Life at Las Terrazas -- a chic, 37-accommodation resort on Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the coast of Belize City -- is intimate. We recently checked in to enjoy the upscale peace it had to offer, including beach access with lounge chairs and fruity drinks. (We highly recommend the signature Terrazas drink with curacao, coconut cream, and pineapple.) It's a great time to plan a visit; access is better than ever, thanks to Southwest Airlines' new flights to Belize City from Houston. Here's what you need to know about the property, besides the fact that you won't bump elbows with non-guests here -- its main entrance is only accessible by boat.
Best Feature: As you might have guessed, this property is not your typical sprawling beach resort. We loved that you never have to walk far from your room when on property -- whether to the pool, spa, beach, or restaurant -- but that with all those amenities, we still had everything we wanted. It lets you focus on the beautiful outdoors, too. All of the whitewashed buildings are less than two stories and clustered around the pool in a horseshoe design.
The Rooms: Because every room is apartment-sized, falling somewhere between 983 to 3,000 square feet, it’s as if you’re staying at your very own beach house. In the gourmet kitchen are a full-size stainless steel fridge, dishwasher, and granite countertops, plus all the gadgets, plates and cutlery you’ll ever need -- along with stackable washer-and-dryer, WiFi, a separate living and dining area, and several televisions. (No more fighting over the remote!) Some rooms even have a plunge pool.
The Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- plus cocktails and snacks -- from O Restaurant can be served inside or poolside. Belizean fare makes up a good part of the menu, including a "Belizean Breakfast" of refried beans, scrambled eggs, bacon, sweet peppers, and fry jacks. Of course, there's also shrimp ceviche, seafood entrees, burgers, and flatbread with offbeat toppings (think: goat cheese, prosciutto, and chorizo). Check what's on rotation for the nightly dinner themes, too.
Who Will Love It: Groups, multi-generational families, and anyone who enjoys some space will easily be about to spread out in their tasteful digs. If you're looking for a truly peaceful retreat, rest assured that the location is a quiet little spot along the shore. There are little nooks on property (like wicker pods) to hole up with a good book, too, and massages can be booked in a cabana on the beach. Like getting active? Staff can coordinate diving and snorkeling excursions, like to Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, that depart directly from the resort.
Who Will Not: This property isn't for those who crave a long walk on the beach or have a lot of items to cross off their list. You can’t walk more than a quarter mile in either direction. And the resort is remotely located -- which is why others love it in the first place -- and getting to the Mayan ruins or Belize City are a long haul of two hours or more, one-way, by boat.
Nearby: Locals and tourists alike cruise around Ambergris Caye in golf carts, which you can rent, along with bicycles throughout the resort. You can also find rentals in San Pedro -- 3.5 miles south or about a 20-minute golf-cart ride from the resort -- where there are more restaurants, bars, and shopping to enjoy. Take the chance to pick up local goods like rum, coffee and chocolate, and embroidered handbags and shirts.
Deals and Special Offers: In January and February, three-night stays range $305-$335 per night for a one-bedroom with a lagoon view. If you want to upgrade to two bedrooms, it's $440. It's a great deal, though, considering that other Belizean resorts on the island, like Azul Resort, goes for $550 per night this winter. (On another nearby private island, Cayo Espanto costs at least $1,595.) Plus, your Las Terrazas rate includes lots of perks like use of kayaks, Hobie cats, stand-up paddleboards, and fishing gear -- along with free scuba lessons.
Getting There: From the Belize City airport, hop a small plane through either Maya Island Air or Tropical Air to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye (a 15-minute flight), followed by a 10-minute taxi ride and a 10-minute boat ride (hosted by the resort) along the Caribbean Sea.