Depends on whaht you are looking for. The Palms and places close to town are ...close to town. Easy walking distance to shops, restaurants, nightlife. As you get futher from town the properties get larger, quieter and usually nicer beaches. Personally I prefer closer to town so I can get around quicker but then I am never "on vacation" in Belize but am running around like a maniac seeing people & places in usually a very short amount of time! Vacationers tend to like to relax more and the places a bit out of town are very popular. Nothing is so far that you can't get around fairly easily by walking, bike, golf cart or taxi. The places on N AC are the most remote but doesn't sound like you are considering these anyway. One other place you might want to look at would be Blue Tang Inn. Just N of town but within easy walking distance.
We made our first trip to San Pedro this past June. We stayed at the Blue Tang. No complaints at all. We'll return the end of February and this trip will stay at Belizean Reef. We seriously considered The Palms, but Belizean Reef is about 40.00 a day cheaper, and we don't care that it doesn't have a pool. We want to be in town, Xanadu was a pleasant walk one morning, but don't think I'd want to walk from there a couple of times a day. Of course, if you stayeda south of town, you would probably find food and drink there.
Darla, this is just my opinion, but I think staying closer to San Pedro gives you the chance to meet locals better & really get a feel for the community. Doesn't mean you shouldn't rent a bike or golf cart and explore the areas north & south of town, I think you should, but there is so much to do, see and experience in town and not staying close by I personally think you miss that.
so sorry about my last reply...trying to do this too fast!! I meant (which you probably figured out already) If you stay at a hotel that does not have a pool can you use the pools at other resorts like the Palms or Ramons?
Some hotels will. Ramon's definitely will NOT. Probably not The Palms either as it is very private - it may be allowed but you would never find it if you didn't know it was there! If a pool is very important to you, you should stay at a place with a pool. You get what you pay for.