Why The Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize Are Perfect For Relaxed Opulence

by Larry Waight

The United Kingdom’s most popular online publication, The Guardian, proclaimed Francis Ford Coppola and his family a great American dynasty. The director/writer’s vast number of credits attest to his domination of the film industry, and if you’ve watched his landmark films — the iconic “Godfather” trilogy, “Apocalypse Now,” and “The Cotton Club” — you likely agree. Biographer Peter Cowie best summed up Coppola’s history by saying that while he looms large within the movie industry, his family lays claim to his heart. Coppola prides himself on being a family man and acknowledges the role his roots have played on his road to success.

From grandparents who emigrated from Italy to his father’s legacy – Carmine Coppola wrote the music for his son’s “The Godfather” – Francis Ford Coppola’s progeny have followed in his footsteps, emerging as award-winning directors, writers, and actors. Thus, launching an award-winning winery and a unique collection of exotic resorts surprised absolutely nobody.

A global presence

Palazzo Margherita. Photo credit Tim Beddow.

Outside of Belize, the Coppola holdings include La Lancha in Guatemala, Palazzo Margherita in Italy, and Jardin Escondido in Argentina. Referred to as hideaways by the family rather than resorts, the public understands the difference from the moment they arrive. As early as 2014, Los Angeles Times reporter John Horn took an interest in the Coppola family — at the time, there were only two Belize resorts: Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn. Horn chronicled the family’s foray into luxury property ownership from its earliest beginnings when the director’s modest goal was finding a tranquil place to write in 1981.

Lago Peten Itza and Flores tour.

Establishing luxe properties allowed Coppola to extend his passion for winemaking, but in the end, wrote Horn, he saw resort ownership as akin to movie making: “The staff is the cast of the film, and the guests are the audience. You invite your guests into a world, maybe a magical world. And as with a movie, there’s always a detail — some little thing — that people remember. Hotels,” he stated, “are not that far from my original training and love. It’s just a different stage.”

Three Coppola Family Resorts in Belize

Relying upon innovation, a respect for ecology, and a burning desire to deliver an experience that’s as much about authenticity as it is about luxury, all three of the Coppola Resorts are award-winning, magical, and unique, as you’ll surmise after reading about each.

1. Coral Caye

Enjoy sandy comforts inside Coral Caye’s Great House.

An exclusive-use private island retreat built in close proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef may be a short boat ride from the mainland but it’s a million miles from the ordinary. Home to a communal gathering house and two colorful cottages, a personal chef/butler is on hand to make sure guests want nothing.

Dining under the stars at Coral Caye, a Coppola Hideaway.

Up to 8 guests are invited to slip away from the hectic pace of modernity to snorkel, swim and observe fascinating ocean life just footsteps from the cabins, from tropical fish and nurse sharks to turtles, seahorses, rays, and corals. Amenities reserved just for guests include canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkel, and fishing gear.

Bring the kids. A trove of games, toys, drums, and guitars await them and adults enjoy, world-class extras, like ceiling fans, towels, robes, and coffeemakers plus toiletries. Masseuses headquartered at Coppola’s Turtle Inn Sunset Spa come to Coral Caye for in-room treatments. Even dog food is provided if you want to bring your pooch along, too!

2. Turtle Inn

A seafront cottage at Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize.

This is considered the most high-profile of Coppola Family resorts. The chic sanctuary has just 25 rooms offering guests quiet, privacy, and posh environs designed for discriminating travelers. Every accommodation is lavished with Balinese décor. The most extravagant? The Chinese Matrimonial Suite where newlyweds occupy a 200-year-old hand-carved four-poster fertility bed.

Every accommodation is equipped with an iPad dock, mini-bar, and organic toiletries. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout Turtle Inn and for guests who prefer sustainable properties, The Turtle Inn is a mecca. There is no air-conditioning and the lack of technological innovations is intentional. Toward that end, only sustainable, locally sourced woods were used to construct and outfit this resort.

seafront cottage turtle inn coppola

A seafront cottage at Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize. Photo courtesy Coppola Hideaways

Home to two swimming pools, guests interested in staying active find no shortage of amenities. Borrow free kayaks and paddleboards or jump into snorkeling and scuba diving adventures. The on-site PADI dive center, library, and Thai-inspired wellness spa never disappoint. Gourmet eateries, live performances by Belize entertainers, and Coppola wines spice up a stay at this world-class property.

3. Blancaneaux Lodge

Guests are advised not to expect a replica of Turtle Inn or Coral Caye when they book. This rustic, 20-room Valhalla is a breathtaking homage to Belize’s lush jungles. Tucked into a remote setting within Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, the sound of ocean waves at sister resorts is replaced by splashing waterfalls that cascade over rocks to deliver the ultimate sensory respite.


Blancaneaux’ Waterfall Spa, situated on the bank of Privassion Creek, is modeled after Bangkok’s Pho Temple, a sacred inspiration that is artfully replicated within the spa. The hot pool gets its power from hydroelectricity and the spa interior uses natural light to illuminate a breathtaking menu of body treatments.

Sunrise guided birding experiences, an organic garden, guided river tubing, hiking trails, and an inventory of bicycles for guests who crave exploration are just a taste of the extras available to sojourners who are surprised to discover the resort’s horse stables, swimming pool, and access to hidden rock pools courtesy of Mother Nature.

A intimate hideaway in the Maya heartland at Blananeaux Lodge.

In sum, Coppola Family Hideaways are properties that cannot be appreciated solely by browsing photos. You must be there in person. Every detail, fragrance, culinary treat, and lush accommodation is unlike any resort experience you’ve had over time, and that’s exactly what Coppola intended from the moment he decided to make Belize the site of not one but three extraordinary properties.

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