Pool at Fort George Hotel before it became the Radisson Fort George. Also an old brochure for the hotel.
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Saturday July 30, 2016

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Click on these brochure images (above and below) to get a larger version of each brochure.

Fort George Hotel Bar in the 1950's or early 1960's. I remember that huge marlin on display on the wall, it was a beauty. There was a piano in that corner and a piano player, Richard I believe was his name, played there. Moon rising in the evening reflected in the sea was very beautiful. One bartender was Mr. Pedro Reyes. We had the time of our life, waiting for the pie man and our hops! and making fun of the hotel manager.

George Villanueva: Here's an earlier photo of the bar at Fort George, my dad and my uncle Edwardo.

George Villanueva: · As young boy, I remember the old anchor you see to the right corner, whenever I visited my dad at the Fort George Hotel on Sunday's would stop and check it out, and read the inscription on the placard, today it's gone.

George Villanueva: I found the anchor, it's hidden behind a fence and shrubbery at the Ft George now the Radisson Ft George. Tt sits in a corner, no one sees it, no one knows it's there unless you ask to see it. It's completely hidden from the public and tourists.

George Villanueva: The new tower at Fort George going up November 1989. I remember when this was going up we made a big deal about it. It was the first “skyscraper” (seven stories) of its kind in Belize. Hadsphaltic out of Grand Cayman built the tower block is my recollection, sister company to Johnston International.

George Villanueva: The new tower at Fort George

A Koppel postcard (Koppel Color Postcards printed in Guatemala) featuring Fort George Hotel driveway. Check out the homes across the street. Postmark is unclear on reverse side, appears to be early 1960s, pre-Hattie. The house at the left was later the office of Hercules Power Company. I don't see the anchor that was in the garden, it wasn't there at that time. Jose Pepe Rosado: The house on the left was where Mr. Franklin of Franklin Drug Store of Queen Steet lived He was married to a Martinez related to my father. The house was also owned subsequently by Gonzalo Espat who sold it to Scotiabank. It was used by their managers. I lived there with my family from 1984 to 1995 when I was transferred to the Dominican Republic. The house to the right of the Scotia house was owned by The Belize Estate and Produce Co. Ltd. and acquired by Bowen when BEC sold out. One of those homes was owned by the Ackroyds (Belize Estate), he used to walk his 2 Doberman dogs frequently.Pamela Duncan: Vasquez: Oh the memories! Walking right up that pathway past those plants and tree inside the hotel to get chocolate!

Harrier jet flying over the then Fort George Hotel, 1970's. Joseito Sosa: Yes I can recall being up at the International Airport and one of the pilots was displaying a short manufering show for those people that were on the veranda . It was so exciting because he drove the plane so close to people that they were scared and then suddenly stood very still in the air and spun around and just took of with such tremendous speed. Then came back but landing like a Helicopter and then raise up in the air and again flew away with tremendous speed. Yes was truly something to look at. These pilots are very young guy’s.

Fort George and Belize City aerial, 1958. This is an interesting photo because if you zoom in and look at the top of the photo you will be able to see the Yarborough Lagoon in the distance. As you can see, it extended from around where Caesar Ridge Road is all the way to Bird’s Isle. None of that barrier island is there now. The other interesting feature in the photo is the channelization of the river mouth which is the structure that is seen in the Harbour. Apparently, that structure was built in an attempt to provide a narrowing effect for the river flow so that the silt would not build up and close the mouth of the river that happens every now and again, however, it was a failure and had to be removed. Also displays the grass banks off the Fort, the great channelization wall, and the islets forming Yarborough Lagoon, all of which was washed away by Hurricane Hattie and dredging.

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, 2021. Photo courtesy Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina.

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, 2022. Photo courtesy Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina.

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, 2022. Photo courtesy Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina.

Website of the Day

The Belize Police Department - Press Office.  Information on Belize Most Wanted,  missing persons,  crime, and department news.
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Websites of the Day
Pool at Fort George Hotel before it became the Radisson Fort George. Also an old brochure for the hotel.

The Fort George Hotel & Marina Hotel History

At the end of World War II, Churchill was voted out of office and the new Labour Government set up the Colonial Development Corporation (CDC) and declared it would dismantle the Empire just as soon as the CDC made the Colonies economically independent.

Some time later, Belize, known then as British Honduras, got the promise of the Fort George Hotel, all 35 rooms of it, and a promise that the Home Government would not devalue the British Honduras dollar.

It took four long years to build the Fort George Hotel, partly because the building’s foundation was a construction nightmare. Belize City is built on a swamp. There is nothing but mud down the depth of 15-25 ft. Pilings must be driven down to rock bottom if any building of concrete is not to sink. The piles were driven 160 feet to hit Bedrock to support the Hotel. Similar to Barclay's (Heritage) Bank. Of course, what do you expect? Afterall, the land that the Hotel is built on was not even mangrove swamp it was the bottom of the ocean, reclaimed (filled in).

The room rate at the Fort George Hotel was $10.00 US per day and included three full meals. An English High-Tea at four o’clock in the afternoon was $1.50US. The lunch and dinner in those far-off days was a seven course meal, literally from soup to nuts. If you were not a guest at the hotel the meal cost $2.55 US.

It was during 1954 the Colony of British Honduras got a new Constitution that provided for the Universal Adult Suffrage. The voters list jumped from 1,400 to 22, 000 and the Colony was off on a slow, but steady journey to Independence, The Fort George tried to keep pace.

