Located along one of Ambergris Caye’s best sandy beaches
Five- to 10-minute walk to a few restaurants and bars
Tiered freshwater pool has built-in benches and shallow kids' area
Large air-conditioned villas with full kitchens and private balconies
Free kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and bicycles
Free continental breakfast at Rico’s, sister property’s waterfront restaurant
Round-trip San Pedro Airport transportation is included
Wi-Fi is free and works well in public areas
Minimum five-night stay during Christmas and New Year
Most amenities at sister property next door
Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort but spotty inside villas
No free drinking water
Grand Colony Island Villas is a three-pearl resort conveniently located just south of San Pedro. Its 14 oceanfront villas with ocean or pool views are outfitted with mahogany furniture, granite-countered kitchens, and furnished private balconies. The sandy beach is one of the island’s best -- it's mostly sea-grass free, and lined with coconut palms and wooden loungers. The tiered freshwater pool has built-in benches and a shallow area perfect for kids. On-site freebies include kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and bicycles, but most of the resort’s amenities are located at its sister property next door (including the free continental breakfast). For something with more modern style and on-site amenities like a restaurant and bar, travelers should consider the condos at Captain Morgan’s Retreat.
Beachfront resort with lush grounds and lovely scent of flowers all around
Built in 2005, Grand Colony doesn’t feel like resort -- and that works to its advantage. The property looks like a private, gated villa community, and that low-key independent vibe is precisely the reason that so many guests stay here. Upon arrival, guests are received in a small, spartan lobby -- it's nothing much to look at, but no one is coming to Ambergris Caye to hang out indoors. Exteriors are the real star of the show here, and the grounds are lush, with the smell of jasmine flowers on the air during our visit. A tiled pathway winds its way through the property and leads to the beach. The hotel's villas -- all with ocean or pool views -- are privately owned and managed by the resort. They’re set in two- and three-story salmon-colored buildings with green Spanish-tile roofs that are typical of the bright, tropical style found throughout Ambergris Caye. Everything is centered on a tiered freshwater pool with two connected satellite pools shaped like Arabesque stars. We didn’t see children during our visit, but one of the pools is shallow and families are common during the holidays.
On the beach, just south of San Pedro, a reasonable walk to restaurants and shops
Grand Colony has one of the best locations on the island. It’s on the sea and has a great beach, though San Pedro is only 10 minutes away by taxi, making it easy to avoid or partake in the resort town's bustle. There's also plenty within a reasonable walk of the property, including a fruit stand just across the street. Just a five-minute walk leads to grocery stores, restaurants serving Belizean and Chinese cuisines, a minimart, and a pharmacy. The Garifuna Cultural Entertainment Center serves up tasty Garifuna cuisine and hosts cultural shows -- it's a 10-minute walk from Grand Colony. It's handy to have a car to explore sights that are farther afield, like the ancient Mayan ruins at the Marco Gonzalez Maya site, a 10-minute drive away. Two of the island’s best diving and snorkeling spots: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley are 10-minute boat rides from the resort. For an alternate beach option, the island’s best beach – Secret Beach – is a bumpy 50-minute ride. Free airport transfers are included with all rates, and the airport is less than a 10-minute drive from Grand Colony.
Large, multi-bedroom villas with whirlpool bathtubs, central air-conditioning, and full kitchens
The two- and three-bedroom villas at Grand Colony are homey and modern, with granite, marble, and mahogany interiors that make them feel fresh and polished. All are air-conditioned and top floor units have stunning vaulted mahogany ceilings and Saltillo tile floors. Living rooms are painted in tans and yellows, and furnished with wicker armchairs, plush gray couches, and flat-screen TVs with premium channels and DVD/VHS combo players.
Full, granite-countered kitchens are loaded with everything a cook could want, including stainless-steel appliances, blenders, toasters, coffeemakers, and free coffee (though we wish it was the tasty Belizean coffee provided by many hotels in the area, and not generic brands). Daily maid service is convenient, and covers doing any dirty dishes as well. Dining rooms can seat up to six, and have mahogany tables, some of which are beautifully crafted live-edge sets.
In bedrooms, expect king, queen, or two twin beds with mahogany headboards or poster beds plus alarm clocks and televisions (note that we did spot tube TVs in some bedrooms). Huge walk-in closets have mahogany built-ins and safes. Master bathrooms feature marble vanities, whirlpool bathtubs, and walk-in showers plus lovely details like plants and blossoming tropical flowers. Bathrooms do show their age, though, and some of the metal hardware was tarnished and starting to rust. Hairdryers, bar soap, body wash, conditioner, and shampoo are also included.
All villas have private balconies with wicker tables, chairs, and lounge chairs with great views of either the pool or the ocean. Additional highlights include full-size washer/dryers, ceiling fans, and irons and ironing boards. Free Wi-Fi is technically available, but the signal can be spotty in villas.
Great sandy beach, freshwater pool, and freebies like kayaks and stand-up paddleboards
Grand Colony’s beach is by far one of the island’s best. It stretches the length of the resort and is pretty much sea-grass free. Wood lounge chairs dot the sandy shoreline and there’s a bit of shade from tall coconut palms. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available for free. In the middle of the property, the resort’s round freshwater pool has two smaller Arabesque-shaped pools -- one’s shallow and perfect for kids while the other has built-in benches.
While all of that is fine and lovely, the other on-site features here are slim and a majority of the property's amenities are located at Banyan Bay, the sister property next door. In Banyan Bay’s lobby, there’s a small business center with computers and free printing. Rico's Bar and Grill has a great waterfront location and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as happy-hour drink specials. A continental breakfast is included with all stays, though the selection is limited and a better breakfast is available by using vouchers at Bottom Time. The full-service Belize Pro Dive shop rents snorkeling equipment and offers dive and snorkeling trips. There’s also an event space for conferences or weddings.
Round trip airport transportation is free to San Pedro's airport. Grand Colony’s concierge can assist with renting golf carts, arranging baby sitters, and shopping for groceries. Wi-Fi is free and works well in public areas, and there’s also laundry service.
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