By Cacinda Maloney
Hot and sweaty after coming off a whirlwind Cessna plane ride from Belize City to the island of Ambergris Caye, having flown over night, I was ready to “get my vacation on”. The taxi driver was waiting for us at the airstrip and it could not have gone any smoother! Zipping us away through the downtown streets of the hustling city of San Pedro at 8 am, I was hoping I had picked the right “value luxury” vacation for my family.
I was looking for a peaceful, yet adventurous vacation for all to enjoy. I knew Victoria House had been nationally recognized for being a member of Andrew Harper and the signature Travel Network, as well as from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Trip Advisor, so I was hoping for the best!
Just thinking about a luxurious Caribbean escape while in my almost-native hot Arizona desert made me giddy. This 42-room retreat was my prescription for a relaxing, luxury Belizean vacation. Since it is only one mile from the second largest barrier reef in the world, I knew my scuba-diving husband and teenaged kids would be thrilled, but would momma be thrilled too?
It was the perfect venue for total relaxation, and that first day that we arrived, we needed breakfast and a dip in the pool as soon as we could get it. The grounds were stunning and as far as the eye could see, everything was blue: diamond blue water in the swimming pool and a midnight blue ocean. The best thing, too, was that there was an island breeze, as it engulfed us and made us instantly relax.
We were given two adjoining rooms in the plantation house, which was gorgeous, with its two front porches in the plantation house.
Upon entry, the fans were blowing in each room with the air conditioning temperature set perfectly while we unpacked our belongings. For me, just the word plantation house conjures up images of times past, on large estates in a tropical country with fields of coffee, cotton, sugar cane or tobacco. There was certainly none of that here, unless you count the ingredients at the restaurant! But you can guarantee if you wanted it, they would bring it to you in any form you like, as the service we received at dinner was spot on. They are there to cater to your needs.
Soon enough after unpacking, I was able to stroll the white sandy beaches and experience the beauty of the island away from my every day life of social media, travel writing and work/travel. My passion is photography, so I grabbed my iphone 5s and my DSLR and took off to photograph the resort and the surrounding area.
I strolled along each side, one path leading to the resorts own dock, with a scuba and activity center built on stilts right on the water and, a bit further down, was another dock for various houses in the area. This resort had beautifully landscaped grounds, as well as a landscaped beach.
If you continued to walk further down the beach, you soon begin to realize that you are staying in a fantasy, as the houses began to look a bit overgrown with rubbish and foliage. The reality of life, the rich and the poor, living sided by side is common here in San Pedro, the main city in Ambergris Caye.
So just what constitutes this property to be value luxury?
- A welcome cocktail upon arrival.
- A breakfast of coffee or juice, assorted muffins, toast and various fruits are served for no additional cost daily. *Other options are available.
- Nightly, one gallon water is brought to your room for drinking.
- Wifi internet is included
- Free usage of their cruiser bicycles into town
- Transportation to and from the resort from the airport or the ferry station
What: Victoria House
Where: On the Island of Ambergris Caye, in the City of San Pedro, Belize
Tripadvisor Rating: #10 out of 55 hotels in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize (can you image what the first 9 are like?)
Awards: Travelers Choice 2014 #3 Winner
Rooms: 42-rooms in individual and villas that spans across 10 acres of white sandy beach and lush tropical gardens with amenities ranging from king size canopied beds, luxurious travertine bathrooms, romantic indoor/outdoor private showers plus a whole lot more. Check the website to see what amenities come with the room/villa you are interested in renting.
Price Range: Starting around $195/night based on double occupancy to a maximum of $2195/night for the most luxurious villa. It is a great value for a ‘value luxury’ traveler like myself, especially when it comes to bringing family along.
This resort is a quick drive from the airport and they will have their van there to pick you up or reimburse the taxi driver who brings you or you can also come in from the ferry boats and they pick up there as well. It is a bit out side of town, but you are able to rent golf carts onsite or take their bikes out for a spin to get into town or to the local market. It is truly a retreat to get away from it all and just relax and take it all in!