This is where I learn to swim as a Girl Guide, thanks to June Husneur. Good old days!!!! The British Army gave Fisheries Unit staff SCUBA lessons in the Fort George swimming pool in 1977. Growing up in Belize City only two hotels had pools, Fort George & Bliss Hotel. We paid $10 to use the pool in the 80’s. Originally the pool was a real salt water pool from the sea.

The building above the pool was the dining room. In 1976 the dining room manager was Mr Paul Hunt. You were allowed to use the pool for a reasonable price but you had to take a shower before entering the pool. You were even allowed on weekends to go in there and use the bar services. Sam Tillet playing on his organ and signing one man band by the pool side.

Marguerite Miles: My friends and I were the first to swim in that pool. It had no fence, was not built yet and the gravel was still around it. They finally had the water in and ready. We would check every day when it would be ready when they said yes we all jumped in clothes and all. Those were wonderful days and I would not change it for a million dollars. As children you feel safe and free. Some of my friends who were there all feel the same way.

Maria Pollard Learned to swim in that pool when I was a girl guide, did 27 laps to finally pass the course, Mrs. Feldmier was the British woman who taught us. I must have been 11 to 12 y/o. Used to swim there even after every weekend or whenever possible!

Gabriel Casey: This pool was the scene of a sad drowning incident in 88 of a young aspiring young man named Christopher Montejo. I know the details because as a CIB Det. at the time, I investigated his untimely death after he broke his neck.

Chico Young: I worked there as the pool boy during the summer holidays in 1964. At that time i think it was $2.00 to use the pool and it was $00.45 for a club sandwich and $00.09 for a pint of imported lemonade. The club sandwich which was sold only at the bar, was much bigger n nicer than they're now. When i worked as the pool attendant there i used to clean out that pool every day with a vacuum cleaner and that pool has an automatic pump which recycles the water in it all day, keeps the water recycled whilst making sure it's chlorinated and it also has filters to filter the water so that the water in it stays fresh n clean.

The had the best club sandwich and potato salad for lunch when we'd go swim there. They were cut in fours. Three layers of toasted bread, ham, some vegies. Maybe cheese. Can’t remember what else was in it. It had a tooth pick to hold it together or else it would fall in over. To this day I compare every club sandwich to theirs.

Fort George Hotel, which opened its doors in 1953, after 4 years of construction, was gifted to Belize by the C.D.C., the British post-war Commonwealth Development Corporation. It had all of 35 rooms on three floors, priced at US$10./day, which included 3 meals. Herman E. Solis was the chef in the 1960's, later it was the iconic Chef Bob. Before the tower was built, the paddle lounge bar was a favourite spot on a Saturday night. Sunday was pool side bar downstairs with Mike the bartender. They used to have nice dances, the 1973 St. Catherine's Academy prom was hosted there.

JA Spoonaz: fond childhood memories..... the building that housed the rooms was sinking because it was poorly piled . When my Father came to Belize , he was the first qualified Architect to do so, being RIBA (ROYAL Institite of British Architects), he was asked to save the building from sinking further, which he did. The assignment was first given to an Engineer but he failed, so my Dad Frank J Spooner was called in.

Back in the 1970s that the retail price of beer was controlled. A bottle of Belikin or Charger cost 65 cents whether you bought it at Fort George Hotel or Fenders on Handyside. Their club sandwiches were something to look forward to.

Fort George Hotel Dateline

1952 - Construction on the Hotel is completed by the Colonial Development Corporation

1953 - The Fort George Hotel opened to the public.

1961 - Hurricane Hattie destroys parts of the hotel

1977 - On the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the hotel, two Royal Air Force Harrier jets performed a salute and flew past in the presence of the CDC Deputy Operations Chief from London, Mr. Bruce Boguslawski.

1978 - Mr. Paul Hunt signs an agreement to operate the Fort George Hotel

1985 - The hotel is acquired by Belize Hotels Limited with Mr. Paul as the sole owner

1989 - The famous Club Tower is built by Johnston International

1990 - Joined the Fort George Hotel and Marina Corporation in franchise owner manager agreement

1993 - The Holiday Inn Hotel was acquired by owners and became part of the Fort George Hotel and Marina Fort George Hotel & Marina as the “Villa Wing”

1995 - Grand 6.5 Million dollar renovation of public areas and the Colonial rooms

1995 - Hotel receives Fort George Hotel and Marina’s Excellence in Design and Renovations

1995 - Fort George Hotel and Marina Fort George Hotel is presented with the Fort George Hotel and Marina Hotels & Resorts Worldwide “best of the best” President’s wards

1996 - Presented with this year’s Advocates Award by Fort George Hotel and Marina Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

1997 - Presented with this year’s President Award by Fort George Hotel and Marina Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

1998 - The Villa Wing rooms are renovated

1999 - Once again the Advocates Award is presented to the Hotel

2000 - The Club Tower rooms are renovated

2000 - Once again the Advocates Award is presented to the Hotel

2000 - Hotel receives award for the Highest Increase in Revenue Per Available Room at the Fort George Hotel and Marina Annual Business Conference in Hong Kong

2001 - Advocates Award

2002 - Hotel receives the Award of Appreciation in Recognition for Promoting 100% Belizean Arts & Crafts Association from the BCCI – National Handicraft center of Belize

2002 - Fort George Hotel and Marina ranked among the best business travel hotels in Latin America by the readers of Latin Finance, a leading finance and investment magazine

2010 - Hotel gets 1st runner up for University of Belize, Green Business Awards

Top photograph by Noel Escalante

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