These 3 Belize Resorts Just Joined The Collection of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH)

by Carolee Chanona

As a community of independently minded travelers and independently spirited hotels in the world, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) adds three more Belize resorts to their exclusive listing of only 520 hotels. Each unique with its own draw and just 50 rooms on average, SLH properties are able to offer secluded, discrete options with the highest standards of luxury and guest wellbeing. Belize is a great example of this, and no two stays are the same in the characterful collection of intimate spaces in unusual places — which now includes new listings in the Cayo District, Ambergris Caye, and Placencia.

Itz'ana placencia beach chairs belize

Relax on the beach in Placencia. Image courtesy Itz’ana Resort & Residencies

Belize is a beautiful chameleon of a country, changing its colors to suit your mood. If you long for adventure, you’ll find mysterious ruins, hidden caves, dizzying zip-wires, and the world’s second-largest barrier reef. If you yearn for relaxation, there’s enough luxury to satisfy the most demanding traveler – from superb spa retreats to exclusive fine dining. Discover it all when staying with the newest Belize listings on Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH): GAÏA Riverlodge, Matachica Resort, and Itz’ana Resort.

Watch the sun set behind the unmistakeable dock at Matachica Resort. Image courtesy

Below, find a warm welcome and recount of each property listing from Small Luxury Hotels of the World™.

GAÏA Riverlodge — Cayo District

gaia mpr cayo villa

Wake to the sound of cascading waterfalls and tropical birds. Watch the sunset turn the skies crimson and gold over the mountains. The unspoiled natural beauty of Belize flows through GAÏA Riverlodge, a recharging retreat that blends effortlessly with its surroundings. In fact, it’s little wonder the Lodge was named after the Greek goddess of the Earth. Whether you spend your time swinging in a hammock with butterflies overhead or plunging into freshwater pools, fed by the Five Sisters Waterfalls, a stay here is a true escape from the ordinary.

Part of the tucked-away Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, GAÏA Riverlodge gives guests private access to the breathtaking Falls. Many of the tranquil and technology-free bedrooms, created in the style of rainforest cabanas, come with views (and sounds) of the falls – while others look across at the mountains. Whichever one you call home, expect thatched roofs, tropical hardwood furnishings, and back-to-nature luxury. 

From sunrise jungle walks set to birdsong to nighttime bonfires with storytelling and marshmallow roasting, GAÏA Riverlodge invites guests to immerse themselves in this stunning setting. Guided tours could see you exploring the hotel’s own organic garden while further afield there are Mayan treasures to uncover, including nearby Caracol. The GAÏA Riverlodge Spa will be on hand the next day to soothe the hiking-weary with sunset massages, and banana and papaya facials.   

Matachica Resort — Ambergris Caye

Matachica Resort takes its ‘private by nature’ mantra seriously. Thatched casitas and villas are arranged like a traditional village and blend into the landscape, with personal verandas giving you front-row seats (or hammocks) to soul-stirring views. This beach-meets-jungle setting is part of Ambergris Caye, a protected slice of paradise that’s home to the world’s second longest barrier reef.

matachica resort room

Beachfront properties meet inspired design at Matachica for a truly restorative getaway.


Whether you spend your days here on land or sea, every element of Matachica is inspired by the Caye’s natural beauty. Arrive by speedboat. See the beauty beneath the waves on a diving adventure. And taste the best of Belize at Mambo, the resort’s celebrated open-air restaurant – or share a few casual bites at Mambo Bistro, the hotel’s newly launched light fare eatery, and cocktails at Danny’s Bar that’s wrapped around a tree trunk. The hotel staff can also arrange romantic private dining on and around the pier, perfectly timed for the sunset. After all, this is a just-for-grown-ups escape.

Aerial of Matachica Resort.

Activities at Matachica are designed to get hearts racing. You could kayak or paddle-board in the calm waters, take a guided scuba or snorkeling tour, or simply dip in and out of the infinity pool and hot tub. Take things up a notch by swimming fin to fin at Shark Ray Alley, or float above Mexico Rocks where turtles will be your ocean playmates. For those who prefer dry land, jump on one of the hotel’s complimentary bicycles and explore northern Ambergris Caye. 

Itz’ana Resort & Residencies — Placencia

On a sugar-sand beach in palm-tree-lined Placencia, Itz’ana Resort is a slice of Belizean paradise – and a gateway to adventure. An escape here can be as low-key or high-octane as you choose. While away your days gazing at sweeping sea views in a luxurious villa, dipping into the sparkling blue swimming pool and the Caribbean Sea, or venture on excursions to discover national parks and barrier reefs.

itzana beachfront suite

Enjoy sunsets en suites from Itz’ana Resort’s beachfront dwellings.

All of Itz’ana Resort’s rooms and villas put privacy center-stage, with wraparound terraces, airy indoor living spaces, and a multitude of luxurious creature comforts. The one-bedroom beachfront villa is a haven for couples, complete with a private plunge pool. Or you can kick back with friends and family in larger villas that open directly onto the sands. The entertainment on offer at Limilia restaurant is pure of the sea-gazing kind, as you feast your eyes on the ocean. Once you’ve had your fill of the views, tuck into dishes created with local ingredients and fresh fish caught by the resort’s own fishermen. Biblio Bar and the aptly named Rum Room provide locally inspired (and expertly mixed) libations.

A day at Itz’ana Resort can be well spent moving from suite to pool to the beach – and back again. The resort makes a perfect base from which to explore the unique land of Belize – simply ask and you’ll discover tailored adventures for everyone from thrill-seekers to chill-seekers.  

Read more on Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH). Header image courtesy Itz’ana Resort & Residencies

Related Articles