2 Belize Resorts Win Big in Forbes Travel Guide’s 2021 Star Awards

by Carolee Chanona

Travel came to a standstill when the pandemic struck last year. Most of the world hunkered down at home, waiting for conditions to improve. However, the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout offers some hope for 2021, allowing stir-crazy, grounded travelers to start planning their next getaway. To help inspire those next adventures, Forbes Travel Guide presents its 2021 Star Awards for the world’s best luxury hotels, restaurants and spas — and two Belize resorts are proud winners!

Ka’ana Resort in Western Belize

Near the border of Guatemala in the Maya Mountains of Belize, Ka’ana Resort’s tropical gardens and atmospheric casitas form a green oasis of tranquility. There are 17 equally-beautiful rooms of Ka’ana; beautiful hacienda-style casitas and buildings complete each interior’s natural materials, a private patio, local art, and high ceilings. Leave the planning and pampering to Ka’ana with transfers, breakfasts in bed, private picnics and so much more. Or, simply bask in wellness with The Spa at Ka’ana, or dine at The Wallace Bar and La Ceiba Restaurant. So while the world is in isolation, you can retreat to a private paradise and book at Belize’s first member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

More information on Ka’ana Resort here

To celebrate this milestone win, Ka’ana Resort will be hosting a giveaway for a frontline worker saying ‘I Do’! To all the essential workers — everyone who is working on the front lines — THANK YOU. In honor of your service, and in celebration of Ka’ana being recognized by Forbes, they’ll be hosting a giveaway for an elopement package valued at over $2,000 USD. Details launch via Instagram and Facebook at 5:00 pm Central Time. Follow them on Instagram @KaanaBelize.

Turtle Inn, a Coppola Hideaway, in Southern Belize

Found where the Caribbean Sea melts into Placencia’s 16-mile long golden coastline, Turtle Inn has 25 characteristic thatch-roof cottages and villas within steps of the shallows. Each cottage features screened porches, hand-carved doors, outdoor showers, and a bottomless jar of fresh chocolate chip cookies for my fellow sweet-tooth travelers. Foodies can rejoice in its three restaurants (and two pools) at Mare restaurant with a wood-burning oven for terrific pizzas, beachfront Gauguin Grill for fresh seafood, and Auntie Luba’s Kitchen for local flavor.


spa belize kaana resort cayo

The Spa at Ka’ana features local, organic products in holistic Reiki healing and local specialty treatments like the Maya Abdominal Massage.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, service remains paramount. It’s more important than ever before that properties demonstrate the utmost regard for their guests’ wellbeing: 75 percent of a hotel’s rating is based on its service and genuine care and concern shown by the staff, while 25 percent is determined by the quality of its facilities. When you’re ready to travel again—whether it’s to embark on a far-flung escape or a low-key staycation—check into one of the best hotels in the world. See the full list of Star-Rated properties here, and find out more about the newest Belize additions to Forbes’ collection below.

The 63rd annual list features 283 Five-Star, 576 Four-Star, and 438 Recommended hotels, including Ka’ana Resort and Turtle Inn; the winners were surveyed both before the pandemic and once regional restrictions allowed FTG’s incognito evaluators to visit. To rate properties, Forbes Travel Guide inspectors stay at each hotel for three days and two nights, posing as regular guests and paying their own way, including the Belize resorts that won awards. They test up to 900 objectives, and stringent standards, from modern-day luxuries—such as whether a room is set up to enhance sleep, and the food-and-beverage choices are health-conscious—to more traditional luxuries, like the quality of the interior décor and design of the staff’s uniforms.

Header photo courtesy of Turtle Inn, a Coppola Hideaway.

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