Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo, Belize
As you sweep down Blancaneaux's hibiscus- and palm-lined drive, past the big main swimming pool, you may get a whiff of Beverly Hills, and indeed the lodge is owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola. Spread on a hillside above Privassion River, the villas with their soaring thatch ceilings, Japanese-style tile baths, plunge pools, and screened porches have appeared in Architectural Digest and dozens of other magazines. The filmmaker's own villa, with private pool, is available when he isn't in residence. The main restaurant, Montagna, is one of the best in the Cayo, specializing in Italian dishes and serving wines from Coppola's wineries. A second restaurant serves Guatemalan food, by reservation only. The lodge's organic farms supplies about 80% of the vegetables for Blancaneaux and its sister property, Turtle Inn in Placencia. The ceiling fans in the hotel bar appeared in Apocalypse Now, and the massive black slate bar top was carved by the Garcia sisters of San Antonio. You can swim off large boulders in the Privassion River, relax in a giant hot tub, swim in the infinity pool or, if you have a luxury villa, dunk in your private plunge pool. Blancaneaux offers a variety of tours and has a stable of horses for riding trips. There's also a gift shop with high-quality and wonderfully colorful Guatemalan blankets, dresses, blouses, and crafts.
- fabulous grounds
- deluxe cabañas and villas
- wonderful food and service
- many steep steps may pose problems for some
- very expensive
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