfield from Barbados. He has worked in many countries – and last worked in Turks and Caicos. Seafood with a Caribbean flair.
We had some very tasty dishes.
The grilled shrimp in citrus sauce with avocado, olives and cucumbers was light and delicious.
Next came crab cakes and some VERY good coconut shrimp…the fresh coconut makes a difference. There was mango chipotle sauce and pina colada sauce.
A ceviche fan, I really liked the snapper ceviche. I always pick conch – but this fresh snapper ceviche was really really good. And the tartness of the lime was cut a bit by the coconut milk. A nice touch.
And then a HUGE main course. I really like the idea of family style. Mix and match side dishes that range from $8 to 12bzd. From rice and beans or plaintains to delicious grilled asparagus or roasted beets.
We had lobster, jerk chicken and Maya spiced fish. The lobster.
Most raved about the carmelized banana rum cake with vanilla ice cream that they had for dessert. I dove into my chocolate concoction so quickly…I don’t remember the name.
It was delicious.
It’s great to have a new restaurant south of town. There are quite a few hotels on that stretch of beach – Grand Colony, Banana Beach, Mata Rocks, Banyan Bay, Xanadu and more. It’s great to have a beautiful bar on the beach – imagine sipping a pina colada in the swing lounge or one of the gorgeous large day beds that will be set out on the beach…and even nicer to have a new DIFFERENT restaurant to try.
There is some additional news. The large empty beach front lot to the south of Banyan Bay and north of Grand Colony is to be developed. By early next year there should be a sales office for the new beach front villas (one story) and townhouses (2 story). There will be pools that wind between the buildings – with swim up balconies.
Sounds great to me.
ALSO, they are doing a New Years Eve special dinner for those who prefer a more quite setting than the parties in town.
Congratulations to all of the staff, particularly Chef Garfield and THANKS FOR THE INVITE. I think you are going to have a busy season ahead.
Oh…and if you are wondering about 366? So am I. I forgot to ask at the luncheon! And sent an email later. I await the reply.