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Paradise Vacation Hotel 2.5

Placencia, Belize

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Five-minute walk to local shops, restaurants, and bars
  • Semi-private beach with free kayaks and paddleboards
  • Rooms feature air-conditioning and mini-fridges or kitchenettes
  • Upgraded rooms include private, furnished, beachfront balconies
  • Popular Paradise Restaurant serves traditional Belizean fare and sea views
  • Roof-top deck with great views and a hot tub
  • Golf cart rentals are available for getting around the area
  • On-site dive and tackle shops
  • Free parking in an off-street lot
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Tiny entry-level rooms; some lack windows or TVs
  • Beach feels more functional than relaxing
  • Inconvenient location at the end of a long, dirt alley

Bottom Line

Blocks from downtown Placencia, two-and-a-half-pearl Paradise Vacation Hotel offers an eclectic, surfer-like atmosphere that's about as unpretentious as it gets. The traditional Belizean restaurant, beachfront location, and rooftop hot tub fulfill most of the essential requirements for a Caribbean getaway. The 12 rooms vary widely in size and features, though all have a humble tropical style and include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges or kitchenettes. Upgraded rooms offer spacious layouts and beachfront balconies. The inconvenient location (at the end of a long dirty alley) and funky, “rough around the edges” atmosphere may feel too unpolished for some. For a little more money, Maya Beach Hotel offers the same amenities plus a larger beachfront.

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Scene

Rustic, mid-range hotel with a lively, adult-oriented vibe

The hotel blends seamlessly into the surrounding town, with its no-frills, beachy vibe. Common areas are well-maintained, but there’s an overall unpolished look that feels intentional. The dark wood and bold, pink stucco exterior is distinctly Belizean, if a bit dated and cheesy. In lieu of a pool, the property offers only a rooftop hot tub with excellent sea views and a semi-private beach that feels secluded from the rough surrounding neighborhood. The clientele consists of some families, but mostly couples seeking an affordable beachfront getaway with cheap drink specials and convenient access to a traditional town with plenty of local flavor.

Location

Blocks from downtown Placencia and 10 minutes from the nearest airport

Downtown Placencia’s many local restaurants, artisan shops, and other services are five minutes from the hotel on foot. Otherwise, the immediate area isn't the most pleasant, though the lack of loud bars ensures that things nearby stay relatively quiet. The adjacent marina also serves as an excellent launch point for snorkeling and scuba trips to the nearby atolls and Belize’s famous barrier reef (second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). Laughing Bird Caye -- a gorgeous Caribbean island -- is located about an hour-long boat ride from shore. Located less than 10 minutes away, Placencia’s tiny municipal airport services the entire area with convenient, though limited, flight options. International travelers typically arrive through Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) airport, more than three hours away in Belize City. The hotel does not facilitate airport transportation, and taxi service can prove prohibitively expensive over long distances. Rental cars are available at the terminal in BZE. Rates are affordable, and it’s worth it for the convenience and opportunity to explore the country’s lush, tropical landscape.

Rooms

Wide range of rooms with free Wi-Fi and mini-fridges or kitchenettes, some with water-view balconies

While each room is somewhat unique, the overall decor offers plenty of local flavor. Mediterranean-style flooring, ornate tile sinks, and bold, yellow walls create a look that’s tropical and homey, if not exactly polished and fresh. Entry-level Interior Rooms are simple and bland, with square footage comparable to an entry-level cruise ship cabin. Mid-range Standard Rooms are available in a variety of sizes and bed configurations. Most offer tight quarters that border on cramped for more than two adults. The hotel’s upgraded Ocean View Rooms are at least twice the size of Standard Rooms and feature small seating areas, larger bathrooms, and furnished beachfront balconies with lovely sea views. Fast, free Wi-Fi is available in every category, along with flat-screen TVs in most rooms and air-conditioning. Additionally, every room offers mini-fridges or kitchenettes -- a full kitchen is available in the sole Ocean View Suite. Bathrooms are cramped in some entry-level rooms. However, upgraded Standard Rooms and Ocean View Room bathrooms offer space comparable to a mid-range chain hotel bathroom. Stand-up shower stalls and generic bath products are provided.

Features

An open-air restaurant and bar, a decent beach, and a rooftop deck with a hot tub

There are a solid number of features available here to keep most guests happy. Paradise Restaurant serves as the hotel’s main social hub and attracts equal numbers of guests and locals. The open-air space has lovely views of the beach and Caribbean Sea, and there's entertainment on select nights. The menu is a blend of Western and Mesoamerican dishes, including shrimp tacos, burritos, burgers, and pasta. All receive good reviews and prices are affordable comparable to other area eateries. Cocktails, beer, and wine are also available and the hotel runs drink specials as well.

The semi-private beach is technically open to the public, however, its location ensures that guests rarely ever encounter non-guests. The attached dock occupies more than half of the beach’s usable space, leaving little sandy area for guests to relax and winds up feeling more functional than it should. A sizable rooftop deck has a few patio tables and a dozen chairs, and there's a hot tub in an adjacent gazebo. This third-floor vantage point affords the best sea views of anywhere on the property.

Free parking is available in a tiny, offsite lot several blocks away. While golf cart service is available to/from the lot, the long dirt alley that connects it to the hotel makes for inconvenient luggage transportation. The hotel has a small gift shop selling t-shirts and other souvenirs, as well as a bait and tackle shop. Golf carts can also be rented for navigating the area, and the hotel can help arrange all manner of excursions and tours. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.

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Address

Placencia Village, Stann Creek District, Belize, C.A., Placencia, Stann Creek, Belize

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