I normally don't post on this forum, but after our trip to Belize and wedding at Xanadu, I felt it was important to let others know our point of view. I know that when I was doing research for our trip, I checked out the trip reports often. Let me preface everything by saying that we are a couple in our late 20s, from the east coast, and the same is the case for the rest of our wedding guests. One thing that was important in dealing with people for the preparations was if they responded to my e-mails promptly. We are both busy professionals and don't have a lot of time to be calling people or patience waiting for responses, so this was an important factor in chosing restaurants, resorts, etc.
We stayed and held our wedding at Xanadu, which in our opinion as well as our guests opinions, was a fabulous place. Su was excellent in dealing with the wedding preparations and our wedding was perfect thanks to her. Everyone at Xanadu was extremely friendly and helpful. We had no problems whatsoever. We stayed in loft #2 oceanfront. We chose Xanadu because the amenities they offered far outweighed those offered by other places (i.e. full kitchen, bikes, kayaks, laundry facilities). I was somewhat worried about the beach situation before I came, but there was no reason to worry. We were so busy doing other activities there was no point in time we wanted to just lay around on the beach. Let me add that we had no misconceptions that Xanadu (or Ambergris Caye) is a place where you lay around and get massages on the beach while people bring you drinks poolside. We've been there and done that and wanted more of a "real" experience for this part of the trip. In short, I cannot give Xanadu a higher recommendation. As for the wedding, it was absolutely perfect. All of our guests thought it was the best wedding they've ever been to. Furthermore, we set up a catamaran sunset cruise with the guys on "No Rush". They are wonderful and we had the time of our lives.
Food: For general shopping to stock our kitchen, we bought everything at Hariri's. Sam, the guy at the counter, was awesome. There prices were very good and they had most everything we could ever want.
Casa Picasso: We had dinner here once and also had our wedding reception dinner here. It was INCREDIBLE. Renaldo waited on us both times. Let me also add that we had no misconceptions about what constitutes a tapa. When we priced it out, it was no more expensive then other restaurants, and we ordered pretty much everything on the tapas menu, a few pastas, and several desserts. We chose Casa Picasso because not only the food, but the atmosphere (very hip, funky music playing, friendly staff and owner) was what we were looking for. Our guests LOVED it (as well as the sangria).
Other restaurants we tried and liked: Monkey Bites, George's Kitchen, Elvi's Kitchen, Wild Mangos, Palmilla, Tabu.
Restaurants we tried but didn't like so much: El Divino (expensive, food was just OK, but the staff was very friendly).
Tropical Touch Day Spa: The ladies and I had treatments here the morning of the wedding. Perfect setting. My friend that got a massage said it was the best massage she ever had. Vicky and the ladies set up a spread of fruit, pastries, juice, and champagne for us.
Fishing: Can't say the guys had as good of an experience during their fishing trip that morning. They didn't catch a single fish. Don't know why but the captain took them deep sea fishing when they asked to go reef fishing. He wouldn't pick them up at their hotel docks either, which we thought was strange. Everyone had to come down to Xanadu. In hindsight, we should have set up the fishing with Xanadu as everything else they set up for us was great.
Snorkeling: We went with Alfonse twice and loved him and his crew. Saw tons of great stuff. Our friends that dive went with Ecological Divers and were very happy.
Maruba Jungle Spa and Resort: After a week at Xanadu, we headed to Maruba for our honeymoon. I dealt with Melanie for setting up our honeymoon package and she was very responsive and helpful with her e-mails. Nikki came and picked us up from the Xanadu dock and we boated to Bomba with him, where we then got to do some shopping in the village. After a short car ride we arrived at Maruba. My husband said, "This is like something out of MTV Cribs". Its so true. We were in awe. Fresh hibiscus are placed daily EVERYWHERE, including our rooms. Incense is burning everywhere, also in our rooms. Nikki took us to the lounge where Jerry greeted us with rum punches, served in coconut shells, garnished with the hibiscus and palm spikes. Melanie showed us our room (complementary honeymoon upgrade to the "fertility suite") and the grounds. AMAZING. We took advantage of massages daily, including the signature Mood Mud Massage. My husband got his first pedicure and I got a facial. We also took tours to Lamanai and Altun Ha with guides Super Mario and Oscar. We had a blast on the tours. The food at Maruba was excellent...we didn't try a single thing we did not like, and we even tried the water buffalo. We played chess on the giant chess board several times and relaxed by the private pool. Total, we suffered 5 bug bites..that's all. Everything about Maruba was awesome and our honeymoon was very special thanks to them. The owners and staff sure know how to do it up.
In summary, we plan to travel back to Belize (if not before, for our 5th year anniversary) and we will stay at both Xanadu and Maruba again. If you are planning a wedding or honeymoon, please feel free to ask me for more details.