The Mahogany Bay Resort Curio Collection by Hilton was really the only major chain hotel I could find available when I was going. You should have more options in the coming months as it looks like other major brands will be setting up shop there as well. So you should be able to use hotel points (check out my post on here) for your stay. Below are my final thoughts and review.
First, the one major con:
**What I did see when departing Belize is that Mahogany Resort DOES have a storefront at Belize International Airport in the departures hall (past security). It is at the far end of the building where you would board your Tropic Air or Maya Island flight. I just didn’t see it when I was first there.**
After booking, you’ll get a confirmation email and on it, it’ll say that there is an office outside the airport terminal to arrange a transfer to the hotel. They will ask when you expect to arrive so they can plan it. I didn’t know exactly what time I would get there; I figured I’d just go to the office. Also, if you’re taking the sea taxi, I imagine you’ll be in a similar situation.
When I arrived at the office, the doors were locked (this was before 11am). I waited to see if anyone would show up and then decided to ask around. All the tenants surrounding the office said either “yeah, they’re never there” or “I’ve never seen anyone in that office”…not necessarily good news. I had to ask at the realtor’s office next door for help and he was able to contact the hotel for me. Now yes, there are taxis available, but that isn’t the point. It seems to me like if you’re advertising an office to arrange airport transfers is available, then there should at least be someone staffing the office. No?
Now the pros:
The staff is incredibly polite and professional. They really go out of their way to help in any way they can and I think it’s important to know that the staff can really make or break a place for me. The nicest rooms with the worst service won’t be seeing me back.
I eventually got a ride and arrived at the hotel over an hour after arrival (around 12 PM). My room wasn’t ready yet and I had to wait 2 hours in the lobby until it could be set up. I assume the resort was super busy, but wasn’t bothered as much as check in is at 3.
I was upgraded to an upstairs suite for my Diamond Hilton status and the room is nice. It starts with a sitting room/mud room which leads to a small kitchenette then to the bed and bathroom. The theme is certainly a nautical/beach house vacation theme and it suits the area perfectly.
Resort Location and Transportation
The location of the resort is nearer the Southern tip of Ambergris Caye so it’s a bit of a walk to go into town (about an hour walk). You’ll definitely want to rent a golf cart while you’re here. Walking around in the heat is going to get old fast.
The resort tries to make everything easily accessible so that you’ll never have to leave the property unless you want to…similar to a cruise ship. However, if you do want to check out the town, you’ll want to rent a golf cart. It isn’t so much that you can get lost (you are on an island remember…) but distances are deceivingly far. In the hot, humid climate, it becomes less comfortable to walk. You could try to taxi it everywhere, but at that rate you might as well rent a golf cart.
One thing to note is that Belize is not that cheap of a place to visit. On the island, it certainly isn’t cheap. Not only is this a prime tourist destination, but it is also where affluent Belizeans reside. Things will cost a lot more than on the mainland but you may be surprised at the overall price of things. A golf car rental was about $75 USD/day. Overall, don’t expect this to be a low cost area to visit.
One of the neatest features of the resort is that it has its own private beach on a secluded island. There are walking trails to a certain point, and you can go further where the water is about 4 feet deep. It’s not difficult to just keep walking to find your own little piece of paradise. If lounging on a quiet beach is your idea of a vacation, you’ve come to the right place. You will also find a full bar and restaurant, overwater cabanas, and paddle boards and water gear for rent.
Breakfast is served in the main dining hall and it was fairly lackluster but it was decent. I really don’t know what is considered a “normal” breakfast here so it’s tough to judge but they served toast, fruit, eggs, and some other things. You can also order off the regular menu but that isn’t included.
Overall, the resort fairly impressed me. It’s clearly new and still going through it’s paces and ironing out the kinks. Many lots were still either for sale or had homes still being built as this is a resort/timeshare type setup.
Things to note:
The windows don’t close. They have shutters to close for privacy but that doesn’t help the noise at all. You’ll be able to hear everything going on around you…and remember, if you can hear the people outside, then they can hear you inside…
The mosquitoes here are BAD. During the day, I didn’t notice them, but when I tried to go out the first night they immediately ate me alive and I had to come back to the room in less than a minute. I also had blood all over my legs and arms so these bad boys certainly work quickly. Buy some strong insect repellent with DEET and you’ll be fine.
Walking to town is possible but it’ll take about 45mins to get to the main drag. This resort is pretty far from all the action. If you don’t want to get a taxi or rent a golf cart, then you’ll definitely want to put on your walking shoes.
I’m a little surprised that the resort doesn’t offer some type of shuttle service to town or any points of interest. I understand that the resort wants to make money and rent out carts, but in terms of comfort for the guests, it seems like a simple no brainer. I also don’t think their rental numbers would significantly decline since many people are going to want the freedom to come and go as they please vs. a set schedule.
If you’re interested in booking your room, please feel free to use my referral link on booking.com
Also, please check out my quick YouTube video for a review of the property below.