After a year like 2020, sometimes you count your blessings twice—so we’re still celebrating all the Belizean winners and finalists in Condé Nast Johansens’ 2021 Awards of Excellence. The awards ceremony, which took place virtually this year in November, praised the winners who have raised the benchmark in luxury travel over the last 12 months. Categorized in Central & South America, Belize took home a total of three wins while placing with three finalists.
Unsurprisingly, Belize resorts were shortlisted in almost every category for Central & South America. Prestigious and world-renowned, these awards not only recognized the accomplishments of the Belizean staff in creating exceptional experiences but also acknowledge the gracious guests who recommend them. Belize resorts nominated in “Best for” were:
Weddings, Parties & Celebrations: Matachica Resort & Spa
Meetings & Conferences: Las Terrazas Resort & Residencies
Green Practices & Sustainability: Gaia Riverlodge
Waterside Hotel (Riverside, Lakeside, Seaside): Victoria House Resort & Spa (Seaside)
Families: The Phoenix Resort
Romance: Cayo Espanto A Private Island
Below, find congratulatory mentions of the Belizean resorts awarded in their category!
Cayo Espanto Private Island: Best for Romance
You might never see a guest during your entire visit to Cayo Espanto, a private island offshore Ambergris Caye, Belize. Although it is truly no surprise for it to win Best for Romance—the intimate property only has seven villas total, with Casa Ventanas being the only overwater bungalow. Not to mention, Casa Ventanas is the island’s most requested accommodation—private dock and glass-bottom floored living room included.
Located three miles off the coast, Cayo Espanto creates a sense of secluded paradise for every visitor that’s perfect for romantic escapes and honeymooners at heart. Each villa includes a private dock, pool, a butler, and personalized meal and concierge services. Discover all the reasons Cayo Espanto won Best for Romance in the 2021 Condé Nast Johansens Awards of Excellence here.
The Phoenix Resort: Best for Families
Settled in the heart of San Pedro, meet The Phoenix Resort; accommodations range from one to three-bedroom apartment-style suites with sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. All are incredibly huge and have fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms and terraces—perfect for families of all sizes. The resort recently reopened on December 1, including new amenities like a complimentary kids club called The Nest. Although, the Phoenix has long been offering a variety of fun and education programs for children and adults alike; that includes chocolate making class with Belize Chocolate Company, art classes with Belizean Melody Art Gallery, and more. After all, The Phoenix puts ideals of sustainable tourism, hiring and buying locally, and supporting local artists and artisans straight into practice. The warm and seemingly always-smiling owners Kelly and Mukul Kanabar are matched only by the sterling service of their staff.
Water babies eager for some aquatic action have snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing and parasailing practically on their doorstep; the Belize Barrier Reef is just about a half-mile out from their beachfront. Families can enjoy the two salt-water swimming pools overlooking the sea. Although, kicking back on the rooftop bar and lounge (with the over-18 offspring) doesn’t sound too bad either, especially with a free happy hour every day. Discover all the reasons The Phoenix won Best for Families in the 2021 Condé Nast Johansens Awards of Excellence here.
Victoria House Resort & Spa: Best Waterside Hotel
Although Belize’s Victoria House Resort & Spa is set two miles outside of the town, the immaculate white sand beach is seemingly curated for social distancing. On site, 42 rooms shines across 10 acres as intimate and casual; rooms vary in size and style, however they all have garden and ocean views of the Caribbean Sea. Choose from a Casita, Plantation Room, Suite or Private Villas; and for dining, bounce between the Admiral’s Bar and Palmilla Restaurant. So while Victoria House is an award-winning luxury resort, expect a casual, relaxed and comfortable vibe.
Despite being one of the oldest properties on the island, Victoria House is diligently maintained and brilliant, just like new. The refined white-on-white color scheme contrasts for pure sophistication against manicured grassy green grounds and Caribbean blue roofing.
Condé Nast Johansens is the most comprehensive leading publication for the annual inspections of hotels and spas with independent owners. The dedicated inspectors are highly qualified. Many properties have been evaluated up to five times to appear in the guide with the aim of choosing a small group of finalists so as to establish the best selection of accommodations for independent travellers.