Rich Lawson has been to our island seven times. His first trip was so long ago (2006), that this was before we were using the Biltmore in Belize City for our groups. We used to use the Chateau Caribbean, which was downtown next to the Radisson Ft. George. Rich loved the Chateau, and continued to stay there each year if he arrived early or stayed late. He tells me he liked the Chateau Caribbean, not only because of it’s colonial elegance, but also next door the Radisson had a poolside bar he particularly liked (but The Chateau was a much better deal). He reports it had live blues every Thursday when he was usually there. But then this year the Chateau Caribbean burned down. We heard about it in the Belize News, and I had sent him this article, knowing he would want to know. So he wrote to me, saying what am I going to do? He’s not that crazy about the Biltmore because he says he can’t even tell he is in another country. I agree with him, there is nothing special about the Biltmore. You could be in Miami. It’s a nice, standard hotel.
So I had to think, what are the options? I came up with my top four places to stay with one extra day in Belize City. (More than one day, and I would recommend getting out of the city.)
1. The Great House is near the old site of the Chateau. It is behind the Radisson, across the street, and away from the sea. The advantages are that they are above a great restaurant, and he would still be right by the poolside bar he likes.
2. I also told him about my favorite bed and breakfast: Villa Boscardi: It’s not downtown like the Great House, it’s about a mile or so from the Biltmore, in a regular neighborhood, a block from the sea. The down side: there is no restaurant or bar nearby, it’s just a room that is nicely decorated and run by nice people in a safe neighborhood.
3. Another idea is to get out of the city, but just barely, so you don’t spend a lot of time traveling back and forth. A stay at Black Orchid Resort, which is 15 minutes from the airport north of town, would work nicely. They will pick you up and drop you off at the airport for free. They are in a rural area and walking distance (2 miles?) from the small village of Burrell Boom, and about 7 miles from the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Bermudian Landing.
4. My final idea is to fly right to Caye Caulker when you land and stay out there for a night. The flight will add significantly to your cost, but you can take a cheaper boat back the next day.
He ended up choosing The Great House. He prefers it because it is about the same vintage as the Chateau, (built in 1927), and he really liked that neighborhood. Then he gave ME a recommendation: “The blues guitar player at the pool bar always plays this rendition of “My Guitar Gently Weeps” that is so deep and bluesy you wouldn’t believe it. I think that is also what George meant it to be. You can set there with a nice view of the Caribbean.”
That’s pretty convincing! Who wouldn’t want to hear “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” the way it was meant to be played? I think I’ll make a point to go the next time I am in Belize City.