- Style Shore-shack chic
- Setting Balmy Belizean beach side
One of Francis Ford Coppola’s trio of Central American resorts, Turtle Inn hotel in Belize mixes a sprinkling of glamour with its stylish rusticism. Wander from your Balinese-style beach shack across the seemingly endless stretch of white sand, and nap in brightly coloured hammocks strung between bending palm trees after diving into the sun-sparkled sea.
Need to know
- Rooms 25.
- Rates Double rooms from $299.00, excluding tax at 19 per cent.
- More details Rates include Continental breakfast.
- Facilities Thai spa, small library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod dock, minibar, hand-made organic toiletries.
- Poolside Turtle Inn has two pools; one a sea-green circle on the lawn by the bar, moments from the sea, the other a triangular infinity pool nestled between the cottages.
- Check–out Midday, although later can be arranged, if available.
Children Under-12s stay free – the eight two-bed villas are ideal for families. Extra beds are $50 a night (plus tax). Babysitting is available, if you notify staff at check-in.
- Eco‐friendly The hotel keeps its carbon footprint down by not using air-conditioning or other techno-trappings. All its villas and cottages are built from locally sourced material (thatch, bamboo, limestone and wood) and kitchen ingredients are grown on site.
- Also There’s a two-night minimum stay during high season and a four-night minimum at Christmas and Easter.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms All Turtle Inn’s villas and cottages are roomy and boast rustic Balinese decor, but for sheer romantic grandeur, the Chinese Matrimonial Suite is the hands-down winner, with a tranquil setting steps from the sea and a 200-year-old hand-carved four-poster fertility bed. When Francis is in town, you’ll find him in the two-bedroom Pavilion House, enjoying an intricately tiled private pool, dramatically carved doorways, and a bamboo-railed terrace.
- Packing tips A mask and snorkel will be handy for sighting sea life, although you can always buy them from the boutique. You can deflect the unwelcome attentions of sand flies with a squirt of baby oil.
- Also Kayaks and paddle boats are free. You can have them brought to you at the beach, or pick them up at Tides dive shop, where you can also arrange scuba or snorkelling trips. The diving’s best between April and June, when whale sharks visit.
Food and drink at Turtle Inn
- Hotel restaurant Choose between classic Italian dishes and wood-fired pizza at the Mare restaurant, char-grilled seafood at the beachfront Gauguin Grill, and Auntie Luba’s traditional Belizean cuisine. Mariachi bands and Garifuna dancers perform weekly at Mare.
- Dress code Beaches and gleam.
- Top table Nab a spot on the outside of Mare’s vaulted cabana where you can gaze at the ocean uninterrupted, or, have a private table set up on the beach and be served under the stars.
- Last orders Mare is open until 9pm; Auntie Luba’s and the Gauguin Grill are open between noon and 8.30pm (reservations required).
- Room service Meals can be brought to your room until 9pm.
- Hotel bar The Laughing Fish beside the pool is a laid-back beach bar with a barefoot, sand-floored vibe. A little more formal, the Skip White attached to the Mare restaurant serves up Coppola’s own wine labels and an array of lime-spiked rum cocktails.