They are quite different and I guess it comes down to what you want -- a condotel or a hotel resort. Haven't seen either since the hurricane, but if money were no object and assuming there was no serious damage to the owners' villas at Victoria House, I'd probably go that way. A lot more character and, again, it's a true small resort hotel instead of a condo.
I've stayed at Chaa Creek several times but not in their garden suites. I have looked at them, though, and they are lovely.
Below is my review of Chaa Creek which appears in our new Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize, a 288-page book with the world's most up-to-date information on the mainland.
Belize First http://www.turq.com/belizefirst/
[Five Stars] Chaa Creek Resort and Spa. Mick and Lucy Fleming started Chaa Creek in 1980 when tourists were almost unknown in Cayo. Over the years, they’ve expanded, improved and fine-tuned their operation until it has become one of the best-run, most-professional operations in all of Central America. Everything works here: The grounds, comprising a total of 330 acres on the Macal River, are beautifully planted and maintained. The 19 large rooms in whitewash-and-thatch duplex cottages, plus two upmarket suites, have high-quality furnishings set off with Guatemalan wall hangings and bedspreads, the perfect marriage of comfort and exoticism. The food and drink, if not of gourmet standard, are well-prepared and plentiful. Staffers are friendly, not fawning, and move quickly to solve any problem. There’s electricity, plenty of hot water and cold beer, and, if you like, Chaa Creek will sell you a Cuban cigar to smoke after dinner. The latest additions are a fully equipped, modern spa, by far the best in Belize, offering everything from aromatherapy to seaweed wraps, and a new conference and meeting center. The spa, and a name change (from Chaa Creek Cottages), mark a repositioning toward a more-upscale, less “lodgey” lodge. Whether that’s a good idea or not only time will tell. In any event, you won’t run out of things to do here, either. You can visit the Chaa Creek Natural History Centre and Blue Morpho Butterfly Breeding Centre, tour the Rainforest Medicine Trail (formerly Panti Trail) next door, go horseback riding or canoeing, or take one of the many top-notch tours offered by Chaa Creek Expeditions. Chaa Creek helped reintroduce howler monkeys to the Macal River Valley. Birding is excellent, with 247 species spotted on the grounds by Birds without Borders, which has an operation based at Chaa Creek. For those who want the Chaa Creek experience at a Filene’s basement price (US$100 double including meals), the Macal River Safari Camp has 10 small “cabinettes” on platforms, and Belizean-style meals that some say are better than meals at the main lodge. Rates: Cottage room, US$165 to $190 double, suites US$200 to $365. Meals are extra: US$10 per person for breakfast, US$8 packed lunch, US$26 dinner. Summer packages are a relative bargain: Room with breakfast and dinner, plus some tours, goes for around US$127 per person per night, double occupancy, on a four-night package. AE, MC, V accepted. P.O Box 53, San Ignacio; tel. 501-9-22037, fax 9-22501; e-mail [email protected]
Directions: From San Ignacio, go 4 3/4 miles west on Benque Rd. (Western Hwy.) and turn left on Chial Rd. (look for signs to Chaa Creek, duPlooy’s and Black Rock lodges). Follow signs on this unpaved road 3 1/2 miles to Chaa Creek.