Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#98136 - 02/28/05 09:37 PM Portofino Resort
ptara Offline
Here's a big lesson learned. Ask lots of questions about the place you plan to stay and read message boards before you go on your next vacation!

A couple of friends and I just returned from one the "finest" establishments on Ambergris Caye. Ha!!! Talk about false advertising. The owners/management have done a good job of the smoke and mirrors to lure you to their resort. We wanted to go to Victoria House, but they were completely booked. So we searched the web and came upon this site. The adjectives used to describe the facility seemed to be a place where pampering would be without question! I mean their prices for lodging were comparable to Victoria House. It could not have been more wrong.

First, the resort states it is north of San Pedro, and they were right -the second to last resort on the island. Only reachable by boat, and no it does not take 15 minutes, more like 20- 25 minutes. They have 2 boats docked at the pier and the hours they depart are few and far between. Once you are able to take the boat to the town, your only opportunity to get back to the resort from San Pedro on the FREE boat is at 6:30 p.m. Well, if you are like to majority of us, you don't typically eat dinner until 7 or 8p.m. Then you have to take the ferry back at a cost of $10.00 per trip. If you plan on staying there for 3 to 4 days, it does add up!!There is a raod that goes to town, if you were insane enough to drive on it! Portofino offers golf carts t for a price of $45.00 for you to take to town, but don't do it. We took one and within a half of hour driving it though the roughest pot halls I've ever driven over, we got as far as Belizian Shores and said screw it, we weren't even close to town. And we were covered in dust. Every inch of you is caked. We had to jump in the Belizian Shores pool just to clean off.

Secondly, the Portofino has no pool!!! At $300 a night, we were expecting the place to have a pool! They roped off a portion of the ocean and call it their pool.

Third, Their website says "the reception is manned by professional and knowledgeable staff who are available for any request". That is, if you can find them! My friend summed up our stay at the Portofina as a "mom and Pop operation" I think it best describes the resort. It was not what we expected when we were paying $300.00 a night for no ammenities! We were in the suite because their were three of us, and the smaller cabanas run around $250.00 a night. The cabanas at least had beach views. The elevated suites were sandwiched behind two cabanas and you had about 6 feet wide vista between the cabanas out to the ocean! Great planning!! The other thing that we were not impressed with it the resort assumes you will be eating at their restaurant nightly. It is up to you to tell them if you are not. We thought this is quite different from other hotels where typically if you wish to dine there, you can make reservations, not the other way around? We sat out on the lounge chairs located on the dock, and no one ever came up to us and asked up if we needed anything to drink. Just another one of those niceties that doesn't happen at this resort.

So in closing if you want to spend alot of money and be inconvienced on your vacation, then this is the place to go! We met several people staying at the resort that said they would never come back to Belize because of this experience. This is so unfortunate because Ambergris Caye has great culture and great resorts located near the town and easily accessible. Great resorts that don't stretch the truth, unlike Portofino.

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#98137 - 02/28/05 09:56 PM Re: Portofino Resort
tymish Offline
Wow, that's too bad. We're planning a trip and I haven't booked the room yet. What did you see or hear about that you would recommend?

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#98138 - 02/28/05 10:47 PM Re: Portofino Resort
RICH GUY Offline
I found my stay there very enjoyable. I liked the rustic seclusion and was very comfortable. Althought after a full day of activities I didn't feel like staying out too late.

Mind you, when I go someplace I don't like staying in very commercial establishments as it doesn't give you a full sense of the country i'm in. I felt portofino really reflected belize.
_________________________
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http://www.richguy.com

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#98139 - 02/28/05 10:57 PM Re: Portofino Resort
jfabes Offline
no offense ptara but it doesnt sound like it is the resorts fault that you did not enjoy your stay there, it sounds more along the lines of someone who is upset because they did not research where they would be staying and its exact location to san pedro and other bars and restaraunts and whether it had a pool or not. if you go to portofino's website as I just did, no where on their website do they "falsely advertise" that they have a pool or are close to town or that they expect you to eat at their restaraunt.

just my $.02 but I dont think you have a right to bash the resort because of your ignorance.

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#98140 - 02/28/05 11:00 PM Re: Portofino Resort
ptara Offline
There are several hotels worth checking out. Of course the premier hotel is Victoria House. It is south of San Pedro, but you can get to town via a taxi or rent a golf cart. The road is so much better leading south from town as opposed to the north. If you are really into diving, Ramon's Village is the place to be. I was there about 10 years ago, and we went by the resort this past Saturday, and it has been developed so much in the past 10 years. I think you would be happy there too. If you want a georgeous hotel with beautiful grounds and pool and excellent service, then it's Victoria House. We talked to several other tourists while we were there and they recommended Villas at Banyon Bay and Royal Palms condos.

