- Style Coppola cabana
- Setting Majestic Mayan mountains
As well as boasting the best (okay, the only) Italian restaurant the jungles of Belize have ever seen, Blancaneaux Lodge offers unprecedented luxury on a wild and remote hillside where palm trees meet pines. The Lodge’s 20 villas and cabanas are dotted alongside the meandering Privasson River, with water pure enough to drink and waterfall pools perfect for back-to-nature bathing. Explore the jungle on horseback, visit ancient Mayan ruins, or just hop into a hammock and watch the hummingbirds plundering the colourful flora…
Need to know
- Rooms 20, including six two-bedroom Villas, a Family Cabana, the Francis Ford Coppola Villa, and a private cottage.
- Rates Double rooms from $268.00, excluding tax at 19 per cent.
- More details Rates include Continental breakfast.
- Facilities Stables, spa, small library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod docks, unique ‘shell phone’ intercom system, hand-made organic toiletries. The Enchanted Cottage has its own pool, underfloor heating and an open fireplace.
- Poolside The Privasson River has plenty of hidden swimming spots at the feet of its many waterfalls, but a huge horseshoe-shaped hot pool and a new infinity pool cater to less adventurous tastes.
- Check–out Midday, but later check-out can be arranged.
Children Although sloping grounds and steps make it a tricky proposition for babies and the buggy-bound, kids are welcome. Cots (free) and extra beds ($50 a night) are provided; babysitting can be arranged.
- Eco‐friendly Sustainability is Blancaneaux’s buzzword: it’s powered by its own hydroelectric plant, sources its food from an organic garden and orchard, and eschews air-conditioning in favour of a naturally cooling open plan design scheme.
- Also There’s a two-night minimum stay during winter and a three-night minimum at peak times (20 December to 5 January; 16–24 March). The Enchanted Cottage requires a five-night minimum stay throughout the year. Smoking allowed throughout.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Although Francis Ford Coppola’s own villa is the largest, with a kitchenette and a vast open-air living area, we were most taken with the Honeymoon Cabanas and their soft cream sofas and carved beds. Number 5 has a secluded terrace with a sweeping waterfall view, as well as a private, heart-shaped garden. The Deluxe Honeymoon Cabanas are even more impressive, boasting slate-lined, mineral-salted plunge pools, huge bathrooms decorated with double sinks, vast square baths and colourful hand-made tiles.
- Packing tips Francis himself recommends bringing a journal to capture any screenwriting ideas the setting may inspire; insect repellent would be the more practical, if mundane, suggestion.
- Also If the bumpy three-hour drive from Belize City airport seems too much, charter a five-seat Cessna plane to zip you over the jungle canopy to the Lodge’s own airstrip.
Food and drink at Blancaneaux Lodge
- Hotel restaurant The tree-house-like Montagna serves up the owner’s Italian culinary favourites – the Belizean jungle is not where you’d expect to find a wood-fired pizza oven. At the poolside Guatemaltecqua you’re more likely to savour authentic Mayan dishes.
- Dress code Jungle casual; closed-toed shoes or sandals will keep the evening ants from unwelcome nibbling.
- Top table For the best view, head for the table to the far right of the wrap-around terrace. From here, you can ogle jungle views in two directions, and, at breakfast, marvel at the birds and butterflies that fill the forest air.
- Last orders Blancaneaux’s restaurants both take last orders at 9pm, but the bars stay open until the last guest leaves.
- Room service Meals drinks and snacks can be brought to your cabana until 9pm. There’s butler service 24 hours a day in the Enchanted Cottage.
- Hotel bar The ceiling fans in the Jaguar Bar are souvenirs from Apocalypse Now, and the hand-carved bar counter is decorated with glyphs of Mayan gods. Throughout the day, hummingbirds feed on the tropical flowers while guests sup hibiscus daiquiris.