Maruba definitely delivers an exotic experience in a jungle setting, complete with 24-hour electricity, air-conditioned cabañas, fresh flowers in the rooms, high-thread-count sheets, and, in some suites, hot tubs. The decor is nearly, if not actually, over the top, with gold-painted stucco walls in some rooms, mock stained-glass windows made from old bottles, and bold fabric prints. The restaurant ($$$–$$$$) boasts "nouveau jungle" cuisine, a selection of fish, shrimp, and pork dishes, often interestingly prepared, with salads and vegetables from local gardens. At night the restaurant and bar are bathed in black light. Maruba probably gets more mixed reactions from guests than any other hotel in Belize; some love it while others think it's a bit too much. Maruba's spa touts its "Mood Mud" therapy, using six different mud baths. One is supposed to arouse sexual passion. (In general, Maruba is geared towards adults.) Day visitors can have lunch or another meal at Maruba, take a swim (a second pool is reserved for overnight guests only), go horseback riding, and have spa treatments.
Mile 40.5 Old Northern Hwy., 10 miles (17 km) north of Altun Ha, Maskall Village, Belize
Dec 5, 2012
It's a nice resort. For a non-first world country Belize I would rate it a 9 out of 10. Compared to what is a "top resort" in the United States, it would only rank a 7. Their tours are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they've done an excellent job vetting their tour operators which enables you to do and see many interesting things safely. However, they don't offer all tours unless they have minimums sign up, and that's not stated on their website
or their tour menu. The resort is run by a family and the owner charged us more to go on a tour with only two people than it would normally be with a larger group, that is not how a luxury resort should operate. The food is very good. However, the kitchen does not offer all items on the menu, the chef didn't want to make a special bread that's featured on the breakfast menu for example, so it just wasn't available. They do not offer coffee before they start serving breakfast and that is an easy fix that they need to make, a luxury resort should not withhold coffee like that in the mornings. Also the menu was unchanged for all four days and by the end of the trip, you were bored of the offerings. It wouldn't be difficult for them to change the menu up more during the week, there isn't any other place to eat and it would be nice if they offered more variety of local foods for each meal. The rooms are nice and were kept well-cleaned. Mosquitos are a serious problem in this area (as is malaria per the CDC's website) and they've done well to keep mosquitos to a minimum in their rooms. The property itself is well tended and the maintenance staff is friendly. When we arrived the bus was 90 minutes late to pick us up, that was not okay. I had to call twice (at $20 / minute) to ask what was going on. When we got to the resort the manager/owner tried to defend that by saying that the website indicates there's a free phone in the airport. Well, I didn't have access to their website while I was sitting around on the curb at the airport, and the airport employees all claimed there was no such phone. I was very surprised that the manager tried to defend that situation instead of just apologizing for leaving us waiting. Then when it was time to return to the airport we were forced to leave four hours earlier than when we needed to be there, because the resort only wanted to make one trip that morning and another couple had an earlier flight. The manager offered to have the driver tour us around Belize City for our inconvenience but only for an additional charge ~ that should have been offered to us for free. It's these little details that these resort owners don't seem to understand are the difference between operating as a mid-level property, instead of a luxury resort. Finally, it bothered me hugely to see that these owners have one very well fed pampered house dog running around freely, and then they own another emaciated dog they keep tied up on a 4' piece of rope to a tree. When I say "emaciated," I mean pelvic bones were showing and the dog could be on an ad for animal abuse, he's obviously not eating every day, or getting off that rope, or getting petted or treated for medical conditions, he's basically condemned to horrible existence right in the owner's front yard. This emaciated dog got loose one evening and came up to me to be petted, I found that he was covered in ticks and shied away when I reached out like he has been physically abused and not just starved. Belize may be filled with starving, neglected dogs but there is no excuse for these resort owners to keep their own dogs like that. They really should be ashamed of what they're doing to that animal.