Victoria House, the Luxurious Boutique Hotel on Ambergris Caye
Belize is a diverse country, known primarily for its ancient Mayan temples, lush jungles and sun drenched islands. Most visitors to the Caribbean coast are recommended to stay on the popular Northern Cayes, specifically Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
Though only a short ferry ride apart, the islands are actually quite different. Both have easy access to the Belize Barrier Reef and its abundance of marine wildlife, but each has its own distinct vibe and reputation.
Our conversations with fellow travelers revealed completely different descriptions of the islands. Not surprisingly, when we stayed at the luxurious Ka’ana Boutique Resort and the Lodge at Chaa Creek, guests raved about Ambergris Caye and its white coral beaches – but they didn’t think much of Caye Caulker. When we stayed in the towns of San Ignacio and Placencia, younger budget travelers said, “Ambergris Caye is too expensive, head to Caye Caulker instead. It’s less touristy and more laid back”.
Lucky for us, our itinerary included both islands!
As we pulled up to the entrance of Victoria House, our Mexican taxi driver gave an approving smile and said, “People love this hotel for the palm trees and grass… it’s one of the best in San Pedro.”
We were escorted to the beachfront Plantation Villa that would become our home for the next three nights. Needless to say, we were impressed. The large tropical grounds are neatly groomed with dozens of tall, shady palms scattered along the silky smooth white sandy beach.
The photo above is our spacious wooden deck of our Plantation Villa, complete with comfy loungers, chairs and hammock. The first photo above (the beach photo with a pair of loungers) is the view we had while sitting on the deck. The relaxing moments spent on that private deck are some of the most memorable from our stay.
Check out this Twitpic – Views from our villa at Victoria House
Above: the master suite of our Plantation Villa at Victoria House
Above: one of seven thatch-roofed Casitas with seaside views of the Caribbean
The main pool at the hotel has unobstructed views of the colourful Belize Barrier Reef. If you look closely at the horizon, you can see the white water crashing on the reef, giving perspective to the proximity of the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef.
Because there are so many outdoor activities to do while on Ambergris Caye (fishing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, cave tubing, etc), the main pool and beach were often empty during the day. We had already spent full days snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef and searching for whale sharks, so we were quite content simply lounging by the pool, taking full advantage of our luxurious tropical surroundings.
At first, we couldn’t put our finger on what made Victoria House feel so romantic and exclusive. Of course, the private beach helped, but it was much more than that. We thought there were only a few guests staying at the hotel, but as the days passed we realized the boutique hotel was actually almost at capacity.
The calm atmosphere is the opposite from what you would find at a typical all-inclusive. The loungers and hammocks are strategically spaced along the beach, giving us the feeling that we had the entire beach to ourselves. It never felt crowded and we always had several choices beside the pools or on the beach.
Because it is east facing, it’s also the perfect beach to capture a Caribbean sunrise. Check out our Sunrise Time Lapse Video that was taken from just in front of our Plantation Villa.
Above: Postcard picture straight out of the travel brochure!
As much as we love sinking our toes in silky sand, we also love hanging out on waterfront docks. Canada has a lot of fresh water lakes that usually have docks, so we both have fond memories of summer days spent chilling out on the dock with a cold beverage in hand.
We were thrilled to learn that Victoria House not only has a dock for its guests, the dock is outfitted with comfy loungers and a thatched roof for shade. The loungers had our names written all over them!
It’s not every day that we find ourselves relaxing on a private dock with unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea, so it’s easy to see why this was a highlight for us.
The sound of the water splashing against the swaying dock, the hot tropical sun beating down, the smell of the fresh salt water blowing in from the ocean – it’s the perfect seaside atmosphere.
Above: Nicole sunbathing on Victoria House’s private dock
We had endless panoramic views of the Belize Barrier Reef and the Caribbean Sea. There’s a roped off section for guests to swim and snorkel straight off the dock, protecting swimmers for boats. We even spotted a large sting ray while snorkeling off the dock!
Above: the refreshing infinity pool, where several fresh tropical juices were enjoyed
Above: poolside tables and loungers at the infinity pool,
with views of the green grounds, swaying palms and beach
Above: Cameron standing on the deck of our Plantation Villa.
We had the downstairs suite, but guests are also able to rent the entire villa
Above: enjoying the sunset hour on the dock
Above: the main pool and restaurant hidden behind a wall of coconut palms
Above: the infinity pool at sunset, illuminated with colourful lights
Above: night views of the infinity pool
Victoria House is located a couple miles south of San Pedro’s city centre, which is an appealing quality because it creates separation from the city noise and party atmosphere. But it also means that there are limited options for dining within walking distance.
Fortunately, the Restaurant Palmilla at Victoria House is one of the best dining experiences on the island. There is an air-conditioned fine dining room and an outdoor patio with views of the pool and ocean. One evening, a couple was served dinner directly on the beach, surrounded by tiki torches and the sound of waves crashing on the shore.
We preferred to sit outside on the patio under the stars, with the cool ocean breeze chasing away the bugs. Although we usually like to try different restaurants when visiting a new place, we saw no reason to leave the hotel. It has an informal yet romantic ambience, the food was fantastic and reasonably priced, and the tropical atmosphere was perfect. We began to feel like we were on a second honeymoon!
Below are some photos of the delicious meals we sampled at Restaurant Palmilla.
Tortilla appetizer topped with chili sauce, sour cream and Parmesan cheese
Grilled plantain with black beans, sour cream and fresh herbs
Camarones al tomate – fresh squid in a tomato garlic sauce topped with Parmesan
Camarones en Hamaca – Sauteed prawns and heart of palm served
on pan fried plantain slices with a lime, ginger, tomato and caper sauce
Chicken Enchiladas served with fresh avocado and black bean, sour cream and green sauce
Pasta Primavera Alfredo with grilled shrimp and fresh local vegetables in a rich cream sauce
Above: pair of comfortable beach loungers on the Victoria House private beach.
This was also the location where we shot our Sunrise Time Lapse Video
Above: this photo does a wonderful job capturing the romantic spirit of Victoria House
As a couple that travels extensively and has stayed at many hotels and resorts, we would highly recommend Victoria House. What we liked most about the hotel was that it doesn’t have the all-inclusive, mass tourism vibe. It’s the perfect tropical destination for couples looking for a quiet, romantic getaway – without the crowds.
It was easy to see why it’s consistently rated as one of the best places to stay in Ambergris Caye.
Have you visited Ambergris Caye in Belize? What did you think?
Share your experience in the comments section below!
Disclosure – Our stay at Victoria House was complimentary, however the thoughts and opinions shared in this post are entirely our own