P.O. Box 22, Ambergris Caye, Belize
This longstanding jewel of Ambergris Caye rarely fails to impress. You'll find grand, colonial elegance on this well–manicured, lush piece of property about two miles south of San Pedro town. Victoria House's accommodations include stucco and thatched casitas with tile floors, and luxurious "Plantation Suites" and multi–bedroom, mansion–like villas around sleek infinity pools.
Arriving by boat, the San Pedro waterfront was bustling with activities. There were dive shops, restaurants, gift shops, vendors selling crafts on the beach and people just enjoying the sun and the wonderful Caribbean ambiance.
Securing a golf cart, the main means of transportation on the island, we headed for Victoria House. The resort is just south of the island's only town, San Pedro. Arriving at the resort and seeing the beautifully landscaped grounds and being greeted with typical island smiles and hospitality, I knew that this was going to be a getaway to remember.
The landscaping of the resort is immaculate, greenery and flowers abound. The long palm-lined stretch of white–sand beach is perfect for sunning or lounging in a hammock and has a complete dive shop at one end. Also, near the beach is the Admiral Nelson's Bar which, in addition to a great selection of drinks, has a fine food menu for lingering outside. One of the resort's spa options is having a massage on the beach.
Our accommodation was a luxury villa near the infinity pool, one of the several swimming pools on the resort. The villa is large with thatched roofs and very high ceilings. It is beautifully furnished, using furniture and details hand–crafted from local tropical hardwoods. The Caribbean influenced décor and art are very tasteful. With a full kitchen, large living room, and two bedrooms, the dwelling is luxuriously comfortable.
Of the 42 luxury guest rooms, some are of the tropical, thatched-roof design, such as our villa, and others are English colonial style—as Belize was an English Colony up to a few decades ago. Accommodations include the main lodge state room, ocean-facing casitas, grand plantation rooms, and several villas of varying bedroom numbers.
Our meals were taken during the day at Admiral Nelson's and in the evening, with candlelight and a cool tropical breeze, outside at the resort's main eatery Palmilla Restaurant. All of the food was tastefully prepared, beautifully presented, and definitely gourmet.
We also took excursions in our golf cart for a short jaunt into San Pedro to shop at the fine crafts stores and to try the excellent restaurants available. A couple eateries of note were Kelly McDermott's Caliente—try the delicious Mango Chicken—and, close by, Chef Amy Knox's Wild Mango. Both are located on the beach with the special Caribbean ambiance.
According to the longtime (16 years) managers of Victoria House, Janet Woollan and Brent Kirkman, "It's the staff that makes it special." They have a staff of 85. Some have worked many years at the resort, including the dive shop which has had members of the same family employed since its opening. The staff and owners make this resort one of the finest on the island and have created a true ambiance of "barefoot" luxury. It is a perfect place for weddings and honeymoons (one year hosting 52 weddings) or for a romantic getaway. Returning to Ambergris Caye, we look forward to experiencing the same barefoot luxury again.
Review and photos by John Lamkin.