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Reviewed 4 October 2012

My wife and I just got back from Placencia, Belize for our 10 year anniversary. We read many reviews while trying to choose a place to stay and ultimately, booked reservations at Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia. While I have had a couple of times in life where I booked a place only to find that it was NOTHING like what was advertised. But let me first say that Chabil Mar was EVERYTHING they advertised and more! We were met at the gate by Tiffany and one of the servers, Junior, with lemonade and our villa key. While Junior helped with the luggage, Tiffany began explaining the layout of the resort and giving us a tour. They gave us our meal tickets and made sure we had everything we needed to start settling in. From this very moment, we knew that this place was perfect. Everyone there was wonderful! They were helpful, genuine and shared stories and tidbits of their homes and lives. Anything we needed, they were able to provide very quickly. They made sure to schedule the excursions we had paid for and tell us exactly when and where we needed to be in order to get to them. The food was absolutely incredible! The kitchen prepares your food to order and then it is served to you anywhere on the property you choose. There is no restaurant to sit in. The most beautiful ambiance is provided by God in the way of the beautiful ocean front and the maintenance staff with the amazingly sculpted landscape so why waste that all being inside?! What a concept! On the afternoon of check in, we got to meet Althea, who was the wonderfully patient woman that had helped me book our trip and make constant changes to the plans making sure we got exactly what we wanted out of this trip. It was wonderful to put a face with the name and meet the woman that was so incredibly helpful in making our dream trip come true! We went into the village and had some great experiences shopping and eating at local restaurants. We highly recommend Barefoot Bar and Grill! We had a trip to some of the Mayan Ruins and our guide was wonderful. He was extremely outgoing and knowledgeable as he was a Mayan descendant and took us to 2 different ruin sites. In between, he took us to a restaurant owned by a local couple at their home (called Carter's Cafe) and it was a delicious meal with great company! The next day, we took a dive/snorkel trip with Splash Diver Center (a full description of that trip is on their review on this site) and it was nothing short of amazing too! Our last night there, we had a candle lit dinner on the pier right off the beach in front of the resort. We told the staff to just have the chef surprise us with our meals. I simply told them I prefer pork or chicken and my wife wanted seafood. They outdid themselves. It was wonderful! Breakfast each day was also really good and delivered with a huge smile and pleasant conversation by Danny. Many of our lunches, dinners and drinks were served by Junior. He went out of his way to make everything perfect. He even cut down a coconut and served one of my wife's cocktails in it when she told him she wanted a coconut drink like in the pictures of beach bars. The entire staff just bent over backwards making our trip absolutely perfect! We could not say enough about the place. I don't know that we can afford to go on this type of trip really often but I can guarantee that when we decide we are ready to go back to Belize (which will certainly happen) it won't be anywhere but to Chabil Mar!

Room Tip: If you are the adventurous type and want the full Belizean experience, I would suggest not buying lunch for a day or two. We wasted a lunch ticket we had prepaid in our resort package in order to enjoy eating at Barefoot Bar and Grill in the village. Rather than waste a ticket, don't buy the lunches each day at the resort so you can eat out. The meals at the resort are so wonderful that we wouldn't have given up a dinner!
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Kenny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2012

We had an excellent time here! We came for the first part of our honeymoon, and while the airlines unfortunately cost us a day here, we did our best to make up for it. The folks at Chabil Mar could not have been nicer, and the room could not have been more beautiful. The food was also delicious and always available. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to try out the bar, but we heard very good things from other guests. Our only problem the whole time was that the complimentary kayaks were broken and so we couldn't use them, but otherwise, we had a perfect visit.

The town of Placencia is also lots of fun, with cool bars and restaurants (for a small town of a few hundred), and it's easily accessible by the main road (walking or on the complimentary bikes). We're told you could walk there along the beach, but we weren't able to pull that off! While the beach itself is not as nice as elsewhere in the Caribbean, the pier is gorgeous, the water is excellent (though there were a few jellyfish one of the days we were there), and the views are stunning, so they more than make up for it. And, for what it's worth, these are some of the best beaches in the country, so it's more about Belize than Chabil Mar or Placencia!

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2012

This is my third visit here and I love it more each time I come.

ROOMS
The rooms are well appointed with luxurious linens and very well decorated. It really feels like a home away from home instead of a hotel.

Both guest and master bathrooms have double sinks and both rooms I've stayed in had a washer/dryer.

The kitchens have every amenity of home - blender, toaster, coffee pot, microwave. Toss in a radio/CD player, TV, and DVD player and you technically never have to leave the room.

But of course you must, if only to while away the afternoon or evening under the palapa at the end of the pier listening to the waves slap against the shore.

SWIMMING
Like every beach in Belize, this one is not great for swimming. The sea grass is left in its natural state so walking in from the shoreline isn't tempting. But jumping in from the pier is allowed and the water is very refreshing. Be wary of jellyfish though.

I much Prefer the sea to a pool but the pool here was recently converted to saline and it was delightful to swim without the smell or taste of chlorine. The water was like being in a fresh water lake.

There are 2 pools on the property so it never gets crowded.

STAFF

The staff here are really helpful and pleasant. Customer service isn't great in Belize but the management has obviously trained this crew well.

Front desk staff will make tour. dinner, or plane reservations for you, make inquiries and recommendations, lend you games and movies from the front desk and generally offer any assistance necessary, including picking you up and dropping you off at the airstrip.

FOOD AND DRINK
There's a decent bar on site and it's fun at night. Be warned that top shelf liquor gets pricey. I suggest bringing your own in.

There's no restaurant per se but theres a kitchen and you can order food from anywhere on the property and they'll bring it to you. But this will run through money in no time. Best recommendation is to do a grocery run when you arrive.

TOWN
Theres a large grocery store on the right as you drive into town from the property and you can get all you need here. You can even borrow one of chabil mar's golf carts to go into town.

The town is very picturesque. Even though there are a number of nice restaurants and bars in town, it still has a village feel to it and wandering the narrow streets you'll see plenty of locals. The quaintness will probably fade once the new marina is constructed. I first came to placencia 15 years ago and in another 15 years it will become another tourist town changed by the very people who were attracted to its remoteness in the first place.

So come here while you can still experience a little of the ruggedness.

GETTING HERE
The drive from belize city is 3 hours but the flight over the coastline is spectacular. If you sit on the right as you board you'll get a glimmer of the vast jungle that is Belize.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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2  Thank Style_Buff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2012

We selected Chabil Mar for a 30th birthday celebration for our son. 8 of us went to Chabil Mar & it was perfect. From The travel arrangements for pick up from the airport (by William) to the birthday dinner to the excursions, all assisted by the resort. Chabil Mar is beautiful & the staff is wonderful.

Room Tip: We preferred the downstairs rooms
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Miriam R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

Belize is not cheap - and neither is this place. However, the grounds were kept really well, pools sparkling clean, beach combed, housekeeper did an amazing job keeping our apartment clean (how they kept us sand free is a mystery with a two and half year old running around) and the staff was very friendly and wanted to assist in any manner.

It was wonderful to have a full kitchen and washer/dryer. The food was not great, but passable and reasonably priced for a high end resort. It was really nice to be able to eat anywhere on the property. Since the food was so-so, we took full advantage of the kitchen and made most of our own meals and drinks.

It was annoying not to have any shuttle service to the stores or downtown. For the price, this should be on offer. The only alternative was booking a golf cart for $55 + taxes (which are high) and resort fees (which are higher).

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank MJBNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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