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Blancaneaux Lodge Review
As you sweep down Blancaneaux's hibiscus- and palm-lined drive, past the big 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 (starting at BZ$807 double in-season including tax and service) 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 Enchanted Cottage (about BZ$3,500), of local stone and with a red Guatemalan tile roof, is set on a hill apart from the other villas; it comes with its own golf cart. In-season, accommodations have a two-night minimum. A fleet of four-wheel-drive vehicles takes you to remote Mayan ruins or on shopping trips to Guatemala. Those with their own planes can fly into the resort's landing strip, or you can come on a charter flight from Belize City. 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 also 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 a gift shop with high-quality and wonderfully colorful (but not inexpensive) Guatemalan blankets, dresses, blouses, and crafts.
Artistry in the Belize Bush
The original and flagship property of director Francis Ford Coppola's mini-collection of luxury hotels, Blancaneaux nestles stylishly on a hillside among the palmettos, pines, and palms of Belize's remote Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Thatch-roof cabañas rise on stilts from the jungle floor and are outfitted with Indonesian antiques, Japanese baths, and local paintings and textiles. When you're not on a jaguar trek or exploring Caracol (Belize's largest Mayan site), don't miss a Thai massage at the riverside spa. Foodies will enjoy the resort's culinary diversity, ranging from Guatemalan salpicon to fresh Italian pastas, all featuring produce from the lodge's organic gardens.
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