When you go, be sure to eat at the Blue Water Grill located off Coconut Drive. It has excellent food. The tortilla soup is incredible and the flourless chocolate irristable. We ate there two nights in a row! Make sure to make reservations because it gets packed.

Hope this helps-

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#98141 - 03/01/05 02:14 AM Re: Portofino Resort
Pedro1 Offline
I,as a local, often eat at Portofino and am always more than happy with the food and service.
On many occasions I have put my family and friends in their more than capable hands,and guess what I or they have never been disappointed.
This post looks to me that someone did absolutely no research, and would only be happy with the Savoy or Claridges at cheap prices -or would prefer an all inclusive in the concrete jungle of
Cancun (which in my opinion is a huge garbage pit).
FYI -Victoria House has many rooms with no sea view,as is the same with their restaurant - they put in their pool a few years ago and I hasten to agree that it is a very well run hotel and a very nice restaurant.
There are 4 resort/hotels past Portofino-

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#98142 - 03/01/05 02:19 AM Re: Portofino Resort
Chris Offline
What pond scum.....inconsiderate enough to bathe their dirty, dusty, smelly bodies in the Belizean Shores pool. Not my idea of very nice tourists.

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#98143 - 03/01/05 03:29 AM Re: Portofino Resort
sandb Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by Pedro1:
I,as a local, often eat at Portofino and am always more than happy with the food and service.
On many occasions I have put my family and friends in their more than capable hands,and guess what I or they have never been disappointed.
This post looks to me that someone did absolutely no research, and would only be happy with the Savoy or Claridges at cheap prices -or would prefer an all inclusive in the concrete jungle of
Cancun (which in my opinion is a huge garbage pit).
FYI -Victoria House has many rooms with no sea view,as is the same with their restaurant - they put in their pool a few years ago and I hasten to agree that it is a very well run hotel and a very nice restaurant.
There are 4 resort/hotels past Portofino-
Well stated.
Amen.

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#98144 - 03/01/05 03:55 AM Re: Portofino Resort
nickNnickie Offline
Boy am I glad I primarily chose Portofino due to it seclusion. Heck, Iím be happy not to see anyone else but my new wife. Sounded even more like the perfect honeymoon location!
If there is any doubt how far north this place out this map clearly indatices its location. http://www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/mapdowntowndetail.html

Sorry for them...

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#98145 - 03/01/05 04:27 AM Re: Portofino Resort
Portofino Offline
Dear Ptara,

I am very sorry that Portofino isn't what you were looking for; we do care a lot for our guests. Yes, we are 6 miles North (as is mentioned at least once on every page of our website), and the boat ride in our boats takes 15 minutes to and from town.

Our boats goes into town (and back) minimal 3 times a day, now in high season it is more, today we went in 4 times. The schedule is put on the black board at the reception area. Our last boat back is 6:30 pm, but every time the boat goes into town it does come back although the time is not mentioned on the board (we ask our guests to check with our captain for the return time).

Because we have many outside guests dining at Portofino, we automatically reserve space for our own guests and that is why we ask to inform us when you go and eat outside, that's all. We think it wouldn't be fair to our own guests to have to refuse them, when we would be fully booked, because they forgot to make reservations. We think of it as a service, and there is no obligation whatsoever.

As for our front desk, it is manned constantly from 7:30 am until 5:00 pm by Lorraine (she also does reservations from there) and after 5:00 pm by our managers David and Cathy until about 9:30. Of course it is possible that - for a few minutes - there is nobody, but there is always somebody in the office right behind it who will come out seconds after you ring the bell at the front desk.

As for advertising, we absolutely do not advertise that we have a fresh water swimming pool. But we also do not advertise that we have TV's in the room, and free internet computers in the bar which we do have. We do advertise at least once on every page of our web site that we are 6 miles North of San Pedro.

As for our service, we have 30 staff for a maximum capacity of 22 guests, and whatever you wish for; we will do our best to accommodate you. Service at the dock is not a problem at all, but you have to ask!

We also have a guest survey at check out, to try to improve our service, and I have gone through the last month, but didn't find any negative comments from guests that have stayed with us.

Again, I am sorry that Portofino wasn't what you were looking for.

Kindest Regards,
Jan van Noord
_________________________
Portofino Restaurant & Beach Resort
North Ambergris Caye
Facebook: http://facebook.com/PortofinoBelize

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