It's unfortunate that you heard such negative things about such a wonderful resort. Maybe your source had something else they were expecting, but my wife and I just returned from Portofino and absolutely loved it. It is not what you think of when you think of five star, real classy all inclusive resorts, but NOTHING in Ambergris is.
What Portifino is, is a real beautiful island resort with excellent accomodations, very good food, and a beautiful beach, with staff that is eager to help and make your stay memorable.
What is probably the best about Portofino is the owner, Sandra. She has, obviously, a real vested interest in her resort, and basically makes sure that you are having a wonderful time, at all costs.
She actually comes to the dock and greats every guest, and explains everything with a terrific smile.(including having her terrific bartender make you a great welcome drink)
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and when we go back to Belize we would surely love to stay once again at Portofino.
On the other hand, I could see how some may not like the kind of seclusion, and the more "out of the mainstream" environment that ALL OF BELIZE is like, and if you want a place that has nice beaches, along with either an "ultra" all inclusive plan, or a place that caters to you every whim with satellite TV, phones, gym, pool, watersports, five star dining, then Belize as a whole isn't really for you (except for maybe one exception I have heard about)
BUT, if you are looking for an out of the way tropical eden, where you can eat good food, dive in some of the best places around, and have a beautifully relaxed trip, then Belize is the place, and Portofino is probably more beautiful, and ready to accomodate you than any other resort down there...
Anyway, hope this gives you another aspect. Feel free to write me if you have any other questions about Belize or Portofino.